POSTED: 11 SEPTEMBER 2004 - 2:30pm HST

We are less safe and less free!

image above: A second plane hits the south tower of the WTC

In this third anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 it is time to admit the truth. The response of the United States to the 9/11 acts of terror have weakened our position in the world. We are less safe and less secure today than we were three years ago. Moreover, we have lost precious freedoms that previous generations of Americans have fought and died for. We have become fearful people willing to trade freedom for safety, and not being any safer in the bargain.

Since May of 2003, when Bush made a photo-op on the deck of the USS Lincoln and claimed "Mission Accomplished", anything but accomplishment has been the result. We have lost four times as many soldiers in Iraq since then and we are no closer to Bin Laden or the Weapons of Mass Destruction Bush promised we would find. On top of that our side-step into Iraq has been a dead-end that has taken us way off the course of pursuing the terrorist that attacked us and lost us allies in the fight.

Three years ago we had the sympathy of most of the world. Not so today. Bush's tunnel vision and obsession with Iraq has put us in a position that is unacceptable. We have lost control of much of Afghanistan outside Kabul and opium (heroin) production has quadrupled since the Taliban were ousted. We don't have the resources there to hunt down our enemies, much less secure that nation or Pakistan (where Al Qaeda members seem safe).

In Iraq we have let insurgents gain control of much of Sunni held western portions of the nation and have little we can do in many parts of the Shiite controlled south and east. Much like Israel, we have created a situation that generates terrorists and guerilla fighters faster than we can find them. Iraq has become the world's foremost training ground for insurgent warfare. THe Bush administration investment of trust and money in Ahmed Chalabi as the future leader of Iraq was apparently an investment in the interests of Iran.

Much like the Shah of Iran, back in 1978, Saddam Hussein, in 2003 was a secular dictator sitting on a powder keg of Islamic fundamentalism. Would the Bush administration argue that Iran was better off without the Shah when Ayatollah Khomeini took over in 1979? America is not better off or safer because Hussein is gone - we just took his place. Our henchmen sit in his palaces and our prisoners are tortured in his prisons.

Back in the States, the site that was once the World Trade Center is less likely to be a memorial to 9/11 than a big real estate deal.The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was the owner of the World Trade Center. Weeks before 9/11 they turned over a long-term lease on the property to real estate magnate Larry Silverstein. Silverstein got the insurance money and he's the one to rebuild on the site. Instead of the agreed on Master Plan for a memorial, Silverstein is building with an eye on how much rental space he can squeeze in. The plan is to build the tallest office building in the world - to hell with the Master Plan. What hubris. Why not just paint a bullseye on the site.

The appointment of "Czars", and the declaration of "Wars" on such things as "Crime" and "Drugs" should tell us something about the chances of success in the "War on Terrorism". The problems of crime, drugs and terrorism are largely complex socio-economic failures. "Czars" and "Wars" are simplistic political answers to public outrage. Little is accomplished. "Czars" are dictators and "Wars" kill people. What America really wants is to be a nation that the rest of the world doesn't want to destroy. In that area Bush & Company don't have a clue.

God forbid that our future is a series of pre-emptive wars in the middle-east and elsewhere in order to prevent terrorist acts. If it is our legacy will not be security or freedom.

A worker in the wreckage of the WTC site