The reporter works out of Virginia producing shows for Arab consumption. He's a nice guy and has done this, as I have, many times before. A pick-up crew is on hand to film the segment. The Ground Zero sidewalks are filled with tourists trying to understand what happened here so long ago. In thier rush to see what cannot be seen they blur past us, often between camera and subject, oblivious to our work. The jackhammers and deisels do their best but they can't defeat the teched-up microphone.
"We won't be talking politics. It's just a human interest story." And this held up for a bit as I related my experiences on that fateful day that changed so many lives, and the changes in me the days and years after. Then came question number 6 (stock question number 23, I think). "So what have we learned in these eleven years?"
And I was off. Off into the big picture; into the unworldy world of the unreal real; into the delusional swamp of America's mass socio-political denial. "We haven't learned a thing," I answered, suppressing the expletive wanting to squeeze its way before the 'thing'. I scrambled for a clear example of our ignorance. It wasn't hard to find.
"Why just the other day the Generals met. General Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, flew into Afghanistan to try and figure out why American troops are being slaughtered by Afghan security forces. Our allies, after all, should not be killing us.
Eleven years after 9/11 and our military still cannot understand why our attempts to "bring Democracy" resulted in people all over the Middle East hating us. They can't understand how our televised murder of innocent civilians results in them deeply resenting our presence in their countries. They can't understand why people are even willing to die to let us know how much they detest our existence in their midst.
From Baghdad to Kabul to Homs to Beirut...from Yemen to Gaza: we have built more enemies than friends. Interview: Done. Lessons learned: Zero.