olbermannflag.jpgKeith Olbermann’s coverage (video here) of the commemoration of 9/11 reminded us of what might have been, had we had genuine leaders that fateful day.

On September 11, 2007, the nation should have been able to congratulate itself that the people who planned and organized the mass murders of US citizens six years earlier had been brought to justice. Instead, we saw videos of al Qaeda’s leaders taunting us and threatening to attack again.

We should have been able to point with pride to an exemplary system of justice set up to bring the 9/11 perpetrators to justice. Instead, we have been shamed by policies that authorized torture, kidnapping, and rendition; shamed by Abu Ghraib, by Guantanamo, and by the Military Commissions Act; and shamed by the fact that not one of the Administration lawyers who approved these shameful practices was ever fired, disciplined or disbarred — though all should have been.

The nation should have been able to focus its mourning exclusively on the 3,000 Americans people who were murdered that day, but instead we now mourn another 3770 3776 (and still counting) additional dead Americans plus nearly 28,000 wounded, plus tens/hundreds of thousands of Iraqi casualties — men, women and children killed, wounded or brutalized in an unnecessary war because our dishonest President and his crazed Vice President chose to fabricate a linkage between the leaders of Iraq and the perpetrators of 9/11 while hyping the dangers of WMD that never existed. Not one person has been held accountable for these massive deceptions or the unspeakable suffering they caused.

Americans should have been assured that we had, through our courageous and principled response to 9/11, earned the decent respect for the opinions of mankind. We should have set the model for an enlightened approach that focused as much on discouraging the rise of religious extremism and its causes as on stopping those already committed to violence. Instead we find ourselves despised for our post-9/11 policies and blamed for the resurgence of al Qaeda and violent extremism that now confronts a dozen allies.

We should have been able to come together, united as a country and proud of having survived 9/11 with renewed honor and respect for each other, for the rule of law, for the freedoms that have attracted so many generations to our land. But instead we are deeply divided, our constitutional government under siege, our privacy rights routinely violated, and the rule of law disregarded by our Executive.

We were still in mourning on September 11, 2007, because we have an Administration that has wasted much of the last six years making things worse instead of redeeming our future. We still grieve, but the Bush/Cheney regime has managed to push the original 9/11 tragedy out of the top spot of the losses for which our nation grieves.

(Photo via Rolling Stone. Some great KO clips here as well. And thanks much to Christy for setting up the KO links and pic.)