9/11 was the sort of cataclysmic event that's impossible to look at fairly and objectively at first. Emotions ran high immediately in the aftermath (of course), images were plastered everywhere – it loomed over the immediate aftermath like nothing else.
But ten years later, now that we can gain perspective on the tragedy, the event takes on new, saddening dimensions. Because as bad as 9/11 was, the things that it begat were even worse. It was a turning point, a spiraling downward.
However one leans politically, it's hard to deny that the American war in the Middle East has been awful. 2,000 people died in 9/11, but 4,459 American soldiers have been killed in the war. Over 50,000 innocent Iraqi civilians have been killed, with some estimating the count at as high as 90,000.
Moreover, the brief aftermath of togetherness and unity created by 9/11 has been followed by ten years of relentless partisan bickering in the American political arena. Two presidents, one after another, have been relentlessly criticized and destroyed by the media. The economy crashed (although 9/11 can't be necessarily blamed for that).
If this all sounds overly negative, that's because it is. With all the 9/11 memorial, a memorial for the American spirit of confidence that it shattered might be in short order as well.