A brief update on the car. Extended thoughts on 9/11.

Mere moments before I was going to start wearing a placard reading “I kill cars for free,” Dad came over with his Accord, and we were able to get the Lexus jump started. Turns out that the original 1997 battery hadn’t enough cold cranking amps to get the car going anymore. Hard to complain about a battery that lasts seven years. Especially hard to complain when it could have been the alternator or the starter, either of which would’ve been spendy. As was, I just drove down to Les Schwab, got a new battery and drove away. Automotive life is good again.

Turning to issues more national and global in scope, this is of course the second anniversary of that horrible terrorist attack against the United States. The warning I issued on the day of the event has sadly gone unheeded: Our civil liberties are increasingly under attack, with the Bush administration jailing US citizens and foreign nationals without trial, counsel, or charges. The hastily passed so-called Patriot Act is not being viewed as much as a problem as it is something to be expanded upon. We are in grave danger of becoming a country where freedom is just a buzzword for politicians and has little practical legal meaning.

As if this weren’t bad enough, the war on terrorism has almost completely fallen apart. Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist network almost certainly did not exist in Iraq prior to the US occupation. There is little doubt that they are there fomenting rebellion now. Saddam Hussein, as evil a dictator as he might have been, had no role in the World Trade Center attacks. Why we’ve squandered our military, economic and political resources—not to mention the good will of the civilized world—to pursue an illegal if not immoral invasion of a country that was so far outside US national security interests that Mexico was probably a bigger threat, I have no idea. What I do know is this: George Bush is losing the war on terrorism, and it’s just one more reason he must be defeated in the next election.

That may not be the tenderest of sentiments on a day of remembrance, but on this anniversary of pain and grief the saddest thing of all is that leadership of the country has made the world a more war-torn, dangerous place.