September 2007 Editorial Winner

The true cost of 9-11
By John M. Wylie III, Oologah Lake Leader

As we mark the sixth anniversary of the tragedy of 9-11, we can begin to measure the true cost of the fallout to the nation.
It is staggering.
America no longer is the land of the free and home of the brave. Fear has led Americans to accept "national security" measures that smack of Iron Curtain tactics of the Cold War era.
Travelers endure increasingly intrusive "security measures," while real solutions - such as double security doors to protect cockpits - languish.
Families are torn apart and young Americans die daily in Iraq, while the real terrorist homeland - Afghanistan - is starved of the military force needed to capture or kill Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants.
Partisans on all sides scream so loudly that intelligent decision-making is almost impossible.
We're not sure which was more disgusting during the House hearings Monday on the war - the anti-war protestors who repeatedly disrupted Rep. Ike Shelton's efforts to conduct a serious discussion of the issues, or the fringe "pro troop" protestors who spew lies and hatred at anyone who suggests a change in U.S. policy may be needed
Political civility is dead, and civility among religions - even among Christian denominations - is in serious and worsening conditions.
As we go into another election season, it will just get worse. Candidate X will say that Candidate Y is soft on terrorism, and if he or she is not elected the terrorists will win.
Funny, that thought just doesn't worry us. The terrorists are laughing at America right now. By instilling fear and paranoia in this once great nation, they have already won the first three quarters with time running out in the fourth.
Tulsa Public Schools even demand that students tuck in their T-shirts as a concession to the "post-911 world." Get real, people!
Somehow we have forgotten the words of Franklin Roosevelt: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
As we begin another year of the post 9-11 era, we can each fight back by challenging those who use fear to advance narrow agendas and in the process strengthen the terrorists they claim to fight.
Otherwise, what happens on the battlefield won't matter a bit. We'll have destroyed America from within.