I’m already making a list so my hangover-fogged brain won’t have to store up everything that will need doing. On that list so far:
An independent investigation and accounting of any and all violations of the civil liberties of Americans in the name of fighting terrorism, including warrantless wiretap surveillance of citizens’ phone calls, and punishment for those who broke the law, be they elected officials or telecom companies. Publication of the results so we all know what was done, by who, to whom, and why, given that we cannot learn from mistakes if we don’t even know entirely what they are.
Massive programs to address the needs of veterans of the Iraq War, from housing to job assistance to health benefits. No one sent overseas in this war should ever have to want for anything again; it is the least we can do to thank people for their service. If theplanners of this war will never again miss a meal, those who fought it should be rewarded with the same.
A Marshall Plan-scale program for rebuilding the Gulf Coast, still struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina two and a half years ago. A real economic assistance plan for a region critical to U.S. trade and energy production to address housing shortages, levee construction, wetland restoration and last, but certainly not least, insurance company shortfalls because of simple greed and unwillingness to pay what is owed to those who thought they were covered.
Reconciliation and reparation for those unjustly accused, imprisoned or tortured in our national period of madness after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Explanations for them and their children of why they were targeted and what about them aroused our suspicions so it is not left to their grandchildren to unearth the secret government records that finally tell the tales.
Increased attention to America’s efforts in Afghanistan so we don’t repeat the mistakes of the 1980s and once again abandon that country to the next group of extremists promising hope where America failed to deliver.
And maybe somewhere in there we could manage to catch and try and punish Osama bin Laden and achieve justice for the victims of 9-11 instead of using them for political gain. Maybe somewhere in there we could find that man, dead or alive, who almost seven years ago set in motion the political world we now inhabit.