This piece was originally published on September 11, 2011. It has been reposted to reflect on the tragic events and impacts of 9/11 and on our international strategy going forward.
Ten years ago, while driving to work, I watched in horror as smoke and flames billowed from the Pentagon from across the Potomac River. Later, huddled in a basement office, our small staff overcame its fear that this was "the beginning of the end" and got to work.
The message sent that day to our members began, "The world has shifted." Like the first few moments after an earthquake, we didn't know how bad the damage was, but we knew the world would never be the same again. I wrote then:
"Right now, I am as fearful of the knee jerk reaction that our nation could embark upon, as I am by the damage that those forces behind these attacks can inflict.
We who work for a more peaceful and just world must be the voice that says more than 'strike back.' We must talk about what we can do to stop this from happening again.... Military might is not enough to halt a determined foe that is willing to sacrifice their lives for what they believe in and use all means available to lash out. The United States should seek to find those behind this attack and bring them to justice. But at the same time it should evaluate what damage it has done by hamstringing the growth of a democratic system of international governance that will allow members of every society to feel that they are stakeholder, rather than downtrodden serfs, in our global village.
I ask all of you in the days ahead to be the courageous voice of sanity and reason and help turn this tragedy into the beginning of a healing rather than the beginning of the end."