9/11 was the day that, as it the words of the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, a terrible beauty was born, when an act of savagery was met with heroism so epic that it still stirs the heart 15 years later. From police officers and firefighters who rushed into burning buildings to save who they could, even at the cost of their lives, to the passengers of Flight 93, who charged the cockpit of their hijacked plane in a doomed attempt to save their lives, the day made heroes out of ordinary people.

But 9/11 also heralded a very different 21st Century than many imagined when growing up in the previous one.

Many thought the current era would be one of the unimaginable marvels, of cities on the moon and flying cars. So be sure, the past 15 years have seen some advances, from smartphones to cures for deadly diseases. But the 21st Century has been one of a grinding war against a shadowy force of religious zealots who live and die for the burning desire to end civilization. Add to that horror the political mendacity that did not begin with the current election, but has become more pronounced in 2016, and one wonders where the promise of the 21st Century went?

Winning the long war on terror has turned out to be not so easy as it seemed in those first few heady months after the attacks when the United States seemed united as it had not been since Pearl Harbor. The war is one that has to be won, at all costs, because losing means that the West, with its culture of freedom and tolerance, would be consumed by a worldwide Caliphate where women are enslaved, religious minorities, gays, and political dissidents would be consigned to slaughter, and the rest would be forced to bow down to a faith that brooks no life outside it.

Not winning and not losing either is bad as well, for it means having to endure endlessly the occasional mass slaughter at the hands of madmen who call their god great before committing murder and mayhem. Who would want to live in such a world?

Therefore, an end must be made to all of those who lust to kill in the name of religion, ideology, or just some primal lust gussied up by what they think is the will of God.

The sooner it happens, the better.

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