It's easy to adopt "with us or against us" stances, but it's rarely productive.
I was 20 when 9/11 happened. I definitely did not support Dubya, even then, though I was ok with troops being sent to Afghanistan (a position that I recognize as wrong now). However, I recognized the bullshit that was the "intelligence" to justify the war in Iraq right away. I can recall wanting to go to an anti-Iraq war rally with my then-boyfriend, but he refused, because he supported the war (he was otherwise a lefty, btw). I wish I had had the confidence to find some friends to go with instead, in retrospect. As much as conservatives complain about "cancel culture", their canceling, particularly in that era, was way more effective than our supposed "canceling" ever has been (with a few exceptions). I don't want to go back to a time like that!
I keep being so impressed by your courage and your ability to express what should be common sense and decency in the midst of so much insanity. Thank you.
We need an FDR.
"So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."
I was nearly 40 when 9/11 happened (so thanks for making me feel old!).
I was born and raised in Northern Ireland. Sectarian violence was commonplace, and it was why my family had to leave N.I. and return to the mainland -- but the violence followed us, and we lived with bombings and bomb threats for decades. But we didn't hate the Irish and we didn't hate the English -- the two nationalities involved. We understood that it was a specific subgroup of people. Sinn Fein was fine; the IRA was not.
As a child, my school organized (religious) educational cruises around the Mediterranean. I visited Egypt, Lebanon, and Israel, etc. in the early '70s -- the violence was rising then and changed our itinerary: we couldn't go to Jerusalem; we had to visit Lebanon _before_ Israel. The people were all wonderful, but the politics were not.
It's sad that decades later, we still can't separate the people from the politics, and be allowed to sympathize with both Palestinians and Israelis while decrying Hamas and the military response of the government of Israel.
I'm not a fan of GWB by any means. I think he was feckless and irresponsible in invading Iran, which had nothing to do with 9/11.
AND, I did not see much anti-Muslim rhetoric coming from him. In fact, I saw a bit of the opposite. He himself tried to be somewhat careful to condemn terrorist ideology, not a general religious category. (Others, maybe not so much.) Also, he was pretty good with Mexican-Americans or Hispanics, or whatever you want to call them.
We do, as you say, need to keep our heads in trying situations. I'm not sure that "calm" is the right word, since of course it's alarming to see airliners fly into skyscrapers. However, we can't let that affect our judgement, reason, or perception.
Lately I've been wondering about the affect that the Black Lives Matter movement has had on all of us. Once you ask people to employ their empathy on behalf of people who aren't like themselves, to see George Floyd as a human and not as the "thug" that the police wanted to portray him as, that tendency to see what we all have in common as humans can be hard to stop. Just as it's hard to stop us from distrusting those in power when they want us to believe others are less-than-human. We're not the same nation we were in 2001. In some ways I think we've changed for the better.