It's hard to remember that September 11, 2001 is now 13 years in the past. It's not disappearing in the rear-view mirror: we still see effects. Rebuilding continues, rethinking continues. The entire world is now concentrated on the Middle East, horrified at the development of a group called (depending on the week and your news source) ISIS or ISIL or IS which roughly means the Islamic State in Iraq or the Levant (how many of us really know what constitutes the Levant?) or just the Islamic State. Most Muslims seem to disavow the actions of this group which has posted videos of the beheading of two American journalists. Have they grown out of the rebel movement in Syria or are they descendants of Al Qaeda in Iraq? I may not live long enough to learn the answer--I'm not planning on going any time soon but it may be a very long time indeed before the truth of all this emerges.
I know Thomas was worried about the proximity of Mosul to Syria. Mosul has been lost to ISIS (let us call them that for the sake of simplicity), at least for now. I hope in the end he didn't die for only a temporary gain. Though I guess the truth is, it's all temporary. Even the current occupation of Mosul by this group will come to an end some day.