Posts Tagged ‘9/11’

9/11: Remembering the Fallen

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Remembering 9/11

I had been at work just half an hour.  A good friend and colleague, a man who had been a rookie cop in Dallas on another tragic day nearly forty years before, John called me to come up to the conference room because a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center.  I immediately walked to the conference room and sat with him and two others, and began to watch the live coverage.  John and I surveyed the scene, and looked at one another, but I’m not sure which of us said it first:  This had been an attack, and could not not have been accidental.  No sooner had those words been spoken when from the right of the frame, appeared another airliner, and while the impact was concealed by the two buildings, the explosion that erupted made clear what had happened.

The other people gathered in the room let out a collective gasp, and one woman screamed in horror.  John and I looked at one another across the table, and we began to tick off a list of potential targets.  John is an easy-going, jovial man with a fine sense of humor, but this morning he had reverted to his game face.  Due to his responsibilities within the organization, and his years of experience, others in the room deferred to him.  One woman looked at him, tears streaming down her face, and asked John “Who did this?” John, by then on his feet and walking toward the door, paused placing his hand on the woman’s shoulder as an act of comfort, and said: “I don’t know Darlin’, but if I was guessing, it must be the same bunch from ’93 back to finish the job, and they may not be done yet.”

Like most Americans, I watched the events of 9/11 unfold from afar, yet the nature of the events left the unmistakable impression that this was the beginning of an escalation in the endless war of hatred directed at our country.  This hatred of our country is rooted in a clash of civilizations.  Our nation has been so successful for so long, and has become the center of developments in popular culture and media that it had become pervasive.  For a culture like Islam, the images they see of our nation are those which lend to the assessment that we are corrupt and defiled by their standard of measure.  These images make it all the easier for the demagogues who hold power in the Islamic world to demonize the West and spawn militancy against us.  Jihad means “to struggle” or “to resist,” so that in their view, this war against us is justified insofar as they are fighting against us in what they believe is an effort to preserve their way of life against what they see as a defiled and morally corrupted civilization.  They have been taught by demagogues to view the expansion of the Western culture as a malignancy to be excised as a matter of self-defense.  The lessons of 9/11 must include a recognition that the collision of these two civilizations may well have been inevitable, and our only choices are to adopt theirs or to defeat them.

Ten years later, we are marking the day with memorial services and events intended to remind us of all the fallen.  We rightly mark the heroism of all those who answered the call one final time on that infamous day.  Their acts in opposition to the war against us must not be forgotten.  For me personally, the events aboard Flight 93, that went down in a field in Shanksville, PA, are the things from which we must take heart concerning 9/11.  That airliner was full of ordinary Americans who did on their own the most outrageous thing:  Rather than wait for the inevitable, they took actions directed not only at the chance of saving their own lives, but with the knowledge that whatever the outcome, they would surely save others.  That moment of decision, in appraisal of their immediate situation, should be considered carefully by every American as this clash of civilizations continues.  What are the choices? Shall we fight, or wait to be slaughtered?   Shall we pretend that if only we’ll huddle quietly, we will be left alone and alive?  Shall we recognize that we are now the front line in a war between two civilizations, and act in the name of ours?

These are the questions with which the passengers aboard Flight 93 were confronted on that day.  Ten years later, these are the questions our nation must answer once again.  Will we wait until the fight comes to us?   Will we abide the abandonment of our allies living under this same threat?  Will we hunker in fear and inaction, pretending to ourselves that we can survive as a culture living as prisoners in our own nation?  Would we rather live another short span of time in relative safety knowing that the death we’re avoiding is really inevitable?  I believe the greatest memorial to those who died on 9/11, or on battlefields around the globe ever since, lies not in the laying of wreaths and the erecting of statues or markers, but in recognition of the simple, yet life-affirming choices we must make if we are to survive as a nation.

At the beginning of our nation, one famed patriot had already considered these questions, and his answers provide the true meaning of the choices and actions undertaken on 11 September, 2001, in the skies over Pennsylvania:

“It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” (Patrick Henry – March 1775)

These words now stand as a testament to the recognition that one must not yield for the sake of temporary comfort or safety in the face of an inevitable war.  The choices made by the passengers aboard Flight 93 stand as a stark reminder of how Americans must always answer this fundamental question, and it is an answer encapsulated in the words of a man who had said his goodbyes, and who turned with others to fight against an inevitable doom, so that if doom it would be, it would come on their terms with everything they could muster.   Todd Beamer, in plain-spoken recognition of what laid before him, uttered those now equally famous words:

Let’s roll!

When I remember 9/11, it is this simple declaration that I recall.  It stands as the only valid answer to the question laid before us, and as Americans, we must know its real meaning and take to heart all that it implies.  Justice requires it.  Our survival demands it.


American Leadership Surrenders: How We Lost the War

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

How Did We Forget?

It shouldn’t have been possible.  When America was attacked on 11 September, 2001, nearly three thousand Americans were slaughtered in a stunning use of passenger planes as weapons.  Our nation recoiled in horror, and for a short while, people were inclined to make war against those responsible, but within days, other voices cried we should not make of this more than it had been.  From the very beginning, we were urged by our media and our political leadership to avoid blaming all Muslims, as if Americans were unable to differentiate between our enemies and those who would be happy to live and let live.   At this moment of crisis, when our nation’s response to the attack would be formed and established, already came the drumbeat of capitulation.  Rather than name our enemy, and make total war against it as we had been promised, our government responded in a slowly retreating strategy advocated by the media.  Some will argue that since Osama bin Laden is now dead, we can declare victory and wrap up operations, but the truth is more difficult because while we indeed sent our forces to confront al Qaida abroad, we have done unsatisfactorily little to wage war against the Islamists’ advancement of Jihad here at home.

While we’ve slept, thinking our nation secured by the war we’ve been waging overseas, radical Islam is alive and well, not only in those distant theaters, but also here inside our own borders, and even more shockingly, inside the walls of western philosophical protection.  They’re using our sense of morality and decency against us.

The first of our failures lies in the unwillingness to name our enemy.  We have made every possible attempt to conceal the truth from ourselves and from others.  We’ve pointed to al Qaida and its affiliates, but we’ve permitted ourselves to pretend that if we can only defeat these, we will have won the war.  Even were we somehow able to destroy every al Qaida fighter on a single day, this war would not be over, for to pretend that al Qaida had been our only enemy is the same as the fallacy expressed by some that on 7 December, 1941, our only enemy had been the empire of Japan.  What sort of mindless, unthinking brute would suggest such a thing?  It would have ignored all rational understandings of the world as we have known it, but one can suppose we should be thankful that Hitler used the occasion to honor his pact with Japan, and declared war upon the United States, otherwise, left to the media, the American people might never have known they were at war with Germany and Italy too.

After 9/11, we should have known that the war we faced was greater and wider than one group of thugs sheltering in a desert wasteland half a world away.  Our leaders should have told us, and they should have prepared us for all the ugly truths about the nature of the war against us, and the philosophical base from which it was being waged.  We should have learned it ourselves and demanded a thorough war, but now we arrive on the eve of that event’s tenth anniversary, and still we cower and huddle in fear at the credible threats looming over us.  Our founders, and all the men from their time until the end of WWII must be turning restlessly in their graves at the spectacle of our defeat by such an enemy.  We should never have been defeated, except that the war within our own country, and inside our own philosophical struggles has found a willing ally for our enemies inside our own borders.  You wonder who that enemy might be, and it will surely pose a grave controversy to name them all, yet this nation cannot much longer endure if we do not recognize the truth of this war against it.  We stand on the brink of losing our nation, and yet we still mouth platitudes in defense of the enemies who attack it.  All of this begs the question: If a nation will not even clearly identify its enemies, does it deserve to survive?

Since so few others will take up this task, let me categorize our enemies more thoroughly.  If we are to defeat them we must know them, and if we are ever to stop the national hemorrhaging at their hands, we will be compelled by reason to know their collaborators in our midst.  We can no longer afford the timid answers to which we’ve become accustomed.  The enemies of the United States fall into two broad philosophical groups, and it is here that we must start.  The first of these enemies are comprised of the Islamists.  What you must know is that in the prevailing schools of Islamic thought around the globe, America as you have known it must be destroyed.  Israel, in any form, must be eradicated.  Their fundamental hatred of our form of government, our variety of faiths, and our customs and traditions arises from a belief in the cultural and spiritual supremacy of Islam.  The shrill collaborators in this country will point to the moderates as examples of those who do not adopt such positions, but in truth and as evidenced by facts from which we cannot escape, those “moderates” who do not wish to advance Islam’s grasp to the limits of our globe are relatively few.  We are confronted with an enemy that has been instilled from birth with a baseline, fundamental hatred of the West.  There are surely exceptions in Islam, but to pretend that they are a numerous proportion is to pronounce a death sentence upon ourselves and our children.

This category is further subdivided into four groups, and they are the militants who carry out the war, the so-called intellectuals who justify the war, the financiers who fund the war, and the adherents who are the most numerous group who for various reasons simply obey, submit, and support the war.   This last group can be considered the Islamists’ answer to ‘useful idiots’, and it is from their number that the militants are recruited.  These are also the people who have constituted the vast body of the mobs who advanced the ‘Arab spring.’  On Friday and Saturday, these “peace-loving people” invaded the Israeli embassy in Cairo.  Let us not pretend that our enemy is some tiny minority in greater Islam.  The truth is that the tiny minority in Islam consists of those relatively rare moderates who fit into none of these groups, and do no press for the advancement of Islam around the globe.

The other category into which our enemies can be divided is the collaborators.  The major media outlets are the largest and most influential part of this group who have given the Islamists cover.   They claim to care about protecting moderate Muslims, but as Pamela Geller explains on her Atlas Shrugs blog, our media have been complicit in advancing the Islamist narrative and in disguising the truth from Americans. This is the propaganda war being waged, and we’re losing it, because more often than not, our policies are shaped not by the nature of the real threats, but in response to the perceptions of Americans.  As our people have been led astray in their understanding of our enemy, they’ve leaned toward policies that pretend one can fight a war piece-meal, without the involvement and commitment of the whole American people.  While the collaborators have been singing this lullaby, the total war of the Islamists against the American people has been advancing on all fronts.  The most notable group of collaborators is the American left.  They have no love of this nation in its original form, and since they are intent upon destroying it, are only too happy to accept assistance wherever they find it.

Take care to understand that I do not here intend to say “Democrats,” for that party is composed of a broad range of people, many of whom joined the war on the side of America in its earliest days, but who have some shared sympathies with the much more virulent left, composed of radicals who want to undermine this nation at any opportunity.  The truth is that rank-and-file Democrats don’t want America destroyed.  They love the country too, although their particular views in some issues may be wrong-headed.  No, those Democrats were among the firefighters, police, and other first responders who answered the call on 9/11, and who were also victims on that day.  If I had any complaint with them, it would be only that they must watch more closely who they allow to lead them, and to which ends.  They are patriots, and to pretend otherwise is to abandon one’s wayward brothers, and this I will not do.  During my service in the Army, I knew many faithful, patriotic Democrats, but few of them were hard-core left.  Most of them came from blue-collar families, and they took a backseat to none in their love of this country.  Instead, let us focus with acute precision on the hard-core left.  These people are not friends of this country, and the only traction they’ve ever gained has been through their attempts to co-opt the Democrat party, and infiltrate and overwhelm our media and government.  They have allied themselves with the Islamists on a global scale because they adopt the same notion:  “The enemy of my enemy is my friend[for now.]” They’ll divide up the world later. First, they must destroy America.

The Islamists long ago understood what the American people have not:  Our vast military advantage makes it impossible to defeat us by open attack.  Just as the North Vietnamese and their communist cohorts used a propaganda war against us at home to thwart us overseas, the Islamists now follow that model to force our withdrawal and compliance.  We do not suffer from a lack of the ability to win this war, but the collaborators in our media and in our government have convinced us not to wage it, and we have been too willing to accept that answer in the name of our own sloth and cowardice.  Instead, we huddle waiting for the next attack, while it is our liberties we have forfeited as we allow our persons to be scanned, our children and grandmothers groped, and security checkpoints within our country to become the natural and normal order of things.  We send the willing warriors among us to far-flung battlefields where they spend their blood and their lives upon a purpose to which we at home are not thoroughly committed.  We hamper them with rules of engagement that make of them sitting ducks, while we toss around high-minded terms about not wishing to become our enemy.  At this pace, and with that attitude, we need not worry about such concepts much longer, because the enemy has gained a foothold not merely on our continent, but in our hearts and minds.

As the wilting flower of tomorrow’s official 9/11 National Commemorative Ceremony in New York begins to come into focus, we should rightly demand an accounting from our alleged leaders who chide us to silence in the name of avoiding the possibility that we would offend our enemies.  Mayor Bloomberg of New York has excluded first responders from the official memorial event, and he’s also banned clergy and prayer, lest some group be offended.  Which group do you suppose Mayor Bloomberg wishes not to offend?  Christians?  Jews?  Who?  This half-hearted, neutered ceremony signifies no victory, and it does damnably little to admit of our losses.  Instead, it is a sign of our defeat, in which our leaders admit that the West has lost, and we have capitulated in a war between civilizations, one of a growing tyranny, and the other of a diminishing liberty.  These won’t be their words, to be sure, but in the form of the memorial they have constructed, to carefully avoid offending even those who supported the perpetrators, it’s impossible to conclude they’re saying anything else.

It needn’t have been the case, but at present, it seems certain that while undermined from within, and infiltrated from without, we are now in a skulking retreat on the road to our national demise. The first step in reversing this is to tell these alleged leaders “no more.”  It’s time we join with patriots like Pamela Geller in exposing the collaborators.  The voices of those lost on 9/11 should be ringing in our ears, and with them the sounds of those brave men and women we’ve lost since, sent abroad to wage a half-hearted war in the name of a justice we’ve mostly abandoned.  The principles we have claimed to love demand it.