A lot of people, including many conservatives, often look at the worst tragedy to ever befall our country, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, as a reality TV show. A lot of people just do not understand what really happened and what happened to us that day. A lot of discord has since occurred because of the misunderstanding. But had one been in Arlington Virginia, at work, that day or at any other part of the DC area one would have experienced reality on a scale that nothing could ever compare to.
It is surreal to look back on it now. The sky over DC and the Beltway was as clear and beautiful as anyone had ever seen it. A late summer morning that held a hint of autumn, just whispering in the breeze with the slight change of color of the maples. It would have been a day to remember just for the beautiful morning. But that was not to be.
Now when people look back on 9-11 it is as if those who weren’t there, who watched in horror the images playing over FOX News, and the rest of the media, forgot the horror, the fear, and the rage. Those of us who ran for our lives, out of confusion and the urge to survive can’t forget it. When we have people asking what happened to tower 7, or making light of the tragedy by creating an alternate universe of conspiracy theories it becomes an insult.
Not only do we have people who look on 9-11 as something they watched on TV like Project Runway, but we have truly horrible people attacking our own government and basically saying the government did 9-11 and denying the facts. I look at this all and shake my head. I know what happened. I with my work colleagues raced for our lives to a safe place far away from Arlington. That Saturday my friends and I went to the hill where we could see the hole in the Pentagon. I talked to Pentagon survivors. I met with victims’ families. The ideas thrown out there by what are now referred to as TRUTHERS are not only hurtful to the victims, and veterans of the wars fought because of 9-11, they are insulting to the witness’ of 9-11.
Whether we want to believe it or not, 9-11 surpassed Pearl Harbor in sheer importance to history. Pearl Harbor was about crippling the American Fleet and pinning us in a shallow harbor. 9-11 was about destroying the US in a far different way. It was in fact the day “Total War” came to the shores of the United States, and what I mean by that is when civilians are the main target that is total war. Radical Islam focuses on the soft targets: School children, women, old people and business men going to work.
The towers represented to Bin Laden the ideals he hated the most, American wealth, American economic power, and liberty. The Pentagon represented the military might that never seems to stop. God knows where flight 93s ultimate destination was. Some say the White House, some say the Capitol. That is total war. Radical Islam doesn’t need 2 engine Heinkels or buzz bombs, four engine B17s or B24s, Lancaster bombers to enact total war. All they need is a few young men who don’t realize they have a choice, who are conditioned to be fanatics and very conventional weapons. A box cutter works just fine when its strapped to a 757 loaded with enough fuel to fly cross country.
This is the kind of war, the Global War on Terror, that a lot of Americans can’t handle fighting. I don’t know whether its impatience, or a coward’s streak. After two years the whining started, and then it became a howl. Radical Muslims, like Ho Chi Min’s flying monkeys, understand that if they can last two years they have a chance.
And if we do end up on the short end it’s not about our military. Our guys have never lost a battle to the Taliban and never lost a battle to the rats in Iraq. It is our civilian population that is too soft, that can’t handle the hard facts that lose wars for us. How many people out there realize Harry Truman was being aimed at for impeachment before Fat Man and Little Boy were dropped? And that was WWII, the “Just War”. That’s part of that war that many don’t realize even happened or occurred. But it did.
One would think the GWOT would be considered a “Just War” as well. But, after 12 years we have been cowed not just by our longing for it to be over but by our leftists and our libertarian activists who blame us rather than the radical Muslims who perpetrated the act of war. We are caught between them and radical Muslims and can’t see the reality of what happened anymore. We forgot what it was about soon after the Towers fell.
The Global War on Terror is about defending our country against an enemy that can call its historical fellow travelers Germany, Nazis, Stalin’s Comintern, and Chairman Mao’s People’s Army. Radical Islam isn’t an expression of people longing for freedom. It’s the basest, purest form of a questionable belief system that has more to do with governing every aspect of a human’s life from cradle to grave than it does about knowing God. Unlike Christianity and Judaism, Radical Islam does not celebrate life. It celebrates submission, slavery and ignorance. And the fight brought to our shores, the fight we didn’t want, was upon us and it still is upon us.
I can remember that day, driving back to my house in Ballston, VA and wondering how my parents reacted to Pearl Harbor. It is easy to understand a sneak attack on a military base. But the bizarre way 9-11 unfolded was an exposure to an evil that none of us really understand. Our grandfather’s saw it when they liberated Dachau and Buchenwald. And then we got to see it morphed again as we saw our fellow Americans leap to their deaths that clear, bright September morning. Evil is Evil and it must be confronted and dealt with in a very final way. Maybe that’s the biggest lesson of 9-11 and that is what we are all missing now.
Image: 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City; author: US National Park Service employee; public domain