Sep 10, 2011


Ten years. That’s both a long time and the blink of an eye, depending on how you want to slice it. Come tomorrow, everybody is going to spend the day recounting where they were, what they were doing, how they reacted. I could do that too, but what I have to say wouldn’t be appreciably different than anyone else. I suppose (in a certain way of thinking) I’m one step closer to the events of 9/11 than most – I have an uncle who was working in the Pentagon that day. Blessedly, he’s still here. Many are not. But personally, no… I’m just another voice among millions.

In the run up to tomorrow, a lot of TV channels have been doing remembrance programming. Most focus on sadness. As I’ve said before, sadness is not the emotion I reserve for September 11th. Even as I watch video of people throwing themselves from 90 stories up, I don’t feel sad. As I listen to 911 calls from people trapped above the fires who knew they were going to die – some of whom were on the line at the instant of collapse, and whose last moments were punctuated by the most horrified screams I’ve ever heard – I feel disturbed. I feel like I might throw up. I feel their confusion, despair, and panic. But I don’t feel sad. I feel a cold anger. And it will not go away.

Obviously, the event most comparable to 11 September 2001, was the attack of 7 December 1941. As has already been pointed out, 10 years after Pearl Harbor there were no such remembrances as we will see tomorrow. That anniversary came and went with barely any interest. But the reason given – that Japan was at that point our ally against communism – is wrong. The real reason that 10 years after Pearl Harbor nobody conducted a retrospective filled with tears and sorrow, was that that war was over, and we won. Hundreds of thousands of American lives had been lost since then. Millions more in other countries. But THAT fight had ended in victory. Today, the fight is still going on. That’s the difference. Either that, or we’ve just become a society of jello-spined weaklings who need to have a good cry once in awhile. While the first option is depressing, the second is even more so… and downright lethal when you cut to the heart of it.

It’s that second option that we cannot afford. In the last 10 years, we’ve had victories, great and small. Iraq was a painful exercise, but ultimately successful (relatively speaking). Osama bin Laden finally got his, as well. We’ve managed to squash most everything planned to hit us here at home, from the shoe and undie-bombers to the Fort Dix six. But Fort Hood happened because political correctness prevented anyone from doing the right thing and stopping a guy who had “soldier of Allah” on his business cards from conducting his own personal jihad. Moral weakness and a spineless unwillingness to confront reality led to the most preventable of scenarios.

“Peace through strength” was a cold war era motto that served us well. People have not so much forgotten it, as willingly discarded it. The need to be liked, fostered by a generation or two of self-esteem training and cultural sensitivity classes have created an unwillingness for Americans to feel the most basic and primal of human needs: to value their own lives.

So it all comes back to a word that I have increasingly come to loathe: feelings. People don’t think anymore – they feel. Tomorrow, everyone will sit around “feeling,” but how many will be thinking? I will be thinking of the pain and suffering caused by adherents to a political ideology that disguises itself as a religion. I will be thinking of all those people who say that 9/11 was a “tragedy” instead of an act of war. I will be thinking about what needs to be accomplished to prevent any more 9/11s from happening. Unfortunately, I will almost certainly be in the minority. These are all things that I’ve said beforerepeatedly. I’ll keep saying them until I don’t have to. I don’t know when that will be.

Last year, as we recommitted ourselves to the fight in Afghanistan, I made the video below. It remains relevant and will continue to be until - to quote the Rifleman’s Creed - “there is no enemy, but peace.” A little more thinking and a little less "feeling" might get us there sooner.

UPDATE: Read this. More people, THINKING. And a video that will make you do all the feeling you'll be able to bear...

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