Col. West, you’re correct that, rather than wallowing in 9/11 memories, we must fight radical Islam — but how should we do it? *UPDATED*

The Twin Towers in flamesAs in past years, people who were older than about ten on September 11, 2001, have honored its anniversary.  These social media acknowledgements of that fateful day tend to take two forms:  (1) the “where were you then” form, as exemplified by George Takei, or as I think of it “the fly trapped in amber” approach ; and (2) the “9/11 still matters” viewpoint, as exemplified by Lt. Col. Allen West.  I incline to Col. West’s approach, but it leaves important questions unanswered, which I’ll try to explain here.

George Takei has more that 7.5 million Facebook followers, thanks to the frequently amusing things he posts there. His popularity means it’s possible to discern certain cultural trends from his posts and from the response to those posts.  Take, for example, his 9/11 post.  To his credit, Takei didn’t forget that today is a special day.  Instead, he acknowledged it and asked his followers to reminisce about their 9/11 experiences:

Last I looked, more than 20,000 people approved of this post, almost 4,000 shared it, and around 4,000 added their comments.

There’s nothing wrong with what Takei and his followers are doing. After all, more than fifty years after the fact, we still have people spending Thanksgiving explaining exactly what they were doing in 1963 when they learned Kennedy had been assassinated. It’s our way of assuring ourselves and others that we too are part of a cataclysmic, unifying, paradigm-shifting event, even if we lacked the geographic proximity to say truthfully “I was there.”

What’s missing from this “where were you then” approach to 9/11 is that it avoids taking a serious look at 9/11′s impact, not just on our personal emotional status, but on our nation and the world at large. “I was there, if only in spirit,” is a far cry from dealing with the practical reality that “Islamism is still here, in spirit and in fact.”  It’s dangerous to lock 9/11 into the past, only to drag it out annually to admire it, much as one looks at a fly’s tortured body locked in ancient amber.

911 caught in amber

Lt. Col. Allen West represents the opposite end of the “Remembering 9/11″ spectrum. The events of 9/11 may have happened thirteen years ago, he says, but they matter today. He is correct.  They matter very much.  In his 9/11 post, Col. West, after briefly describing his own 9/11 memories, turns the focus where it rightly belongs:

And here we are 13 years later and still living under the threat of an Islamic terrorist attack. We go through security protocols all because of Islamic terrorist attacks. We just witnessed two Americans beheaded by members of an Islamic terrorist army.

Thirteen years later and it is as though we learned no lessons from 9/11. Our own recalcitrance to define this enemy was demonstrated last night by our president, Barack Hussein Obama, who firmly declared that ISIS is not “Islamic” — then what the hell are they, Amish? Political correctness has placed us in a position where almost half of our country fears another major terrorist attack.

(Please remind me to pull out that “What the hell are they? Amish?” line next time I cross paths with an Islamic apologist.)

Allen West and the Marine Corps

In addition to reminding us that 9/11 continues to have real-world repercussions, West proposes that the military provides an affirmative solution to radical Islam’s continuing aggression:

My fellow Americans, we don’t have to live under this specter of Islamo-fascism and jihadism. We cannot go another year — certainly not another 13 — living in fear all the while refusing to admit that they exist. I am tired of being told that we cannot offend folks. I am tired of hearing that it’s not all Muslims. If that’s so, those moderates need to “man up” and kick some extremist arse. Because for 13 years, we’ve fiddled around and played games of winning hearts and minds and nation building and all we got in exchange were two beheaded Americans.

The original “day that will live in infamy” led us to one goal: the destruction of the enemy who attacked us. It was Japanese Admiral Yamamoto who stated that he feared they had awakened a sleeping giant. But the giant that is America is still asleep.

When President Ronald Reagan was asked how he defined victory in the Cold War he replied simply, “we win they lose.” And it was Alexander the Great who said, “I would not fear an army of lions if led by sheep, but I would fear an army of sheep if led by a lion.” America is looking for a lion who will crush the wolves and embolden, unleash and direct the indomitable American spirit that will not cower.

I agree with Col. West that radical Islam needs to be stomped out, or at least sent to the far outskirts of civilization where this nihilistic ideology can wither and die on the vine. What I’d like Col. West to do, though, is to explain precisely how one goes about doing this.

The “how” of destroying radical Islam has been on my mind of late.  Just today, when I explained to a young man of my acquaintance that radical Islam cannot be accommodated but must be destroyed, he asked the obvious question: “Well, what would you do?”

I had no answer. ISIS is actually the easiest problem to solve, because it has set itself up as an Islamic state. After all, if it’s a state, we can declare war against it and wipe it out.  The problem is that, outside of ISIS’s helpful decision to attach a large target to its collective backside, we’re more hampered when it comes to the constantly increased number of other manifestations of radical Islam.

Looking outside Iraq, radical Islam isn’t a coherent, bomb-able, nation with borders.  Instead, it’s a toxic ideology that permeates larger societies, both Muslim and non-Muslim.  And even within Muslim nations or communities, it’s actively embraced only by about 10% of Muslims — although the majority provide strong passive support (putting the lie to Obama’s assurance that there’s nothing sharia-like about “real” Islam).

With regard to those passive sharia supporter, Col. West is correct that it’s time for the “so-called” moderates to put up or shut up, but that still leaves us with a problem: Where do we aim our guns?

Do we resume a hot war Afghanistan, just as we’re on the verge of treating, leaving a triumphant Taliban?  Do we drop bombs on remote islands in the Philippines, where a bloody Muslim insurgency has gone on for years? Or how about taking the Marines to India, home of the Mumbai massacre?  Or maybe we aim our guns on in Qatar, an oil-rich nation that generously funds Hamas (and is home to a CENTCOM presence).

And so it goes, with country after country hosting a large radical Islamist contingent that too often is an untouchable Fifth Column.  Need more examples?  There’s Turkey, which is a NATo member, and which is slowly being dragged from the 21st century back to the 7th, with 68% of Turkish citizens supporting Hamas.  England was our ally in Iraq, but London is Ground Zero for radical Islam. France, where 16% of the population supports Hamas, is witnessing a mass Jewish Exodus that continued unabated throughout the summer, despite Israel’s wartime footing.  Wartime Israel was safer to French Jews than peacetime France.  And there’s always Malmo, in Sweden, where 40% of the population is Muslim. Thanks to this influx, Sweden has become the rape capital of Europe.

Radical Islam in the Middle East also leaves us without targets.  We can’t attack Saudi Arabia, which has for decades funded the Sunni side of toxic Islam, because it’s long been our ally and, absent domestic drilling, is a necessary oil purveyor. Moreover, the Saudis are now afraid of the Frankenstein’s monster they created, and are making nice with Israel, our ally in the war against jihad Islam.  We’re also unwilling to take on Iran, which has for decades funded the Shia side of toxic Islam.  Worse, it seems that Obama would like to partner with Iran to help get rid of Sunni ISIS.  And then of course there’s Gaza.  We weren’t pleased when the Israelis delicately bombed it, so it’s unlikely that we’ll start bombing it ourselves any time soon.

And really, if we’re going to have to bomb whole communities of radical Islamists, we’re going to have to look within our own borders.  We’ll need to add the states of Minnesota and Michigan to the list of targets, not to mention towns such as Fremont, California, and large parts of California’s Central Valley.  Heck, if an FBI friend of mine is correct, it might be time to drop a bomb on Marin too, since that idyllic Leftist paradise has a burgeoning radical Islamic population.  (Remember John Walker Lindh?  His Marin connections weren’t a coincidence.)

Making more sense before

Given the parasitism of radical Islam throughout the world, what precisely is the military solution to this ideology that has permeated the world’s fabric? Obama’s approach for the past five-and-a-half years has been a dismal failure.  Moreover, if his speech last night (a fairly impotent combination of ambition, distraction, uglification, and derision) is anything to go by, his future approach to jihad seems to be headed to the same graveyard as his past course of action.

So, Col. West, if you’re reading this post, please expand on how you would deal, not just with ISIS, but with radical Islam’s pernicious spread throughout the world. With America on a wartime footing, this may well be your time to aim for the land’s highest office. Much as I like you, I wasn’t sure about your chances as a peacetime president because Americans might be leery of again electing a man with limited Congressional experience.  As a war-time president, , though. . . .  Well, if you have a workable course of action against Islam, that plan, put together with your conservativism, leadership skills, fearlessness, and bone-deep patriotism, means you’d have my support and my vote in a heartbeat.

allen-west-20101

UPDATE: JoshuaPundit believes that Iran is the pivot on which radical Islam turns. Deal with Iran, and the other dominoes will fall in a way favorable to Western interests.

The Bookworm Beat — 9/11/14′s “ISIS and other stuff” edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingLet the information download begin:

Alleged New York Times Baghdad Bureau Chief lambastes Obama administration

If a Reddit user really is Tim Arango, Baghdad Bureau Chief for The New York Times, it’s very impressive to read his scathing indictment of the administration’s Iraq policy and conduct:

it’s not my job to rate the obama administrations actions in iraq. but i will tell you that after 2011 the administration basically ignored the country. and when officials spoke about what was happening there they were often ignorant of the reality. they did not want to see what was really happening because it conflicted with their narrative that they left iraq in reasonably good shape. In 2012 as violence was escalating i wrote a story, citing UN statistics, that showed how civilian deaths from attacks were rising. Tony Blinken, who was then Biden’s national security guy and a top iraq official, pushed back, even wrote a letter to the editor, saying that violence was near historic lows. that was not true. even after falluja fell to ISIS at the end of last year, the administration would push back on stories about maliki’s sectarian tendencies, saying they didn’t see it that way. so there was a concerted effort by the administration to not acknowledge the obvious until it became so apparent — with the fall of mosul — that iraq was collapsing.

Given the poor grammar, though . . . well, I don’t know. You decide. Maybe he was typing away on a small android keyboard. Or maybe that’s how Times’ writers really write before the editor gets hold of their stuff.

9/11 from outer space

Learn a little more about 9/11′s first hero and first fatality

Danny Lewin, an American-born Israeli, was a tech giant in Israel — and 9/11′s first hero and first fatality.

Why do Muslims rape women?

Short answer: Because Mohamed. The Prophet practiced what he preached, and his followers have done so too since Islam’s inception.

The War Against Women

The pressing issues at NOW (the National Organization for Women):

  • Having other people subsidize your sex life and abortions
  • Getting paid the same money as men, no matter that you’re not doing the same type of work
  • LGBTQ rights
  • Believe it or not, the Equal Rights Amendment lives as “constitutional equality.”
  • Protecting women of color who have even fewer rights than women without color
  • And violence against women, which includes a campaign to fire George Will

An issue that is not discussed at NOW:

Thousands of Iraqi women are being forced into sex slavery in brothels run by a ‘police force’ of British women jihadis, it has been reported.

As many as 3,000 women and girls have been taken captive from the Yazidi tribe in Iraq as Isis militants continue their reign of terror across the region.

Sources now say that British female jihadis operating a religious police force called the al-Khanssaa brigade, that punishes women for ‘un-Islamic’ behaviour, have set up brothels to for the use of Isis fighters.

ISIS goes full socialist

An ISIS supporter put up a Facebook post lauding ISIS’s incredible largess once it’s in power:

Ten Facts from the ‪#‎Islamic_State‬ that everyone should know.

1. We don’t pay rent here. Houses are given for free.
2. We pay neither electric nor water bills.
3. We are given monthly grocery supplies. Spagetti, pasta, can foods, rice, eggs and etc.
4. Monthly allowance are given not only to husband and wife (wives) but also for each child.
5. Medical check up and medication are free – The Islamic State pays on behalf of you.
6. You can still survive even if you don’t speak Arabic. You can find almost every race and nationality here.
7. For every newly married couples are given 700usd as a gift. (Only for Mujahid and I’m not sure if it’s still available now).
***
9. No one is conducting business during prayer time. You can see people left their shops opened and pray either in the masjid or near by their shops.
10. The number of mix-marriages and mixed-race children are so high. It’s beautiful to witness brotherhood with no racism.

From a muhajir sister,also spouse of a Mujahid brother at #Islamic_State
Diary Of A Muhajirah

People have noticed that these promises are pretty much in line with what every socialist state promises. Nevertheless, there’s one profound difference:  Socialist states are predicated on the notion that everyone works cheerily together for the public good, while in a caliphate, the producers and the consumers are two different groups.

In socialist nations, the difference between reality and rhetoric has within it the seeds of socialism’s downfall.  Despite the rhetoric, the reality is that people will only work for the public good, as opposed to their own good, at the point of a gun. Moreover, even with that gun pointing at them, the socialist workers inevitably produce less well as time goes by.  The result is that the free houses are poorly-built, overly-populated apartment blocks; the water and electric bills don’t exist because people have no running water or electricity; the food is poor quality and limited in quantity, and the medicine is primitive.  These realities inevitably kill the enthusiasm for socialism amongst everyone but the very small inner circle.

In the caliphate, as I said, things are different, very, very different. The consumers are one perpetual class, always enjoying luxury, while the producers are another perpetual class, always suffering servitude.  A case in point is the fact that, as you probably noticed, I left out Item No. 8 in the above list. That’s the one that talked about paying for this socialist Islamic paradise:

8. You don’t have to pay tax (If you’re a Muslim).

Coerced payment from the non-Muslims is always at the point of a gun or the tip of a sword.  And when one batch of non-Muslims, because they’re dead or worn out (think:  Qatar),  stops producing, the answer isn’t to convert your economy to a more capitalist one. After all, large segments of the population (the armed ones) are doing just fine with this Islamic socialist system.  Rather than changing the system, they just go out and conquer another nation.  A vigorous, blood-thirsty, rape-rich attack (think:  ISIS) usually brings into the caliphate’s fold a fresh batch of cowed producers to support the takers. As Islam’s rise showed, this system can work effectively for centuries before it finally hits a wall.

Is the media preparing to turn on Obama?

It’s becoming impossible for the base to ignore that Obama has failed to fulfill his promises. Obamacare didn’t socialize medicine; it propped up insurance companies. The economy has been a boon for cronies and no one else. And around the world, countries hate America, even as the anti-war president is poised to launch yet another war. What to do, what to do? It appears that one of the things the media’s doing, before it even gets around to explicit attacks, is some subliminal undermining — how else to explain Thomas Lifson’s discovery about the media’s changing visuals for Obama.  Remember, those whom the media Gods would destroy, they first dehumanize.

Will Obama learn his lessons?

When it comes to foreign policy, Obama has repeatedly been proven to be decisively wrong in both his reading and his handling of situations around the world. Daniel Henninger asks the right question: Will Obama realized that he’s been humbled?

My answer: No. His Leftist, insular, narcissistic, self-aggrandizing world-view leaves no room for humility, regret, or repentance.

Democrats may be getting snitty about Obama’s constitutional overrides

The Democrats were fine when Obama ignored the Constitution to re-write Obamacare so as to help them out in elections and spare cronies from its worst effects. They’re encouraging Obama to override the Constitution when it comes to immigration. But when it comes to starting yet another war, the same Democrats who were supine when he bombed Libya now complain that Obama needs to get Congressional permission this time around. Amazingly enough, the Republicans who were cowed, rather than supine, about Libya are also making noise about limitations on Obama’s war-time powers.

Turkey’s flying the coop (along with everyone else)

It doesn’t help Obama’s war presidency that the coalition of the willing in the fight against ISIS won’t include Turkey. That’s gotta hurt.

Turkey is not the only nation that casts a wary eye on Obama’s call-out to the world to help fight ISIS. A lot of non-Muslim (or, more accurately, not-yet-Muslim) nations have already announced that they’re going to be part of the coalition of the un-willing.

When it comes to Obama’s insistence that America won’t have to fight this war alone, Michael Ramirez hones in perfectly on the flaws in his argument.

Why should anyone pay attention to Barack Obama on ISIS?

Obama’s speech yesterday (which I hope to discuss more in a later post) is getting booed from all quarters. The peaceniks don’t like the war cries, and anybody of any intelligence doesn’t like the apologetics for Islam, the lunatic strategy of promising no boots on the ground (and we know how much Obama’s promises are worth), and the assurance that Middle Eastern and Muslim countries will rush to America’s aid, providing their troops to face down ISIS’s rampage.

Most importantly, there’s no reason to believe either Obama’s diagnosis or prescription regarding ISIS. As the Washington Free Beacon shows, when it comes to radical Islam, Obama has been wrong every time:

There are a few possible causes for a 100% failure rate when it comes to analyzing a political situation:  incredible stupidity, incredible denial, or incredible evil. Take your pick. It really doesn’t matter which reason you choose, because the results are the same regardless, and we’re still stuck with him for another 2.5 years.

DOJ covertly attempts to influence House IRS hearing

You’ve probably already heard about assistant to Eric Holder who dialed a wrong number and revealed to Rep. Darryl Issa’s office that the DOJ intended to use covert methods to come to the IRS’s aid in hearings before the House. If you haven’t heard, though, or if you want more details, the good news is that the story has broken out of conservative circles and hit the big time at The Hill, where you can read more about it.

For Ted Cruz, getting booed is a good thing

Ted Cruz continues to prove that he’s the smartest man in the room. When he went to a gathering of Middle Eastern Christians and was booed off the stage for defending America and Israel, the guys and gals exercising the thug veto probably thought that Cruz had lost that round. They would have done better to remember that as America finds itself staring down ISIS, many Americans aren’t feeling the love for the usual Middle Eastern rabble-rousers, whether Muslim or Christian. Moreover, many of them may be getting the sinking feeling that Israel is the canary in the coal mine and that America is next in line to be wrapped in Islam’s suffocating embrace.

Smart Ted, however, knew exactly how that booing would play, and he’s publishing his speech and the room’s response far and wide:

“Tonight, in Washington, should have been a night of unity as we came together for the inaugural event for a group that calls itself ‘In Defense of Christians.’ Instead, it unfortunately deteriorated into a shameful display of bigotry and hatred,” Cruz said in a statement provided to Breitbart News. “When I spoke in strong support of Israel and the Jewish people, who are being persecuted and murdered by the same vicious terrorists who are also slaughtering Christians, many Christians in the audience applauded. But, sadly, a vocal and angry minority of attendees at the conference tried to shout down my expression of solidarity with Israel.”

As America gears up for yet another war against radical Islamists, it’s useful to know who our real friends are. Score one for Ted!

Jeff Dunetz continues his efforts to call out anti-American, antisemitic radio hosts in New York

Jeff Dunetz (Yid With Lid), continues his annual effort to call out and get an apology from Mike Francesa and Chris Mad Dog Russo, the popular hosts of a New York sports radio show. Dunetz notes that the show was enjoyable in part because the two men disagreed with each other all the time, making for some interesting fire works. On September 12, 2001, though, the two were unanimous in blaming . . . Jews and America for the attack that killed almost 3,000 people, and demanding that American Jews be forced to take an oath of loyalty.

The Scientific method, as explained by Richard Feynman

One of the more delightful books I’ve read in the past many decades is Richard Feynman’s Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character). Feynman may have been one of the smartest guys on the planet, but he somehow managed to avoid becoming one of those geniuses so lost in his head that he was unintelligible. It’s a funny, fascinating, informative, very human book, and I recommend it highly.

I also recommend Feynman’s explanation about the scientific method. I especially recommend it to the climate “scientists” whose theories have been proven wrong at every turn. In real science, failure vitiates the theory. In climate “science,” failure reinforces the theory.

Pictures

Reversing terrorists' cost-benefit calculus

Jews survive and thrive

In Memoriam: Thoughts on the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11

My life is divided into two parts:  Before September 11, 2001 and after September 11, 2001.

Even the most exciting things I’ve done in my life (marriage, children, etc.) haven’t affected me as strongly as September 11, 2001 did.  That day stands as a bright line that breaks my world view into two entirely disparate segments.  During the first part of my life, I was confident that “it can’t happen here.”  I felt protected by America’s borders.  I was safe within our country.  During the second part, the time after September 11, I’ve known that it can and will happen here.  My children are at risk.  In 21st Century America, borders are only as strong as the people’s will — and our people are only slowly becoming as willing as they should be.

Even worse, on this, the 13th anniversary of the original attack against Americans, on American soil, we are in as great a danger as we were then, if not in greater danger than ever before.  Our southern border, long a sieve has, under the current administration, been turned into a well-greased conduit through which a motley collection people, none of whom have been invited into this country, flows:  garden-variety illegal aliens, many of them stricken with diseases that long-ago vanished from or became rare in America; petty criminals from all points in Latin America; gang members intent upon taking over American crime syndicates; and, of course, Muslim terrorists.

The insecurity we feel from the last named people taking advantage of our illegally-opened borders — those Muslim terrorists — is heightened by current events in the Middle East.  Obama’s intemperate retreat from Iraq, which created a giant vacuum that sucked in radical Islam; his feckless policies in Syria (“red lines”) and Libya (“videos”); and his inchoate response to the “Arab Spring,” a response that somehow always ended up supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, have created ISIS (or ISIL), a Muslim army with caliphate aspirations.  This resurgent Islamist jihad is so toxic that even Obama’s own Defense Secretary concedes that it’s like nothing America has faced before.

Nor is ISIS (or ISIL) at all modest about its aspirations.  Not content with brutally slaughtering Iraqi troops and Christians by the thousands, raping women in equal numbers, and taking possession of tje vast stores of American weapons and dollars we left behind when we retreated from Iraq, ISIS has explicitly declared war on America itself.  To make its intentions clear, it’s publicly beheaded two Americans, and then made sure to broadcast these deeply symbolic American decapitations to the world at large.

And our administration’s response?  It started with Obama calling ISIS the “JV team,” a statement that is accurate if, by “JV team,” Obama meant the most efficient Muslim killing machine seen in centuries. Having sneered at ISIS, Obama ignored it.  Then, when forced to acknowledge ISIS, he freely admitted that he had no idea what to do.  And tonight, after assuring us that the Quran is wrong and that Islam has nothing to do with violence — so, QED, ISIS cannot be Islamic — Obama announced that he’s planning on dropping some bombs.

I’m all for dropping bombs on ISIS, especially to the extent it’s established itself as a “state,” but I see no benefit from Obama’s further plan to leave the heavy lifting to the Muslim states in the region.  Muslim states don’t lift well.  They have their own agendas, none of which include fealty to America or western values.  Their regular militaries (I’m sorry to say), while perfectly capable of extraordinary violence and cruelty when they have the upper hand, are equally renowned for their inefficiency and corruption at all times, and their cowardice when the tide turns against them.

Finally, Obama’s lead-from-behind strategy will only serve to encourage and empower bad actors such as Iran or Putin’s Russia.  As I so often find myself saying when it comes to Obama’s policies, no good can come from this.

All of brings us back to the biggest salvo to date in the Muslim war against America — the 9/11 attack.  For thirteen years, we’ve gone around mouthing “Never Forget,” as if it’s an incantation that, through repetition, will bestow some magic protection on us.  ISIS’s rise puts the lie to that superstitious belief.  Saying “Never Forget” isn’t the same as never forgetting, and it’s definitely not the same as recognizing a great evil and defending ourselves against it.

Those of us old enough to remember the events themselves continue to remember the date but, with every passing year, the emotional resonance lessens, until September 11 becomes a sad story rather than both a national tragedy and a wake-up call.  Even worse, too many of the younger generation don’t even have a textbook acquaintance with 9/11.  To them, it never happened at all.

If we still remembered strongly as we should, we would not, as a nation, have succumbed to the frenzy that saw us put Barack Obama in the White House in 2008.  And if we still remembered that fatal and fateful day at a visceral level, we wouldn’t have reelected a man who’s idea of a strategy is to engage in the kind of dissing that normally lives in high school locker rooms.

I refuse to forget.  Below the fold, you will find the names of all of the men, women, and children who died on September 11, 2001 at the hands of Islamic terrorists — terrorists who are still revered wherever radical Islam has a hold.

I’ve written lengthier memorials about three of the honored dead.  (I prefer “honored dead,” a nicely Victorian phrase, to the word “victim,” which negates Americans’ fighting spirit):

Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas

Brian Ahearn

Rick Rescorla

The end of the Twin Towers

[Read more...]

Remembering 9/11 with a very focused mind

Over the past several years, especially since Obama became president, 9/11 turned into a diffuse holiday during which a Leftist-dominated media and political class ruminated about the needs of Muslims.  Patriotism was verboten.  We were allowed to shed tears for those who died, but the media shut its collective door on examining why they died.

This year it’s different.  This year, we’re once again looking into Islam’s gaping and bloody maw.  The Arab Spring is a carnage-strewn winter.  Egypt is imploding, Syria is a bloodbath, and Iran is ascendent.  More than that, in the past week we witnessed the complete collapse of American influence in the Middle East and, by extension, everywhere else too.  We’re not even a paper tiger.  We’re paper after it’s been through the shredder.

The situation we face today is September 10, 2001 all over again, only worse:  Islam is more vengeful and weaponized; and America is more weak, disrespected, and discredited.  For those who care about their children’s future (and their own), remembering 9/11 isn’t just a tearful, bathetic media wallow in photogenic images, along with equally teary statements about the misunderstood religion of “peace.”  Instead, it is a very real reminder of the risks we face and the strength we need to find in order to protect ourselves from something that will make 9/11 look insignificant.

This 9/11, I definitely remember and pay homage to those who died and those who served.  I’d also like to applaud the bikers across America who are riding into Washington, D.C., today, both to commemorate the dead, and to make a statement about the power of the people and the power of patriotism.

As for me, a piece of my heart was left behind forever on September 11, 2001.  I will never forget.

I don’t have anything else of note to say about this solemn day. In the past, I’ve written memorials about three of the honored dead, and I include links to them here. (I prefer “honored dead,” a nicely Victorian phrase, to the word “victim,” which negates Americans’ tattered, but still surviving, fighting spirit). Also, below the fold, there is a very, very, very, very long list of each person who lost his or her life on September 11, 2001 at the hands of Muslim terrorists.

Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas

Brian Ahearn

Rick Rescorla

[Read more...]

Three degrees of separation

I enjoy reading my Liberal-Lefty friends’ Facebook posts because they are so insightful into the mindsets of the Left.

One insight that I have gained over time is that the differences between us conservatives and the Progressive/Left are so profound that they are unlikely to ever be bridged, barring some cataclysmic, life-changing events. What I have tried to do is understand why this is so. I share this with you because I greatly appreciate the insights that Bookworm group has to offer on such issues – be it “yay” or “nay”.

Our disagreements appear to come down to three levels of separation.

1) First, there are objective facts (OK, I am being deliberately redundant here). These are easy enough to resolve. Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock world has arrived: everybody is so overwhelmed with information that we can’t absorb and process all there is to know and we therefore choose our facts selectively.

As Ronald Reagan said, ““It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”

In discussions, factual disputes are easy enough to resolve: my typical response to Liberal /Lefties is simply tell them to “Google it”. Amazingly, many apparently don’t know that you can Google entire texts or sentences. A good example was the recent George Zimmerman trial…many people with whom I disagreed told me outright they were too busy to bother looking up facts. The Left operates on so many facts that just aren’t so.

2) The second level of separation involves our assumptions or premises. These are tougher to resolve, because we assume and presume events based on our past experiences. I suspect that we humans are hard-wired to build assumptions (true or false) as a defense mechanism: for example, my cave ancestors probably assumed that to allow a saber-tooth tiger to stand in their path was not a good thing and that such assumption is one reason why I stand here today.

We go through life building mental templates on how the world works in order to short-circuit decision making and evaluation. Otherwise, we would soon be overwhelmed with indecision. As long as our world templates work for us, we continue to hold onto them. Many formerly Liberals (e.g., David Horowitz, Bookworm) only became conservative when one or more events (e.g., 9/11) rendered their previously comfortable world views untenable. For me it was Reagan’s second term, when his policies led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and an economic resurgence. I, young man at the time, knew then that my Democrat world template had been very, very wrong.

I use the word “comfortable” deliberately, because our templates represent our comfort zones. Losing that comfort zone is terrifying. Imagine if all of a sudden nothing in the world made any sense to you; you would feel totally deracinated and quite possibly insane. You would also feel a deep sense of personal failure, as in “how in the world could I have been so deluded?”

And, the older you get, the more frightening that sense of loss, confusion and failure would be. So, the older we get, the more desperately we defend our mental templates, selecting and force-fitting “facts” to fit our own perceptions of reality. I believe this is where modern Liberalism and Progressivism are today (Google “Paul Krugman”). As Thomas Sowell put it, people of the Left expect the world to conform to their misperceptions. Eventually, however, reality hits like a 2 x 4 between the brow…as in “Detroit”.

I believe that this dynamic also explains the sheer viciousness expressed by many on the Left when the presumptions of their world templates are threatened (as by Sarah Palin or by black conservatives, for example). This is also the reason why I believe that world Islam will fail, because it doesn’t work and eventually people in Muslim worlds, aided by the internet, will eventually realize this (some of my Middle Eastern friends assure me that many already do). Reality is a harsh mistress.

This level of separation helps to explain why Liberals and Conservatives usually talk past each other. We try to rationalize our positions to each other, but our rationalizations only make sense if the other party shares the same assumptions and understandings of how the world works. We operate from completely different templates.

3) Faith. This the most difficult and potentially dangerous degree of separation, because it addresses fundamental values that are non-negotiable. Our “faith” defines how we perceive ourselves and our place in the world, irrespective of facts, logic and reason. I cannot, for example, “prove” the veracity of my Christian faith. Environmental extremists and atheists cannot “prove” the righteousness of their positions. We just “know” that what we believe to be true is true. There is no logical argument that I know of that can challenge faith-based values. Our values define who we are and how we perceive the world to be. Utopian fascist ideals (Progressivism, Nazism, communism, Islamism, etc.), for example, are defined by a faith in a future to come – they require no proof. Abortion is a similar issue of faith and values – there is no middle-of-the-road compromise if you believe abortion to be murder and that murder is wrong (a value proposition). Psychologists have claimed that only very powerful shocks to the system can challenge faith.

I have no dealing with the first degree of separation. I admit, however, that I am totally stumped on how to address (2) and (3). Any ideas?

Our feckless president

We all recall how Michael Moore mercilessly savaged George Bush because, when the first reports about the 9/11 terrorist attacks began, Bush was reading a story book to small children, and chose not to run screaming out of the room.  Fast-forward eleven years and we have a president who boasts that he’s better than everybody at doing anything.  Apparently he’s now decided to one-up Bush’s insouciance in the face of imminent disaster.

Yesterday was not a good day for America.  First, it was the eleventh anniversary of the most deadly attack ever launched against U.S. soil.  More than 3,000 American civilians died, horribly, over the course of a few hours, and they did so at the hands of people in thrall to radical Islam.  Obama celebrated this anniversary by campaigning, talking music with a pimp with a limp, and by sending a nice message to the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery.  Feckless.

Moving on from past tragedy to imminent disaster, radical Islamists attacked the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.  The Embassy responded before the attack by apologizing explicitly for Free Speech and doubled-down on that apology after the attack.  Hillary Clinton — Obama’s highest State Department official — reiterated the spineless apology.  The administration has tried now to walk back the statement, claiming that it didn’t authorize it (something that rings untrue in light of Hillary’s conduct) but the damage is done:

But the damage control being performed in Washington isn’t enough to put the administration’s stand in a positive light. If the initial apology resonated around the world it was because it was very much in line with the tone of moral equivalence that was the keynote of President Obama’s speech to the Arab world given in Cairo in June 2009. Having set forth a credo that balanced understanding for grievances against U.S. policies with a desire to conciliate its critics rather than to forthrightly defend America and its allies, the president cannot now be surprised when the instinct of U.S. representatives abroad, and especially those in Cairo, is to apologize first and to be resolute later.

Feckless.

The news of what happened in Egypt was swiftly followed by a report that “rebels” had stormed the American embassy in Benghazi, killing one person.  It only got worse.  We learned today that Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others were deliberately murdered — Christopher by alleged “suffocation,” and the three others by gun shots.  The murderers than did the usual Arab thing of dragging the Ambassador’s body through the streets.  Honestly, they’re so primitive out there that, if it wasn’t for the Koran’s dietary proscriptions, I suspect they would have gone all Aztec or Druid and eaten his heart.

Obama’s response was swift:  He’s heading for Vegas.  He did take time out from his busy campaign season this morning, however, to make a short statement.  Considering that he used this statement to jettison the First Amendment, maybe it would have been better if he’d just kept quiet and gotten on the Vegas plane.

Romney, incidentally, gave a speech in favor of Free Speech.  He clearly understands that yesterday’s events are not the pathetic Arab have-nots standing up against the arrogant and cruel American haves.  Instead, what we saw yesterday was the latest outbreak in a war between the backwards, repressed, bloodthirsty world and American exceptionalism, a doctrine founded on individual freedom, which is inextricably intertwined with Free Speech.

Maybe it’s no wonder that Obama was caught flat-footed.  He’s been so busy with campaigns and phone calls to rock stations and TV appearances that he hasn’t had any time for security briefings in the last week.  Yet more evidence, as if we need it, that Obama’s priorities are all about . . . Obama.  Feckless wretch.

Obama didn’t do any better in his dealings with Israel’s existential nightmare — a nuclear Iran.  The first reports were that Obama refused to speak to Netanhayu at all.  Fear not, Obama fans.  This doesn’t mean he’s too busy to do the really important stuff, such as making an appearance on David Letterman’s show.

When the uproar became too great to tolerate, Obama announced that he spoke on the phone for one hour with Netanyahu.  Think about that:  Israel, America’s only stable, democratic ally in the Middle East is facing a potential nuclear holocaust, and Obama is able to carve out a single hour from his busy schedule of shmoozing and begging for money.  As Roger Simon asks, how can Jews continue to ally themselves with Obama and Democrat party?

Obama is the most feckless president in American history, especially when it comes to the Middle East.  Or maybe he’s not feckless at all.  Worse, maybe this is part of a grand plan and ideology.

 

September 11, 2001: In Memoriam

My life is divided into two parts:  Before September 11, 2001 and after September 11, 2001.

Even the most exciting things I’ve done in my life (marriage, children, etc.) haven’t affected me as strongly as September 11, 2001 did.  That day stands as a bright line that breaks my world view into two entirely disparate segments.  During the first part of my life, I was confident that “it can’t happen here.”  I felt protected by America’s borders.  I was safe within our country.  During the second part, the time after September 11, I’ve known that it can and will happen here.  My children are at risk.  In 21st Century America, borders are only as strong as the people’s will — and our people aren’t as willing as they used to be.

Saying “Never Forget” isn’t the same as never forgetting.  We remember the date now but, with every passing year, the emotional resonance lessens, until September 11 becomes a sad story rather than both a national tragedy and wake-up call.  If we still remembered strongly as we should, we would not, as a nation, have succumbed to the frenzy that saw us put Barack Obama in the White House in 2008.  And if we still remembered that day at a visceral level, the current presidential race wouldn’t see Obama holding even the narrowest lead.

I refuse to forget.  Below the fold, you will find the names of all of the men, women, and children who died on September 11, 2001 at the hands of Islamic terrorists — terrorists who are still revered wherever radical Islam has a hold.

I’ve written memorials about three of the honored dead.  (I prefer “honored dead,” a nicely Victorian phrase, to the word “victim,” which negates Americans’ fighting spirit):

Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas

Brian Ahearn

Rick Rescorla

[Read more...]

Remembering things past — the 9/11 round-up

I have to admit to a great act of cowardice this morning:  I was afraid to turn my computer on.  I’m still a little leery here, treating the internet as a potential harbinger of horrible news.  I feared, of course, that I would awake to reports of another attack, just as I awoke to reports of that first attack exactly ten years ago today.  There was bad news (my thoughts are with the 77 troops wounded in the latest attack in Afghanistan) but, so far, the internet hasn’t reported a 9/11 redux, and I pray it stays that way.

I also knew that turning my computer on would mean a day that is a remembrance of things past.  For my kids, it was the thing that happened way back then, when they were too little to have awareness.  For me, though, it’s as raw a wound now as it was then.  Examining that bloody hole in my psyche, I found myself thinking of the hackneyed phrase “lack of closure.”  The WWII generation had closure.  It had a vigorously fought, balls to the wall, all-encompassing, popularly supported war, which was concluded with complete victory.  By August 1945, a “mere” four years after the nightmare began, the bad guys were utterly defeated. People turned their back on the past and looked to the future.

We haven’t had that.  For the past ten years, we’ve fought a three front war:  Iraq, Afghanistan, and American hearts and minds.  It’s this last war that’s been the most damaging, and I say that with the greatest of respect to those who died, who were wounded, who served, and who still serve in our American forces.  Even as our troops fling themselves in front of the guns, the rot at home is so deep, it ensures that our 9/11 wound remains an open, festering sore.  We have no closure, we have no future, we have only ten years of internal agitation and self-loathing.

But still, we try, and there are so many in America who fight the good fight, not just on the battlefields of the body, but also on the battlefields of the mind.  This post is a small effort to catch up with those who are engaged in the war on the Fifth Column, the one we fight here at home.  I know that many of your favorite internet destinations have devoted themselves today to 9/11 remembrances (e.g., American Thinker, National Review or Pajamas Media), so I won’t tag individual posts from those sites here.  Before I begin, you should know that the Anchoress has a massive round-up of links, as does Melissa Clouthier and Kim Priestap.

As is always the case with me, this round-up is an ongoing thing, as I come across links, so please check back often.  Here’s a start:

Gotta start with my own big, thoughtful post on the subject.

Melissa Clouthier’s 9/11:  No, America is not over it yet

The New Editor reminded me that he asked, a long time ago, What if the September 11 attack was thwarted?

Noisy Room’s Remembering 9-11 — 10 years of war

Michelle Malkin, who has been at the forefront of the war at home, hasn’t forgotten

The Pink Flamingo Bar has a video montage

Even the young’uns know that the world changed that day, as Bruce Kesler’s 11 year old son demonstrates.

At Red State, just the names, the long, long list of names.

Lauren would have been happy to learn that her beloved husband has managed to move on.

The Razor, always thoughtful, thinks about the 9/11 legacy.

CAC, at Ace of Spades, writes about the visceral horror of the falling man.  And ArthurK, also writing at Ace of Spades, comments on the 9/11 singularity.

Another link to myself, but after all these years, I cannot forget Brian Ahearn, a 9/11 firefighter, nor my friend Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas.

If you like Twitter, soccerdhg (Soccer Dad) has created a hashtag you can follow:  #Essential911Reading (and use yourself, of course).

This one isn’t quite a remembrance, unless it helps you (as it did me) remember who America’s enemies are.

Ten years later, I remember 9/11

I wrote my big 9/11 post a few days ago and many of you are sharing your amazing and moving memories even as I write these words.  I’m not sure what else to add.  The day and its import are seared in my consciousness.  They never leave me.  I will never lose the pain and the anger I feel when I think about that day, and what that day did to our nation.  That’s not good for my soul, but there it is.  I’m still mad.  I still want to quash completely the ideology that encouraged a group of people to think it was a good idea to kill 3,000 of my American family, and to spend the next ten years trying to repeat that act.

“Never forget” is a stupid thing to tell me, because I find it impossible to stop remembering.

All the pretty lights in the world won’t bring it back.

9/11 Open Thread

I remember as vividly as if it happened yesterday what my day was like on 9/11? Do you remember your day? If you do, and if you’d like to share it here, this open thread is for you.

Honoring 9/11 by remembering that we are warriors

The murderous frenzy unleashed on 9/11 is an awkward size.  Had it been smaller — a handful of people, or even a hundred people, killed at a mall or a hotel — we would have noted it as a tragedy powered by a crazy person (or two) in thrall to bad ideas.  We would have criminalized the crazy person and moved on with our lives.  Had it been monumentally bigger — say, the size of Hitler’s Poland invasion — we all would have easily recognized it as “a war,” and would have treated it accordingly, both strategically and emotionally.

What do you do, though, when nineteen men hijack four planes and kill 2,996 people?  Actual events proved that, in the post-modern world, our nation had no template to define our emotional response following 9/11.  We had a vacuum.

The one thing you can say with certainty about America today is that, when there is a vacuum, politics will fill it.  Following a short frenzy of national mourning, the nation divided itself into two oppositional viewpoints with regard to what 9/11 means.  The Left (of course) took refuge in a Walt Kelly worldview:  “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Leftists in the media, Hollywood, and academia swiftly absolved al Qaeda and Islam from any seriously responsibility for what happened.  While only the Truthers could deny that Islamist al Qaeda members flew those planes, people on the Left knew what really mattered:  the nineteen al Qaeda hijackers were as much victims as we were, if not more so.  It was our overbearing, racist, arrogant, resource-hogging, Israel-loving, capitalist country that drove them to commit their foul deeds.  God damn the U.S. of KKK!  Those chickens roosted but good!

This template has served the Left for ten years now.  The details may vary, but the tone is unchanging.  Americans are bullies.  We’ve bullied the Muslims so much over the past few decades, it was inevitable that they, prodded beyond bearing, turned on us.  And while it’s sad that 2,996 non-combatants (mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters) had to die, that’s what happens when you give your allegiance to — and, worse, make your money from — a system that is inherently parasitical.

It is this paradigm that led the current occupant of our White House to tell us that 9/11 wasn’t just our tragedy, so that our current efforts to mourn prove that we’re not only bullies, we’re also self-centered bullies.  The White House assures us, though, that we can atone for our sins by approaching 9/11, not as a national day of mourning, but as a “National Day of Service.”  The message is clear:  We Americans don’t deserve to mourn.  Not only was it not about us, it was our fault!  This analysis sees just two narrow categories of victims on that fateful day:  those who died and those who killed.  The rest of us were guilty, and we have to work hard to expiate that stain from our collective conscience.

That’s the Leftist view.  There are, thankfully, other voices in America.  Those of us who reject the Leftist paradigm see ourselves neither as evil-doers nor as victims (although we were victimized by evil).  We are warriors.  George Bush understood that when he addressed the Emergency Rescue Workers the site of the World Trade Center:

That’s also what George Bush understood when he took America to war.  When we are attacked, we fight back.  And when we are attacked by a shadowy organization that takes succor from various Islamic tyrannies around the world, we challenge those tyrannies.  It’s not pretty, it’s not surgically neat, it’s not politically correct, but it is necessary.  We mourn our dead and then we hunt down their killers.  We have met the warrior and he is us.

And speaking of warriors, I think it is appropriate to end this post by talking about Rick Rescorla.  Nowadays, Rick Rescorla is not a name that will elicit much recognition if you mention it in liberal enclaves.  A few might have a hazy memory of him, since his heroic actions garnered some attention in the immediate wake of 9/11 but, since then, Rescorla hasn’t been a big part of the American collective consciousness.  That’s a shame, because Rick, although born and raised in England, is the essence of America.

If you really want to know about the man, you have to go to the military blogs, where his actions are accorded a rare degree of reverence that has not diminished with time.  For the long versions of Rick’s story — and I urge you to read these versions — check out the Mudville Gazette and Blackfive.  Just be sure to have a box of tissues at your side when you read, because you’ll need it.  I can’t do justice to the long version (and, as I said, it’s been done), so here is the short version, to whet your appetite and to carry through the premise of this post:

Rick Rescorla was born in post-War England, yet he somehow managed to be fiercely anti-communist.  He didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk.  At sixteen, he joined the British military and fought against communists in both Cyprus and Rhodesia.  When the battle between the free world and the communists moved to Vietnam, he moved too, relocating to America, and joining the U.S. Army.  He fought ferociously in Vietnam (see the Mudville Gazette and Blackfive), making a name for himself as a warrior’s warrior.

After returning to the States from Vietnam, Rick completed his education, taught, and eventually moved into the corporate world, ending up as Morgan Stanley Dean Witter’s VP of security. His new address — World Trade Center, south tower, 44th floor.

Rescorla was working in the World Trade Center in 1993, when a truck bomb exploded in the basement.  This bombing was one of those “small” terrorist attacks I mentioned in the first paragraph, above.  Most everyone saw it as a criminal matter and moved on.  Not so Rick Rescorla.  Warrior to the bone, he understood that this was the first small shot in a big battle.  He also understood that the Twin Towers were irresistible targets and their tenants sitting ducks.  Rick couldn’t change the towers’ attraction to terrorists, but he could change the tenants’ vulnerabilities — at least the tenants over whom he had control.

Under Rick’s leadership, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter conducted regular evacuation drills.  Every employee knew out to get out of the building.  You can easily imagine employees over the years trying to avoid the drills (“Hey, I’ve got a lot of work to do here”) and jokingly complaining as they were forced to comply (“One little bomb blows up over ten years ago, and I’m having more fire drills than my kid in elementary school.”). The jokes stopped first thing in the morning on 9/11.

When the planes hit the Towers, Rick instantly knew what had happened.  He didn’t know the details, but he understood the core issue — the World Trade Center had once again become a terrorist target.  He and his team swung into gear.  (Again, please see the Mudville Gazette and Blackfive to understand what Rescorla and his security group accomplished.)  Singing “Men of Cornwall” at the top of his lungs, Rick and his team rescued approximately 2,700 Morgan Stanley Dean Witter employees.  Only three employees were unable to follow Rick and his team to safety.

Sadly, it wasn’t just those three employees who died.  Never leaving their posts, Rick and two of his security team went back into the South Tower one last time, to make sure they’d done their jobs.  They had indeed done their jobs — but they didn’t make it out again.  The Tower collapsed, taking them with it.  (I’m sorry to say that I cannot honor Rick’s team members by writing their names here, as I cannot find that information.)

Rick may have died, but his memory and what it stands for linger on.  He is America’s fighting spirit.  He is proof that you don’t have to be born on American soil to have American virtues.  It is enough to love freedom and to be willing to fight for that freedom.  He is American initiative, ignoring bureaucratic paralysis and acting in the face of danger.  He is American sangfroid, singing his flock to salvation.  He was a warrior and a hero.  He is us.

This year, on the tenth anniversary of the end of the world as we knew it, I will most certainly remember the innocent men and women who died in a billowing, dusty cloud fueled by incredible evil. But I’m also going to remember the day by saying I am neither victim nor criminal. My nation is neither victim nor criminal.  We are not lambs to the slaughter.  We are warriors.

The Bookworm Turns : A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land, available in e-format for the new low price of $2.99 at Amazon, Smashwords or through your iBook app.