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.

 

Reducing patriotism to a sleazy roll in the hay

Mr. Bookworm is catching up with the Jon Stewart episodes he missed while we were away. One particular segment, which starts at the 2 minute mark, caught my eye. In it, Perry talks about love for country, clearly distinguishing himself from Obama, who hasn’t shown such love, either explicitly or implicitly. Take a look at what Stewart, a very bright, and periodically honest, dyed-in-the-wool Progressive, does with Perry’s simple statement of patriotism:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Indecision 2012 – Michele Bachmann Fever & Rick Perry’s America
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

I was disgusted, not just because I’m not a fan of coarseness as a substitute for humor, but because I think this is the perfect example of what the Left has done to patriotism. It’s reduced it from love of country to a sleazy roll in the hay, something embarrassing, wrong and deserving of no respect. You, my readers, get this. A whole generation of young people, however, raised on 30 years of Progressive education, no doubt feels that this little “comedy” segment is the perfect epitaph for that embarrassing animal known as American patriotism.

That same Leftist embarrassment with patriotism is manifest in the White House’s approach to 9/11.  Stated simply, on September 11, 2001, shortly before 9 a.m. E.S.T., nineteen men, all of whom were foreign nationals and Al Qaeda members, hijacked four jets.  They flew two into the World Trade Center towers, one into the Pentagon, and one crash landed in a field in Pennsylvania, a crash that almost certainly averted a direct hit on the Capitol or the White House.  Almost 3,000 people, most of them Americans, died that day.  Or more briefly, ten years ago, foreign nationals, acting on American soil, slaughtered almost 3,000 Americans.

Even more briefly:  This was an American tragedy.  Is that how the Obama Administration is framing it, though?  You tell me (emphasis mine):

The guidelines list what themes to underscore — and, just as important, what tone to set. Officials are instructed to memorialize those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and thank those in the military, law enforcement, intelligence or homeland security for their contributions since.

A chief goal of our communications is to present a positive, forward-looking narrative,” the foreign guidelines state.

Copies of the internal documents were provided to The New York Times by officials in several agencies involved in planning the anniversary commemorations. “The important theme is to show the world how much we realize that 9/11 — the attacks themselves and violent extremism writ large — is not ‘just about us,’ ” said one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal White House planning.

I don’t know about you, but I think the tenth anniversary of one of the greatest tragedies in American history is an appropriate time for looking backwards and mourning, rather than a time to engage in feel-good cheer.  Contrary to that official’s blithe assurance, it was just about us.  The attack took place on American shores, against American symbols, and killed American citizens.  Sure, there’s a larger narrative — Islam against the West –  but our current government is as steadfast in its refusal to acknowledge that larger narrative as it is to acknowledge an American tragedy.

What we’re left with is a government that won’t acknowledge that 9/11 was an attack against us, nor will it acknowledge that it’s a subset of a larger existential war.  If our government fails to acknowledge those vital facts, what’s left?

The box the government has locked itself into, one that sees it commemorating a transformative national event for a nation it doesn’t love and an event, moreover, that was a battlefield in a war our government refuses to acknowledge, effectively exposes the nihilism underlying Stewart’s sordid attack on simple patriotism.  The Left has left itself with nothing.  Sadly, as is typical for all degraded movements, it tries to take everyone else down with it.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

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.

The anniversary of 9/11 is coming up

Sadie sent me a very interesting email about the tenth anniversary of 9/11.  I’m gambling her that she won’t mind if I share her email.  I’d add my own comments at the end.

It’s coming (the 10-year marker) but it’s been here all the time, every day and in every way.

I went to Michael’s Craft store this past week and was,to put it mildly, PO’d — put off by a display of flags, T-shirts, yellow ribbons display, all if it imprinted with NEVER FORGET.

Never Forget what? September 11, 2001

Never Forget that the laws of war changed forever.

Never Forget the misery inflicted on the dead and the survivors.

Never Forget that the cost of securing airports, bus terminals, trains, bridges, water, nuclear plants, Times Square or Washington has upped the cost of everything from that day forward.

Never Forget we’ve been at war since 2002.

Never Forget that we keep burying soldiers.

Never Forget what?

Never Forget that what we saw and what some now call Islamophia is actually September 11, 2001 everyday.

I don’t have to be told to “Never Forget” but some have to be reminded to ALWAYS REMEMBER, who, what, where when and why…the five “w’s” of old fashioned journalism.

Just needed to rant and who better than you [and the Bookworm Room crowd] to share a rant.

Damn, I am feeling cranky lately. Is Israel the only place in the world where the grip on reality still exists. Do you have to live some version of September 11th everyday?

To which I’ll add this: Sadie is absolutely right that the short hand (“Never forget”), which worked perfectly well on 9/12, has become totally meaningless a decade later.

As for me, I’m put off by something different. I know this is silly, but it bugs me that someone as unworthy and American-hating as Obama is presiding over this anniversary. We know that in his ponderous, Leftist, bloviating, cliched way, he’s going to leech this solemn day of any meaning other than Leftist platitudes.

Don Quixote has frequently and correctly pointed out that my dislike for Obama is so strong that it affects my posting — the fact that I hold Obama in deep and obvious disdain destroys my credibility when I try to write objectively about his conduct.  But 9/11 is different.  In addition to the pragmatic concerns (national security, inconvenient air travel, ongoing wars, etc.), 9/11 is a deeply visceral thing.

I know this is silly, but I still have a frisson of unhappiness when I glance at a digital clock and the read-out says “9:11.”  It’s become a sad number to me.  It is imbued with emotion.  So yes, it bugs me ridiculously to have those emotions, real, even though intangible, presided over by a man whom I dislike and who doesn’t, I think, “get it.”  It’s just one more little thing to make the day more disheartening than any other day of the year.

Blind intelligence

Has the U.S. ever been so clueless as  it is today with respect to events going on in Egypt?

CIA Director Panetta just admitted that he gets his information on Egyptian events from the media, rather than from his own agency. National Intelligence Director Jim Clapper, meanwhile, pontificates about how the Muslim Brotherhood is a largely secular organization, only to be immediately followed by the rapid back-pedaling of his minions.

http://www.mediaite.com/online/report-cia-chief-based-congressional-mubarak-testimony-on-media-broadcasts/

So, is it fair to blame the CIA for these massive intelligence failures?

What we are seeing is the successful culmination of the witch hunts that have been directed against the CIA post 9/11 by the Democrat Left and their fellow travelers. Remember AG Eric Holder’s crusade to prosecute CIA personnel when the Obama administration came to power?

Were I in the CIA today, I expect that I would be doing everything that I could to take no risks, make no decisions, and effectively do…nothing! And that’s what we have got for national intelligence…a blind nothing.

No, I don’t blame the CIA or any other intelligence agency for these intelligence failures.

Feel safer now?

Remember Rick Rescorla — Part III of my 9/11 trilogy

The problem with an assault and a tragedy that is the magnitude of 9/11, and that now lives nine years away in our memories, is that, as a writer, I become more and more at a loss of words with each passing year. It seems to me, therefore, that the best I can do is keep alive the memory of those who died. Each of the three about whom I’ve written annually was a fighter — one a firefighter who raced into a burning building, one a soldier who died joyfully saving the lives of thousands of others, and one a woman who lived with vigor and who I am sure, knowing her personality, was one of the ones who fought to take Flight 93 away from the terrorists. This is the story of Rick Rescorla, which is, to me, inextricably intertwined with the lessons we as a nation, need to learn if we are to avoid another 9/11 or simply the cultural meltdown that comes from handing ourselves over to the government:

One of the most frightening things about a nanny state is the way in which it saps each citizen’s ability to care for him or herself. While others may have been hurling imprecations at President Bush in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, I reserved my bile for a nanny state that left thousands of people standing around, incapable of helping themselves. All that they could even think of doing was to sit and wait for the government to come rescue them. A community that had spent two generations in the arms of the welfare state, while it still had the notion of self-preservation, was incapable of putting into effect the desire to live. Thousands of New Orleans’ residents simply stood helplessly on street corners.

I don’t blame those New Orleans citizens. They did what they were trained to do: wait for help. Jim Prevor is worried that the health care plan is going to increase that tendency, turning all Americans into people who stand there and, rather than being vigilant on their own behalves, always look to the government for help:

Its [ObamaCare's] focus is on making the government responsible for providing healthcare. Which means, of course, that no child will ever be able to look at their father as I looked at mine growing up, that this man worked from dawn to dusk to fulfill his responsibilities to his family. He put food on the table, gave us shelter from the elements, clothes on our backs and, yes, he made sure we could go to the doctor or hospital when needed.

[snip]

So much of the argument against Obamacare is presented on prudential grounds–it is too expensive, the budget is too high, people will lose the chance to go the doctor they prefer, etc. Yet the bigger argument is that if you give people guarantees of material things–food, shelter, health care–regardless of how they behave, then more people will behave irresponsibly.

There is a whole literature out there on how welfare, subsidized housing, food stamps, and Medicaid all helped to diminish the importance of low wage earning men in their own eyes and the eyes of their family. Poor working men, who were once the best chance a family had, suddenly were superfluous; thus the explosion of children growing up without their fathers at home.

Now Obamacare promises to make breadwinners less important to all families–that is unlikely to encourage more responsible behavior among the citizenry.

Prevor’s instincts are right on the money. As James K. Glassman explains in “The Hazard of Moral Hazard,” the more people are denied ultimate responsibility for their actions, the more irresponsible they become:

When someone insures you against the consequences of a nasty event, oddly enough, he raises the incentives for you to behave in a way that will cause the event. So if your diamond ring is insured for $50,000, you are more likely to leave it out of the safe. Economists call this phenomenon “moral hazard,” and if you look around, you will see it everywhere. “With automobile collision insurance, for example, one is more likely to venture forth on an icy night,” writes Harvard economist Richard Zeckhauser. “Federal deposit insurance made S&Ls more willing to take on risky loans. Federally subsidized flood insurance encourages citizens to build homes on flood plains.”

Bottom line, the more responsiblity we hand over to the government, the less we are able to care for ourselves. At this moment, some might ask, why does it matter? If the government can care for us, why shouldn’t it? We want to live in a nice, safe place, free from stress and worry. But as Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 show, that’s impossible. Even the most beneficent, well-organized, protective government cannot protect us from all things. And when the bomb explodes or the waters rise, if we have been completely leeched of any instincts or abilities towards self-preservation, we will die regardless of our long government.

All of which brings me to Rick Rescorla, who died on September 11, 2001 — but not before saving the lives of 2600 people. Rick Rescorla was a veteran of both the British and the American militaries. In both armies, he devoted his live to fighting against Communism.

On 9/11, Rescorla was in his office on the 44th Floor in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. I’m going to do something I seldom do here and quote at length from another’s post to describe Rescorla’s last day on earth. The emphasized language is mine:

In St. Augustine, Dan Hill [Rescorla's army buddy] was laying tile in his upstairs bathroom when his wife called, “Dan, get down here! An airplane just flew into the World Trade Center. It’s a terrible accident.” Hill hurried downstairs, and then the phone rang. It was Rescorla, calling from his cell phone.

“Are you watching TV?” he asked. “What do you think?”

“Hard to tell. It could have been an accident, but I can’t see a commercial airliner getting that far off.”

“I’m evacuating right now,” Rescorla said.

Hill could hear Rescorla issuing orders through the bullhorn. He was calm and collected, never raising his voice. Then Hill heard him break into song:

Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming;
Can’t you see their spearpoints gleaming?
See their warriors’ pennants streaming
To this battlefield.
Men of Cornwall stand ye steady;
It cannot be ever said ye
for the battle were not ready;
Stand and never yield!

Rescorla came back on the phone. “Pack a bag and get up here,” he said. “You can be my consultant again.” He added that the Port Authority was telling him not to evacuate and to order people to stay at their desks.

“What’d you say?” Hill asked.

“I said, ‘Piss off, you son of a bitch,’ ” Rescorla replied. “Everything above where that plane hit is going to collapse, and it’s going to take the whole building with it. I’m getting my people the fuck out of here.” Then he said, “I got to go. Get your shit in one basket and get ready to come up.”

Hill turned back to the TV and, within minutes, saw the second plane execute a sharp left turn and plunge into the south tower. Susan [Rescorla's wife] saw it, too, and frantically phoned her husband’s office. No one answered.

About fifteen minutes later, the phone rang. It was Rick. She burst into tears and couldn’t talk.

“Stop crying,” he told her. “I have to get these people out safely. If something should happen to me, I want you to know I’ve never been happier. You made my life.”

Susan cried even harder, gasping for breath. She felt a stab of fear, because the words sounded like those of someone who wasn’t coming back. “No!” she cried, but then he said he had to go. Cell-phone use was being curtailed so as not to interfere with emergency communications.

From the World Trade Center, Rescorla again called Hill. He said he was taking some of his security men and making a final sweep, to make sure no one was left behind, injured, or lost. Then he would evacuate himself. “Call Susan and calm her down,” he said. “She’s panicking.”

Hill reached Susan, who had just got off the phone with Sullivan. “Take it easy,” he said, as she continued to sob. “He’s been through tight spots before, a million times.”

Suddenly Susan screamed. Hill turned to look at his own television and saw the south tower collapse. He thought of the words Rescorla had so often used to comfort dying soldiers. “Susan, he’ll be O.K.,” he said gently. “Take deep breaths. Take it easy. If anyone will survive, Rick will survive.”

When Hill hung up, he turned to his wife. Her face was ashen. “Shit,” he said. “Rescorla is dead.”

The rest of Rick Rescorla’s morning is shrouded in some mystery. The tower went dark. Fire raged. Windows shattered. Rescorla headed upstairs before moving down; he helped evacuate several people above the 50th Floor. Stephan Newhouse, chairman of Morgan Stanley International, said at a memorial service in Hayle that Rescorla was spotted as high as the 72nd floor, then worked his way down, clearing floors as he went. He was telling people to stay calm, pace themselves, get off their cell phones, keep moving. At one point, he was so exhausted he had to sit for a few minutes, although he continued barking orders through his bullhorn. Morgan Stanley officials said he called headquarters shortly before the tower collapsed to say he was going back up to search for stragglers.

John Olson, a Morgan Stanley regional director, saw Rescorla reassuring colleagues in the 10th-floor stairwell. “Rick, you’ve got to get out, too,” Olson told him. “As soon as I make sure everyone else is out,” Rescorla replied.

Morgan Stanley officials say Rescorla also told employees that “today is a day to be proud to be American” and that “tomorrow, the whole world will be talking about you.” They say he also sang “God Bless America” and Cornish folk tunes in the stairwells. Those reports could not be confirmed, although they don’t sound out of character. He liked to sing in a crisis. But the documented truth is impressive enough. Morgan Stanley managing director Bob Sloss was the only employee who didn’t evacuate the 66th floor after the first plane hit, pausing to call his family and several underlings, even taking a call from a Bloomberg News reporter. Then the second plane hit, and his office walls cracked, and he felt the tower wagging like a dog’s tail. He clambered down to the 10th floor, and there was Rescorla, sweating through his suit in the heat, telling people they were almost out, making no move to leave himself.

Rick did not make it out. Neither did two of his security officers who were at his side. But only three other Morgan Stanley employees died when their building was obliterated.

Rescorla wasn’t a lamb to the slaughter. He gave his life joyously, actively participating in his own defense. As it happened, he was unable to save himself but, by ignoring a government mandate just to sit tight and let the government take care of things, Rescorla saved 2600 Morgan Stanley employees.

If you would like to learn more about Rescorla’s life — a life that was a training ground for his heroic death — please visit The Mudville Gazette and Blackfive.

Remember Lt. Brian Ahearn — Part II of my 9/11 trilogy

The problem with an assault and a tragedy that is the magnitude of 9/11, and that now lives nine years away in our memories, is that, as a writer, I become more and more at a loss of words with each passing year.  It seems to me, therefore, that the best I can do is keep alive the memory of those who died.  Each of the three about whom I’ve written annually was a fighter — one a firefighter who raced into a burning building, one a soldier who died joyfully saving the lives of thousands of others, and one a woman who lived with vigor and who I am sure, knowing her personality, was one of the ones who fought to take Flight 93 away from the terrorists.  This is the story of fire fighter Lt. Brian Ahearn:

My son, when he was little, was obsessed with superheroes. One of his favorites was Superman. After all, when you’re a little boy, battling your way through the world, what could be more exciting than the possibility of being “faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.” I’m was bombarded daily with questions about Superman’s ability to withstand extreme temperatures, his flying speeds, his ballistic capabilities and, most importantly, his bravery. It was as to that last point that my son and I ran into a conceptual problem. He thought Superman was brave because he gets involved in situations that involve guns, and flames, and bad guys. I argued — a silly argument to make with a little boy — that the fictional Superman, while good, was not brave, because he took no risks. Superman’s indestructibility meant that his heart never sped up, his gut never clenched, and he never paused for even a moment to question whether the potential benefit from acting would be worth the risk. In other words, if facing a gun is as easy as sniffing a rose, there is no bravery involved.

The truly brave person is the one who knows the real risks in a situation, but still moves forward to save people, to fight a good battle or to remedy an intolerable situation. The attacks against America on September 11, 2001, revealed the true superheroes among us — those New York firefighters who pushed themselves past those second thoughts, those all-too-human hesitations, and sacrificed themselves in the hopes of saving others. Lt. Brian G. Ahearn was one of those superheroes.

Lt. Ahearn grew up within the Irish Catholic community in Huntington, New York, out on Long Island. He got a good grounding in Catholicism (and, I bet, an excellent education) when he attended St. Hugh of Lincoln School. I think he must already then have been a good person, since his classmates remember him fondly. One woman who attended St. Hugh with him said that “He was perhaps one of the nicest boys in our class.” This was not a unique opinion. Another woman used virtually the same words to describe the young Lt. Ahearn: “I remember Brian being such a nice boy.

I don’t think anyone who knew Brian Ahearn was surprised when he decided to become a firefighter. After all, his father was former Ladder 42 Lieutenant Edward Ahearn. Somewhere along the line, whether before or after he chose his career, Lt. Ahearn married Deborah. Given how close his ties were to his childhood community, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she wasn’t his high school sweetheart. As the years went by, they had two children: Christopher and Lauren.

Brian Ahearn didn’t live a flashy or public life. There are just faint whispers about him on the internet, but they are still sufficient to piece together a picture of a decent, hardworking, kind, and witty man. The same concern for his fellow citizens that is reflected in his career choice showed up in other areas of his life. As one memorial site remembered, “He cared for the citizens in the neighborhood of his firehouse by running the annual Senior Citizen Christmas dinner at St. Anselms Church for many years….”

His Irish culture mattered to him and, I gather, was an important backdrop to his social life. His best friend was a guy named Mike. Because it was a guy friendship, Mike teased Brian a lot, most memorably about Brian’s fair Irish skin and the fashion mistakes he made in the name of protecting that skin. Still they were such tight friends that Brian was the first person Mike told when Mike got engaged and, naturally, Brian was the best man at Mike’s wedding. When Brian made friends, he made them for life. That’s unsurprising, perhaps, because those who knew him best carry with them the memory of his upbeat personality and his wit, as well as his gentlemanlike behavior. People like to be around someone like Brian.

So there you have Brian Ahearn: An all-around nice guy, remembered lovingly by friends and family. A kind man, who was active in his church and his community. And of course, he was a firefighter.

On September 11, 2001, Lt. Ahearn was working at Engine Company 230 in Brooklyn, where he’d been assigned after his promotion. John Guarino described what happened that day:

Guarino and his crew had just returned from another call when someone yelled out to turn on the TV. They saw what everyone in the nation was watching – a tower on fire. They ran to the roof to see how bad it was when the call came in to respond.

Guarino’s crew mounted Engine 230 and headed for the bridges over to Manhattan. They had to take alternate routes because roads were being shut down quickly.

When they finally arrived, the crew of six (Lt. Brian Ahearn, Fire Fighter (FF) Ed White, FF Gene Whelan, FF Jeff Stark, FF Frank Bonomo, and FF Mike Carlo) dismounted and ran into the towers.

Guarino had to stay with the engine. A police officer told Guarino to move his engine up because other crews were arriving. He moved the engine up about two blocks and when he came back his crew was gone. Along with the towers.

That was it. It was that simple. Fully aware that an airplane had crashed into the First Tower, and knowing that the inside of the building must have been an inferno, Lt. Brian Ahearn and five of his men put aside their own fears and ran into the building to save others. After all, that was their job. We all know, though, that not everyone will do his job when the job becomes so dangerous. But the superheroes do. Brian Ahearn and his men never shirked, and we remember him today, along with the 2,995 others who died on September 11, 2001.

Remembering Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas — Part I of my 9/11 trilogy *UPDATED*

The problem with an assault and a tragedy that is the magnitude of 9/11, and that now lives nine years away in our memories, is that, as a writer, I become more and more at a loss of words with each passing year.  It seems to me, therefore, that the best I can do is keep alive the memory of those who died.  Each of the three about whom I’ve written annually was a fighter — one a firefighter who raced into a burning building, one a soldier who died joyfully saving the lives of thousands of others, and one a woman who lived with vigor and who I am sure, knowing her personality, was one of the ones who fought to take Flight 93 away from the terrorists.  This is the story of Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas:

I met Lauren when I was at law school. She was still an undergraduate, but roomed with a friend of mine who had been one of her sorority sisters. The very first time I met Lauren, she’d been experimenting with hair colors, and had hair that was this beautiful combination of all sorts of different shades of red. I was very impressed. The next time I saw her, several months later, I remarked that I loved her red hair. I still remember the quizzical look Lauren shot me. What I hadn’t noticed (which says a lot more about me than about Lauren) is that she’d reverted to her natural, and very lovely, chestnut color.

Lauren finished her undergraduate studies while I was still at law school. She headed out to San Francisco, to be with her boyfriend, whom she later married. A year later, I finished law school and returned to San Francisco, so I looked her up, and we had lunch together. She was working as an aerobics instructor at a fitness center in Marin, but was trying to find meatier work to match her abilities. I hooked her up with the recruiting coordinator at my law firm and Lauren ended up with a job. It was the perfect job for Lauren. To be an effective law firm recruiting coordinator, you need to be social, intelligent, attractive, organized, hard-headed, and self-assured. Lauren was all of those things. Long after I left the firm, she was still working there, bringing together the best law school grads with a solid law firm.

Although we saw each other regularly in the hallway, and always stopped to chat, Lauren and I never became close friends. I admired her a great deal (especially her organizational abilities) and I always had the feeling she liked me, but we never clicked. I think of her often, though, and for a very funny reason: Every time I clean the kitchen sink, she pops into my mind.

In about 1988, I went to her apartment for dinner. She and Jack were delightful hosts — relaxed and friendly, and the food was delicious. After dinner, I hung out with them in the kitchen while Lauren cleaned up. And, oh my Goodness, did she clean up. It turns out Lauren was not just organized, she was a neat-freak. The last thing she did, after I thought every surface was already immaculate, was to take a toothbrush out and carefully scrub around the kitchen faucet. Nowadays, I don’t do that task with Lauren’s regularity, but every time I take out my toothbrush and head for the faucet, I think of her.

By 1989, I stopped seeing Lauren altogether. I still heard about her through our mutual friend. I knew she’d married her boyfriend, and that she was living a busy and happy life. What I didn’t know was that she lived in Marin County, where I eventually moved. Had I known, I would undoubtedly have looked her up, and we would have spent a nice lunch together.

As it was, on September 13, 2001, I brought my copy of the Marin Independent Journal into my house, pulled it out of the wrapper, and found myself staring at a large photo of Lauren’s lovely face. “That looks like Lauren,” I thought. “I wonder what she did to get on the front page.” I was staggered when I learned she had been a passenger on Flight 93 on 9/11. Lauren had been back to New Jersey for her grandmother’s funeral and was flying home again. She was two months pregnant.

In her last hours of life, Lauren did not get a chance to speak to her husband, only to his answering machine. Unsurprisingly, her words were meant to comfort him. She assured him that she was safe, and well, and that she loved him. Knowing Lauren, knowing her energy, optimism, and strength (both physical and mental), I am absolutely certain that she was one of the passengers who was actively involved in recovering Flight 93 from the terrorists and helping save the White House from a direct hit.

After she died, Lauren’s sisters, working with her husband, completed the book that was Lauren’s big project in the last months of her life. Typically for Lauren, it was a book, not just about having dreams, but about living them. It’s called You Can Do It! : The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-up Girls.

UPDATEA little more about Lauren, her sweetness, her family and her legacy.

Yes, I miss him *UPDATED*

On the one hand, we have a little man (figuratively speaking), sitting at a big, empty desk, speaking in deadened tones and flat words, as his eyes roam relentlessly back and forth between his teleprompter, desperately avoiding the single word that so aptly sums up American bravery and sacrifice:  Victory!

And on the other hand, we once had this:

I started appreciating George Bush on September 11, 2001, and came to respect him greatly in the intervening years.  And boy, do I miss him now.  He didn’t always do things with which I agreed, but he was always, always, a person of great integrity, decency, patriotism and personal warmth.  All of that shows in the speech above.

Hat tip:  Commentary’s post about Obama’s anticipated absence from Ground Zero on 9/11 this year.

UPDATE:  Turns out I’m not the only one feeling nostalgic for President Bush today.  Heck, Obama is so bad, some are even feeling nostalgic for Clinton.

“KKK Hall to be built at Gettysburg”

I was thinking of headlines to rival the one I saw this morning:

Landmark vote opens door to Ground Zero mosque

For true parallelism, you can’t have as the new occupier the same person or entity that caused the deaths at the site. Instead, you have to have the fellow-travelers, the ideological descendants, the spiritual soul mates, the ones who have never given up on or repented the original theory leading to the massacre. These are my ideas:

KKK Meeting Hall to be built near Gettysburg site

Neo-Nazis build recreation center at Auschwitz

Pol Pot family to build resort center on “Killing Fields”

Of course, were any of the above to happen, one would hear the roar of outrage from one end of the media and the self-anointed elite to the other (especially if the first was to happen).  However, in an age that sees the political elite driven in equal parts by political correctness and a never-acknowledged fear of the violence that lies at the heart of Islam, the bureaucrats approve this desecration and the media stays silent.

And it is a desecration, because this mosque is about conquest.  This is not a mosque that is being urged on the site by sheer coincidence or as an act of contrition.  It is being financed and built by the ideological soul mates of the same men who hijacked four planes; crashed into two towers, one low-lowing building, and a field; and caused almost 3,000 deaths on a single horrible morning. The conquerors march and the quislings bow.  Feh.

“Simplistic” and “primitive” *UPDATED*

As I’ve mentioned just a few times, I just read, and was very moved by, Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10.  A liberal I know flipped through the book’s first few pages and had a very different reaction.  The following passages bugged the liberal:

My name is Marcus.  Marcus Luttrell.  I’m a United States Navy SEAL, Team Leader, SDV Team 1, Alfa Platoon.  Like every other SEAL, I’m trained in weapons, demolition, and unarmed combat.  I’m a sniper, and I’m the platoon medic.  But most of all, I’m an American.  And when the bell sounds, I will come out fighting for my country and for my teammates.  If necessary, to the death.

And that’s not just because the SEALs trained me to do so; it’s because I’m willing to do so.  I’m a patriot, and I fight with the Lone Star of Texas on my right arm and another Texas flag over my heart.  For me, defeat is unthinkable.  (pp. 6-7)

[snip]

[As they're taking off from Bahrain to Afghanistan:] There were no other passengers on board, just the flight crew and, in the rear, us, headed out to do God’s work on behalf of the U.S. government and our commander in chief, President George W. Bush.  (p. 12.)

[snip]

[Of the Taliban/Al Qaeda enemy in Afghanistan:]  This was where bin Laden’s fighters found a home training base.  Let’s face it, al Qaeda means “the base,” and in return for the Saudi fanatic bin Laden’s money, the Taliban made it all possible.  right now these very same guys, the remnants of the Taliban and the last few tribal warriors of al Qaeda, were preparing to start over, trying to fight their way through the mountain passes, intent on setting up new training camps and military headquarters and, eventually, their own government in place of the democratically elected one.

They may not have been the precise same guys who planned 9/11.  But they were most certainly their descendants, their heirs, their followers.  They were part of the same crowd who knocked down the North and South Towers in the Big Apple on the infamous Tuesday morning in 2001.  And our coming task was to stop them, right there in those mountains, by whatever means necessary.  (pp. 13-14)

The liberal felt that the above passages showed that the writer was simplistic and primitive in his thinking.  The whole notion of simple patriotism offended the liberal, who also thought it was just plain stupid to seek revenge against guys who weren’t actually the ones who plotted 9/11.  My less than clever riposte was, “so I guess you would only kill Nazis who actually worked in the gas chambers?”  Frankly, given the differences in our world views, I’m not sure there is a clever comeback or, which would be more helpful, a comeback that actually causes the liberal to reexamine those liberal principles.

UPDATE:  Here’s an apt quotation, written by John Stuart Mill, in 1862, as a comment upon the American Civil War:

A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

Never forget — September 11, 2001 (Kept at top; scroll down for newer posts) *UPDATED 9/8/11*

september-11

The current administration seems bound and determined to forget 9/11.  To this end, it grovels before those who wish to kill us, disarms those who wish to protect us (our military, our CIA), frees those who have raised their hands against us, and tries to turn 9/11 into a socialist worker’s holiday.  That may be the current administration, but that’s not me.  I will never forget those who died that day, nor will I ever forgive either the people or the ideology that gave rise to the attack.  With the government as it is now, we must, more vigilantly than ever before, remember that we are vulnerable if we let our guard down.

If you scroll down, you’ll see the three posts I did in memory of three who died that day (here, here and here).

Others in the blogosphere are posting too.  The most comprehensive collection of links to posts about those who died on 9/11 is at the 2996 Project.  I’ve also collected here a few posts from just a few of my blog friends.  If you’ve done 9/11 post, please feel free to leave a link in the comments.  (And if you left a link in another comment section, please feel free to repost that link here.)

Tribute to Matthew Lancelot Ryan at Blackfive

Tribute to Marc Shulman at Noisy Room

Tribute to Kevin Francis Conroy at Radio Patriot

9/11, Eight years on, by the Anchoress

9/11, Remembrance and Prayers, by the Anchoress

It’s 9/11.  Patriot’s Day.  A Day of Remembering. — by Some Soldier’s Mom

Never Forget — September 11, 2001 . . . Rick Rescorla, at Pierre LeGrand’s Pink Flamingo Bar

Never Forget — Eight Years Later, by Lorie Byrd at Wiz Bang

9/11: For those there for us then to now, by Bruce Kesler, at Maggie’s Farm

Tribute to Ezra Aviles, at March Hare’s House

The Missing, at American Digest

Of a Fire in a Field and a Hole in the Sky, at American Digest

A Tribute to Shreyas Ranganath at Thought You’d Never Ask

A Tribute to Lee Adler at Right Truth

America Attacked 9-11

9/11 plus eight years, by Photon Courier

Benning’s Tribute to the Victims of 9/11

9-11 — the Injustice Still Grates, by Melissa Clouthier

9-11 (the true face of evil), at Atlas Shrugs

September 11, 2001 — my story, at Brutally Honest

The Anniversary and things remembered, by Locutisprime

Project 2996 — Remembering the lost of 9/11, at Hot Air

Project 2,996 — Honoring John J. Chada, by Michelle Malkin

9/11:  Eight Years Ago Today, at Stop the ACLU

Don Surber has collected links

United Flight 93 Hijacked, Crashes in Pennsylvania — 9/11/01, by Marooned in Marin

The end logic of terror, written on 9/12/01 by the late Michael Kelly (h/t Soccer Dad)

Do you remember 9-11? by Noisy Room

And a look at an alternative universe by Tom Elia

What I Saw: Notes Made on September 11, 2001 from Brooklyn Heights, at American Digest

Eight years later, by Soccer Dad

Eight years on, by Mark Steyn

Betraying our dead, by Ralph Peters

Remembering 9/11:  A view from the heartland, by Ed Morrissey

Remembering 9/11:  United 93, by Ed Morrissey

Never forget, by Conservative Liberal

More to follow as the day goes by….

UPDATED (9/8/11):  Thank you for stopping by.  My current post on 9/11 (“Honoring 9/11 by remembering that we are warriors”) is here.

Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, 8/31/63-9/11/01

I met Lauren when I was at law school. She was still an undergraduate, but roomed with a friend of mine who had been one of her sorority sisters. The very first time I met Lauren, she’d been experimenting with hair colors, and had hair that was this beautiful combination of all sorts of different shades of red. I was very impressed. The next time I saw her, several months later, I remarked that I loved her red hair. I still remember the quizzical look Lauren shot me. What I hadn’t noticed (which says a lot more about me than about Lauren) is that she’d reverted to her natural, and very lovely, chestnut color.

Lauren finished her undergraduate studies while I was still at law school. She headed out to San Francisco, to be with her boyfriend, Jack Grandcolas, the man she later married. A year later, I finished law school and returned to San Francisco, so I looked her up, and we had lunch together. She was working as an aerobics instructor at a fitness center in Marin, but was trying to find meatier work to match her abilities. I hooked her up with the recruiting coordinator at my law firm and Lauren ended up with a job. It was the perfect job for Lauren. To be an effective law firm recruiting coordinator, you need to be social, intelligent, attractive, organized, hard-headed, and self-assured. Lauren was all of those things. Long after I left the firm, she was still working there, bringing together the best law school grads with a solid law firm.

Although we saw each other regularly in the hallway, and always stopped to chat, Lauren and I never became close friends. I admired her a great deal (especially her organizational abilities) and I always had the feeling she liked me, but we never clicked. I think of her often, though, and for a very funny reason: Every time I clean the kitchen sink, she pops into my mind.

In about 1988, I went to her apartment for dinner. She and Jack were delightful hosts — relaxed and friendly, and the food was delicious. After dinner, I hung out with them in the kitchen while Lauren cleaned up. And, oh my Goodness, did she clean up. It turns out Lauren was not just organized, she was a neat-freak. The last thing she did, after I thought every surface was already immaculate, was to take a toothbrush out and carefully scrub around the kitchen faucet. Nowadays, I don’t do that task with Lauren’s regularity, but every time I take out my toothbrush and head for the faucet, I think of her.

By 1989, I stopped seeing Lauren altogether. I still heard about her through our mutual friend. I knew she’d married Jack and that she was living a busy and happy life. What I didn’t know was that she lived in Marin County, where I eventually moved. Had I known, I would undoubtedly have looked her up, and we would have spent a nice lunch together.

As it was, on September 13, 2001, I brought my copy of the Marin Independent Journal into my house, pulled it out of the wrapper, and found myself staring at a large photo of Lauren’s lovely face. “That looks like Lauren,” I thought. “I wonder what she did to get on the front page.” I was staggered when I learned she had been a passenger on Flight 93 on 9/11. Lauren had been back to New Jersey for her grandmother’s funeral and was flying home again. She was two months pregnant.

In her last hours of life, Lauren did not get a chance to speak to Jack, only to his answering machine. Unsurprisingly, her words were meant to comfort Jack. She assured him that she was safe, and well, and that she loved him. Knowing Lauren, knowing her energy, optimism, and strength (both physical and mental), I am absolutely certain that she was one of the passengers who was actively involved in recovering Flight 93 from the terrorists and helping save the White House from a direct hit.

After she died, Lauren’s sisters, working with Jack, completed the book that was Lauren’s big project in the last months of her life. Typically for Lauren, it was a book, not just about having dreams, but about living them. It’s called You Can Do It! : The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-up Girls.

Remembering Brian Ahearn, one of the heroes of 9/11

I first did this 2996 project post regarding Lt. Brian Ahearn in 2006.  I could have picked someone new this year, but I’ve conceived a very strong affection for this good and honorable man, and I’d like to continue recognizing him on my blog.  Without further ado, I present Lt. Brian Ahearn:

Lt. Brian G. Ahearn

My son, who is ten, is obsessed with superheroes. His current favorite is Superman. After all, when you’re a little boy, battling your way through the world, what could be more exciting than the possibility of being “faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.” I’m bombarded daily with questions about Superman’s ability to withstand extreme temperatures, his flying speeds, his ballistic capabilities and, most importantly, his bravery. It’s here that my son and I run into a conceptual problem.My son thinks Superman is brave because he gets involved in situations that involve guns, and flames, and bad guys. I argue — and how can you argue this with a ten year old? — that the fictional Superman, while good, is not brave, because he takes no risks. Superman’s indestructibility means that his heart never speeds up, his gut never clenches, and he never pauses for even a moment to question whether the potential benefit from acting is worth the risk. In other words, if facing a gun is as easy as sniffing a rose, there is no bravery involved.

The truly brave person is the one who knows the real risks in a situation, but still moves forward to save people, to fight a good battle or to remedy an intolerable situation. The attacks against America on September 11, 2001, revealed the true superheroes among us — those New York firefighters who pushed themselves past those second thoughts, those all-too-human hesitations, and sacrificed themselves in the hopes of saving others. Lt. Brian G. Ahearn was one of those superheroes.

Lt. Ahearn grew up within the Irish Catholic community in Huntington, New York, out on Long Island. He got a good grounding in Catholicism (and, I bet, an excellent education) when he attended St. Hugh of Lincoln School. I think he must already then have been a good person, since his classmates remember him fondly. One woman who attended St. Hugh with him said that “He was perhaps one of the nicest boys in our class.” This was not a unique opinion. Another woman used virtually the same words to describe the young Lt. Ahearn: “I remember Brian being such a nice boy.

I don’t think anyone who knew Brian Ahearn was surprised when he decided to become a firefighter. After all, his father was former Ladder 42 Lieutenant Edward Ahearn. Somewhere along the line, whether before or after he chose his career, Lt. Ahearn married Deborah. Given how close his ties were to his childhood community, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she wasn’t his high school sweetheart. As the years went by, they had two children: Christopher and Lauren.

Brian Ahearn didn’t live a flashy or public life. There are just faint whispers about him on the internet, but they are still sufficient to piece together a picture of a decent, hardworking, kind, and witty man. The same concern for his fellow citizens that is reflected in his career choice showed up in other areas of his life. As one memorial site remembered, “He cared for the citizens in the neighborhood of his firehouse by running the annual Senior Citizen Christmas dinner at St. Anselms Church for many years….”

His Irish culture mattered to him and, I gather, was an important backdrop to his social life. His best friend was a guy named Mike. Because it was a guy friendship, Mike teased Brian a lot, most memorably about Brian’s fair Irish skin and the fashion mistakes he made in the name of protecting that skin. Still they were such tight friends that Brian was the first person Mike told when Mike got engaged and, naturally, Brian was the best man at Mike’s wedding. When Brian made friends, he made them for life. That’s unsurprising, perhaps, because those who knew him best carry with them the memory of his upbeat personality and his wit, as well as his gentlemanlike behavior. People like to be around someone like Brian.

So there you have Brian Ahearn: An all-around nice guy, remembered lovingly by friends and family. A kind man, who was active in his church and his community. And of course, he was a firefighter.

On September 11, 2001, Lt. Ahearn was working at Engine Company 230 in Brooklyn, where he’d been assigned after his promotion. John Guarino described what happened that day:

Guarino and his crew had just returned from another call when someone yelled out to turn on the TV. They saw what everyone in the nation was watching – a tower on fire. They ran to the roof to see how bad it was when the call came in to respond.

Guarino’s crew mounted Engine 230 and headed for the bridges over to Manhattan. They had to take alternate routes because roads were being shut down quickly.

When they finally arrived, the crew of six (Lt. Brian Ahearn, Fire Fighter (FF) Ed White, FF Gene Whelan, FF Jeff Stark, FF Frank Bonomo, and FF Mike Carlo) dismounted and ran into the towers.

Guarino had to stay with the engine. A police officer told Guarino to move his engine up because other crews were arriving. He moved the engine up about two blocks and when he came back his crew was gone. Along with the towers.

That was it. It was that simple. Fully aware that an airplane had crashed into the First Tower, and knowing that the inside of the building must have been an inferno, Lt. Brian Ahearn and five of his men put aside their own fears and ran into the building to save others. After all, that was their job. We all know, though, that not everyone will do his job when the job becomes so dangerous. But the superheroes do. Brian Ahearn and his men never shirked, and we remember him today, along with the 2,995 others who died on September 11, 2001.

Remembering Rick Rescorla — and the lessons of self-defense

One of the most frightening things about a nanny state is the way in which it saps each citizen’s ability to care for him or herself.  While others may have been hurling imprecations at President Bush in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, I reserved my bile for a nanny state that left thousands of people standing around, incapable of helping themselves.  All that they could even think of doing was to sit and wait for the government to come rescue them.  A community that had spent two generations in the arms of the welfare state, while it still had the notion of self-preservation, was incapable of putting into effect the desire to live.  Thousands of New Orleans’ residents simply stood helplessly on street corners.

I don’t blame those New Orleans citizens.  They did what they were trained to do:  wait for help.  Jim Prevor is worried that the health care plan is going to increase that tendency, turning all Americans into people who stand there and, rather than being vigilant on their own behalves, always look to the government for help:

Its [ObamaCare's] focus is on making the government responsible for providing healthcare. Which means, of course, that no child will ever be able to look at their father as I looked at mine growing up, that this man worked from dawn to dusk to fulfill his responsibilities to his family. He put food on the table, gave us shelter from the elements, clothes on our backs and, yes, he made sure we could go to the doctor or hospital when needed.

[snip]

So much of the argument against Obamacare is presented on prudential grounds–it is too expensive, the budget is too high, people will lose the chance to go the doctor they prefer, etc. Yet the bigger argument is that if you give people guarantees of material things–food, shelter, health care–regardless of how they behave, then more people will behave irresponsibly.

There is a whole literature out there on how welfare, subsidized housing, food stamps, and Medicaid all helped to diminish the importance of low wage earning men in their own eyes and the eyes of their family. Poor working men, who were once the best chance a family had, suddenly were superfluous; thus the explosion of children growing up without their fathers at home.

Now Obamacare promises to make breadwinners less important to all families–that is unlikely to encourage more responsible behavior among the citizenry.

Prevor’s instincts are right on the money.  As James K. Glassman explains in “The Hazard of Moral Hazard,” the more people are denied ultimate responsibility for their actions, the more irresponsible they become:

When someone insures you against the consequences of a nasty event, oddly enough, he raises the incentives for you to behave in a way that will cause the event. So if your diamond ring is insured for $50,000, you are more likely to leave it out of the safe. Economists call this phenomenon “moral hazard,” and if you look around, you will see it everywhere. “With automobile collision insurance, for example, one is more likely to venture forth on an icy night,” writes Harvard economist Richard Zeckhauser. “Federal deposit insurance made S&Ls more willing to take on risky loans. Federally subsidized flood insurance encourages citizens to build homes on flood plains.”

Bottom line, the more responsiblity we hand over to the government, the less we are able to care for ourselves.  At this moment, some might ask, why does it matter?  If the government can care for us, why shouldn’t it?  We want to live in a nice, safe place, free from stress and worry.  But as Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 show, that’s impossible.  Even the most beneficent, well-organized, protective government cannot protect us from all things.  And when the bomb explodes or the waters rise, if we have been completely leeched of any instincts or abilities towards self-preservation, we will die regardless of our long government.

All of which brings me to Rick Rescorla, who died on September 11, 2001 — but not before saving the lives of 2600 people.  Rick Rescorla was a veteran of both the British and the American militaries.  In both armies, he devoted his live to fighting against Communism.

On 9/11, Rescorla was in his office on the 44th Floor in the South Tower of the World Trade Center.  I’m going to do something I seldom do here and quote at length from another’s post to describe Rescorla’s last day on earth.  The emphasized language is mine:

In St. Augustine, Dan Hill [Rescorla's army buddy] was laying tile in his upstairs bathroom when his wife called, “Dan, get down here! An airplane just flew into the World Trade Center. It’s a terrible accident.” Hill hurried downstairs, and then the phone rang. It was Rescorla, calling from his cell phone.

“Are you watching TV?” he asked. “What do you think?”

“Hard to tell. It could have been an accident, but I can’t see a commercial airliner getting that far off.”

“I’m evacuating right now,” Rescorla said.

Hill could hear Rescorla issuing orders through the bullhorn. He was calm and collected, never raising his voice. Then Hill heard him break into song:

Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming;
Can’t you see their spearpoints gleaming?
See their warriors’ pennants streaming
To this battlefield.
Men of Cornwall stand ye steady;
It cannot be ever said ye
for the battle were not ready;
Stand and never yield!

Rescorla came back on the phone. “Pack a bag and get up here,” he said. “You can be my consultant again.” He added that the Port Authority was telling him not to evacuate and to order people to stay at their desks.

“What’d you say?” Hill asked.

“I said, ‘Piss off, you son of a bitch,’ ” Rescorla replied. “Everything above where that plane hit is going to collapse, and it’s going to take the whole building with it. I’m getting my people the fuck out of here.” Then he said, “I got to go. Get your shit in one basket and get ready to come up.”

Hill turned back to the TV and, within minutes, saw the second plane execute a sharp left turn and plunge into the south tower. Susan [Rescorla's wife] saw it, too, and frantically phoned her husband’s office. No one answered.

About fifteen minutes later, the phone rang. It was Rick. She burst into tears and couldn’t talk.

“Stop crying,” he told her. “I have to get these people out safely. If something should happen to me, I want you to know I’ve never been happier. You made my life.”

Susan cried even harder, gasping for breath. She felt a stab of fear, because the words sounded like those of someone who wasn’t coming back. “No!” she cried, but then he said he had to go. Cell-phone use was being curtailed so as not to interfere with emergency communications.

From the World Trade Center, Rescorla again called Hill. He said he was taking some of his security men and making a final sweep, to make sure no one was left behind, injured, or lost. Then he would evacuate himself. “Call Susan and calm her down,” he said. “She’s panicking.”

Hill reached Susan, who had just got off the phone with Sullivan. “Take it easy,” he said, as she continued to sob. “He’s been through tight spots before, a million times.”

Suddenly Susan screamed. Hill turned to look at his own television and saw the south tower collapse. He thought of the words Rescorla had so often used to comfort dying soldiers. “Susan, he’ll be O.K.,” he said gently. “Take deep breaths. Take it easy. If anyone will survive, Rick will survive.”

When Hill hung up, he turned to his wife. Her face was ashen. “Shit,” he said. “Rescorla is dead.”

The rest of Rick Rescorla’s morning is shrouded in some mystery. The tower went dark. Fire raged. Windows shattered. Rescorla headed upstairs before moving down; he helped evacuate several people above the 50th Floor. Stephan Newhouse, chairman of Morgan Stanley International, said at a memorial service in Hayle that Rescorla was spotted as high as the 72nd floor, then worked his way down, clearing floors as he went. He was telling people to stay calm, pace themselves, get off their cell phones, keep moving. At one point, he was so exhausted he had to sit for a few minutes, although he continued barking orders through his bullhorn. Morgan Stanley officials said he called headquarters shortly before the tower collapsed to say he was going back up to search for stragglers.

John Olson, a Morgan Stanley regional director, saw Rescorla reassuring colleagues in the 10th-floor stairwell. “Rick, you’ve got to get out, too,” Olson told him. “As soon as I make sure everyone else is out,” Rescorla replied.

Morgan Stanley officials say Rescorla also told employees that “today is a day to be proud to be American” and that “tomorrow, the whole world will be talking about you.” They say he also sang “God Bless America” and Cornish folk tunes in the stairwells. Those reports could not be confirmed, although they don’t sound out of character. He liked to sing in a crisis. But the documented truth is impressive enough. Morgan Stanley managing director Bob Sloss was the only employee who didn’t evacuate the 66th floor after the first plane hit, pausing to call his family and several underlings, even taking a call from a Bloomberg News reporter. Then the second plane hit, and his office walls cracked, and he felt the tower wagging like a dog’s tail. He clambered down to the 10th floor, and there was Rescorla, sweating through his suit in the heat, telling people they were almost out, making no move to leave himself.

Rick did not make it out. Neither did two of his security officers who were at his side. But only three other Morgan Stanley employees died when their building was obliterated.

Rescorla wasn’t a lamb to the slaughter.  He gave his life joyously, actively participating in his own defense.  As it happened, he was unable to save himself but, by ignoring a government mandate just to sit tight and let the government take care of things, Rescorla saved 2600 Morgan Stanley employees.

If you would like to learn more about Rescorla’s life — a life that was a training ground for his heroic death — please visit The Mudville Gazette and Blackfive.

Supreme Court: officials cannot be sued for 9/11 reactions *UPDATED*

This just in, over BNO news:

BULLETIN — U.S. SUPREME COURT: SENIOR OFFICIALS CANNOT BE SUED FOR ALLEGED POST 9/11 ABUSE.

This is good news, because current administration figures should not be suing past administration figures for the latter’s conduct in a crisis.  I mean, can you imagine if Eisenhower’s administration had gone gunning for the Roosevelt/Truman crew for their conduct following Pearl Harbor or for the Korean War?

UPDATEHere’s the Supreme Court opinion, written in Kennedy’s usual turgid prose.  Much of the opinion is taken up with procedural stuff.  The main takeaway from my point of view is that, God forbid the US is ever attacked again, government officials are not barred from using reasonable racial profiling in the wake of the attack.