In the weeks that followed, I repeatedly found myself sitting at my computer listening to the strains of Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3, Op. 36; known simply as the “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.” I listened to the 1994 Philips recording by the Warsaw Symphony Orchestra featuring Joanna Kozlowska as solo soprano. Of the two versions I own, I prefer this recording to the much better known 1992 London Sinfonietta version on Elektra Nonesuch that features Dawn Upshaw as the soloist.
I could tolerate my computer’s less accurate sonics (compared to listening to my primary audio system), because I was more interested in listening to the piece for its healing merits rather than pursuing the nth degree of accurate tonal and spatial reproduction. Coupled with the fact that I had a lot of unfinished work to do, I considered my choice well reasoned.
Of course, my choice in this matter required no courage on my part. The choices America now faces will. I pray that we have courage to make well-reasoned ones.
The events of September 11, 2001 have forced us to make some hard choices – choices that should have been made long before we were violently forced to do so. The American people and their elected officials will, at least in theory, share in these choices. In theory, America – its people and its government – will make well-reasoned choices.
When it comes to this people and this government making a well-reasoned choice in this day and age, I have my doubts.
If any reasonable person had bothered to check this nation’s collective pulse recently, I believe that same reasonable person would have his or her doubts, too.
But my mission today is not to instill doubt. My sole reason for penning this treatise is to inspire a courage we haven’t seen in this nation for a very long time. If I fail, I can more than live with the consequences, as I have failed in this exact same mission for years and years. But, should America fail to find the courage she needs to complete her mission, can she – can you – live with the dire consequences that failure will impose upon our children’s children?
The two questions that so chillingly define the nightmare of that fateful Tuesday morning also dictate why courage, not doubt, must become the order of the day. Americans cannot turn on their televisions or listen to their radios without hearing the plaintive query:
“How did it happen and what should we do in response?”
This paper addresses these nearly inseparable interrogatives in turn.
It won’t be pretty. In fact, this essay may cost me some of my dearest
friendships and most valued political alliances. It has already cost me
members of my family. No matter. I can live with their choices, too.
*** *** ***
Only a week prior to this assault on America, Disneyland announced that its river “guides” on the Jungle Cruise would no longer use their revolvers to shoot blanks at the Audioanimatronic hippos that have been “attacking” the tourist-filled boats since the 1960’s.
“And what,” you may ask, “does that have to do with the terrorist attacks?”
Oh, only everything.
We are not now what we once were.
This great nation has undergone the most retarded maturation process of any great nation in history. Whether the result of a combination of moral decay, apathy, laziness, spiritual vacancy or the Visigoths at the gates, we as a nation have lost our collective soul. I would like to think the events of that sad day will change all that, but, as a nation, we have a lousy track record of getting it right even on the third (or fourth, or fifth, or sixth, or seventh…) try.
Oh, we’re magnificent at appointing blame to a him, a her, or an it, but we’re seemingly incapable of accepting responsibility for our own lives and actions since, since…
…Since we decided to accept the childlike notion that a “greater power” – known to us as “government” – would be there to nurture, guide and protect us from cradle to grave. Somewhere, somehow, we gave up acting like “Americans” and all that glorious moniker once said of us. As a matter of fact, we now behave far closer to the very foes we once decried (and defeated in war) as the Enemies of Freedom. We are not now what we once were, and we’re paying a very dear price to learn that sobering lesson.
This isn’t a condemnation of government or the concept thereof, but rather an indictment of the stupidity shared by a nation of fools who actually believe that personal responsibility is an anathema to the American way of life. These are the same fools who Benjamin Franklin warned us about when he cautioned: “They that can give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
These fools would deserve neither our spite nor our sympathy were it not for the fact that these are the same fools who consistently vote to steal our essential liberties. It is on these fools’ heads that the blood of thousands of American souls now lays.
And, no… I will not retract, rethink or redirect the above statement.
Cowardice – the cowardice born out of the earth-mothered womb of political correctness, “zero tolerance” and governance by poll – has just sent thousands of Americans to their graves.
Am I deflecting the blame for this act of war away from the evil beings that perpetrated it? Hardly, but if you haven’t asked yourself why this evil manifested itself on our shores in the first place, then you’re probably too out of touch with reality to begin to understand the contents of this document. I therefore suggest that the people to whom I refer stop reading it. Now.
As for the rest of you – of us – take heart. You are not alone.
Some of us haven’t lost sight of what we once were versus what we now are, and I will, case by case, attempt to address things that, according to the aforementioned fools and cowards, free men and women should no longer speak of in “decent” company.
Let us begin with nail clippers.
Over the past two generations, America went from being the “home of the brave” to become the home of the ribbon-wearers. Symbolism has always played an important role in the maturation of the American psyche but, until recently, symbolism had never been accepted as a replacement for the stuff of character – the substance – that forged the symbolic icons which we hold (or, perhaps more correctly, held) dear in the first place.
Because of this paradigm shift in the American psyche, I would propose we forgo the red, white and blue ribbons with which people proudly adorn their puffed-up chests and instead begin an earnest, federally funded campaign to make millions upon millions of silver lapel pins made to resemble the brave new icon of a nation strangled by fear: nail clippers.
When you began seeing the television pictures of these horrific implements of destruction being confiscated by the crack minimum-wage staff diligently manning the gates of our “newly” secure airports, did you feel safer? Did it make you feel like telling family and friends, “Wow, if they’re being so cautious that they’re confiscating nail clippers, a terrorist couldn’t possibly pose a threat to an aircraft – not from inside the plane, at any rate,” hmmm? Well – did it? Are you one of this country’s stalwart citizens who demands action? You know – the kind of action that shows the rest of the world at least we’re doing something? Well, bully for you!
And, please, do tell me if the orgasmic rush of presumed safety you’re experiencing as a result of the security measures now in place gives you the same warm and fuzzy feeling you first experienced after you helped elect some fiend who ran on a platform of “gun control” to make the streets of America safer. Please, does it feel, I dunno – satisfying, somehow?
No, no, no – please, don’t be shy. Just because your vision of “gun control” allowed just over three thousand Americans to go to their deaths having never experienced the horror of being able to defend themselves using a firearm is no reason to feel ashamed. It was for their own good, was it not? After all, it had to be for their own good if it made you feel better, isn’t that right? It’s not like they should have had a choice in deciding their own fate, anyway. That’s what the police are for. It’s not really your life to defend, is it? That’s a matter best left for government to decide, because defending one’s life is simply too huge a responsibility for an individual to even consider attempting for his or her self. I’m sure you could argue that people are simply too irresponsible to do the right thing in times of crisis – right?
And isn’t it a crying shame that some people set a terrible example for your children by taking responsibility for not only their lives, but the lives of countless others, by fighting back? I mean, what were you supposed to say to your kids about those madmen who fought their captors, selflessly plunging to their deaths to save their fellow Americans? Good Lord, what kind of sick example is that for an impressionable young child?
I wonder if there’s a government program to console children in times of bravery?
We’re a nation afraid of nail clippers. God damned nail clippers.
There are people who vote for people who believe that doing something, anything – no matter how childlike or ridiculous that one thing may be – will solve a problem. Of course, the people who are in power because those other people voted for them know that the problem isn’t solved, but, as long as the talking monkeys – I’m sorry – as long as the “people” who voted them into office are satisfied (meaning they’ve been convinced that something had to be done and that something was done), then all is right with the world… at least until the next election cycle.
While you may wish to treat the above condemnation as elitist claptrap, there’s no way any reasonable human being can deny this is all-too-familiar territory in American politics. What you should be more concerned about, though, is the fact that if you know what complete nonsense this type of response (in the name of the almighty reelection) is, then the bad guys know it, too.
Still feeling safer than you did immediately following the attacks? Again, bully for you.
True, there are a lot of Americans out there who are demanding very real solutions to a very real problem, but people like that are generally considered to be living so far outside of the “mainstream” that they’re viewed with media-fueled suspicions once held for “fifth columnists” and the like. Lucky for Americans who hold a “symbolism over substance” point of view, those other Americans (the ones who you could say “don’t play well with others”) can be pretty easily identified. So, when you find these other Americans in your midst, weed them out, brave ribbon wearers! Remember…
Character can be contagious, and, once it infects the whole, courage soon follows.
You see, they’re the Americans who never needed to adorn their chests with the current ribbon du jour. Like Cyrano, they wear their adornments on their soul. The character they show in every aspect of their day-to-day life is the only ribbon you’re likely to see. People who know that character can’t be “pinned on” after finding it buried in a sock drawer or jewelry box are not wanting for courage. If you find yourself needing to see something more palpable – more visually accessible – then you’re likely to find yourself wanting for the same character, the same courage, of which I speak.
For Americans who do think that character and courage can be found in a sock drawer or a jewelry box, then a commemorative sterling silver nail clipper lapel pin is right for any occasion you may encounter in your travels – be it formal, casual, or in the hollow seconds preceding your imminent death. Oh, and if you’re worried about not being able to find a shiny new sterling silver nail clipper lapel pin, or if you’re concerned that you can’t afford one, I’m sure you can find some slightly tarnished ones beneath the rubble of the Pentagon or the World Trade Center. I wouldn’t attempt looking for one in a rural field in Pennsylvania, though. I doubt you’ll find anywhere near as many quality examples of your cherished icon there.
I’ll wait while you reread the previous paragraph. Yes, I really did mean to say that.
Inasmuch as this country was able to forge those men who fought so bravely in the skies over Pennsylvania, this is the same country that has made it a policy – nay, a crusade – to nurture those men and women who didn’t choose to fight once they knew their deaths were imminent.
Too harsh? Too cruel, you say? Sickened that I could speak ill of the dead that way?
It is not the dead of whom I speak ill. It is the people who molded them into the sheep of political collateral whom I loathe. Our once strong nation has been weakened to a point where the scum of the earth can bring us to our knees (both figuratively and literally) because they know we are more concerned with how we are viewed by one another than we are about our survival.
Even if we won’t (or can’t) admit it to ourselves, the entire world knows we are no longer a nation of pioneers, but a nation of petty poseurs arrogantly perched upon the lofty achievements of the men and women who paid for the privilege of our whimpering, unapologetic destruction of their principled dream in blood. It’s said that madness takes its toll. America seems to have found the correct change for that hellish tollbooth in the plague we call political correctness.
The world may always fear us, for we are a mighty and terrible military foe that is second to none, but they certainly have no reason to respect us when we no longer respect ourselves. But fear comes with a price. It isn’t necessarily a positive attribute to find in one’s enemy. It can make him even more tenacious and cunning than he would otherwise have reason to become. Respect is the key to avoiding conflict in the first place. Once it is lost it is very, very hard to come by again.
So tell me, Mr. & Mrs. Caring Ribbon Wearer, do you think our enemies respect a nation (supposedly) based on the rule of law; where its own Constitution guarantees the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed – unless, of course, that purportedly uninfringable right is only infringed at certain times in certain places under certain circumstances… like, say, flying on a commercial airliner?
Do you think our enemies respect us for expelling a six-year-old from school after he had been caught carrying nail clippers in his backpack? Do you believe our enemies respect us while they watch images of our minimum-wage airport “security” staffers confiscating America’s lethal nail clippers that they’ve found in people’s carry-on luggage?
Do you believe that any of these examples can demand an enemy’s respect, you whining patriots of convenience, or is America’s innate ability to scare our enemies a more than sufficient legacy for this nation’s children? The dead are waiting for your answer. So are the living.
America, is this what we’ve become as a nation? Is this all we are? Is there no common sense, no pride in what we once were and what we once aspired to become? Is it really that easy to cripple our way of life? Are our children to learn by example, or by the revisionist history we allow to be taught – even demand to be taught – in our schools? Is Liberty’s price too dear, our promise of Freedom so insincere, our love of country and the legacy we promised to defend too dangerous now to champion in the face of self-appointed guardians of social consciousness for fear of offending those same spineless weasels? Well…?
I’m afraid we got our nail clipper lapel pins the old fashioned way:
We earned them.
And so cometh the lawmakers… They’re from the government. They’re here to help. They’ve heard your hackneyed battle cry of “There oughta be a law!” Even now, they’re painting their horses white to complete your fantasy of the order and law for which you clamor.
There’s gonna be a law, all right, Mr. & Mrs. Caring Ribbon Wearer. There’s going to be lots and lots of new laws. The government has already banned those thin plastic knives that break when you try to spread the patty of butter on the bread commercial flights offer. But please, don’t dismiss this as merely a feel-good gesture on their part. People who would think that are nothing but cynics, right? We wouldn’t want our government to have to face any embarrassing questions in this time of national emergency, would we? Of course not. I’m sure the new measures they’re proposing at the Office of Homeland Security will only make us safer.
“The Office of Homeland Security,” did you say? The Office of Homeland Security? Just what kind of Orwellian intellectual enema is being foisted upon us now? I don’t know about you, but I feel like my chocolate ration was just “raised” from 30-grams a week to 25-grams a week.
Remember when you used to joke around with your friends using that crummy Late, Late Show German accent to ask a sarcastically rhetorical question like: “Vyor pepperz, pliz?”
Never fear. Your accent is about to improve. Hearing phrases pronounced with the proper authority in the speaker’s voice drastically accelerates even the dumbest person’s learning curve.
And what, pray tell, are those voices of authority telling you? They’re telling you that if you give up a few – just a few, mind you – of your civil liberties; maybe put your fingerprints on one more document, perhaps allow your face to be scanned into their identification software, and always – always – make sure you’re disarmed whenever you travel, you’ll be safer.
According to polls taken since September 11, 2001, the vast majority of people reading the above laundry list have nary a problem with any of it. Why? Because those people are sheep, and sheep – in case you missed that day in class (or if you were educated in a public school) – get devoured by predators. These predators act in concert to achieve a specific goal; that goal, in this case, being to herd the sheep into focused killing fields where the fat, fuzzy-headed mammals can be made to feel safe while the predators feed on selected (read: “weakest”) members of the herd. I don’t know if it’s occurred to you or not, but if you’re one of those warm and fuzzy sheep – sorry, “people” – who agreed with any of the proposals being offered you in the above paragraph, then I suggest that you’re not only waiting for the slaughter, but you’re a willing co-conspirator in all of the attacks yet to come.
Appalled at my candor? Why? You don’t seem to be appalled at the thought of selling out to the enemy, so how could you possibly be offended by being told you have?
That’s right. If you are willing to forfeit your freedom – meaning you’re willing to forfeit my freedom, too – then you are legally committing an act of treason, because you have given aid and comfort to the enemy.
Through your actions as willing collaborators, you have made it possible for the enemy to achieve his goals; goals he never could have achieved acting on his own. By any legal definition, you and your ilk are guilty of treason.
Disagree? I’ll bet. But, while you’re blowing a gasket (that’s, “while you are finding your emotional social insulation insufficient to contain anger management issues” in the language with which you’re most comfortable) after having been accused of treason, consider the mayhem your sociopolitical crusading has caused since you first succeeded in creating (and enforcing) so-called “reasonable” gun control laws…
As it always has been, and as it always will be, you only succeeded in disarming honest, law-abiding Americans – not the bad guys. We are paying the price of making you and your kind feel better with the lives of our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. We are the collateral damage of your incessant attacks upon Freedom, and all in the name of making you feel good about yourself – like when you’re told there’s a new color ribbon to wear.
Happy now? You should be. You and your kind have won. You have succeeded in taking incrementalism (the science of slowly dismantling our constitutionally protected freedoms piece by little piece until there are none left) to heights never before seen in this country. And does your crusade to remake America start and stop at gun control?
No, but after you’ve succeeded in convincing the weak they should disarm themselves in the name of feeling safe, does it really matter? At that point, the country is yours for the taking – well, yours and your opportunistic allies from across the oceans.
You have taught our children to speak in a language of euphemism and emotionalism, not reason and logic. Your kind has made it an unpardonable sin (and, in some cases, an actual crime) for otherwise free men to speak certain words, wear certain clothes, see certain films, read certain books, listen to certain music, and hold certain values – and you did it all without having to fire a single shot. The weak among us willingly allowed you do it because you promised the poor fools it would cause them to be not only safer in their daily existence, but it would also make them feel better about themselves, as well. Hitler would be proud. Yes… Hitler would be very proud.
What no terrorist could have achieved with a thousand airplanes destroying ten thousand targets and killing hundreds of thousands of Americans you have achieved without even breaking a sweat. You handed the evil bastards a victory so great that they’ll have to invent new words to augment their ancient language in order to sing the praises of their martyrs’ glorious victory over the American people.
You’re asking yourself, “But how?” …You are kidding, right?
We’re the ones dismantling our freedom, not them.
I regret having to use the pejorative “we” when referring to all individuals reading this essay, but it’s necessary the reader comprehend that, if we’re supposed to all be in this together, we have to accept the fact that “we’ve” allowed the insanity of political correctness to thrive and prosper on “our” watch. We may not have condoned it, but we’ve certainly tolerated it.
For those of you ill prepared to understand the parameters of political arguments based on logic and fact because you lack the basic language skills to understand and define the terminology contained herein, please note that the Extreme Left embraces Fascism, not the Extreme Right. It’s important for the reader to understand that the Extreme Right is Anarchy – the complete absence of government. The Extreme Left is the application of governmental “solutions” to every societal problem, both real and perceived – or created. The Extreme Left, or Totalitarianism, is occupied by Fascism – and fascists. Sure, fascists will let you “own” a car, or even the factory that built it, but they’ll legislate every conceivable manner in which that car is produced and equipped, where and when and how it is legal to drive it once you paid the state-sanctioned dealer for the privilege of buying it, and whether it continues to meet the government’s standards while you supposedly own it – not to mention you get to pay more taxes to maintain the aforementioned system before you can even take delivery of your state-sanctioned vehicle.
Let me guess – the above-mentioned example doesn’t sound all that bad (or unfamiliar) to you. I’m glad. That makes it much easier for you to accept the minor annoyance that fascists also legislate against free application of speech and the thought processes that inspire it.
“And this applies to hijacking, how…?” you ask.
Simple: Just think back to my similarly out-of-place example of political correctness on the Jungle Cruise ride at Disneyland. The Extreme Left has already won. Game over.
If you are a terrorist planning an act of unimaginable evil against innocent human beings, are you more or less likely to assault a people who willingly – not forcibly, but willingly – gave up their right to speak freely without fear of societal reprisals; who gave up their right to defend their lives with the firearms they were supposedly guaranteed the right to bear; who rewrite their own history and the history of the world to conform to some pitiful need to deny their free-born heritage in order to feel less embarrassed and ashamed of themselves; or —
Are you more or less likely to attack a people who every single day, in every single way, fight to preserve their freedom to speak, assemble and dissent as they are legally guaranteed the right to do so, and who take their human (and legal) right to self defend so deadly seriously that they freely allow one another to bear arms wherever, whenever they so choose?
Be honest now: Which would prove the more attractive target to a terrorist?
Yes… America earned her plastic knives.
It is the time for us to find the courage to say “never again” to the
forces of fascism – but we first have to find the courage to actually mean
it this time.
We weren’t ready – we still aren’t ready – and we’ll never be ready unless we come to grips with the fact we must now embrace Freedom, not Fascism. America won the last war against Fascism because we never lost site of the Freedom we once held dear. We have since come to believe that restricting our freedoms somehow makes us stronger and “better” people when, in fact, willingly giving up our freedom has made us something that we never anticipated, because that would have meant we would have had to be honest with ourselves about what we were giving up. So…
…We made ourselves a target. Not a target in the strictest military sense, mind you, but a target of opportunism and convenience. Our enemies no longer respect us, because we no longer respect ourselves. If we don’t respect our own people’s rights – rights expressly guaranteed by the highest law of our land, the Constitution – we cannot expect to earn our enemies’ (not to mention our allies’) respect; at least, not until we begin to think and act as the free people we once were.
Just pause for a second and think about how we must appear to our many enemies. I don’t mean from the namby-pamby “why can’t we all just get along?” or “walk a mile in another man’s shoes” sense of thoughtful reflection, no. I mean in the “reality of the situation” sense of military stratagem. Look at who we are from the standpoint of the enemy who wants to eradicate us from the face of the Earth because we are perceived as being without honor or character.
To a terrorist, we are a uniquely naïve target of opportunity. We are a nation divided not by the tolerance of disparate ideas and ideals, but by the fact that so many of our people are so ill informed regarding their own political infrastructure that the thought of toppling it through acts of unbridled terrorism is not only a plausible, rational strategy, but – to a religious warrior’s mindset focused on victory at any cost – a theoretically successful one.
More of this nation’s voters cast their presidential ballot for a man who does not currently occupy the White House than for the one who now does. The man who garnered the popular vote was also involved with taking money from representatives of a foreign nation that was and is one of the primary nations involved in distributing nuclear technology to the enemies now threatening America. Now, should you ask that majority of voters their opinion about this treasonous act and not give out the name of the candidate to whom you refer, those same voters would be screaming for his head – right up until they discovered that it was their boy you’re talking about.
Does the lack of national electoral character make us a target? Yes. It does.
Florida voters shall even have the opportunity to vote for a gubernatorial candidate who was responsible for authorizing the murders of innocent men, women and children as they fled a burning church in Texas – not to mention her having ordered the kidnapping of an innocent child to appease a Communist dictator just 90-miles off their coast. But, show these voters films of the sick massacre in Texas or remind them of the raid on a little boy whose mother died to bring him to the land of the “free” and the home of the “brave” and watch them role their eyes and dismiss you as a fringe element lunatic.
Does the lack of a state’s electoral character make us a target? Yes. It does.
Still need more?
Do I really need to revisit the last eight years?
Yes. That utter lack of character, too, made us a target.
Any people willing to remain politically naïve as long as they’re well-fed, well-sheltered, well-off and well-whatevered are ripe for the picking by an attacker who shares none of the same socioeconomic attributes as do his intended targets.
“Does this excuse them for committing an Act of War?”
Not in the least.
“Does it mean we have to understand or forgive them?”
Not in the least.
So, were you thinking I was still speaking about the terrorists in the second question…?
We are not now what once were.
If you do not find this hypothesis the least bit frightening or revealing (offended parties can save it for Oprah), it’s too late for you. You’re too deep inside your reeducation coma to ever wake up. You have bought the entire ABC/CBS/NBC/CNN six o’clock sales pitch. You hold the deed to the Brooklyn Bridge. Santa Claus is coming to town.
Enjoy the ride. I wish I could join you. There’s not a day that goes by without me wishing I could return to the bliss that is ignorance, but then I have to look myself in the mirror and I can’t help but remember… I remember that I owe my freedom to the countless patriots who perished to make me – to make you – free.
I also owe it to the men who fought to save their lives and the lives of countless others in the skies over Pennsylvania. When I criticize what my country has all too willingly forfeited in its mindless eagerness to embrace the “New Speak” of political correctness, I simply cannot dismiss the strength of character this flawed country somehow managed to instill in brave men as these. I am as humbled by their courage as I am thankful for the freedom that allows me to offer a critical perspective, but…
I will not recant my absolute disdain for a great many of my fellow countrymen and their cowardly approach to surrendering such dearly bought freedom – my freedom.
I am through with “consensus builders.” I am through with “bipartisanship.” I am through with “incrementalism.” I am through swimming in the gray of polite condescension. I am through being told I must “compromise” with those who seek to deny me my constitutional rights because it makes them feel better. I am through dealing with the “nesting mentality” of the Extreme Left. I am through with “coalition building.” I am through turning the other cheek.
Americans used to hang traitors who gave aid and comfort to the enemy. Nowadays, the politically correct ruling underclass of this once proud nation will probably demand we put their faces on a First Class postage stamp. I hope they chose its design wisely. A lot of people died to secure the right to spit on their graves by rewriting history.
Oh, and if I am being too cryptic in my criticisms, allow me to venture into full-on “Hate Crime” territory with the following clarification:
“I hate you miserable PC cowards as much as I hate the fascist ‘New
Speak’ dogma you preach. Your ‘feel good’ laws left this country’s doors
wide open for Evil to enter unafraid of the consequences. Damn your condescending
elitism. Damn your arrogance. Damn you.”
I previously stated that I wanted to inspire courage, not doubt, in the reader, but how many of you would have the character to act as courageously as did your brothers over Pennsylvania? Was that a kind of courage motivated purely out of fear, or was something greater at work on that doomed flight that was somehow different from the other three? Are there that many of us who don’t want to survive because the politically correct cost of doing so is too high? Are we doomed a hopeless future of never-ending victimization because there are simply too few of us left to inspire a fellow countryman to choose to die on his feet rather than on his knees?
Is this all we are? Is this all we can be? Is this all you want to be?
I say we can be better – much better. This point in our nation’s history can either be our finest or our darkest hour. We can regain the courage we once had, the same courage those brave men showed the world when they chose to fight, but if you cannot answer the following question honestly, there’s really no reason for you to expect to live out your life in freedom. If you cannot confront the level of personal responsibility saving your life demands, then you are the sheep our enemies are counting on to blithely queue up in the “buffet line” slaughterhouses of our airports, train stations and bus terminals.
All things behind the scenes being equal, if you were given a choice of flying Southwest, America West or a brand new carrier called “Wild West Air,” which airline do you suppose would be the least likely to suffer the same fate as those four doomed aircraft of September 11, 2001?
Oh, and did I mention that Wild West Air honors Americans’ right to keep and bear arms with the only restriction on traveling armed being that the ammunition you carry is of a frangible nature to prevent inadvertent over-penetrations in the case of “life threatening social intercourse” during an attempted hijacking? No? I’m sorry. You are not required to arm yourself in order to fly Wild West Air, but you should know that many of your fellow passengers will be armed. The bad guys will know it, too.
While I know this comes as a shock to most people who are outside of what has come to be known as the “gun culture” in America, you would be amazed at how many people intimately familiar with firearms are appalled at the mere suggestion of exercising this fundamental right on a commercial airliner. They fall into the same trap that all gun controllers who call for “sensible” gun laws do: They say that we should have a specific training program, or that we should offer to deputize armed fliers, or that only the air crew and pilots be armed, or—please… Enough.
It amazes me people otherwise willing to allow fellow Americans to legally bear arms in defense of themselves in environments every bit as public as airplanes cringe at the very thought of us exercising the same right when it counts most. Tell me: What is the difference?
Why is it that I pose no threat when I’m carrying in all the other “legal” places I regularly do (I live in Arizona, so that means damn near everywhere), but suddenly I am a potential psycho when I board an aircraft? And, even if I were, do you not think the other armed passengers might feel obliged to put a quick end to my unexpected bout with insanity should that inconsequentially rare occurrence happen?
Isn’t that the whole point of allowing passengers to be armed in the first place?
Fear not, America. The fantasy of Wild West Airlines will never come to pass. We will never have to burden ourselves with the responsibility of being able to defend ourselves against heinous acts of terrorism in the skies over America. We will simply allow the crack staff at the airport to search our luggage for nail clippers, receive even more official ID’s, be fingerprinted and photographed to track our every movement, and someday, somewhere, will be asked to use our cell phone to call a loved one and tell them we’re about to die.
Are we feeling safer yet, America? Are we relieved that we don’t have to “live in a world where people feel like they have to carry guns” and where responsibility has been supplanted by a glass of warm milk and a government-insured bedtime fairytale? Boy, I sure wish that I could live in this utopian paradise you’ve created with a stroke of a bureaucrat’s mighty pen!
Yeah, but I don’t live in Utopia. Neither do you. There is no such place, and convincing yourself otherwise is not just self-destructive, it’s an offense to basic common sense and rational thought. It is a childlike fantasy that can never come to fruition.
My suggestion could become a reality, but your kind won’t ever allow it to happen.
You and your kind are more concerned about “looking good” in other people’s eyes than our mutual survival in time of war. Your precious politically correct sensibilities dictate that you would rather hear a mother’s screams as she sees the fireball approaching from the nose of the crashing aircraft than admit your policy of disarmament and appeasement is morally and ethically bankrupt. You are beneath contempt – as I’m sure you now feel I am for having reminded you of the price America has paid for your villainous design that has only served our enemies.
I can forgive the ignorant and the “deliriously well-intentioned” who have never heard of the lives that are saved every day because Americans have the right to keep and bear arms. If you are merely the victim of one-too-many doses of the Rosie’s or the Oprah’s or the Baldwin’s or the Spielberg’s or the Sheen’s or any of the unending cavalcade of Hollywood ignoramuses who litter our airwaves with their polite fascism of politically correct (read: “factually challenged”) drivel, I do not consider you the enemy. Those subhuman creatures that murdered our fellow countrymen are the enemy.
But, Mr. & Mrs. Patriots of Convenience…
I consider people who continually provide financial and electoral support for power-mad and vanity-driven lawmakers who would deny any lawfully responsible American’s constitutional right to purchase, possess or carry any firearm of any type anywhere they choose as being nothing more than enemy collaborators.
Because I will be roundly dismissed as an extremist for my “radical” views, I will again say that I can live with my choice to expose myself as such, for I am such an extremist. I am also the most dangerous type of extremist, because I harbor no inherent bigotry toward my fellow man for any reason. My extremism is in the defense of Liberty, not some dark political agenda. I know that freedom cannot be served by denying another man his. I may despise and deride men without honor, character or courage, but I will never deny them their rights to act the fool. In this regard, I am also happy to report that I am in good company…
“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better
than the animating contest of freedom... go home from us in peace. We ask
not your counsels nor arms. May your chains set lightly upon you and may
posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
— Samuel Adams, 1776
Because, as we were again warned only seven years later:
“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the
argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”
— William Pitt, 1783
If you are completely satisfied with being a slave to the rhetoric of The New Speak Left, then you have no reason to make a choice about your and your country’s future, as that decision has already been made for you. For the rest of us who’ve already found courage (or are just now considering courage an option), the time to choose to become Free – really Free – is upon us.
Do not fear the reasonable response no matter how unthinkable
it may first appear. Fear the
unreasonable response. How
will you recognize it? The unreasonable response is the one that makes
you pay twice for your first mistake. It smacks of appeasement; it stinks
of defeat. Truth is where you will find courage, and that Truth shall make
you free. Truth is found in Fact, and Fact can be very, very frightening.
Don’t flee from it when you’re presented with it.
No matter which responsibilities this nation’s people
have chosen to shirk on the domestic level, and no matter how many rights
they’re willing to forfeit in the almighty name of security, the one thing
the American people can directly control is the ability of their
country to prosecute the war now at hand. For once, the American government
is acting in its proper constitutional role in the defense of our land.
It is to this role that I now wish to address the second of the greater
questions facing America: “What should we do in response?”
I apologize in advance if you find America’s response to date somewhat
Late in the afternoon of December 7, 1941, Japanese Imperial Fleet Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto offered his senior staff the single most prophetic words of the Second World War, stating, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
Oh, if that were only so in this case.
“Since September 11, 2001, America has martialed its enormous resources, its boundless energies and its best and bravest to face the new threat, and we shall emerge victorious.”
The above statement would make for a stirring monument to political speechmaking were it not for that one, nagging error in the use of a single adjective…
…What “new” threat?
Is it just me, or is there something wrong with Americans’ collective conscience? Are we so feebleminded that we’ve forgotten everything that’s taken place on the front lines of this very same anti-American holy war that has been waged against the West since the nation state of Israel was first recognized by the Western powers? Can Americans really be that naïve?
Of course we can. I sincerely believe the majority of people who read the first part of this essay would look me in the eye and insist that nothing would have been any different if you or I had been allowed to be armed on board any one of those four airliners, so, yes… we really can be that naïve. It’s the one point of American unanimity of purpose in which we truly excel.
Even if the average reader isn’t well versed in world
history, American history, or the so-called “history” that’s presented
to us on the nightly news, I still have enough confidence in my fellow
Americans (well, at least in the ones who aren’t currently attending a
public school – and yes, that includes universities, too) to assume that
I can relate a modestly adequate summation of how we got here and where
we need to go from here. Be of good cheer, though. When compared to the
war at hand, this summation will be mercifully brief.
If, indeed, we are not now the nation we once were, why did so many political pundits relate the horror of September 11 to the attack on Pearl Harbor? Was it because this attack also involved the element of surprise? Was it because America reacted in a similar state of shock and outrage? Was it because the suspected enemy is, in fact, a foreign entity committing an act of war against us on our own territory rather than some poorly defined front on someone else’s soil? Perhaps, but I am more inclined to think it was a case of wishful thinking.
Please allow me to explain.
Admiral Yamamoto made his prophetic comment based on the fact that he was informed Japan’s ambassadorial emissaries hadn’t delivered Japan’s ultimatum until after the attacks began in the Pacific. He could not imagine anything that would outrage and unify the might of America like the unprecedented experience of a sneak attack.
It is to a similar end that I believe the comparisons of December 7, 1941 to September 11, 2001 were being made, but with one disturbing caveat: I believe that everyone from the common man, to politicians, to members of the press, know that we are not now what we once were. They wanted – I wanted – to believe we could once again act in concert to achieve the ultimate victory we shared over our clearly defined enemies of the last World War.
We could achieve a similar victory this time, but I doubt we will. Not because we can’t win, but because we won’t allow ourselves to win. Not because our military is weak, but because it is strong. Confused? Read on.
You may be outraged by what I’ve said about the apparent impotence of America in the way we have become strangled by political correctness and that I’ve focused the lion’s share of the blame for why we became an easy target on the New Speak Left and its cowardly supporters, but even though you may find my words offensive, I told you I could live with my choice. You see, I’m in this to unapologetically destroy our enemies, not appease them.
It’s truly a shame this country’s body politic apparently doesn’t share the same goal.
If Yamamoto’s sleeping giant has once again been awakened to be filled with a terrible resolve, it seems he’s gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, because he now appears to be more focused on eating his young than eradicating his enemies as he did a half-century ago.
Our military’s weakest link is its sheer strength. The politicians responsible for directing its mighty sword have long forgotten what it takes to win: It takes a terrible resolve. If a military isn’t allowed to win, it’s inevitably bound to lose. One would think America had learned that after the innumerable defeats it’s suffered as a result of the cancerous political mindset foisted upon its best and bravest since the close of the Second World War.
Yes. One would think that, but one would be wrong.
Am I saying that America is incapable of winning a military solution against Third World barbarians? Hardly. But what victory can we claim if we’ve achieved if we’ve willingly forfeited the very freedoms our enemies seek to deprive us of? Is winning their hearts and minds that much more important to our sense of political correctness than our own survival?
Just how afraid of winning are we? Who are we afraid we’re going to offend? Why do we seek our enemies’ allies’ consent to wage war against the murders they willingly harbor? Is there a single historical precedent for this type of irrational behavior in time of war besides our nation’s unique history? Are we really doing the “right thing” in sending our young men to die for a nation unwilling to take the action necessary to prevent those brave souls from having to go and fight the same battles in the same war all over again because we refused win this one?
When is “enough” really enough?
To comprehend the sickening complexity of the quagmire with which were now faced is well beyond the scope of this minor work, but acquiring a useful, working knowledge of how we got here is no more complex a process than reviewing the progress of the political disease we’ve embraced with such a vengeance in the generations that followed the one that lived through Pearl Harbor. Even that brief a recount is too engrossing to cover in this monograph, but there is a way to illustrate the absurdity of the defeatist mindset without being absurd…
…All one has to do is trace the history of our self-loathing “response”
In the wake of the Eleventh, I’ve witnessed a staggering variety of personal and public examples of an erosion of this republic’s life-force. On the day of the attack, there were only two American flags flying on my entire street: mine and a seventy-some-year-old couple living at the end of my block. To this day, we are still the only two homes displaying the colors on my street. Even when one considers the horrific circumstances of 9/11, this would have been an entirely unremarkable observation were it not for the fact that the media was reporting that stores all across the country were completely sold out of American flags. That’s when it first hit me…
The stores wouldn’t have been sold out of American flags if most Americans had already owned an American flag.
Honest. I am not bashing my fellow countrymen in some pathetic rah-rah, red-white-and-blue rant for not owning a flag prior to the attacks. I’m merely relaying a personal observation on the state of our union – or disunion, as the case may be. While I am self-admittedly a part of what I consider to be the worst parenting generation in our nation’s history, I was dumbfounded by this curious cultural omission of even the most benign of patriotic window dressings. I wasn’t brought up to take this country’s blessings of liberty for granted, and I am confident that most Americans of my generation weren’t brought up that way, either. But, this one personal revelation did place a certain light on the post-attack revelations to come – and those yet to come.
It is my sincere hope that the broader light cast by my personal revelations may serve to illuminate yours, as well.
All you have to do is open both eyes and look…
Pearl Harbor Revisited
In an age where information travels at the speed of light – not only to the journalists who are responsible for reporting it, but to the people whom it was always intended to reach – a lot of people have forgotten that news about the attack on Pearl harbor was first delivered via radio and (the following day) newspaper photos. The American people didn’t actually get to see the horror of the attack on film until they saw it in the newsreels running in motion picture theaters three to four weeks following the attacks. That wasn’t the case this time. Everyone, including yours truly, was able to watch the events as they unfolded. Opinions were formed; grief and sorrow combined with rage; the presumed culprit was identified.
And what was the first order of business in the American media? They changed the way the bastard’s name is spelled so as not to offend Americans.
With the sole exceptions of FOX News (and a few print and electronic media outlets), the media decided that the name Usama bin Laden was too offensive to Americans because the name contained the letters “U S A” when correctly spelled. One network even offered an explanation of why they had changed the spelling. They were proud to protect Americans from the truth because some Americans might find the truth offensive.
Gee. How drolly enlightening. The American media withholding factual information to the American people because the media thinks we’re too immature to handle unvarnished fact.
“So what?” you ask. “Who knows or cares how an Arabic name is spelled, anyway? In 1941, we all knew how ‘Japan’ was spelled. Hell, American schoolchildren even knew where Japan was located. So, why should we care, and who decided how to correctly spell his name?”
Good points, but the fact remains that the American government knows how to spell and pronounce bin Laden’s name. Why? Because they had already given him and his $124 Million in foreign aid between January 1 and September 11, 2001, that’s why. They know how to spell bin Laden’s name because they had to cut the checks to make sure the man they hold responsible for bombing our embassies and the USS Cole (not to mention his culpability in the first World Trade Center attacks) is well loved by the people he’s enslaved in fear – using our money.
Yes. That’s why we’re sure how Usama bin Laden’s name is spelled.
Ever wonder why official posters from the Feds spell it with a “U S
A” when they’re seen on television, but the crawl beneath the video spells
it “Osama” bin Laden? It’s simply to make us feel better. It’s to keep
us fat, dumb and lazy. It’s to make us better appreciate not having to
think for ourselves or face facts. It’s business as usual, and according
to Americans’ ardor of forfeiting freedom to keep from facing the truly
important facts, business is good.
The Ivory Towers
And so comes Dan Rather, slobbering all over himself on David Letterman. Americans felt his pain because he was feeling ours. Bullshit.
Dan Rather, that backbone of American spinelessness, is the anchor of the CBS Evening News. He got that job after he filmed himself reporting from the front lines of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Trouble was, Danny Boy was reporting from India, not Afghanistan. His reports were a Hollywoodesque montage of actual footage mixed with him crouching with appropriately dressed locals on the Indian “frontier.” For this act of newsworthy creativity, he was awarded the permanent anchor position at CBS. Viewership reflected CBS’s confidence.
Was Rather being disingenuous with his seemingly heartfelt weeping and wailing routine on Letterman? Even through my cynical eyes, I would venture to say no, but I would hold that his emotional outburst was not for reasons admitted to. True, Rather was as grieved as any American over the horror, but I sincerely believe his breakdown was predicated by the realization that these attacks were focused on his worldview’s headquarters. The Center of Left had been hit.
Would Rather have wept uncontrollably were he reporting from the Pentagon? Would he have been forced to wipe away tears standing in a cratered field in Pennsylvania? I say no – and I am not so sure the thought hasn’t crossed other people’s minds in the media. Rather’s own peers don’t trust him, but American viewers seem to. That inconceivable trust may pay CBS’s bills, but it doesn’t make sense to many Americans who don’t now (or never did) buy the lie. We all know that the nation outside the Center of Left is nothing more than “fly-over country” to the twinkling stars of the “mainstream” media. Rather was inconsolable over the fact his ivory towers had been hit. Damn the purple mountains’ majesty! This is New York we’re talking about!
Not to worry. There’s always another network’s news to watch.
In the afternoon following the attacks, Canadian high school dropout and ABC Evening News anchor, Peter Jennings, reassured America that President Clinton was fully apprised of the developing situation. I can’t find the words to describe what a comfort Mr. Jennings’ inspirational words were to my father and me as we channel-surfed back over to FOX News.
No reports of Gary Condit dancing in the halls of Congress ever surfaced,
The dollar amount fluctuates every day, but one fact remains: We Americans are still the most generous souls on this planet. We are also the most trusting – meaning we are also the most easily duped. We gave until it hurt. That’s what we do when we don’t know what else to do. And like the government that exercises no oversight over its own waste, the charities took.
The charity debacle is best addressed in a specific, dedicated and thorough review beyond what I could ever hope to accomplish here, but even this briefest of highlight reels should outrage even the most zealously devout cynics among us.
While an astounding 160 charities stepped up to the plate and took in what (at last count) amounts to a half BILLION dollars, most people are now focused on the “Big Three” – The Red Cross, The United Way and its two(!) September 11th Fund(s) and their(?) contribution to disaster relief. This is a staggering amount of money to flood into a specific-purposed relief target for any disaster, so it’s doubly comforting to know where that money is going.
The Red Cross says a full 20% of the money (over $¼ Billion at last count) it’s received will eventually be distributed to the victims and the families of 9/11. The rest of the money will go for “overhead and infrastructure revitalization” or be distributed to other worthy projects like “cultural awareness centers” to be erected around the country to help us better understand people who want all Americans dead.
On the other hand, The United Way has had to muddle through with a mere $350 Million to call its own – or, more correctly, its affiliated organizations’ own. The United Way distributes most(?) of the money it takes in to a mind-boggling array of charitable organizations. One of the two September 11th Funds says at least 77% of its contributions will eventually find its way into victims’ causes. In the meantime, though, at least $35 Million has found its way into somebody’s hands – seven of those desperately needy hands being organizations dedicated to the destruction of Americans’ unalienable rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment.
This isn’t to say that the aforementioned “charitable” examples are alone in their “lottery-winning” depravity. Oh, no. The United States Government gave away $15 Billion to an industry that’s so mismanaged and bloated that it makes the Chrysler bailout look like Andy giving Opie an extra nickel for milk money when he knows that a bully will steal it on the way to school. But, I guess we can all take some solace for this insanity because it’s an emergency. In fact, the airline industry bailout is just as much an emergency as was the $40 Billion emergency spending bill that Congress passed immediately following the attacks…
That’s the “emergency” spending bill that included tens-and-tens-of-millions
of taxpayer dollars for such critical wartime needs as increased peanut
farm subsidies and a couldn’t-be-put-off “ground fish” study. After all,
an emergency is still an emergency – even if you don’t have the slightest
idea what a ground fish is.
The Blessed Peacemakers
As we face the first (and potentially most destructive) war of the Twenty-First Century, Americans can rest assured our enemies know that this time, we mean business. Really. We know this to be true because our beloved Secretary of State told us so. He reassures us of this whenever he travels traveling abroad to politely ask permission of our standing enemies to wage war against the despots that have most recently attacked us here, on our own soil.
I am not speaking of political diplomacy and ceremonial courtesies extended during time of war. I am speaking of our government literally pleading with enemy states to allow us to wage war against the perverse Evil that slaughtered our own.
Did I miss a meeting or something?
As smoke still rises from the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, we see Colin Powell extending the ever-warm handshake of American charity to people who want to see every last one of us dead. We are told we need their cooperation to allow us to prosecute this war. We are told we need to be able to stage in these countries’ forward areas. We are also told these countries are allied with us in this war.
Really? People who want us dead are our allies in this war. Hmmm… I guess I must have missed one hum-dinger of a meeting.
Yes, the world today is a dreadfully complicated place. Its geopolitical landscape rivals gangland Chicago or Los Angeles in its ever-changing (read: “backstabbing”) and ever-so-subtle socioeconomic nuances. I don’t claim to have access to all the dexterously savage intricacies of what’s involved in prosecuting a war in the 21st Century. Trouble is, there are people who think they do – and they’re the ones in charge of not only waging war, but in selling you on their grand scheme. I would normally trust they’re doing a good job, but I’m a historian. I know better.
History tells us many things about how to wage a war. History tells us that you wage war like it’s a game of pool. You don’t just take the shot and hope you sink a ball. You only take the shot when you’re certain where the cue ball will come to rest, lined up for your next shot. On the surface, cautious diplomacy would seem to be the order of the day if your only purpose is to line up your next shot to sink the next ball. But that’s not the purpose of the game, itself. The purpose of the game is to win. Period. And…
…You never, ever allow the other player to determine your shot or choose your cue.
Napoleon should never have been allowed to retire to Elbe with a cadre of his Imperial Guard intact. Roosevelt should never have been allowed to trade away all of Eastern Europe to the Russians at Yalta. America should not now be making overtures for a Palestinian state as a reward for Islamic cooperation.
If the allies in 1814 were right, then the 100 Days (Waterloo) Campaign was a price they felt worth paying for the intellectual exercise. If the allies were right back in 1945, then the Cold War was worth every penny of the trillions of dollars we spent fighting it. If our “allies” today are right, as we know they always are, then we have nothing to fear except a potential NBC (Nuclear, Biological or Chemical) scenario – the exact same fears we face today.
So what, if I may ask, is the point of playing well with others?
Pakistan is a nuclear country. India is a nuclear country. India is lobbing artillery shells at Pakistan while we’re staging troops there. Pakistan is protesting our presence in Pakistan. India is protesting our presence in Pakistan. Arafat is donating blood for the victims of the WTC while his terrorist cells carry out suicide missions against the Israelis. The Saudi prince whose family funds bin Laden (because he’s a Saudi) wanted to give New York $10 Million to show his compassion for the victims and their families (Mayor Giuliani says thanks, but no thanks). The Jordanians and the Syrians and the Saudis and the Egyptians – all of whom train, fund and harbor terrorists – step up their demands for a Palestinian homeland. The Israelis call for a “General Action” (read: “all hostiles now considered combatants”) and move against Arafat’s gang. The hugs and handshakes are but a memory. The Iraqis refuse UN weapons inspection for the third year running. The Red Chinese continue selling nuclear technologies to the Iraqis. The world is once again at war.
…And we’re hoping to make friends of and solidify relations
with our enemies.
Pennies From Heaven
In that aforementioned meeting I obviously missed, were there any nostalgic recollections of the good old days during the last world war where America dropped strudel on the Germans or sushi on the Japanese or pasta on Italians? I only ask because we somehow seem to think that this is the kind of winning “hearts and minds” strategy for which America is so loved by our enemies in time of war. Are we so indoctrinated by political correctness that we believe the illiterate Third World is wowed by the fact we’ve dropped 2.4 million “culturally neutral” rations on them? If the locals can’t even read, are they magically awed by the pseudo cereal box text extolling the virtues of the same people simultaneously dropping bombs on their neighbors?
Is it just me, or did the incredibly successful Marshall Plan not start until after the end of the Second World War? And isn’t it just the slightest bit culturally insensitive to be dropping so-called “culturally neutral” food to starving people who are supposedly observing a religious fast during Ramadan? Are we any more loved by the nations of Islam today than we were yesterday – or the day before, or the day before that? Does it even matter? Has it ever really mattered? Should we even care?
Probably. But I’m well beyond caring about how I look to people who
want me dead.
What’s In A Name?
While the storm feeds itself with the hot air of a confused and purposeless people who’ve decided that sleeping through their own demise (looking like they care is of more importance than actually giving a damn), America’s enemies patiently wait. They grow stronger even as their most visible arm is being cut off in the remote mountainsides of antiquity. They have all seen this kind of war before – maybe not the “kinder and gentler” war they had been expecting from the mortal enemy now waging it against them, but it is nonetheless a war they understand.
They will sit. They will wait. Their enemy will soon forget. And then they will strike us again. And again. And again. And again… They have nothing to lose. We do. They understand this weakness. They’re counting on it.
And why am I so deadly certain we will remain forever vulnerable to this enemy, one that remains unseen because we’re too afraid to open our eyes and see that he is everywhere?
…Because one of our first orders of business in this “war” was to change its operational name to one that wouldn’t offend our enemies or their allies.
When America decided that “Operation Infinite Justice” was too politically incorrect to use as a name for the forthcoming hostilities in-theater we sent our enemies the strongest message of this war: America obviously considers political correctness more important than our dead. We are far weaker than they anticipated. We’re not only willing to dismantle the very foundations of our freedom in a way our enemies could never achieve militarily, but we’re doing so in a manner that is unapologetically sensitive to their feelings.
In 1945, we killed a minimum of 125,000 Japanese civilians in less than twelve hours by firebombing Tokyo. We didn’t care if it was the Emperor’s birthday. We were fighting a war. We were in it to win. We didn’t apologize to anyone – ally or enemy – for the way we fought it.
That was then. This is now. In public schools, guilt is being taught as a second language.
How can we call it “Operation Enduring Freedom” if
we aren’t free to speak in our own country anymore?
This war is being fought on more fronts than our own troops know. Not that they’d want to know, mind you, because the home front is not the cohesive blend of patriotism and blind faith they’ve been lead to believe. While it’s not the Vietnamesque sense of civil unrest and freedom-bashing rhetoric with which many Americans are familiar, the home front is rife with a palpable sense of disharmony – and it’s manifesting itself in the same venues as it did in the Sixties.
The war in Vietnam was illegal and wrong. We get it. We got it a long time ago. What I can’t figure out now is why the players from that era’s Left (and their progeny) remain filled with hate for this country’s founding principles – like the right of free speech. That’s the one right for which they once fought so passionately. What happened?
I frequently sign off e-mails with the personal quote: “I’d hate this goddamned country if I didn’t love it so goddamned much.” I realize a lot of people simply don’t get it, but I also realize an even greater number share my exasperation with a broken dream that’s worth fixing. But that’s where my – and I believe most other Americans’ – activist frustration begins and ends.
We don’t fire City Councilmen for saying the Pledge of Allegiance before a meeting as is specified by law. We don’t detain schoolchildren for wearing American flag pins on their clothes in violation of “gang paraphernalia” rules. We don’t suspend high school students for displaying American flags on their lockers. We don’t threaten to fire employees for displaying an American flag on their desktop. We don’t release play lists of “insensitive” songs for our radio affiliates to avoid airing. We don’t prevent a choir from singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic at a public memorial on the Sunday following the attacks because it was considered “too militaristic” by the Mayor of Tucson and the incumbent twit against whom I twice ran for U. S. Congress. We don’t ban military recruitment on campuses all across this country in time of war. We don’t pass a City resolution condemning armed conflict in the defense of our nation.
And I know WE weren’t the ones suspending a six-year-old for bringing nail clippers to school, either.
If one could get away with blaming this litany of insanity on the Left, it could make one’s political life much easier – were one from what passes for the Right in this day and age, that is. If what passes for the Right didn’t tolerate it, it wouldn’t be the blight eating away at this Republic’s strength to the extent it has been since The New Deal. The “Near Right” has a much weaker spine than even the Far Left does – and our enemies know that, too. The Near Right is no more willing to take responsibility for their actions than the Far Left is. Need proof?
Once again, America is fighting an undeclared war.
But we’re not nation building. We’re not peacekeeping. We’re not intervening. We’re not colonizing. This time, we’re really, truly, honestly defending ourselves.
And yet we won’t declare war on those who’ve declared it on us.
Sure, we have a “War on Terror” to point to, but it’s no more of a winnable proposition than were the “War on Poverty” or the “War on Drugs.” Undeclared wars are self-perpetuating schemes to implement power. The War on Poverty proved the biggest financial boondoggle since The New Deal. The War on Drugs will eventually exceed its predecessor in sheer enormity. The New Deal built an impregnable fortress of social programs so entrenched in this nation’s psyche that they’re now known as “entitlements.” A War on Poverty merely covered the remaining bases of the socialist infrastructure. The War on Drugs has remade the Crusades in our own image. We send modern knights in black armor to do battle against a vice that cannot be conquered anymore than the Nations of Islam could be. We fought this war once before during Prohibition, but to say we haven’t learned a thing since then would be wrong. We learned how to grant the government more power than it ever dreamed possible in peacetime.
Note the word “peacetime.” Now, we don’t even have that as a legal fallback position.
“But there’s no ‘specific’ country or countries to declare war on, so you can’t ‘declare’ a war on anything!” you say?
True, Japan has an address, but the Barbary Pirates never did. We seem to have managed to find a spine for that 19th Century war – and we didn’t need thousands of dead mothers, fathers, sons and daughters to point to as “reason enough” to declare one back then, either.
So, why did the Congress refuse to declare war as constitutionally specified and instead grant unprecedented Executive powers to this president?
Because declaring war meant they’d have to take responsibility for their actions. Now the Congress has a convenient (and all-too-willing) scapegoat for whatever political pitfalls lie ahead. Very shrewd. Very savvy. Very cowardly. Very much business as usual. Congress also refused to declare a legal war because of one truly embarrassing fact of war: All acting and potential hostiles are considered combatants. Translation? Once it is known “who was who” (via the mountains of paperwork we provide them with) and immediately following a brief amnesty period for potential hostiles to leave the country unharmed, Americans would be able to shoot bad guys on sight.
Gosh. Maybe the word “militia” isn’t quite the four-letter word we’ve been told it was by the same people who find responsibility for personal safety so abhorrent that they’re willing to let thousands of their fellow Americans die at the hands of terrorists.
But then, I’ve already covered that ground, haven’t I?
Living In Infamy
Throughout my long-winded observations, the reader will have noted the same themes recurring over and over again. The fact is there’s simply no way around facts. I refuse to ignore the obvious no matter how ungainly or unpopular the process may prove. Browbeating a reader into submission was not and is not my goal. My goal remains to instill courage. If angering you was the only way to get your attention, then so be it. Anger is not always a vice. Sometimes, it can be a powerful and positive motivator.
Anger, though, does not instill true courage. Anger is more often than not an irrational reaction to a situation over which the participant has little or no control. Were I to have offered this paper in the days immediately following September 11, many of the conceptual observations I have put forward so far would have been dismissed out of hand as the mere ranting of another angry American. If my goal was to instill courage, my efforts would have been meaningless. I hope I have avoided that trap by waiting until today.
The preceding laundry list of examples of “Our Response” wasn’t what you had in mind when I titled the last passage “Our Response” was it? It’s not my idea of a viable one, either. But with the exception of our fighting men and women’s actions, this is the cultural response the rest of the world sees in our country. If you’re proud of what we have so far called a “response” to the threat here at home, then you’re certainly not prepared to finish reading this essay. You’re simply unequipped for a dose of such harsh reality. But —
For the rest of us who revere honor and have found courage…
Today is the Sixtieth Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Much like the passage of time between that attack and America’s rational, reasonable response to that crisis, I have allowed enough time to pass since September 11 to return to America’s outrage with a measured distance of historical perspective. My “response” here, today, is tempered by the responses America chose for herself (some of which I’ve painstakingly outlined) since that awful morning. My concern lies in the fact that Americans have chosen a slew of irrational – and potentially deadly – responses.
Since September 11, 2001, I have read literally tens of thousands of words on the crisis at hand. I have educated myself in fields I never had need to pursue on my own. I have a far broader world vocabulary and a greatly solidified worldview. Yet, in all those thoughtful words written by all those intelligent, well-versed pundits, I saw them only reluctantly dancing around the blackest of blacks and the whitest of whites in the physical realm of right and wrong, good and evil.
It was clear that only a few of them could foresee
anything less than total victory, and yet none of them addressed winning.
Victory, like glory, is fleeting. Winning is something… more.
It’s time we focused on winning. Not just winning the battle, but winning
Regardless of the ludicrous policies passing for socially acceptable behavior at home in America, the question posed by the rest of the world remains: “Just how terrible is our resolve?”
If America’s resolve had remained true since Admiral Yamamoto issued that warning of dreadful foreboding, our country would not now be at war. As a matter of fact, I sincerely believe the civilized world would be at peace and free of organized terrorism.
I am not selling Utopia. I am merely proposing that America should embrace reality.
We have been told that the struggle to which we have solemnly committed ourselves is going to be a long and costly one, both in American lives and American dollars. Recent polls tell us that Americans are willing to accept the horrific costs of this war even though it’s a war their own Congress is unwilling to formally declare. I believe Americans are steadfast in their resolve to make good on this curiously one-sided commitment because they expect us to win.
Interesting. I believe that’s what Americans thought would happen when they shelled out their hard-earned money for the War on Poverty and the War on Drugs. One would have thought we would have wised-up by now. After all the experiences and Monday-morning quarterbacking we’ve endured through those other two boondoggles, wouldn’t you think America would finally want to win one for a change? Wouldn’t you think a “War on Terrorism” is a tad more important to our way of life than those other two so-called wars?
One would think that, but…
I don’t think we have the stomach for what it takes
to win. I don’t think there’s a “terrible resolve” left in us. Because
we lack this terrible resolve, we have already missed our first and best
opportunity to win. That being said, it is my contention that we dare not
The roots of terrorism are as deep as they are ancient. Historically, terrorism is a means by which a theoretically oppressed people attempt to resolve political conflicts because they cannot achieve their goals via peaceful means. Ancient peoples, from the Jews to our American forefathers, have all been labeled “terrorists” by the oppressors (be they Egyptians, Romans, or the British Empire) against whom they fought, but history is and always has been written from the perspective of the victor who wrote it. I would hope that we intend to be that victor.
Frankly, I don’t care if we’re the ones deemed the oppressor by the people responsible for killing over three thousand of us in a single morning. And, for your children’s sake, I really don’t think you should care about how history views us, either.
As America’s previous president travels from college campus to college campus whining about the West and it being rife with terrorists and having basically invented terrorism during the Crusades, people who have at least nineteen firing neurons in their outraged brains are wondering why we’re still putting up with a foreign enemy intent on killing us. September 11, 2001 was not the first time we’ve been attacked by the same foe, so why haven’t we eliminated the threat?
While any fool can point fingers at this country’s quasi-imperialistic tendencies over the past two centuries, that same fool would have to admit that we’re hardly the worst force of nature to threaten this planet’s nation-state also-rans. True, we’ve completely forgotten Mr. Jefferson’s warnings about “foreign entanglements” and their inherent dangers, but that’s hardly our primary concern now that we’re at war. War is what it is. No politician, pundit or pauper should be able to convince this population otherwise. They will try, but this time, we must ignore them.
There is no “good enough for government work” half-baked strategic reprisal when your people are being slaughtered and maimed by the thousands. We have the opportunity to win. We have the means to win. We have the moral imperative to win. If we can find the courage, this time can and should be the last time.
I make no secret of the fact I haven’t agreed with a single U.S. foreign policy decision or policy since August of 1945. The fact we have to live in this world is not a worthy excuse to force us to live in fear. No one can force us to endure arcane rules of engagement. We are under attack, and these attacks will not stop until we convince our enemies – all six or eight or sixteen or thirty-five or fifty-nine or sixty or whatever the official count of terrorist supporter/sympathizer nations is (our State Department settled on forty-five) – that Americans are no longer a viable target.
We could have established this precedent back in 1979, but we were a leaderless nation back then, too. We had the opportunity to show the world we weren’t willing to trade 225 million lives for 52, but we didn’t. Instead, we decided to prove our national impotence in a way the Arab World would take great care to study and exploit. Until Carter’s Iran, international terrorism was an ill-coordinated series of opportunistic acts designed to shock and horrify, but no single act had brought an entire nation to its knees. We made a fatal decision that forever changed the course of our daily lives, but only a handful of Americans recognized the disaster at the time. We became a nation held hostage, not by terrorists, but by our own cowardice.
Since the close of the Second World War, the civilized world has been kept in a state of relative peace because of a policy known as MAD. Mutually Assured Destruction is a self-saving principle to which all nuclear powers adhere, because nuclear powers are the only ones who have everything to lose. Agree with the concept or not, you can’t deny history has proven it works – or, more correctly, worked.
The one caveat of MAD is that all the players have to have something to lose or the mere threat of losing doesn’t work. If a player has (relatively) nothing to lose, then the threat of losing it is as empty a threat as the “nothing” they have no need to fear losing. We live in a world where those with nothing left to lose are dictating the rules of engagement, yet we’re still playing using yesterday’s game plan. This is insane. It’s also proving suicidal.
America now needs to employ the one threat so real that it terrified our “old” superpower enemies like none other: playing to win and survive. The concept is known as MAS, for Mutually Assured Survival. It is not a sport for the weak of heart – which is precisely why we need to get in the game and implement it NOW.
Psychotic cavemen are killing our families. They use weapons of mass destruction – like our own aircraft, not to mention Anthrax – to attack our civilian populace. They are seeking (and already have) nuclear material to create, at the bare minimum, a “dirty” tactical nuclear device to unleash against us. If they can procure a real nuke, they will use it.
…And more Americans will die. Dead is dead. The manner of ordinance used is moot.
This is our reality. This is as real as it gets. We
need only decide whether we want to win this war or lose it. If we choose
the latter, we need do no more than what we’re doing now. If we choose
the former, we need to reevaluate our priorities as a nation and a people.
Survival is a trait of the fittest. Submission is the compromise of the
fittest to accommodate the weakest.
We are in a war not of our own choosing. It is a Holy War. It is time
we fought it as such.
Every just war this nation has fought has pitted us against religions of envy. Throughout our short history, we have been the targets of every freedom-loathing despot the world has produced. These despots cannot tolerate any society tolerable of individual rights. These religions of envy include Nazism and Communism. Now we face Wahhabism. It matters not that the zealous practitioners of this particular religion of envy pray on their knees. We should deal with them the same way we dealt with the worshippers of those other religions.
And, since they’re so damn anxious to meet their Creator, we should accommodate them before one more American is prematurely forced to meet his.
Save your horrified grimace for someone still offended by free speech. I will reserve my horror for the people of this nation who were and are victims of someone else’s divine crusade.
America must find its terrible resolve. We must make the price of terrorism so great that no political, ethnic or criminal entity will ever again consider it an option to further a cause. We are at a crossroads. The path we choose will not only decide the future of this nation’s freedom, but the future freedom of this entire planet. If the greatest gift is life, then we must be willing to preserve it. If this message isn’t sent now, we will surely have to send it later. If we wait, the cost of sending that message will be bought at a much higher price than any of us can imagine.
I am not advocating turning the vast desert landscape of the Nations of Islam into God’s own shaving mirror. This fantasy of what a nuclear response to the attacks of the Eleventh would look like (after the sand was fused by the heat and overpressure of a multi-megaton airburst) was quite understandable, but engaging in this fierce a response also strikes me as being quite, quite insane. Even so, I would remind the reader that the cable car system in Hiroshima was operational a mere three days after the blast. Think about that for a moment.
The policy of deploying tactical nuclear weapons in defense of a region is not insane. We have devoted billions of dollars to that very goal. The weapons are low in yield and “tidy” in their contaminant byproducts. They are known as “battlefield nukes” – and we have a lot of them. We need to accept the fact that they can and should have a new role in this new kind of war. They are the one boogeyman our enemy – an enemy who all-too-willingly dies for his causes – fears. Most importantly, though, they are the one boogeyman our enemies’ neighbors fear.
If a neighboring state harbors terrorists, but those terrorists are not targeting your country, your government probably has no interest in eliminating what is, for you, a non-threat. But, if that same neighbor state is on this country’s menu to receive the second B61-11 (a tactical, low-yield, ground-penetrating bomb designed to carry a “dialable” warhead of 0.3, 1.5, 3, 5, 10, 45, 60 or 80 kilotons) ever deployed in war – I say “second” because there will have to be a first if this policy is to work – then your government suddenly has one hell of an incentive to eliminate the threat.
Although the weapon I describe is generally far less lethal in its above-surface destructive prowess than any one of the Big Blues (BLU-82 Fuel/Air munitions; aka: “Daisy Cutters”) we’ve dropped on our enemies with regularity over the years, the very fact that we “thumped ‘em with a nuke” serves a not-so-unprecedented notice that we will stop at nothing – absolutely nothing – to achieve freedom from terrorism.
And free from terrorism we would be. Immediately.
You don’t win wars by accepting defeat. You win wars by eliminating the threat. If that threat isn’t neutralized, you have lost the war.
We’re fighting this war because we didn’t take out Karg Island (the Iranian’s primary oil tanking/loading facility in the Persian Gulf) in retaliation for 52 of us being taken hostage back in 1979. We’re fighting this war because we don’t hold our allies to their treaty promises when our embassies are bombed – an Act of War against the United States because an embassy is American soil. We’re fighting this war because we call it “terrorism” instead of “Act of War” when the USS Cole is attacked. We’re fighting this war because have not as yet neutralized the enemy.
The will to deploy nuclear weapons neutralizes all threats – including other nuclear states that subscribe to MAD. They would not, they could not, retaliate anymore than we could retaliate against Pakistan or India when they start trading nukes, because, like us, they all have something to lose, too. Let them scream. Let them call us insane. Let them cut off diplomatic ties…
…And then let them try to survive without us. Let the Arabs try to survive without us.
Like it or not, the Arabs depend on us. They buy our debt while they denounce us as the Great Satan, but they depend on us because we buy their oil. They know that all it would take for us to eliminate this cornerstone of their economies is for us to tell our own anti-American lobbies (the ones that claim Bullwinkle and Yogi are more important than human life) that we’re drilling for real in the Gulf and in Alaska. In the few years remaining before fuel cells eliminate the need for fossil fuels, America will have become self-sufficient once again.
They would scream even louder once the cord had been cut, and some of their operatives will most certainly attack us sooner (thus, with far less effect) than they had planned, but because they would forever know we are willing to defend ourselves in a manner that achieves a singular goal – the goal of self-preservation at any cost – the threat will quickly subside, because…
One American death buys them a 0.3-kiloton yield. Two American dead would buy them a 1.5-kiloton yield, etcetera. If we use the hammer once, we will never have to use it again.
All acts of terrorism would be met with the same response: the killers and the states from which they came would be identified; an appropriate ultimatum (with a specific timetable) for the state to eliminate the threat would be issued; this deadline would be kept (to the second). And, if said deadline passes and no satisfactory resolution has been reached, we eliminate the designated target – no matter where that target it is or how many lives it takes. Game over.
If we are willing to drop 12,600-pound conventional fuel/air munitions which squash the brains of anyone within a three-mile radius, why are we so squeamish about deploying ordinance specifically designed to bury itself, explode, and liquefy the earth around the murderous cowards attempting to hide beneath it? Sorry, but death is neither politically correct nor incorrect. Dead is dead, period. Our enemies understand this. Why can’t we?
Why waste a single American life winning?
And our allies, what would they think?
The British – supposedly this country’s greatest ally – have told us that they will not turn bin Laden over to us if he is to face the death penalty. Excuse me? The British are the exact same people who kill Irish children as sport, yet they presume to dictate to us that we can’t try and hang a murderer in time of war?
What would our “allies” think?
No matter what piece of paper you care to produce to say otherwise, America has always and will always stand alone. We now have NATO piloted AWACS patrolling our airspace while U.S. Air Force AWACS – some three-dozen of them – sit idly by on the ground because it makes our allies feel like we trust them to do the job for us. “PC” for Peace? A nation cannot survive by implementing an ersatz policy of internationally acceptable political correctness anymore than it can survive dictating a similar policy at home. It is time we begin to act like the world power we are. If freedom is to remain our champion’s banner, then let’s secure it for everyone – but on our own terms. It is time we grew up. It is time we stop thinking we can win the hearts and minds of people who have no more intuitive a concept of self-determination than an ant colony.
Freedom is often ugly in its sublime chaos, but it is a self-righting instrument. It has been and always will be Man’s supreme gift to his progeny. We have stumbled blindly through one sea of international turmoil after another since we lost sight of our founding imperative because we have allowed ourselves to think that dictating international harmony and political parody through subterfuge and corruption is somehow better than brute force. I speak not of dictating policy and making a world shaped in our image, but of allowing the so-called Third World to self-determine whether they want us as a neighbor or a target. Do they wish to enjoy the free exchange of goods and ideas, or do they want to murder our children? If they choose the former path, we can finally start an honest and productive dialogue. If they choose the latter, then they can rebuild after we’re finished with them.
We are not perfect. Perfection is an unachievable ideal sought by philosophers,
poets and fools. America has many of these, but we are sadly lacking in
realists. If we are willing to offer a safe haven for our many fools, then
surely we could accommodate our few remaining realists. It’s time to embrace
our imperfection and end this nightmare of fear.
In a single century, this country replaced literature with cinema as its primary social and cultural educator. Our heroes and villains no longer spring from the page, but instead leap out at us from the surround sound speakers of a darkened movie theater. When a nation’s schoolchildren can no longer read, I can only assume this transformation was inevitable. I suppose I should take solace in the fact that we even have heroes and villains in our popular cultural fiction, but I’m afraid the line between the two is so fine at times that we get their roles confused. Pity, because sometimes these figments of imagination are a better mirror of truth than we care to admit.
The most reviled bad guys in motion pictures disturb us because so many of us recognize ourselves in their dark and twisted – but somehow vaguely familiar – characters.
It is my contention that not all of them are intended to be bad guys.
In the 1964 film Fail-Safe, Walter Matthau played Professor Groeteschele, a character we are supposed to shun as a warmongering sociopath who advises the Joint Chiefs of Staff to launch a full-scale nuclear assault on the Soviets. In and of itself, that might be considered the raving of a madman, but, in what is supposed to be a defining moment in his character’s gestation as the “bad guy” here on the home front, Groeteschele utters the following line:
“Where do you draw the line once you know what the enemy is? How long would the Nazis have kept it up, General, if every Jew they came after had met them with a gun in his hand?”
The bad guy? Maybe in Hollywood, but not in the real world. In the real world, Professor Groeteschele’s worst vice is his grip on reality, his common sense and the sheer audacity to share his views. The real world is an ugly place filled with ugly realities. (See Part I: The Hijackings)
When John Milius wrote Marlon Brando’s character for what was supposed to have been the embodiment of man’s grotesque inhumanity towards his fellow man – the inimitable Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now – Milius succeeded in penning a single-sentence summation of why we lost in Vietnam. Colonel Kurtz, the “bad guy” whose “methods had become unsound” (according to American military standards), reads aloud into a tape recorder:
“We train young men to drop fire on people, but their commanders won’t allow them to write ‘fuck’ on their airplane because it’s obscene!”
The bad guy? How could someone who both understands the horror one must embrace to destroy the evil that seeks to destroy his fellow man as well as the unwillingness of his leaders to appropriately respond to that evil and embrace the reality that human life is more important than political correctness be considered the bad guy? Kurtz’s vice is no worse than Groeteschele’s, yet we remain fixated on casting logic as the bad guy when our people are dying all around us. When the worst happens – and it’s coming, I assure you – will America’s opinion of itself become more important to itself than to its enemies? (See Part II: Our Response)
When we are told that the real bad guy in this saga has finally been killed (not captured, I pray), will fat and happy Americans shell out one thin dime to go after the world’s remaining evil in Act II, or will we resume our national pastime of short attention spans punctuated by the New Speak dogma of the Extreme Left? Will we beg Washington to hang Usama, or will we browbeat our neighbor for driving an SUV because it uses “too much” gas? Will we demand that Congress declare war on our enemies and grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal per the Constitution, or will we stay at home and vote to reelect Gary Condit? Will we insist all the FBI operatives responsible for murdering children at a Texas church in 1993 be brought to justice, or will we make speaking against any law enforcement official a federal crime?
Will we – can we – make any correct choices anymore?
We shall see.
The world will be watching – and waiting.
We are not now what we once were, but we could be again.
We need to find and again be filled with a terrible resolve.
And we need to find it soon. Time is running out. We missed our first opportunity to end state-sponsored terrorism in 1979. We made the same mistake again when we allowed the current conflict to devolve into yet another “hearts and minds” misadventure of trying to prosecute a war where no one gets killed – not even the bad guys.
Label me as you will, but understand that I cannot find any value in discerning politically motivated shades of gray when the only logical options can be found in black and white. This is a matter of life and death for all freedom-loving men, because there is no life support for Freedom once America succumbs to the twilight of its self-induced coma. Holy War has been declared. We need to return the favor.
I have made what I consider to be a well-reasoned choice for the way this country should proceed from here. I believe we should follow the wisdom of our Constitution’s intended restraint to guard against the wrath of our own government’s zeal to protect us (thus making us even less free than before we were attacked), but I also believe we should fight this war using any and all military means possible. Untie our hands at home. Untie our hands abroad. Win.
Make your own well-reasoned choices in this war as your conscience dictates, but if you can’t find the courage to acknowledge that Groeteschele and Kurtz were right, don’t count on me being on “your” side. I won’t be a slave to your political correctness anymore than I would be to the fear our enemies wish to instill with every act of barbarism they commit. If you truly believe we really are better, then stop apologizing for it.
And please stop calling us united. I find it impossible to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a people so hell-bent on groveling before their gods of social decorum and political apathy when they’re faced with true Evil.
Thank you, but I would rather stand divided than kneel united.