I guess I thought they were all gone, those types of monsters, stranded on reels of black and white film.
—Cara Ellison, in a 2007 post about 9/11/01.
Bookworm: “My life is divided into two parts: Before September 11, 2001 and after September 11, 2001.”
Simply evil: Christopher Hitchens suggests that sometimes the simple and obvious explanation for an event is more accurate than an explanation which relies on an elaborate structure of “nuance”
A time bomb from the Middle Ages. Roger Simon explains how 9/11 altered his worldview and many of his relationships
An attack, not a disaster or a tragedy. George Savage explains why the persistent use of terms like “tragedy” by the media acts to obfuscate the true nature of the 9/11 attacks. Much more on this from Mark Steyn
Claire Berlinski was in Paris on 9/11. Shortly thereafter she wrote this piece for City Journal
Marc Sasseville and Heather Penney were F-16 pilots with an Air National Guard squadron. Their order was to bring down Flight 93 before the terrorists in control of it could create another disaster on the scale of the World Trade Center…but their aircraft were configured for training, with no live ammunition and no missiles. A video interview with Major Penney here
Joseph Fouché writes about how the Taliban’s destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in March 2001, and the murder of Ahmed Shah Masood on September 9 of that year, prefigured the 9/11 attacks.
The Diplomad posts a speech he gave on 9/14/01, when he was charge d’affaires at a U.S. embassy. You will not hear speeches like that being given by diplomats under the administration of Barack Obama.
On September 11, 2005, Rare Kate didn’t go to church. Follow the link to find out why. In my original post linking this, I said “What if American and British religious leaders had responded the depradations of Naziism in the spirit of this liturgy? Actually, some of them did. The impact on preparedness was certainly malign, and the people who took such positions certainly bear a share of moral resposibility for the deaths and devastation that took place. Ditto for those who are behaving in a similar way today.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an important leader of the anti-Nazi resistance in Germany (executed in 1945), wrote the following:
Today there are once more saints and villains. Instead of the uniform grayness of the rainy day, we have the black storm cloud and the brilliant lightning flash. Outlines stand out with exaggerated sharpness. Shakespeare’s characters walk among us. The villain and the saint emerge from primeval depths and by their appearannce they tear open the infernal or the divine abyss from which they come and enable us to see for a moment into mysteries of which we had never dreamed.
The refusal on the part of many individuals to face the seriousness of the radical Islamist threat to out civilization stems in significant part, I feel certain, from a desire to avoid the uncomfortable and even dangerous kind of clarity that Bonhoeffer was talking about.
In previous posts I’ve introduced the metaphor of the attrition mill–a machine in which two steel disks, rotating at high speed in opposite directions, crush between them the grain or other substance to be milled. Our society is caught in a gigantic attrition mill, with one disk being the Islamic terrorist enemy and the other being the “progressive” Left within our own societies–some of whom are wishful thinkers who deny uncomfortable realities, an alarming number of whom forthrightly despise their own societies and the majority of their fellow citizens. Without the existence of the second disk, the terrorist threat would be serious, inconvenient, and dangerous, but would not be an existential threat to Western civilization. But it is the interaction of the two disks, despite the differences in their stated philosophies of life, that increases the societal threat by orders of magnitude.
Many more links at my 9/11/2010 post
This year, we must remember not only the atrocity that took place on 9/11/01–and the many acts of heroism that followed in its wake–but also the murders that took place in Benghazi on 9/11/12, and the actions of weakness, incompetence, dishonesty, and malice that have surrounded them. Specifically, we should remember that the responsible executive, Hillary Clinton, failed to provide adequate security for the embassy, and then denied responsibility on grounds that she had not personally seen the cables that had been sent by embassy staff and the responses that had been sent out in her name. We should remember that the Obama administration–including, specifically, Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice–systematically denied that the attack had anything to do with pre-planned terrorism and instead to blame it on an American citizen who had been exercising–however tackily–his free speech rights. We should remember that the Commander-in-Chief, Barack Obama, failed to provide effective leadership in sending assistance to the embassy staff under attack. We should be aware that the Obama administration continues to stonewall on providing comprehensive information to Congress about the events of that day, and that it has attempted to intimidate officials who have shown a willingness to share information with the people’s elected representatives.
The Benghazi debacle reminds me of something in the memoirs of General Edward Spears, who was Churchill’s emissary to France in 1940. There was a disturbing amount of defeatism, and in some cases actual sympathy with the Nazi enemy, among certain government officials and other French elites. Weygand’s friend Henri de Kerillis, a Deputy and newpaper editor, had been consistently pressing Prime Minister Daladier to investigate some sinister behavior by members of the extreme Right.
“Il faut de’brider l’abces,” he had said time and time again to the Premier. He had done so again lately and received this strange answer: I have done exactly what you urged, I have opened the abscess, but it was so deep the scalpel disappeared down it, and had I gone on, my arm would have followed.” This was really very frightening, and I said so. “You cannot be more frightened than I am,” said Kerillis.
I feel sure that we are going to find that the abscess revealed by the Obama administration’s behavior re Benghazi goes very deep indeed.
21 thoughts on “9/11 Plus Thirteen Years”
Gerard Vanderleun put up a transcript of his real-time writing (posted to the conferencing system called The Well) on 9/11/2001. Deserves to be read.
Thanks for posting this, David.
An important book that I stumbled on a few years ago is Touching History .
My review of it is here .
It tells the story of the response to the 9/11 attack as it was improvised by the military, the airline pilots and the air traffic controllers. A little bit of it was shown in the movie “United 93” but in that film it appeared that the military was completely ineffective. In fact, the military response was rapid and effective but the nation’s air defense command was fighting to stay in existence at the time and had extremely limited capability.
Monica Crowley digs up an article in the Hyde Park Herald, written on September 19, 2001 by an Illinois State Senator named Barack Obama….and analyzes what it tells us about this man’s worldview and lack of intellectual depth.
End and Geraint….a poem written by Grim on 9/11/2001.
Added a photo.
I remember when those big Buddhas were dynamited. If I recall correctly, it took days or weeks to destroy them all, so there was enough time for repeated worldwide outrage. The ostensible top Muslim clerics of the day condemned it and formed delegations to plead with the Taliban to stop. It made for good headlines and copy, but upon further reflection, those Islamic authorities weren’t so influential or representative of Muslims. They were either Indians or worked for the UN. Not only did they spread the ‘religion of peace’ fallacy that obviously got us to terribly miscalculate and ignore the threat, but it must have emboldened the Jihadis.
“This is the best they can do”, you can almost hear them say to each other.
Thirteen years. And now we wait for the other shoe to drop.
When you speak of Bonhoeffer’s clarity, it is moral clarity to which you are referring, and it is that clarity which has been largely destroyed by the relentless moral relativism of modern intellectual bankruptcy.
We cannot deal with the threats we face in any realistic manner because we can no longer construct a moral position from which to act. To do so would require us to view ourselves as legitimate moral actors, and that position for western culture has been undermined consistently by the collectivist fallacy which has dominated our intellectual and moral viewpoints for more than a century.
Ideas take a fairly long time to work their way through a culture, and the 19th century’s reaction to the threat of individualism, embodied, however imperfectly, in the Constitution and it’s related writings, was a wholesale exaltation of the collective, whether described as the spirit or blood or folk or race or state or class, or any number of other mystical entities, which demanded the immersion of the individual, and the surrender of his autonomy as an intellectual and moral actor.
These ideas were not, as so many of the authors asserted, revolutionary and transformative, but were, instead, a reversal of the truly revolutionary concept of the rational individual as the primary source of power and energy in society, and a reversion to the ancient conceptualization of a higher reality which rendered this world a meaningless way station on the road to the afterlife, or paradise, or utopia, or whatever fantastic dream world the future would miraculously consist of if we only surrendered our stubborn, evil individuality and joined the collective.
The epitome of this visualization in the ancient world was the pyramids of Egypt—an entire society enslaved to the construction of some enormous vehicle for the transportation of the god-king into the paradise of the afterlife.
The cathedrals of the middle ages in Europe, or the fabulous temples found scattered around the world from Asia to the Americas, are examples of the later manifestations of this mania with the “next world”.
In our modern world, the battlefields, concentration camps, and gulags of the collectivist lunacy which still infests our culture can be found across the globe.
And, as we confronted, battled, and defeated the aristocratic order in WW1, and then the racial collective in WW2, which includes the Asian god-emperor militarism in the east, and the class collective in WW3, (the cold war), we now face the theocratic collective of the embryonic caliphate in the making.
It will require a repudiation of the progressive revisionism of our culture and history in order to re-develop the sort of moral clarity and intellectual confidence needed to withstand the violent arrogance of the current enemy, and to generate the will to destroy it completely, instead of the half-hearted, tentative manner with which we have actually nurtured its growth into the current danger.
If this conflict is to be won, then it must be waged here at home, as well as on some foreign shores. And the former battle will be much more difficult and complex than the latter, by several orders of magnitude, because it will be an intellectual and moral struggle as well as a possible physical one.
The book says we do not know the day, nor the hour, when the test will come.
We who are committed to the concept of the individual as the spring from which all rights and powers flow, must gather all our resources, whether moral clarity, intellectual coherence, or physical strengths, and be ready for the moment when we might be called to stand for what we believe.
For some, it may indeed be the battlefield, for others it might be a discussion at work, a school board meeting, a city council debate, or some election campaign, whether local, statewide, or national.
It does not matter when the test comes, and how it comes to each of us, or the form it takes.
It shall come. Stand ready.
Jonathan…I had not seen that photo before…thanks!
Cassandra: On September 11th, two Americas
Daniel Greenfield: Divided we stand
Lori Lowenthal Marcus: 9/11 yanked the veil from my eyes
I had just gotten home from work (night shift at a hospital) and sat down when my mother-in-law came in and said “turn the television on, they’re burning the place down”. The police cars and helicopters were suddenly much heavier than usual, and my wife was freaking out, trying to call her girlfriends that were headed to the city (what Manhattan is referred to by the outer boroughs). I wanted to go outside to get a better look, but she would not let me. Finally, in the afternoon, I walked down to the Promenade, a famous city park that overlooks Manhattan and the East River. On the way down Flatbush Ave. I was reminded of the images I had seen after Mt. St. Helens had erupted. People in shock covered with a brown dust walking right up the middle of a four lane avenue devoid of cars. No cars, eerily quiet, the way it is after a heavy snow in the city. As I got closer to the waterfront, the dust was so heavy, I had to pull my t-shirt up over my face to keep from inhaling the stuff. When I made it down to the park, the place was full of people staring in bewilderment, many crying, just staring not saying much. That was the scene for a while, quiet streets, where they were almost always noisy. The hospital called that day, cancelling all vacations and informing everyone to be on call for “mass casualties”. Later, the weeks and months that followed I pretty much quit listening to music, in fact one of the local bars, had unplugged their jukebox, everyone drinking in relative silence. Things changed for me, the city that had held my fascination since the seventies, was now becoming a place I no longer wanted to be, the multi-culti wonderland of hipsters and hennaded beards was something I wanted to get away from. I could type for hours, there’s just so much…thirteen years later, I still don’t like what I see, in fact, I like a lot less.
Let’s not forget, many muslims celebrated…
” Our society is caught in a gigantic attrition mill, with one disk being the Islamic terrorist enemy and the other being the “progressive” Left within our own societies”
Sounds like a call for a civil war, a call for treason trials and mass executions, and call for decades long war culminating the extirpation of Islam. Good call.
“We need to destroy any and all capacity of anyone living anywhere to do anything like this ever again”
“There is no justice swift enough or sure enough.”
“All that we have must be brought forward and used without restraint. This is an act of war beyond Pearl Harbor.”
Mecca and Medina still stand. Riyadh is still an important capital. The “peace process” is still underway. Millions of legal and illegal migrants from Islamic countries still arrive in both America and Europe.
In short, there wasn’t enough justice, wasn’t enough destruction, and was too much restraint.
It was all empty talk.
I guess those calls for nuking Mecca and Medina weren’t out of line after all. Too late now.
Sounds like a call for a civil war
“Attrition mill” is obviously a descriptive metaphor for how different groups in our society interact. It is not a call to action, any more than saying that someone works in a “pressure cooker” office implies that that person should be or deserves to be subjected to work pressure.
There won’t be any civil war here, because there is no group that believes both that the outcome would be desirable and that it has a high enough chance to prevail. There will be continued political competition and attempts, particularly by the Left, to use the machinery of the state to impose its views on everyone else. As long as the Left can use legislation, bureaucracy and the courts to do this it has no need for mass violence. Conversely, if the Left loses the ability to use state institutions for such purposes it will be even less able to pursue any kind of real civil war. Terms such as “cold civil war” confuse nasty political competition with war, and miss the point that there has always been nasty political competition, that nasty politics is to be expected in a closely divided country, and that politics is not much like real war even if many of the people on the opposing sides hate each other.
Americans will continue to be sharply at odds on political issues until one side becomes a significant majority. This could come about through persuasion by argument or persuasion by events. Argument doesn’t seem to be working so far. Persuasive events might include financial crises as the welfare state overspends its tax base, political crises as citizen opposition to state power grabs passes tipping points, defense crises if we get attacked again at home or if our govt continues grossly to mishandle its foreign policy, or unpleasant surprises.
“Persuasive events might include financial crises as the welfare state overspends its tax base, political crises as citizen opposition to state power grabs passes tipping points, defense crises if we get attacked again at home or if our govt continues grossly to mishandle its foreign policy, or unpleasant surprises.”
I think this will come although I don’t know when. I have five children and two of them are probably even more conservative than I am. I am more libertarian, being pro-choice and tolerant of gay marriage although I think it a fad. Three of them are lefties, two quite determined and I have thought a little bit about why. My oldest son is probably taking, as usual, the opposite of what dad thinks even though he will be 50 next year. He also married a determined lefty who has a PhD in psychology. That is a combination for real self confidence. Both of the two lefties are lawyers, another factor. Neither seems concerned with the issues I worry about. Both are pretty successful and may just be content with their lives and want to avoid worrying about things.
The third is still working on her future and seems to be open to other ideas although she is much more worried about global warming than ISIS, for example. She was a vegan at one point but lived in Spain for a year and told me she would have starved to death as a vegan in Spain, so she is adaptable.
A major event like you describe will shake those capable of changing their minds, much as 9/11 changed some minds, but some will ignore anything but real disaster and then blame the wrong people.
“As long as the Left can use legislation, bureaucracy and the courts to do this it has no need for mass violence.”
OK. Looks to me more like the progression in Germany: intellectual papers, speeches, political parties, independent action, judicial action, parliamentary action, dictatorship, mass murder, but perhaps you’re right.
Good to know that if one thinks one’s society is being destroyed by internal and external enemies, that it’s just a metaphor, that there is no actual destruction. Had me worried there for a minute.
Good to know that if one thinks one’s society is being destroyed by internal and external enemies, that it’s just a metaphor, that there is no actual destruction.
What I said was that the attrition mill is obviously a descriptive metaphor and not a call for civil war. It’s obviously a metaphor for a destructive process.
I don’t think the use of metaphors to explain what’s going on implies that one thinks there is nothing really going on. It seems to me, on the contrary, that David is very concerned about the damage being done to our country by the nexus of Islamism and leftist activism.
>> David is very concerned about the damage being done to our country by the nexus of Islamism and leftist activism.
I worry too, and wonder as well at motivation by the left. I have pet theories and explanations. But other times the leftists just seem culturally suicidal.
“It is not a call to action”
It’s a good metaphor.
I’ll get the popcorn while the free peoples, Jews, and Christians (the grain) are attrited by the Progressives and Islam (the disks and the miller). We can carpe, criticize, and cavil. And analyze, too, for while.
How’s that process look? Under Progressive rule, death camps, killing fields, mass starvation; under Islamic rule crucifixion and Dhimmitude. Or have both in Rotherham.
Can’t make an omelet without breaking a few egg, can’t have progressive-islamic utopia with grinding a few bones.
“wonder as well at motivation by the left”
The analysis of human nature by Islam and Progressives is similar, but the conclusions differ. Both, for instance, believe in arbitrary government power in service to an elite party of ideologues. Both Clintons, Hilary and Bill, have praised Iran as Progressive. I accept their educated, rational, expert judgment in this.
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