Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Oderint dum metuant -- "Let them hate us, so long as they fear us"
I first heard about it around 10:00. From where I work, one could see the smoke rising from the Pentagon. There was much confusion, indecision, and misinformation until finally the building was closed and everyone sent home. As it happens, my home is also within sight of the Pentagon, and I could see the smoke again from my own window. I watched the TV news until President Bush made his initial statement:
Freedom itself was attacked this morning [How can "freedom" -- an abstraction -- be "attacked" with airplanes?] by faceless cowards. And freedom will be defended. I want to reassure the American people that the full resources of the federal government are working to assist local authorities to save lives and to help the victims of these attacks.
Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts. [U.S.A.!!! U.S.A.!!! U.S.A.!!!] I've been in regular contact with the Vice President, Secretary of Defense, the national security team and my cabinet. We have taken all appropriate security precautions to protect the American people [a little late ...]. Our military at home and around the world is on high alert status and we've taken the necessary security precautions to continue the functions of your government.
We have been in touch with the leaders of Congress and with world leaders to assure them that we will do whatever is necessary to protect America and Americans.
I ask the American people to join me in saying a thanks for all the folks who have been fighting hard to rescue our fellow citizens and to join me in saying a prayer for the victims and their families.
The resolve of our great nation is being tested. Make no mistake. We will show the world that we will pass this test.
A good, firm resolve. I felt reassured, glad and proud that he had risen to the occasion. That evening I watched his fuller, more considered address:
Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom [a much better turn of phrase] came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors.
Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil [yes!], despicable acts of terror.
The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness and a quiet, unyielding anger. [Couldn't have said it better myself.]
These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation.
Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America [yes!]. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve [yes!].
America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world.
Today, our nation saw evil [yes!], the very worst of human nature, and we responded with the best of America [yes!], with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.
Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government's emergency response plans. Our military is powerful, and it's prepared. Our emergency teams are working in New York City and Washington, D.C., to help with local rescue efforts.
Our first priority is to get help to those who have been injured and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks.
The functions of our government continue without interruption. Federal agencies in Washington which had to be evacuated today are reopening for essential personnel tonight and will be open for business tomorrow. [That's the spirit!]
Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business as well.
The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts.
I've directed the full resources for our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them. [Excellent!]
I appreciate so very much the members of Congress who have joined me in strongly condemning these attacks. And on behalf of the American people, I thank the many world leaders who have called to offer their condolences and assistance.
America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world and we stand together to win the war against terrorism.
Tonight I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me."
This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. [I hope so....]
None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world. [Forget the world, let's just avenge ourselves!]
Thank you. Good night, and God bless America.
Ten years of feckless, namby-pamby, bleeding-heart, thug-hugging liberalism have brought us to this level of vulnerability. We coasted through that decade on the strength of our long-delayed victory in the Cold War, and swift-won victory in the Gulf War. Most of us didn't notice or care that our military forces were being dismantled and that our foreign policy was to intervene anywhere in the world that our national interests were clearly not at stake, while responding to our enemies by lobbing a few random cruise missiles when Clinton wanted to distract us from his latest scandal.
Now we must fight, and fight for nothing less than victory. No more half-measures, no more "proportionate response," no more mollycoddling, no more "police actions" and "humanitarian interventions." The liberals are still here, of course, and have not changed a bit; they'll still be whining about the poor Palestinians and how awful it is that America is throwing its weight around in the world, yadda yadda yadda. (And there are also the "paleoconservatives," who've joined the Blame-America-First crowd, like the Vichyites who hated the Third Republic more than they loved France.) But war is no longer remote from our shores and our lives; we can no longer play at it, we have to take it seriously.
We should bear in mind that "victory" does not mean vengeance for this atrocity alone. If we limit ourselves to retaliation, we leave the initiative to the enemy, who will lose one battle but not the war. Victory means nothing less than the complete destruction of all Muslim terrorist groups and the regimes that support them (and, hopefully, taking their oil for reparations). It means, too, that we should give Israel a free hand, with our full support, against the Arab swine now dancing in the streets: no more nonsense about any "peace process."
We must also recognize the suicidal folly of letting Muslims immigrate to America. Of course, not all Muslims in America are terrorists -- but all the terrorists who committed this atrocity were Muslims in America. This would never have happened if we had kept them out. Do all the other ones offer us any benefits that outweigh the horrendous cost of letting in those few terrorists? Not in a million years. So why should we put ourselves in constant danger by letting them all stay, much less letting in any more?
Inevitably, there have been rash but understandable acts of hostility towards them. Journalists are happy to play up these incidents, which can be reported according to the familiar script of "ignorant, bigoted whites vs. poor, put-upon, dark-skinned minorities." Don't hold your breath waiting for journalists to ask tough questions about how our lax immigration policies made this atrocity possible. Expect instead that they'll whine about the "racial profiling" of "persons of Middle Eastern heritage."
If you value your country -- or just your own, individual life -- don't be fooled by the "be-kind-to-Muslims," "Islam-is-a-peaceful-religion" guff. That sort of thing is necessary for diplomatic purposes: it would be imprudent to take on the whole Islamic world if we don't have to. But in the cold, hard reality of this war (as opposed to the warm, fuzzy fantasies of bleeding-hearts and peaceniks) the inescapable fact is that our enemies are all Muslims.
War is not a court of law. We cannot afford to presume innocence. We must suspect them all until they prove that they are not our enemies.
Of course, random violence against individuals is stupid and useless, and should be prosecuted like any other crime. But if any of them are bothered by "insensitivity" and "discrimination," they should go back where they came from. Why should we be expected to care about the hurt feelings of a few aliens when thousands of Americans have been injured and murdered? Why should we be expected to care more about their hurt feelings than about the continued danger to us? Why should we coddle people whose loyalties are (at best) divided? How many more people have to die as sacrifices to liberal and Muslim hypersensitivity? I, for one, sure don't want to be sacrificed.
At the very least, our national security requires us to close our borders to further infiltration. Ideally, we should conduct a massive, but lawful and orderly, roundup and deportation of the ones already here. I recognize, alas, that this will be politically impossible -- unless some of them perpetrate even worse acts of terror. I sure hope I won't have to say "I told you so" -- or at least, that I'll still be alive to say it.
© 2001 by Karl Jahn