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Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 Wasn't A Tragedy

From today's Daily News:

There is a disturbing phenomenon creeping into the public debate about all things 9/11. Increasingly, Sept. 11 is compared to hurricanes, bridge collapses and other mechanical disasters or criminal acts that result in loss of life, with "body count" being the primary factor that keeps it in the top spot of "worst in the nation's history."

Misremembering is as dangerous as forgetting. If we must know one thing, it is that the Sept. 11 attacks were neither a natural disaster, nor the unfortunate result of human error. 9/11 wasn't the catastrophic equivalent of a 3,000-car pileup.

The attacks were not a random actof violence or insanity. They were a deliberate and brutal act ofwar committed by religious fanatics engaged in Islamic jihad against the United States, all non-Muslim people and any Muslim who wishes to live in a secular society. Worse, the people who perpetrated the attacks have explicitly told us that they are not done.

Sept. 11 is a date that comes and goes once a year, but "9/11" is with us every day. The body count keeps rising - Bali, Riyadh, Istanbul, Madrid, Beslan, London, Amman.

We now clearly know that the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was part of the holy war against America. When we previously dismissed this as a random attack by crazy men and declared ourselves lucky that "only six lives were lost," we effectively disarmed ourselves. Eight years later, six became 3,000. While the comparison to other "tragedies" may help us cope with what has befallen us, we must resist being glib and intellectually careless.

Our fellow human beings were not "lost" in 1993 or on 9/11. They were torn to pieces. We must not give the enemy any quarter. We must confront the reality of their acts.


It is true. But the human head and heart aren't the same things. Dangers which recede for long are only kept fresh aforethought through fanatic hatred or irrational fear, both long forgetting the real, simple, and definable hazard.

If we allow ourselves to hate, hate spreads like napalm and it won't stay with the theocratists, it will become every Muslim, every middle easterner, every brown skin person from "over there", and never stop.

Further, they aren't radicals. Saying they are radicals is like calling Orthodox Jews radicals. That would make the Reform the normative Jews. I'm pretty sure even the Reform don't think they're the normative ones. The radicalism is called for partly from Koran, more from Hadith, and even more from the writings after those. Just as the silly separatist rabbis tend towards the darker and less cheery aspects of Judaism, the theocratists tend to find themselves drawn to the less cheery but nonetheless present and real aspects of Islam.

To expect Islam to jettison the fire and brimstone is like expecting them to achieve the same slow maturation process from fervency to calm acceptance of conflicting sometimes contradictory ideas which took Judaism over a millenia and Christianity many centuries and they're still working on it.

And that frightens people. It frightens them because they can see the parallels between the extremes of what is supposed to be righteous and holy. It's not missed by Jews that the stories of killing every member of other tribes makes the compassionate cringe a bit in guilt. Modern Christians see the stories of the Inquisition and shudder.

Kind of hard to throw stones when you think of it as a matter of possible hypocrisy and while that instinct does humans credit, it is all the more proper for the older religions to reach out and say, "we've done this, you don't want to keep at this part of things" like a former junkie helping a friend through rehab.

We're also afraid because we know our hatred once aroused might go too far. We don't want to become so filled with hate as the people who'd do 9/11. We want to be righteous, not self-righteous. And we hesitate and stumble.

It's not pleasant, but sometimes it is darkly true that life is what happens when you make other plans, what you wish was true could not be farther from the situation at hand, and horrid thoughts must be thought and bloody actions taken. Islam is as a whole a threat as long as the bloody tribal aspects are celebrated, as long as the dark human traits of self-pity and irresponsibility are exploited by the Islamists among the common folk, and killing is still seen as acceptable.

The key to bringing this to a close is not mass extermination of the enemy through bombs and guns across Afghanistan and anywhere else they pop up. It's not to treat it as an act of G-d as if men did not act so vile as they did. It's to take the power of the ideologues and charlatans and opportunists and would-be Napoleons away: spread a word subversive to the bad message, overpowering it with an alternative feeling among the masses who empower them.

This is why I don't worry about crazy rabbis and foot-in-mouth Christian preachers. The modern Internet age is letting the people themselves subvert the unity of unthinking that leaders need to get them to give them power. If the leaders are leading to folly, there's more chance for the people to wimble and upset the would-be drive to maniac adulation such as Hitler enjoyed on the backs of ignorant and information-communication deficient Germans.

al-Queda may use the Internet to spread their message, but other Muslims are spreading a more mature and peaceful message too. And let us not discount tribalism's modernity. That which was incorporated into Islam is inevitably trumped by nationality. The Turks are Turks first, Muslims second. Egyptians won't take a back seat to Iranians. The Arab-centricity of certain Arab groups is still distrusted by otherwise as strident theocratists in Persian and Indian and Asian lands.

It can still be undone and stonewalled, and overtime choked and destroyed. And Islam be just another religion on the human market of ideas.
Ummm...suitepotato...I didn't see this post as an attack on Islam at all...but in any case.

Very well said, reminds me a bit of Daryl Worley's song "Have You Forgotten".
I didn't see it as an attack either. I was just stating what came to mind on how the standoff with Islam is not clearly defined in the public's mind.

If we keep chasing the wrong definitions, we will keep letting bad things slip off from the field, and start again some other day. Like the ring ending up in Gollum's hands and going quiet while Mordor rebuilt.

Stampedes don't happen in forests. I have faith the Islamic stampede is headed for old growth forest.
Somehow, it is more politically correct to say "tragedy" when the word the pundits should be using is "atrocity."
I have written about it ad nauseum-cllick on my 'Arab' or 'terrorism' labels to find posts on this.
Why are we so afraid of j'accuse? Because people are afraid of facing the bully.
At The Seaside


When I was down beside the sea

A wooden spade they gave to me

To dig the sandy shore.


The holes were empty like a cup

In every hole the sea camp up,

Till it could come no more.

-----by age of conan


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