Have you forgotten?

September 11, 2001. I was working from home that day. I was utterly absorbed in whatever mundane work-related problems I was trying to solve when the phone rang. It was my daughter, in tears, asking me what was going on. I had no idea what she was talking about. She just said, "Turn on the TV! Turn on the TV! It's horrible!"

I did, and it was. The closest TV happened to be in the bedroom, where my wife was still sleeping. I woke her, but all I could say was, "Look". As the nightmare day transpired, all sorts of rumors came and went. Nobody knew anything except that the Pentagon and World Trade Center Towers (both of them) had been rammed by passenger airliners and were burning.

I watched in horror as both towers collapsed before my eyes on live TV. I later watched as Palestinians danced in the streets and passed out candy. Kurt managed to dig that one up for me, and it's here now. I haven't forgotten.

The people who did this believe that God has commanded that the world embrace Islam. Their mission is to achieve that by killing everyone who resists. By their lights, theirs is a holy cause. They are not susceptible to persuasion or compromise (except as a means of buying time). They don't want validation, or land, or possessions. They want us to become Muslims or die. Whether we think it's a war or not, they do. They have used force and intend to keep using it. Most Americans have come to the realization that these people must be opposed by force until one side or the other no longer has the power to inflict harm on the other.

But...

...there is another version of the past out there that shapes the present debate, and could determine the future. It is a past that emphasizes the defeat in Vietnam, and the arrogance and blindness of the Best and Brightest. It is a past in which evil could have been safely kept in its box, contained, or just ignored. It is a past that leads to a present in which September 11th didn't change everything. Or much at all.

With only the occasional attack on our embassies, ships, and skyscrapers, we managed to enjoy an economic boom for most of the Clinton Years. At least till the dot-com bubble burst. Why can't happy days be here again?

Paul Greenberg
Who controls the past? Zell Miller, memory and politics
©2004 Tribune Media Services

These people have their heads...in the sand. As Tony Blair pointed out, the Jihadists killed three thousand Americans that day. If they could have killed three hundred thousand or three million, they'd have done so. The terrorists haven't given up. They haven't forgotten. And we had better not. I've collected these from assorted places around the web to help you remember.