9/11, Eight Years On

It hardly seems possible that the tragic events of September 11, 2001 are now eight years in the past. But that is how time flies. We all remember where we were when we heard the news – that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. It must have been a small Cessna or a lost commuter airliner, we all thought.


But on such a clear day? It did not make sense.


Within two hours of the initial report, both towers of the Trade Center lay in smoldering ruins and the Pentagon had been hit as well.


We all have seen the footage of that crystal-clear day repeated over and over, and have debated it many times. And we all should have come to only one conclusion by now: It never should have happened.


And we should be angry that 9/11 did happen. Because it is so preposterous that it boggles the mind, that a group of angry 20-something Islamists from the Middle East took over American airliners – with box cutters!! – and caused a national catastrophe. No Hollywood studio would believe such a fantastic plot.


But that is what we get when a negligent president like Bill Clinton fails to track terrorists in favor of chasing Monica Lewinsky around his desk. Because during the very same years that the terrorists were infiltrating into the United States, obtaining drivers’ licenses, moving freely about the country, taking flying lessons, communicating through the internet, getting funds from overseas and taking reconnaissance flights on commercial aircraft – all suspicious activity – Clinton was becoming immersed in a petty sex scandal that showed him for what he really is.


Of course liberals blame Bush for 9/11 because it happened on his watch. But Bush was given an empty briefing book on terrorism. For eight years, Clinton paid no heed to the activities of these suspicious people, even in the wake of the February 26, 1993 attack on the World Trade Center when a truck bomb was detonated in the parking garage underneath the North Tower just one month into the Clinton presidency.


The whole nation paid no mind. A British-born American citizen and Vietnam War veteran named Rick Rescorla, who became a private security expert, had tried to warn the owners of the World Trade Center about the potential for an attack in the parking garage, and they ignored him. Rescorla then warned that the terrorists would return, probably from the air. Rescorla was the security chief at WTC-based Morgan Stanley who died on 9/11 after his warnings went unheeded.


On June 1, 2009, four-and-a-half months into the Obama presidency, an American-born Islamic convert Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad killed an American soldier in West Little Rock, Arkansas. Pvt. William Long died standing outside the Army-Navy Career Center when Muhammad opened fire from a passing vehicle.


Muhammad was born Carl Bledsoe and converted to Islam and was said to have had political and religious reasons for attacking an American soldier. Muhammad admitted after the killing that he shot Long and another soldier “because of what they (the US military) had done to Muslims in the past.”


An FBI joint terrorism task force reportedly had been tracking Muhammad. He had traveled to Yemen, trained at a terror camp there and was arrested and jailed there for using a Somali passport.


So after more than 7 years of post-9/11 vigilance under president Bush including the arrest and conviction of many terrorists including the Liberty City group, the Fort Dix group and others, Obama has slacked off on surveilling and tracking terrorists, and we have had out first attack under a Democrat administration. This is a follow-on to Clinton laxity including failure to respond in any meaningful way to the WTC attacks of 1993, attacks at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, or to the simultaneous bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.


And now the Obama administration is directing that enemy combatants picked up on the battlefield in Afghanistan have their Miranda rights (“You have the right to remain silent…”) read to them and plans to move Guantanamo detainees to American soil. This eventually will turn our courts into circuses for the jihadist cause, with leftist lawyers as complicit ringmasters.


And so as former vice president Dick Cheney and others have been warning, the Obama administration’s stand-down approach to terrorism – apologizing to the world for American strength; the dropping of charges against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri who is charged in the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000; or media and Democrats’ insistence that America is the bad actor on the world stage – now is fueling the fire of those who hate us.


How should we proceed? First we should reject Obama’s endless criticism of America. This is intended to weaken America psychologically and to make our nation acceptable to the multiculturalists who dominate some of the more wretched corners of the planet. We have been through this before with Clinton and Carter. And the results have been horrendous.


Second, we must stop acting like terrorists are misunderstood or have some valorous side. They are bad people. And after Obama’s plan to close down Guantanamo, the American public – even the lefties who want Gitmo shut down – all said unanimously that they did not want these Islamists in prisons in their districts. Because when you really think about it, they are not harmless. Hooray for common sense.


Third, we must continue to take the international threat seriously. Obama has been wise to ramp up our presence in Afghanistan, and not to pull our troops out of Iraq precipitously. But the apologetic nature of his speech to Muslims in Cairo is disturbing. This sets the tone for a détente with Islamic radicals rather than a willingness to confront them militarily and to defeat them.


Fourth, we must keep our eyes open to domestic activity. The Little Rock killing was just a taste of something we should have been pursuing. That it was allowed to happen shows more Democrat laxity in which we ignore terrorism and then  treat it as a law-enforcement issue – after the fact, that is.


Perhaps the debate over where to put the Guantanamo detainees really put the whole issue into perspective. When it came down to brass tacks, Americans decided that terrorists really are bad people. If we could only convince the editorial writers at the New York Times, that would be grand.


We also must disabuse ourselves of one big myth about 9/11 and that is that it drew Americans together. This is false. Democrats have used every aspect of our war against terrorism since 9/11 as a cudgel to beat those who wish to defend our nation – the military, the CIA, Bush, Cheney. Millions of Democrats even believe that Bush was behind 9/11, egged on by radical nuts like Michael Moore. Attorney general Eric Holder’s recent decision to go ahead with investigations into CIA interrogations is another step in that direction.


But it is important to remember that a few tough interrogation tactics – most would dispute that they even were tough in the first place – have been employed because we are not battling soldiers wearing the uniforms of another nation and fighting by some recognized standard. We are confronting people who fight dirty in every way possible – targeting civilians as on 9/11; using women and children as human shields; employing young people as suicide bombers; and firing from mosques and cemeteries. Democrats do not seem to think this is significant. They think only that the real bad guys are on our side.


Even on the day of 9/11 Democrats were criticizing Bush for reading to school kids for eight minutes after the first hit was reported – when most Americans assumed it was an accident – to a prolonged rant against Bush for flying around on Air Force One rather than returning immediately to Washington, which obviously was a very unsettled place. 


So the Democrats ultimately have used 9/11 as a weapon against Bush, Cheney and the military, rather than against terrorism itself. Obama even wants to use 9/11 as a “day of national service”. What a crock…


And while Bush’s foray into Iraq has been seen as misguided, a mistake, and an opportunistic response to 9/11, we must consider three things: First, that before Iraq we knew much less than we know now. There were many Democrats egging on the toppling of Saddam Hussein.


Second, that ultimately we have succeeded in Iraq, and that nation likely will remain a democracy and will contribute to Middle East stability, reducing the overall terrorist threat going forward.


And third, that Iraq backhandedly gave the US a ‘shooting gallery’ where front-line jihadists gathered to confront the evil America and were badly beaten. This has been a huge win in the war on terror, unfortunately at a very high cost to America. There probably is not one single American who would not want every soldier back who has died or been injured in that conflict. But that does not mean we have not made big gains by going into Iraq.


There is an unwritten code called “the benefit of the doubt” which is part of any generous, free and open society. It gives us breathing room in dealing with our dilemmas. Only problem is that Democrats have given that benefit to our enemies every time, and never to America. The media treatment of our military is truly an  abomination.


War is hell and so is the terrorist threat, particularly with the proliferation of nuclear weapons by nations like North Korea. But unless we do the hard and dirty work of confronting this new barbarism, we will see another 9/11 and possibly much worse. Because the threat is a Thousand Year conflict. Or at least that is the way the terrorists see it. And unless we do too, there will be more woe for America down the road.


Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.