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September 11th - Things Forgotten

The threatened abominably despicable proposed act of Terry Jones, the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville Florida to burn a Koran on September 11th makes it imperative to speak out.

His is a "place of worship" with 30 or so members about to sully the memories of nearly 3,000 Americans murdered in the attacks of September 11th. The proportion of the loss compared to the number of people about to perform a travesty is striking and stark. September 11th is undoubtedly a day that affected every American citizen, some more than others, others in ways different from the rest. But in taking the inflammatory step of burning a copy of the Koran in some faint and feeble attempt to "remember the victims of September 11th" Jones' threat is both sickening and perverted.

Since September 11th many people have taken numerous steps to illuminate and educate the populace about what happened. In a very real sense the Global War on Terrorism is being fought because it is truly a war on ignorance and bigotry. Bin Laden declared a jihad against the United States and the West in his now infamous fatwa of February 23, 1998 ) for those who are capable, here is the fatwa in the original Arabic).

In order to understand the last nine years you must understand the first 24 hours of the war -- and recall your own feelings in those 24 hours. First, the attack was a shock, its audaciousness frightening. Second, we did not know what was coming next. The attack had destroyed the right to complacent assumptions. Were there other cells standing by in the United States? Did they have capabilities even more substantial than what they showed on Sept. 11? Could they be detected and stopped? Any American not frightened on Sept. 12 was not in touch with reality. Many who are now claiming that the United States overreacted are forgetting their own sense of panic. We are all calm and collected nine years after.

• Remember the fear we all felt on September 11 and 12.
• Remember the American pride when Congress stood united on the steps of the Capitol on September 12.
• Remember the bravery of the first responders, many of whom perished in the aftermath of the attacks.
• Remember the families of the dead, some who dove to their deaths from the top floors of the World Trade to avoid being burned or crushed to death.
• Remember the resolve of everyone who has fought and some who died in the fight against Global Terrorism
• Remember that political correctness is not a replacement for knowing the enemy (it is not Islam, it is the radical, fundamentalist jihad, even if political correctness argues against calling it what it is).
• Remember that "they" still want to attack, whether in the U.S. or abroad and they have the patience and resolve to wait.

It is not at all intended that this entry be politically correct. But, perhaps some union of faiths, between the Western World and the Islamic World can emerge from the uproar that this little man in Gainesville Florida has spawned.

The greatest failure of American intelligence was not the lack of a clear warning about 9/11 but the lack, on Sept. 12, of a clear picture of al Qaeda's global structure, capabilities, weaknesses and intentions.

America's greatest failure could well be allowing a little man like Terry Jones to hijack the righteousness of our mission to fight and defeat global extremism.

I know that many are asking to ignore Jones and not bring attention to his threats. The lesson is probably that radical fundamentalism of any variety is destructive. General David Petraeus knows well that if Jones follows through on his misdirected threat, it will cost American lives.

Regardless of political persuasion and "rationales," from a political and policy perspective, inflaming emotions makes no sense at all. Sept 11th is a sad and tragic day. "Ich bin ein New Yorker."

References from the Stratfor article, "9/11 and the 9-Year War" are interspersed through this entry. 9/11 and the 9-Year War is republished with permission of STRATFOR.