Herein lies the folly of complacency.
Evil unacknowledged does not exist -- until it does. And then it is too late.
For me, this slideshow tribute still captures the sorrow of 9/11. It may take a few long breaths to fully load and about 15 minutes to view, but it's worth it.
The decent people of the world need to help future generations remember and understand the massive scale of human suffering that was caused by a handful of men with dead souls.
This is the chilling video and 9/11 call of WTC victim Kevin Cosgrove. For his sake -- for the sake of all who suffered like him -- for the sake of those who lie in the crosshairs of the next attack of Islamic terror against innocent civilians -- never forget.
Here are some of the things that happened after the 9/11 attacks:
Some in the Muslim world openly celebrated the 9/11 attacks on America, most notably in the Palestinian territory. The civilized world, on the other hand, shared in America's shock and mourning.
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Some Muslims almost immediately began to deny, to all who would listen, that Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden had planned and carried out the attacks. These deniers were closed and impervious to facts and evidence. When asked to explain why, for example, Mohammed Atta's father could not explain his son's sudden disappearance on 9/11, they had no answer. Yet they continued with their unfounded, outrageous claims. It was the first of many frustrating divides between ordinary Americans willing to face and acknowledge the truth and others in America and around the world who were hell-bent on concealing the truth at any cost.
Years later, when Bin Laden first admitted having planned the attacks, the same fools who had earlier denied that he planned the attacks continued on with their same unfounded claims -- now claiming as well (without evidence) that the videotape of Bin Laden admitting the planning of the attacks must be fake. As Bin Laden continued to admit responsibility for the attacks in further videos, and even after Islamist websites began to release video of Bin Laden meeting with the hijackers, the craziness shifted into more generalized anti-Americanism. Some fools hinted that maybe the 9/11 attack was planned by the Bush Administration, the CIA, Jewish people, or other Americans -- some of the most unsupported, sickening and evil slanders in the history of the world.
Those who spread such lies ignored -- and many continue to ignore -- all facts, evidence, and logic in an attempt to excuse men who viciously murdered innocent men, women and children in the name of Allah. They go out of their way to excuse Mohammed Atta, the 9/11 hijacker with dead eyes, and 18 other hijackers whose souls were equally dead.
The man at the counter in Portland on 9/11 seemed to know instantly, however, that before him stood one of these "dead souls." He says, "It was just the look on the one man's face, his eyes...everyone in America has seen a picture of this man, but there is more life in that photograph we've all seen than he had in the flesh and blood. He looked like a walking corpse. He looked so angry. And he wouldn't look directly at me."
Mohammed AttaThe Hijacker With Dead Eyes
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After 9/11, some well-meaning Americans, including some I count as friends, opposed taking the fight to the enemy in Afghanistan, even though Osama Bin Laden lived there and was being sheltered there by the Taliban. Later, when the war on Iraq began, these individuals shifted their objections to that war -- a more defensible position, at least.
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For many Americans who grew up after World War II, the 9/11 attack was a turning point that made them understand, finally, what the American flag meant to earlier generations. They no longer looked at patriotism as an embarrassing relic hauled out for Memorial Day and Veterans Day and then stowed away the rest of the year; we all felt it in our souls for a time. Many Americans put out American flags on our houses and cars in unity and in defiance -- this at a time when the nation still perceived itself as under attack.
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The nation and the economy underwent a long period of shock, alarm, worry and mourning. I was among many Americans who found it difficult to focus on work in September 2001. It took a long time for anything to feel normal again. Even driving to work in a downtown office high-rise felt like a risky maneuver for a while. And, indeed, security became very tight at high-rise buildings across America. It was a mournful time, as Ground Zero of the World Trade Center collapse continued to smolder and the search for survivors became the grim search for tiny bits and scraps of DNA.
There was an biological warfare scare -- and well-founded one, for it came with the reality of death -- when someone sent anthrax through the U.S. mail on and after September 18, 2001. At least 22 people developed anthrax infections, and five died. The letters contained messages such as "Death to America, Death to Israel, Allah is Great." The source of the anthrax was never found. Despite the explicit terrorist message, the working assumptions, supported by some evidence, was that the anthrax may have come from a domestic source. However, the investigation was inconclusive and the source of the anthrax was never determined.
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Since 9/11, there have been further terrorist attacks, dry runs, copycat incidents, and intercepted or pre-empted terrorist plots.
On December 22, 2001, Richard Reid, an al Qaeda member, attempted to explode American Airlines Flight 63 in mid-air on a flight between Paris and Miami by lighting explosives hidden in his shoes.
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Both before and after 9/11, Al Qaeda plotted to crash a plane into the 73-story Library Tower in downtown Los Angeles. At least four hijackers, including a pilot, were enlisted for the attack, but fortunately one of them was captured in early 2002 and identified other members of the plot.
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An American, Jose Padilla, was arrested in May 2002 and discovered to have associated with Islamic terrorists, including Al Qaeda, and to have attended a jihadist training camp in Afghanistan. There were early reports that he was believed to have engaged in a plot to explode a "dirty" radioactive bomb in the U.S., but he was convicted on charges of conspiring to fund and support terrorism and to kill people abroad.
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Beginning in October 2002, "freelance" American jihadists ("Beltway snipers") John Allen Muhammed and Lee Malvo began killing apparently randomly selected Americans in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area, in sniper attacks. The victims of the shootings that began in October 2002 included men and women at gas stations and a 13-year old boy arriving at school. In all, ten people were killed and others critically injured before the two snipers were apprehended. Among their effects were found several notes and other documents referring to jihad.
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In 2006, a plot was uncovered to destroy as many as ten transatlantic aircraft traveling between America and Britain, using liquid explosives.
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On November 5, 2009, an American-born Muslim of Palestinian descent who had achieved the rank of U.S. Army major serving as a psychiatrist, killed 13 people and wounded 30 others at Ft. Hood.
On Christmas Day in 2009, a Muslim Nigerian citizen attempted to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253 en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan.
The history of the Islamist war on America and on all of the West is still being written.
In retrospect, many Americans now realize that the 9/11 attack was part of a larger war of Islamic terror that began for America in November 1979, when Iranians stormed the American embassy in Iran, taking 63 Americans hostage. The hostages were held for 444 days despite all of President Jimmy Carter's best cajoling, wheedling, a failed rescue attempt, and sanctions, until Ronald Reagan was finally elected president and inaugurated on January 20, 1981 -- at which time the hostages were immediately released.
There were multiple terror attacks on America and the West between the 1970s and September 11, 2001. The problem was that each was isolated enough, or distant enough, or untraceable enough -- that each could be dismissed as "not our problem" or "not that big a problem" or an "isolated problem" or a "remote" problem. For example, there was an earlier 1993 bomb attack on the World Trade Center by Islamic terrorists during Bill Clinton's administration. During Clinton's administration, the U.S.S. Cole was also attacked and 17 sailors were killed, in an attack for which Osama Bin Laden took malevolent "credit." There were other bombings as well. An Iraqi plot to assassinate the first President George Bush was also discovered.
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America's greatest danger today is its growing complacency and its domestic political myopia. Even words like "terrorist" are now shunned by America's president and the leftist media -- ever afraid of giving offense or of reminding anyone of the perils of Islamofascism. At times, the media have gone so far as to refer to Osama Bin Laden as a "dissident."
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Some Americans are myopic enough to weigh every jihadist threat and every American response for its domestic political effect. During the presidency of George W. Bush, some were quick to rationalize and understand the motivations of Mohammed Atta and the other hijackers, and yet they were consumed with visceral rage toward this man, shown upon having been introduced to a girl, Ashley Faulkner, whose mother was killed in the 9/11 attack:
It is difficult for me to fathom how deeply myopic or empty of humanity a person must be that they can excuse Mohammed Atta and yet condemn George W. Bush.
Either they don't see the difference in the men or they see it but don't care. They don't care that they are choosing to side with men whose hearts smolder with rage like that pit of hell at 9/11 Ground Zero.
In the process, they commit a horrible crime against these:
These are only the victims of the 9/11 attack who did not survive the day. Many thousands more were critically injured, widowed, orphaned, crushed and bereaved.
When you give a pass to the cold, calculating murderers of your own countrymen -- and ooze malice against the decent leaders of your own nation -- what are you?
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Appeasement is not an option. Islamic jihadists want nothing less than the destruction of America, Western civilization, Israel, and democracy itself. They sometimes hide their intentions for the benefit of Western ears, but their hatred and jihadist purposes often seep out and are made plain. At that moment, we have a choice to look evil in the face -- or to avert our eyes and pretend it's not there. Too many are opting to look away.
Now, no less than on September 11, 2001, we need strong, persistent action against America's deadly enemies here and abroad. We need courage and determination. We need unity. If some of us forget, we will be forced to learn the lesson again and again.
When the skies are clear again, it's easy to forget that there are men whose hearts still smolder with sickness and rage -- men who even today plot the murder of more innocent men, women and children minding their own business.
And yet the numbers are undeniable:
This is not the number of dead at the hands of Islamic terrorists. This is the number of deadly attacks. The number of dead is much higher.
Here are some of "The Latest Offerings from the Religion of Peace," for example:
2010.09.09 (Yala, Thailand) - Muslim separatists shoot a 52-year-old Buddhist in the head then kick his body under a bridge.
2010.09.09 (Vladikavkaz, Russia) - A Shahid drives an explosives-laden vehicle into a market, blasting seventeen shoppers to bits.
|2010.09.09 (Mogadishu, Somalia) - Five Fedayeen suicide bombers storm an airport and kill nine others, including two women.|
|2010.09.09 (Kurram, Pakistan) - Militants murder ten bus passengers with an explosive device.|
2010.09.09 (Diyala, Iraq) - A woman is beheaded in her own home by suspected al-Qaeda 'insurgents'.
2010.09.09 (Muqdadiya, Iraq) - A cleric is beheaded and set on fire by Freedom Fighters.
Men who kill without conscience or mercy can dominate the world's stage for a time. Yet in the end this cancer carries the seeds of its own destruction.
We have something the terrorists don't.
Their envy is killing them.
But our secret is not in our wealth, our power, our technology, or our tallest buildings. They are only byproducts.
What we have -- that they do not -- is hidden in our hearts and souls.