In Memory of September 11 2001
The seventh anniversary of the worst foreign attack on American soil is fast approaching. This is a day when Americans are reminded of the sense of vulnerability they felt that day, the tragic scenes of a flight full of passengers slamming into a building along with the horrible footage of the poor souls who plunged hundreds of feet to their death after they made their choice of either jumping to their death or staying put and burning alive. This is an anniversary every American should take time to reflect upon. No one should attempt to politicize this tragedy that took over three thousand mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and friends away from our great nation. By noon on September 11, 2001, a new rule book had been written on what would be required in order to fulfill the Presidential Oath. Seven years later, many politicians and their supporters want to play as if the US Government has looked to the aftermath as an opportunity to expand its control over its citizens by exaggerating the threat posed by the enemies of the United States of America that have sworn to destroy her and her way of life. This day should make every voter take pause and remember that morning and recall what the nation looked for in its leader in the smoldering aftermath of that day. Voters should reflect on what has been the first seven-year-period without an unexpected attack on Americans at home or abroad. Now, those attacked are the heroic men and women who have bravely taken up the responsibility to find and engage America’s attackers. The attacks of September 11, 2001 were not the first time the group al Qaeda had attacked and killed United States citizens and her military men and women. It was not even the first time that the group had attacked the World Trade Center. September 11 was, however, the first time the nation was forced to face the reality that we were at war.
As our leader took the reins and charted his course of action to bring a sense of security back to the citizens, give a sense of justice to the casualties’ families, and to put a sense of fear into those looking to harm the American People, all Americans seemed to come together in a sense of unity and purpose. However, this was a new type of war. The battlefield was almost a mixture of the Cold War and the Vietnam War. Just like in the Cold War, America was fighting an ideology that was not interested in attempting to live in harmony with the American way of life. Like in Vietnam, we were not only fighting a traditional army of uniformed men. This was a war against ideologues that would not think twice about hiding among women and children or strapping a bomb to themselves or a woman or child in an effort to kill as many Americans as possible. The attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and the plan to attack the White House that was foiled by the brave Americans on United flight 93, proved that we were dealing with an enemy that would gladly give their own life to bring about the total destruction of the American way of life. This was a war waged against cowards who attack ordinary citizens without any notice or provocation. A war fought against soulless individuals that train their children with a religious devotion of fostering hatred for the United States and her ally Israel which is composed of people who have a history of surviving attempted genocide. The enemies in this war teach their children in grade school textbooks that Americans are descendants of swine and Jews are descendants of apes, both peoples are considered subhuman and deserving of the brutalities wished upon them. From the beginning, no one had any misconceptions of the evil we were facing. This would be a war with no borders, a war with no clear sign of when the field was taken. This was a war where the only benefit America would receive from victory was to be able to wake up every day without worrying if innocent Americans would lose their lives within our own borders.
September 11 was not al Qaeda’s initial attack on America, or even the World Trade Center. The World Trade Center was first bombed in 1993, killing six and wounding hundreds. In 1996, a bomb at the Kohbar Towers, a military housing complex in Saudi Arabia, killed 19 peace-time members of the United States Air Force. American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed in 1998 killing 224 people, mostly Kenyan. The Navy destroyer, USS Cole, was hit with a boat full of explosives during a port call in Yemen killing 17 brave sailors and injuring 33 more. In Somalia, the famous ‘Blackhawk down’ incident occurred in 1993 where 18 U.S. Special Forces Operatives who were in the country to assist the United Nations’ humanitarian effort were killed in an ambush by al Qaeda assisted forces. This was the first incident where US forces were actively engaged with members of al Qaeda. After the incident, President Clinton withdrew the military from Somalia and Osama bin Laden would be quoted that this showed him that America was a “paper tiger” that he believed would surrender if attacked. Al Qaeda had committed several acts of war, killing and injuring hundreds without a true military response. The United States had fired a few missiles at targets believed to be al Qaeda but a true definitive action was never attempted and al Qaeda was left to brew in their hatred, grow bolder, and plan further attacks on innocent lives.
After al Qaeda’s next attack, America was left with no doubt about the declaration of war. This would be a war where she was fighting for the validity of her way of life, for the right to grant the liberties her citizens enjoy, the same liberties that attract millions to her ports of entry every year. The fight was to ensure the right of American liberties to exist and thwart anyone’s efforts of placing Americans in a state of perpetual fear. This war for American liberties had not been fought since the Revolutionary War when the first Americans decided their liberties were worth fighting for and even dying. George W. Bush was the president unfortunate enough to be seated at the resolution desk when the planes found their targets on that September morning. He was the sole person in charge of plotting a course of action. In a matter of hours, he had been forced to put his campaign goals aside and stand up to punish those foolish enough to wake the sleeping giant. His first decision was swift and accurate to engage al Qaeda at their last known residence. The first target would be the government of the Taliban in Afghanistan that had a record of acting sympathetic to al Qaeda. The nation was united as America’s world class military successfully liberated the country from the oppressive government. As the Taliban fell, the man the military was after, Osama bin Laden ran into the mountains where he still remains, cut off from his followers, living like an animal, scurrying in and out of subterranean hideouts to avoid capture, and totally removed from any creature comforts of human existence. Every once in awhile he will release a tape to prove he is still alive but that is all he is, alive. He will never be able to live without looking over his shoulder, ready to grab everything and flee into the night, not allowing himself to sleep deep enough where he may not hear the brave Americans who are committed to seeing him die descend upon him in the middle of the night. As the Taliban fell and Osama bin Laden was condemned to living like a rat, it was still clear that the threat to America had not vanished into the mountains with the al Qaeda leader.
Over the previous decades, al Qaeda had worked to establish itself in any sympathetic country around the world. President Bush made a calculated gamble in his next action and it is that action that he is brutally criticized for today. He had recognized that America was attacked by a group in the Middle East who had expressed desire to attack for years and had actually committed several unopposed acts of war against the United States throughout the years leading up to September 11. Naturally, the US would look to the same region for a leader who had been associated with al Qaeda and who presented the same warning signs as al Qaeda over the years. Attention was drawn to a leader with a history of opposing the United States. This leader had offered sanctuary for al Qaeda leaders in the past when they were seeking to escape extradition. He had also provided Palestinian suicide bombers’ families with money to support them after their family members had blown themselves up and taken as many Israelis with them as possible. He had allowed an al Qaeda training camp to be established in his country. Through his use of biological weapons on his own people, it was well-known around the globe that this man wanted to develop more biological and chemical weapons and, from his record, there would be no limit to how many of these weapons he would gladly supply to those who pledged to exterminate the American way of life. Even though al Qaeda leaders have conflicting views with the leader in question, there is one view they all share that is stronger than any regional conflicting views. This is the shared extreme hatred of the United States and her allies. This leader, Saddam Hussein, was responsible for the killing of approximately 300,000 of his own people. He had displayed over and over that he had very little respect for human life and even less respect for international laws and sanctions. Several years before George Bush was elected, countless politicians, including the previous president and George Bush’s opponent for president in 2000, were quoted about the threat they felt Saddam Hussein posed to the United States’ security. We had learned on September 11, 2001 that potential threats must be dealt with on our terms before Americans could be forced to take notice through another display of destruction to the values that Americans are free enough to publically debate. Taking into account how President Bush was widely criticized for not stopping the attacks on September 11, even though he had only been in the Oval Office for eight months, had any Americans died from weapons or terrorists aided by Saddam Hussein, the criticism would have been even more relentless for not recognizing the threat earlier.
Being president during this period in American history is a thankless job. George Bush has taken actions that have deterred any further attacks on the level and frequency of what occurred throughout the period of 1993 through 2001. Yes, brave military men and women have given their lives in the War on Terror, but unlike in the 1990’s, they were actually engaged in military actions against their attackers. Many claim that George Bush and his administration are criminals and actually desire to have him court-martialed by the new administration that will replace him in January, 2009. Even more unbelievable is that there are now actually groups of people who claim that George Bush orchestrated the attacks of September 11 in order to make an unprecedented grab of governmental power. In only seven years, it seems as though a whole section of society has forgotten every emotion thrust onto them upon hearing the news of the death of so many of their fellow citizens. Many things can be said about politicians, especially unpopular politicians, but to claim that a leader, elected by the people would have any intention of masterminding such a diabolical scheme is completely outrageous. To claim that George Bush stole the presidency in 2000 with the sole purpose of running against the will of the people discounts the fact that the election was so closely decided. Roughly the same number of Americans voted for George Bush as his opponent. George Bush had as many supporters as the man he is accused of stealing the election from. The idea that the will of the majority of American voices were unethically silenced is outlandish with the narrow margin of victory that decided the election.
On September 11, 2001, younger generations finally understood the meaning that December 7, 1941 holds for the generations that lived through that fateful day. In the times after the September 11 attacks, the nation experienced unity around a single cause that had not taken place since the attack on Pearl Harbor, the unity that only comes from an entire population being indiscriminately attacked by a common enemy. Just because that enemy has not attacked over the past seven years does not mean they have given up. In fact, the coming years will be a strong testament to the resolve of the American people and their leaders. Eight years ago when George Bush won his first election, neither he nor his opponent had any idea of the challenges that were set to face the winner of that contest. Now, American voters have the advantage of considering the very real threats posed to us in the coming years when deciding who will lead America into the next stage of this war. There is no fear-mongering involved by looking for a president who will continue the seven-year-trend of no more surprise attacks on American civilians or military either overseas or on US soil.
Going forward, we as a nation will face new threats from a changing foreign policy arena. As displayed in the Spanish subway attacks which killed 191 and injured 1,755 in 2005 and the riots against the Danish newspapers that were only guilty of exercising a freedom to cover all topics, a liberty that our own media holds dear. These attacks were not waged against Republicans or Democrats. They were not targeting only Christians, Jews, or any other religious followers. These attacks were targeting free people exercising basic human liberties. Spain, Denmark, and the United States were attacked by the same people who proudly displayed their cowardly act of gruesomely beheading Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl after he had been abducted by the people who said they were taking him to interview their leader. The enemies we are facing have had their hatred of liberty nurtured since birth and inflamed throughout their lives. They have proven they are not capable of being reasoned with. There is no argument that will extinguish the hatred burning inside them. The only determent to their evil plans is a show of strength and unity of all liberty-loving countries in the world. Ignoring their attacks has proven to only guarantee more death and destruction. Now more than ever, Theodore Roosevelt’s philosophy of, “Speak softly and carry a big stick” is more relevant than any other time in history. The man who will lead after George Bush must love everything about America that her enemies hate. There is no room for empathy with those wishing to attack us. They must be answered with force and America must engage them before they can engage America. Iran and North Korea are stepping up their defiant efforts to become nuclear powers. Russia is being steered towards a new Cold War by leaders with histories in the Soviet-era KGB who are leveraging Russia’s role in the global energy market to oppress the same foes they focused on during the time of Soviet expansion.
While Americans reflect on the tragedy that touched every one of us seven years ago, we also need to look to the future and remember the morning of September 11, 2001 before it was divisively politicized. Reflect on the uncertainty felt that morning and the unity of a nation committed to confronting its enemies. Reflect on who will have the will to stand up to our attackers on a moment’s notice, without wondering what the political ramifications will be. A president that can stick to his plan of action in the face of international pressure otherwise because he understands that they did not see the towers fall on their soil. For over 230 years, freedom-loving people all around the world have looked to America for assistance in protecting all human liberties. This history is what draws the hatred from regimes that only seek power through taking liberties away from those not sharing their extremist beliefs. The next president of the United States must believe in the nation’s established history of being the main protector of freedom for all people no matter what political beliefs, race, creed, or religion. This man must face our potential attackers even in the face of brutal criticism at home. He must trust his own judgment to see his plan through no matter who calls him a tyrant whether at home or abroad. He must believe whole-heartedly in his plan and mission and the values of the United States. For seven years, the current president has worked diligently to protect everyone he swore to lead. Whether they are the people who cheer him or those who protest and categorize him with the world’s biggest monsters such as Hitler and Stalin, the current president has had the resolve to pursue a plan to protect us all.
To claim that politics are at play when asking Americans to consider the upcoming election while they remember the events of September 11, 2001, is only denying the threats that exist in the world. While Americans watched in horror as two mighty towers collapsed in a violent act of hatred and malice, they also saw images from abroad of men, women, and children taking to the streets in celebration of the death of innocent Americans. These were pictures that drove the idea home that there were people in the world that had the desire and will to inflict great harm on the United States and her people. At this time, security was the number one priority of every US citizen as we struggled to come to terms with what we just witnessed. Even though it is socially acceptable now to hate the president that steered us through this tragic, unsure moment in history, many should ask if they would have had the fortitude to pursue our attackers with the commitment George Bush has shown for the last seven years. If, God forbid, the United States came under similar attack, would we want a president to meet with the murderers and wait for public opinion to dictate action, or would we want a president prepared to act with a commitment to follow-through on the actions he initiates no matter how unpopular he is viewed on the international stage. September 11, 2001 changed how many generations of Americans view the role of the man they elect to lead them. It is crucial to remember back to that morning and to recall the fear and anger felt in the wake of the attacks. Even though ordinary Americans and peace-time members of the United States’ military have not seen attacks on the level of those leading up to the mass carnage of September, 11, it should not be forgotten that many attacks have been discovered and diverted in the last seven years. The situation in Iraq is close to victory but other threats are starting to become more immediate. The coming years will require a leader who will finish the long, hard work started under President Bush in order to even have a chance that future generations will have the luxury of being emotionally unattached to the events of September 11, 2001 as current generations had limited connection to the importance of December 7, 1941.
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