A Meditation on 9/11

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The 2010 anniversary of 9/11 has come and gone and the question that people are asking is whether America has learned anything from the most devastating attack ever launched on the American mainland. Has anything changed since the early days when a terracotta army of treasonable intellectuals assembled in rows to condemn the United States for having deserved the carnage visited upon it—and in the process acquitted both the terrorists who slaughtered thousands of innocents and Islam itself which incubated their murderous rage?

The rogue’s gallery is represented by the likes of Ward Churchill, Robert Jensen, Edward Said, Susan Sontag, Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, Ramsey Clark, William Blum and Howard Zinn, to name just a sparse handful.

That millions of Muslims celebrated 9/11 worldwide is understandable if deplorable; but that highly-educated Western intellectuals should blaspheme the memory of their own dead is almost beyond comprehension and surely beyond repentance. The sympathy they so prodigally exhibit is almost never with their own people, the particular individuals murdered by the terrorists—office workers, firemen and policemen, passengers, pilots and flight attendants, mothers and young children facing the horror of their own approaching deaths—but with an abstract population of Afghanis, Iraqis and Muslims worldwide to whom they gave scarcely a passing thought before the American counteraction.

Nothing much seems to have changed since September 2001 though the rhetoric has been toned down, more or less. The contemporary nuances, however, merely camouflage the underlying anti-American toxin. President Obama assures us, in the very teeth of the monstrous, that “we will not or ever be at war with Islam” but with “a small band of sorry men” who have hijacked a religion of peace and amity. The president is here displaying either his ignorance, his duplicity or his sympathies, probably all three. Similarly, Obama’s national security adviser for counterterrorism, John Brennan, acting on the orders of his boss, denies that “there is an Islamic dimension to terrorism,” which is tantamount to denying that there is a physical dimension to homicide.

The current development around which the ongoing controversy revolves is the proposed construction of the Cordoba mosque abutting Ground Zero, which has become what T.S. Eliot called an “objective correlative,” defined as “a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of [a] particular emotion.” Many have come out in support of this project. The mayor of New York is all for it. Dennis Prager provides a long list of invective-spewing human keyboards like Michael Kinsley, Roger Ebert, Andrew Sullivan, Peter Beinart and James Zogby who have launched virtual obscenities at those who oppose the mosque. Media types like Dick Cavett, Frank Rich and Nicholas Kristoff and an army of left-liberal temporizers and appeasers, as Susannah Fleetwood points out, have all given the green light to the Cordoba project, notwithstanding that nine years after its destruction the World Trade Center has yet to be rebuilt.

Their logic and methodology are wondrous strange. Although political leaders, intellectuals, journalists and peace marchers have rallied around the mosque, stressing its sponsoring imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s constitutional right to build the mosque wherever he pleases, they have at the same time savagely attacked pastor Terry Jones who exercised his constitutional right by threatening to burn the Koran. The fact that Jones put his auto-da-fé on the back-burner does not appear to have mitigated the indignation of this sanctimonious and irascible multitude.

Then we have Jason Horowitz writing in The Washington Post who speaks of “rabble-rousing outsiders,” but neglects to mention that one of these supposed miscreants is Debra Burlingame, the sister of the pilot whose plane crashed into the Pentagon, who is co-founder of Keep America Safe and director of the National September 11 Memorial. Polls indicate that approximately 70% of the American public agree with Ms. Burlingame’s anti-mosque position, which disposes one to speculate about who are the real rabble-rousers. So much for Horowitz’s imputation that it is “national conservatives” who are targeting the center.

Even Christopher Hitchens, while recognizing the imam’s plainly suspect credentials, regrets “the crass nature of the opposition to the center” and believes that arguments countering the construction of the mosque are “so stupid and demagogic as to be beneath notice.” It would seem that the imam may not be above reproach but those who bridle at his “initiative” are undoubtedly beneath contempt. Hitchens titles his column “Much Ado About ‘Tolerance’,” a quality whose perilous ambiguity he has neglected to parse.

And in another of his vapid Newsweek articles, while not speaking directly about the Cordoba mosque, Fareed Zakaria breezily opines that “we overreacted to 9/11” when it is clear that, after the initial response, we have consistently underreacted to the threat, especially under the limp and conciliatory administration of the current president. Al-Qaeda, according to Zakaria, “is simply not that deadly a threat.” That al-Qaeda has reportedly now established itself in 62 countries floats right by this clueless and oleaginous pundit. Despite its setbacks in Iraq, al-Qaeda remains a player and is still in a position to wield considerable influence, as witness its centralized as-Sahab media wing that encourages and coordinates terrorist activities around the globe. To argue that it is not operationally relevant and a clear and present danger is to play into its hands.

It is equally disturbing that a generally astute historian like Gil Troy believes that “the lure of the normal, our addiction to the regular routines of our lives…iPods and iPads, rush hours and vacation days” constitute “America’s—and the West’s—true victory over Al-Qa’ida.” Troy goes on to comfort us with the factoid that terrorism “is on the wane” and affirms that “it is worth re-framing 9/11…not as a spectacular day of terrorism” but as “a day that demonstrated Western strength [and] Islamist weakness.” This rosy view of current history is no less troubling—because disarming—than the sinister prevarications of our ideological elite. It is the modern form of the “glad game,” which consists in finding something to celebrate in every untoward situation, described by Eleanor Porter in her 1913 classic, Pollyanna. It makes little difference, really, whether our intellectuals are cynical or Pollyannish by temperament, bigoted or naïve, since the jihadists are given a free pass in either case.

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  • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen
  • Jaladhi

    >"It makes little difference, really, whether our intellectuals are cynical or Pollyannish by temperament, bigoted or naïve, since the jihadists are given a free pass in either case."<

    It's not just the jihadists who are being given a free pass but its all Muslims who are being given a free pass since all Muslims are jihadists, jihad being the main pillar of Islam and all Muslims are expected to carry out jihad to further Islam!!! Case closed. These so called "intellectuals are total morons and are clueless when it comes to Islam.Another point is "political correctness" disease plays a major role in thoughts and actions of these people.

    People should just disregard what these people say and do what is morally right, moral compass of common people being much better than that of these "intellectuals'!!!

    • tanstaafl

      If you study the history of Islam, you will discover that it is the history of jihad. All muslims are charged with waging jihad against the unbelievers until Islam is the only religion in the entire world. Muslims may wage jihad in a number of ways. Jihad through da'wa, giving money to jihadist movements (this renders all Muslim "charities" suspect), launching cyber attacks and even something as mundane as posted taquiyya in response to columns such as this one.

      But make no mistake, the goal of Islam has always been to make unbelievers submit to Islam. By any means possible, as "Islam is sheltered by the sword".

      • Jaladhi

        Totally in agreement!!! That is why I don't think any Muslim should be given any kind of free pass while discussing their brethren called radicals or jihadis. All Muslims have to be jihadis otherwise Mo/allah will be so mad at them and they won't escape the eternal hell fire- whatever that is – only in Mo/allah's mind, and believed by Muslims superstitiously.

  • David Solway

    Dear Chezwick–

    There's no evasion. I have named names–and the name–unnumbered times in my articles for this site and others. I am using a rhetorical device, inviting the reader to fill in the blank, often a more effective, because interactive, contrivance than straight denotation.


    • Chezwick_Mac

      Fair enough, David. I'm not sufficiently familiar with your work that I could have ascertained as much. For the record, it was a damn good read.

      I liked this…

      "They may even be tired of being tired and would prefer to be absorbed by a theocratic ectoplasm than to stand and fight, clear-eyed and Periclean."

      I once had an extended discourse at the Guardian with a very personable, Westernized Muslim who agreed with me that Europe's future was Islamic, but who tried to put it in terms that mitigated the dark implications."Europe is tired," he wrote, "Islam can infuse her with new energy."

      Far from reassuring me, the words sounded absolutely sinister…a coded message for civilizational euthanasia.

      • Stephen_Brady


        The situation is just like the "astounding recovery" of Germany under Hitler. But at what cost?

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  • sflbib

    May I suggest that the situation described is more like the Mad Hatter's tea party out of Alice in Wonderland?

  • Gil Solnin

    The path of least resistance has always been to appease your enemy and capitulate to their twisted views.

    If any of this sanctimonius individuals were able to spend some time undercover in a madrasah in any of the Middle east countries or in some of mosques here in the U.S. what they would find would not be moderate or peaceful.

    The reasons for September 11th goes much farther back in history than the formation of Al Qaeda and the influence of Bin Laden. This should have been and still should be the apex of a long term conflict of civilizations.

  • dhimminology

    Bravo Mr. Solway! A great article indeed! Hopefully more non-Muslims – Western and non-Western will UNITE to fight this evil tyranny called Islam. The West is under threat from Islam. If the Muslim world does succeed in Islamizing the West(which they will if Westerners don't wake up from their political correctness), the other non-Muslims from non-Western countries will be their next victims. Like the West, we in Asia are also in a state of 'denial'. How devious are these Islam apologists! Islam must exposed as the evil ideology that it is. All non-Muslims must identify it is an enemy and unite, then maybe we can have hope to thwart its sinister ambitions.

  • Israelisarefilth

    Stunningly moronic, even by Frontpage standards.

    • Sam B.

      It was way beyond your cognitive grasp. The filth is from the gutter where your mouth is.

  • trickyblain

    If one were to eliminate completely unnecessary verbiage and grossly redundant vocabulary, this article could've been condensed to less than half its current weight. As it is, it reads like an essay from a high school junior who just discovered a thesaurus. Does FPM pay by the word?

    Again, a FPM writes up a long screed trying to tell us about why everyone should live in fear of Islam. Yet the author, typically, lacks the courage to tell us what his solution is to this "menace." If the "constabulary" (lol) wakes up to the threat of goat-herders imposing nonexistent Sharia law on the US, what should they do then?

    Of course, that's not important. What's important is keeping people afraid.

    Slovenly gaggle of cowards.

    • Fiddler

      I guess "tricky" not enough people have died to make an impact on you. You are no doubt one of the ones on 9/11 who worried more about fire engines displaying the American Flag than the berievement of so many, and the outrage of the attack. You sir are an easy target and fodder for those who mean this country harm. Sweet dreams.

  • tagalog

    Was Tariq ibn-Siyad a radical Muslim when he invaded Iberia in the 8th Century? How about old Muhammed himself, when he raised an army to conquer the Saudi Peninsula? How about the various caliphates that raised armies to conquer the Mediterranean, Persia, and the Ottoman Empire for Islam? Were they radical Muslims?

    Let's just face the facts: there are lots of Muslims who don't care if Islam conquers a single square inch of anybody else's ground, but there are also a HELL of a lot of Muslims who believe that Islam is destined to conquer the world through armed conflict, known in THEIR terms as "jihad," and impose Islam on the rest of the world.

    We're in a war with Islam and have been for about 1400 years. Islam was the initial aggressor, and continued to be the initial aggressor for centuries. Wake up and face it. If you don't want to fight but instead surrender, fine, but don't sell Islam as a religion of peace and start saying that Westerners in general, and Americans in particular, suffer from Islamophobia. Whatever phobia we might have about Islam is a well-founded phobia. My view is that it's a rationally-based apprehension.

  • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

    "The size matters", i.e. the immense size of the threat makes the apparatchiks to perceive it as though we must live with it and welcome it in.

    As Shaul Rosenfeld put it:

    … often size dictates one’s position, even when it comes to philosophy professors, who on normal days would be horrified by the very thought that their students would seek to apply ethical principles based on considerations of size, power, and effectiveness.

    And so, the greater the Islamic threat becomes, the more we see the Free World growing silent on the moral front. The clear tendency of Hickey and his ilk is to endorse almost any Islamist fanatic just to elicit some moderate tunes; for example, the growing Obama Administration’s tendency to “understand” the Muslims, among other things because “Islam is part of promoting global peace,” because “Jihad is about purifying,” and because “there is no connection between Islam and the murder of innocents.”

  • Wesley69

    To win against these fanatics, we MUST recognize the threat for what it is, both outside and within. You can't compromise with Islamo-fascism, but you will be able to live with it if you are strong in your beliefs. God, family, our culture, our community, our government, its heroes, our freedoms, these are our beliefs which Americans of all races, religions share. What is their message – SUBMISSION. What is ours – CHOICE The individual is nothing – The individual has potential to be something. As for the threat within – realize what they are after, then it must be denied to them. Instead of allowing them to set the terms of the debate, WE THE PEOPLE need to from now on. We can start on November 2, 2010.

  • Wesley69

    During the Civil War, the cause of the Union was to reunited the South with the Union. Not much of a cause to die for. Lincoln changed the dynamic of that struggle with the Emancipation Proclaimation. The Union was now fighting to make men free for slavery. For this moral cause, more men would be willing to fight and die. Our cause must be moral. We must take the high ground! We must commit to a renewal of the American spirit. You could see it on 9/11. We must find, what we have lost.

    By the way, build the mosque, but only after it is covered by the shadow cast by FREEDOM TOWER. St. Nicholas needs to be rebuilt as well, at the same time as the mosque. Symbolism is important to Muslims. We must understand that symbols show our proud and commitment to our values.

    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Thomas Jefferson

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