Administrative note: CLFA member and Liberty Island-published author Michael Sheldon sent us his personal thoughts on September 11. With his permission, we are reprinting them here.
Here’s a picture of the East River that I took from the World Trade Center observation deck sometime in the late 1970s. It all looks peaceful and quiet from this height, doesn’t it, especially with a dusting of snow on the ground?
Today, they’ve finally built a new tower in NYC. There’s a museum that charges $24 per person, and the memorial is a fountain that matches the outline of the original buildings, with water running down the sides like twin toilet bowls where our values drain away into the sewers.
We lost the Battle of New York on September 11, 2001. NORAD couldn’t get there in time to stop the second plane from lumbering down the Hudson, unimpeded, to its target. The attack on the Pentagon also succeeded. Finally, ordinary Americans rose up and prevented the fourth plane from taking out Congress or the White House.
That was when the tide turned. We ran the Taliban out of Afghanistan, then lured the jihadists into Iraq where we silenced their arrogant tributes to their bloodthirsty religion. It wasn’t easy or cheap, and Americans died. But there were no more attacks on U.S. soil.
Then something changed. People decided it was selfish to want to be safe at home. Why? Because people in other parts of the world are in peril. So we pulled out of Iraq and dithered in Afghanistan. We turned our backs on people wanting to be safe at home and free in Iran and Egypt and Syria—what business was that of ours? Yet we acted in Libya and made a bad situation worse.
We now have a long list of place names where atrocities have occurred around the world. In America we mourn our losses at Fort Hood, Boston, New York, Garland, Texas, San Bernardino, Chattanooga, Orlando, and the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
Worldwide, the targets have included Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Africans practicing traditional “animist” religions, and Muslims of conflicting sects. No political system is exempt: The jihadists do not mind slaughtering socialists (Canada, France), capitalists (U.S., UK), people in quasi-communist dictatorships (China, Russia), or those in a variety of dysfunctional states (Pakistan, Nigeria, Yemen, Syria, Cameroon).
Nothing explains or justifies this orgy of death. It’s not about history, or economics. It’s certainly not class conflict or a race war. The “humiliation” of 6 million Israelis is propaganda pure and simple. In the 1940s and 50s, Arab countries expelled more Jews than the Israelis did Arabs, and to this day Islamic governments do not accept refugees—even those from Islamic countries.
It is clear to me that we are engaged in a long-term war with an implacable enemy that holds world-wide imperialist ambitions. At present, the war is mostly asymmetrical. Our elected leaders dismiss this as negligible—producing fewer fatalities than traffic accidents. But traffic accidents are just that—accidents. Whereas terrorist attacks are intentional and, therefore, preventable.
Why doesn’t our government do more to weaken our enemies? Why was there no reprisal for the murder of our Ambassador in Libya? Why do we send money to Iran and help them build nuclear weapons that they openly state will be used against us and our allies? Are our leaders evil and corrupt? Or are they following some imbecilic theory that leads them to think if there’s nuclear parity then the jihadists won’t need to mount these annoying little attacks any more: asymmetrical warfare will be replaced by detente and we can run out the clock on them—like we did with the Soviets? This would be a reckless gamble that only highly educated academic with no practical sense would be willing to make.
All I know for certain is that I have felt myself at war since September 11, 2001 when I happened to be in a building in NYC with a clear view of the Hudson River and the attacks on the Towers as they occurred. I do not have many weapons to fight with. Not much more than an ability to observe and to speak. This is what I want to say:
I believe the Judeo-Christian-Hellenic culture that has developed over 2000+ years has gradually improved the lot of more people than any other system known to man. By any measure—health, longevity, freedom, justice, fairness, and economic well-being—there is no comparison in history. Therefore, we are right to defend this patrimony with all the resources we have at our disposal. For whatever reasons, people today will say this is racist and xenophobic. It is neither. Our culture does a better job protecting the weak and minorities than any existing alternative. That is why I want to defend it and preserve it.