Since 2003, my usual September 11 ritual includes watching my copy of the 2002 film 9/11. The whirlwind of emotions I experience leave me very unfocused, thus I have not been able to write anything about that awful day on its last few anniversaries.
This year, I decided to watch 9/11 a few days prior to the anniversary, hoping that the emotions would subside enough for me to put my thoughts to print. That seemed to work, and as the whirlwind dissipated, I realized that my dominant emotion was not sadness, but anger. Anger is often an irrational emotion, and I wondered if that was the case here. After I started listing my reasons, I concluded that my anger was quite rational.
So what has made me so angry?
Obviously, I am angry that on that fateful day five years ago, nineteen Islamofascist thugs murdered nearly 3,000 innocent human beings. I can't imagine my anger at that ever going away.
But I am also angry that within days of the attack, before the embers of remains of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had even cooled, some people were already blaming America. The media has nurtured the myth that we were "all united" on that day. Perhaps if the media had spent some time exposing these anti-American kooks, then all the anti-war rhetoric that has followed since then would have far less credibility -- not that it deserves any -- than it currently does.
I am angry that an unpatriotic propagandist -- a pathetic clown, really -- can successfully use lies and half-truths to spread paranoia about what led to 9/11. Thanks in part to his efforts, a recent Scripps-Howard poll showed that over one-third of respondents believed that 9/11 was an inside job.
I am angry that the media chooses not to routinely show images from 9/11, but can't seem to get enough of images of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. The reason why we have troops fighting abroad -- that's too disturbing to broadcast, too damaging to the American psyche. But images of torture, supposedly the American public can handle that.
I am angry that the media does not investigate the behavior of prisoners at Guantanamo. They are not Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins in the Shawshank Redemption. Rather, these brutes have routinely attacked guards with makeshift weapons and doused them with cupfuls of feces, urines, sperm and vomit. Shielding the American public from the true nature of our enemy serves no one.
I am angry that the media covers every accusation of torture but rarely the many acts of heroism and compassion of our troops. Surely, the media should cover misbehavior and criminal activity on the part of our officials and troops. But it should also cover battlefield heroics. Can you name one soldier who has acted bravely on the battlefield in Iraq? Probably not. But I'm sure you know the name of Lynndie England. It is that lack of balance that helps undermine the war effort.
I am angry that Hollywood will not make any movies about our heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Movies about how the Marines turn men into psychos? That's just fine post 9/11 (as it was pre-9/11). I can only hope that the release of United 93 and World Trade Center indicate the beginnings of change. I won't hold my breath, however.
I am angry that a prominent pundit supported President Bush's actions in the War On Terror until Bush decided to oppose gay marriage. After that, said pundit amplified every mistake of this Administration on the War. He then endorsed John Kerry, saying that the Democrats needed "to be forced to take responsibility for the security of the country that is as much theirs as anyone's," as though we should trust our national security to a party that had demonstrated little more than fecklessness. Apparently, he never thought about what type of example that would set about taking the war seriously.
I am angry that the "Newspaper of Record" routinely criticizes the Bush Administration's effort in the War on Terror, but then undermines that effort by exposing the secret programs that track terrorists' communications and finances.
I am angry that our leaders, up to now, cannot refer to our enemy by the proper term "Islamofascists." Apparently, the American people are too stupid to realize that not all believers in Islam are Islamofascists. Bush has started calling them Islamic fascists, to the consternation of many of the elites, including one that intends to run for President. May political correctness lose its influence on how we conduct the War on Terror.
I am angry that political correctness has already ruined one aspect of the War on Terror. Recall the anthrax attacks that killed five people? The perpetrators of that attack now seem as likely to be caught as the perpetrator of the JonBenet Ramsey murder. Even though the attacks took place about one week after 9/11, the FBI was hell bent on looking for the "angry, lone white guy." Taking a wild stab in the dark, I think it might have made a bit more sense to focus on those of Muslim persuasion.
I am angry that the opposition party in the United States spends more time calling for a pull out of our troops than figuring out how to win the war in Iraq. There are some honorable exceptions. But not enough of them.
Ultimately, I am angry that all of this is working to undermine our struggle against Islamofascism.
Yes, I'm angry. And I hope you are too.
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