Sixteen Years Ago . . .

I’m pretty certain all my blog readers are old enough to recall where they were and what they saw happening (or heard, in my case) sixteen years ago today in the United States.

I started musing about other shock events of that nature, and what happened in the following years. What was going on sixteen years after December 7, 1941? That would be December 1957. Dwight D. Eisenhower, former general of the US Army, was president. The United States had fought a second war in Asia, or technically a “conflict,” and was glowering across the borders of a divided Germany and the Iron Curtain at the USSR. Stalin had died [*cheers*], Khrushchev had shaken the Communist Parties with his “Secret Speech” denouncing Stalin, but Hungary was smouldering from the Soviet’s crushing an attempt at easing the strictures of Stalinism. Most eyes had been on the Suez Canal at the time as people wondered if this would start the next world war.

Some former members of the NSDAP’s inner circle were hiding in South America or other places. Most were dead, by judicial execution or (increasingly) brought to justice by the new nation of Israel. Of Nazism in Germany very, very few traces remained, and those were mostly physical structures that served as a warning. Those and the lingering mounds of rubble.

I realize it’s a bit facile to compare the events and aftermath of WWII with September 11, 2001. WWII was fought as a traditional war, one that looked familiar in many ways when compared to WWI, especially as fought in Europe. There were differences, especially in the treatment of civilians, but the planes, tanks, infantry, artillery, army vs. army? Similar. The end-point was concrete as far as the US was concerned: defeat Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, eliminate the ideologies that had led to the war, and make certain there wasn’t a WWI part Three to come after WWI part Two.

September 11th left things far messier, and the waters have not exactly cleared, although the credit for that goes in part to those who refuse to take seriously ideologies and faith. I fear, barbarian that I am, when someone says “I’m going to kill you and tear down your places of worship and make you follow my culture,” I take them seriously. It’s been pretty-well proven by example after example that poverty, lack of education, lack of opportunity, or unhappiness with Middle Eastern governments were not the “root causes” of Al Quaeda, Al Shabab, Ansar al Islam, Jamaat Ismalia, Boko Haram, and other less well-known groups’ formations.

Sixteen years have passed since that lovely, crisp early fall morning. What have we learned? We’ve learned that true heroes are often not who we expect. We’ve learned that there are people who really and truly want to destroy Western Civilization and all other philosophies that differ from their understanding of Islam. Some of us have learned far, far more than we ever wanted to about subjects and behaviors we’d just as soon never have heard of. Some days I wonder if the US government and certain media and political personalities have learned anything at all.

But that leads to a rant, and sends me in directions I don’t need to go. I know what my inner monster is capable of doing and I try not to feed it.

Instead, let us remember those who rose to answer a call that should never have been sounded, who stepped into the breach, the Rick Rescorlas, Todd Beamers, and others who are unknown. And let us not forget that some men and women choose evil, act on that choice, and in so doing make themselves enemies of Western Civilization and all that many of us hold dear.

“Let’s Roll.”



11 thoughts on “Sixteen Years Ago . . .

  1. Yep. The real problem between the Muslim world and the Christian world is that, from our perspective, the other side doesn’t truly worship G-d, but the devil. All the teachings are opposite. The Muslim version of the book of Revelations even has them on the other side. There is no common ground between the two viewpoints. And they are mandated by their deity to wage a holy war against everybody else on the entire Earth until they conquer the planet and enslave, kill, or convert every single person on it. That’s their end game, their goal. We are simply an obstruction to that goal, and our hedonistic way of life is a temptation set to test their fortitude and commitment.

  2. I was sitting about a hundred feet away from where I am today, in a different cubicle, with about half the people who were in the room then in the room here today. The news of the first tower being hit made it to the room, and we all tried to get news via the internet, but the internet wasn’t keeping up. Somebody rolled out an ancient TV on a cart that was used primarily for playing training videos, and managed to get a little bit of signal, just in time for us to see the second tower hit. And then listen to some grim commentary from some civil engineers and designers about what was happening to the buildings, and what was likely to happen to them. Little work got done that day. Over the next few days and weeks, several people disappeared from the building for periods of time. One of the civil engineers headed straight to NYC as part of the urban search and rescue team. A few reservists got called up for service in Afghanistan.

    And then most of the national political leadership on both sides of the aisle baldly proclaimed that Islam was not the problem. And a bunch of nuts excused the attack and blamed our nation for provoking it. And a slew of even crazier people stood up and blamed our government for secretly carrying out the plot. And a few more said it was actually a secret Israeli plot. Sanity has not returned since.

    • I don’t agree with the reasoning, but some of those political guys were listening to people who know and understand Islam– and knew their theology well enough to know that 1) they WANTED us to declare Islam is the problem, so it would be a religious war, and 2) THEY WANT TO LOSE.
      It’s part of the theology. They lose, the world ends, and then they win.

  3. And this was a major reason I finally bit the bullet and started writing seriously. Because after that shockingly clear autumn day, I went and researched the faith I’d only heard of in the Song of Roland and R.E. Howard’s Solomon Kane stories… and found out no, those writers weren’t exaggerating.

    So I’m writing what I can’t find on the bookstore shelves. Fantasy where the good guys are our culture, and defend it.

  4. ‘I’ and many other retirees volunteered to go back on active duty, starting the next day. Some of us go picked up, and most of us got told to wait. In 2003, when GW2 started I went back to work for the Navy, doing what I could. Re TOS, one of the commenters posted a link to the Israeli crap… sigh

    • The conspiracy theory garbage gets really old really quick. I wonder some days if they have something like Clue.™ “It was” rolls dice “the John Birchers” rolls dice “at the WTC” rolls again “with an airplane!”

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  6. I wonder: for those of us too old for direct service: will we go to our graves, still longing for a mission? My son shed his blood in Afghanistan four years ago, but today, I still am waiting for my chance to roll.
    I don’t like what this has done to me. In some areas, I have no perspective at all. I just want to burn it down and sow the fields with salt.

    • When YouTube still worked with people to remove truly offensive videos (pro-jihad, the beheading videos, et cetera) I was part of a group that hunted for the vids, watched them, flagged them, and got them removed. It wasn’t much, but it was something. I was too old and too bunged up (hip and knee problems) to serve in the military.

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