My mom died last Friday 24 April, a little over a month after her 79th birthday, of complications associated with her small cell lung cancer, treatments for same, and a confluence of other health problems that have been ongoing for about the past 10 years. I didn’t understand her as a human being and I wish I had. I wish I’d been a better son. Easy for me it is to justify the steps I’ve taken over my lifespan to differentiate, but today I just feel a sense of guilt and failure. Sadness. Grief.
Yesterday I interviewed and tested a 19 year old woman who looked at the date she’d written to the right of her name on a survey cover-sheet. “It was seven years ago,” she said. “We were at school, and one of the teachers turned on the TV, and we all watched it for awhile. Then she wouldn’t let us watch it anymore, and she made us get back to school work.”
I remember driving to Murfreesboro on I-24 that the morning was cool. A colder September than this. And through the car’s windshield I noticed an unusual depth to the sky’s blue, attributing it to the cold, to fall of the year. At a scheduled news break, the radio announcer said a report had been received a small plane, maybe a single-engine propeller driven craft, had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers at New York. A terrible accident.
By the time I’d arrived at Murfreesboro, the other plane had hit the other tower. President Bush was visiting an elementary school in Florida. Another plane struck the Pentagon, and early eyewitness reports had it that USAF fighter jets had downed a fourth. Later iterations of that story had it that the passengers overpowered the terrorists and brought the plane down. Jets or passengers, either set of actions would have been deemed acceptable by the American people. We’re practical that way.
I returned home early afternoon. I thought if some further attack occurred, I’d just as soon be with my wife when it came. There were no contrails in the sky that day or the next.
That first day intelligence agencies identified Osama bin Laden, Al Queda, as the perpetrators, if I recall correctly, because in the debris of the collapsed trade center towers, somebody found a wallet with a slip of paper tying the whole thing bin Laden or Al Queda. Amazing how that worked out. Do you remember soon after the many different “approved” news-reader pronunciations of Al Queda, and various Afghan place names? They place such importance on what passes for correct as the consensus changes by the hour or by the day. Honestly, who can take those fools seriously?
I remember thinking the message of the plane crashers was a symbolic attack against the United States’ Economy, Military, and form of Government (that fourth plane was supposedly intended for the White House). That it was not a religious statement, at all.
You may remember that a few months previously the mainland Chinese forced down one of our unarmed spy planes that had been flying in international airspace. President Bush failed to take hard line with the communist government, and almost publicly begged that regime for the return of our airmen and equipment. We did pluck one of the Chinese pilots out of the sea, but I hardly think it made an even trade. Ours was a shameful public display of weakness in time of crisis. It was not forgotten. Airplanes.
My friend Doros thinks the attacks were a religious statement. But if a religious statement, why not an obvious religious target? Doros has solved that conundrum for himself by coming to the conclusion that to the Dervish, every American is a Christian. Doros preached a fiery sermon the matter last weekend, and has blogged about it a bit here. The sermon he preached is here.
Personally, I don’t think the religion of Islamo-Fascist terrorists has anything to do with God, and no reasonable person would seriously argue it has anything to do with peace. You must decide for yourself what you think I mean by that statement.
I reject terrorism because it is evil to strike the innocent in order to apply pressure to the guilty, or to draw attention to the painful circumstances in which one or a group are embedded. It is evil to strike the innocent. In some instances it may be wrong to strike the guilty, but I think this is probably only true when it is to delay for some good reason the consequence that must find them out.
Nevertheless, as the old anarchist used to call it, the propaganda of the deed is indeed a message, and its interpretation should never be entrusted to the one it is published against. We who observe are wise to apply our own minds to the problem of this Babel-Tower confused speech, eschew reliance upon what passes for expert informed opinion. Why was the expert informed, and by whom?
Rambling now, I abandon this post.