September 11, 2001
When you write or dabble at writing as I do, itís during times such as these that you want to express something memorable.† If you spend time trying to create some eloquent prose, however, you lose the thoughts you wished to convey.† I find writing to be quite therapeutic.†† Iíve always felt that itís the same as talking to ones self.† The difference is that if you sit on a corner writing in your notebook or pecking on your laptop, no one thinks youíre crazy.
I lost friends in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.† That adds to the outrage I feel as well as to my sense of helplessness.† Sitting here in retirement there is not much I can do about it except to promise my fallen brothers and sisters at arms and fellow Americans that if my country calls me back Iíll come running and offer them a prayer.† My BDUs still hang in a closet.
They say that youíll always remember where you were when something such as this happens.† I was in the 6th grade when President Kennedy was assassinated. I heard about it about it while on the playground at school.† When the Challenger exploded, I was watching the launch on American Forces Network television in Germany.† When the planes began to strike the World Trade Center I was at work.† Someone mentioned it while I was interviewing a veteran and helping him submit a disability claim.† Before I could finish with him, we had to evacuate the building.† When I arrived home, I immediately turned on the news and then sent an e-mail to every friend I had in the DC area asking them to give me a personal sit-rep.† I will never get an answer to some of those e-mails.
Like most Americans, I spent the remainder of the day tied to the television.† I watched in disbelief as the towers of the World Trade Center collapsed.† It was a scene replayed over and over.† My sense of outrage grew a little more with each replay.† I was demanding to every official or politician that appeared on the screen that we bomb somebody now!† My sense of helplessness to do anything to avenge America led to my demands that those who could should do it and do it now!† Fortunately, for America, more level heads than mine are in charge of the launch codes.
Relying on my days of spending time in places with no windows, I know that contingency plans are being poured over in the Pentagon and other command operation centers around the world.† I believe this time, when the planning is through, the outcome will make bombs over Baghdad look like a 30 minute Fourth of July fireworks display.† Itíll be that way because Americans demand it.† To quote a good friend of mine in an e-mail today, ďItís time we started making martyrs on our terms.Ē† No one in our country is any longer free to move about as he chooses.† This most cherished freedom of Americans is gone.† Our sense of security Ė gone.† Our way of life changed forever.† Noncombatant casualties may exceed 10,000.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the casualties numbered 2,400 all combatants.† Nearly half of these were on the Battleship Arizona.† To respond to this, America mobilized and the rest is history.† Immediately following the attack, one of the Japanese Admirals was (donít recall which and it isnít important) quoted as saying (and Iím paraphrasing) that he feared that the only thing Japan accomplished by attacking Pearl was awakening a sleeping giant.† Osama my friend, not only did you wake him, but you kicked sand in his face and soon I expect there will be no country willing to keep you.
Make no mistake; this was an act of war committed by an enemy who is determined, disciplined, dedicated and willing to die for his beliefs.† So what must we do?
Iím no great strategist, but let me tell you what this poor old dumb country boy knows.† Sanctions against countries who harbor and allow these people to train do not work.† Sanctions in these countries do not work because they do not hurt the ruling class.† They only deprive the common and poor who are then turned against us, The Great Satan, by their leaders.† Do you know what works?† The giant stepping on that ruling class like so many cockroaches is what works. Do you recall, during the Gulf War when we bombed a bunker in the middle of Baghdad?† We knew that it was an Iraqi command center, but we didnít know it was full of civilians.† Who do you think these civilians were?† My bet is that they were the families of military officers and other senior Iraqis.† Why do I think that?† Because all of the poor Iraqis were being bombed to hell in the desert.† Iraq gave it up not too long after that.
Our leadership is right, itís a war and we must respond as if it is.† A war that canít end until we eradicate the likes of bin Laden and make it very unpleasant for any country that keeps his kind.† We must approach it with the same dedication, as they and we must have the resolve to stay the course.† Terrorists groups must enter the realm of endangered species on this planet.