Sep 11 2006

You Can Never Go Back

Published by at 2:00 am under All General Discussions,Bin Laden/GWOT

I watched a Bob Scheiffer special on the History Channel (which was sort of ho-hum) and was totally struck by the ending. Scheiffer lamented that we ‘could never get back to normal’, meaning we would never go back to pre 9-11. He was not addressing the tragedy of 9-11, he was sad we could not pretend Islamo-Fascists did not exist in great numbers and was a serious threat. It struck me as one of the most pathetic things I have ever heard. I cannot go back to my childhood innocence either, but that doesn’t make my life now terrible or unbearable.

I would rather know danger is lurking out there and have the opportunity to defend my family than get blindsided. At least I have a chance with some foreknowledge. And I think this ‘lost innocence’ is what bothers me the most about many who comment on 9-11. It seems Christopher Hitchens is having a similar response:

Never mind where I was standing or what I was doing this time five years ago. (Because really, what could be less pertinent?) Except that I do remember wondering, with apparent irrelevance, how soon I would be hearing one familiar cliché. And that I do remember hearing, with annoyance, one other observation that I believe started the whole post-9/11 epoch on the wrong foot.

The cliché, from which we have been generally but not completely spared, was the one about American “loss of innocence.” Nobody, or nobody serious, thought that this store-bought phrase would quite rise to the occasion of the incineration of downtown Manhattan and 3,000 of its workers. It might have done for the Kennedy assassination or Watergate, but partly for that very reason it was redundant or pathetic by mid-day on September 11, 2001. Indeed, I believe that the expression, with its concomitant naïve self-regard, may have become superseded for all time. If so, good. The beginning of wisdom is to recognize that the United States was assaulted for what it really is, and what it understands as the center of modernity, and not for its unworldliness.

I wish the world was not as evil as it turned out to be. But it is clear from all we have learned since 9-11 that our ignorance was not bliss – it was dangerous. Our blinders allowed us to create a convenient fantasy. And when that fantasy was impinged by initial attacks we fought back – against the attack on our little Nirvana. We pretended Islamo Fascism was something to be dealt with by law enforcement. We minimized the threat in our minds, so we could pretend a little longer the world was not devolving once again into darkness. We missed the warning signs from WTC 1 onward. And our leaders let us miss them to some degree. The problem is strife is not good for politics – it causes angst. So we deluded ourselves to the point we allowed 19 men to kill 3000 of us.

I have no desire to go back into that terrible ignorance. Just read Hitchens’ list of Islam Fascist attacks on the West to realize instead of going back, we still have a lot yet to grasp. We are in WW III. The goosesteppers are on the march again.

Addendum: I also want to echo another point Hitchens makes which has also bothered me this week. The death toll from 9-11 includes all those who have died fighting back, just like the death toll from WW II is more than those who perished at Pearl Harbor. The brave who sacrificed include the firefighter and police and rescue personal on that fateful day, and every man and woman who has sacrificed their lives since on the battlefields across the globe. Hitchens is right to point out this war is raging on large and small fronts, from massive bombings to a single person with a car or gun. We are still in the middle of this war, no matter what the NY Times thinks.

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “You Can Never Go Back”

  1. lurker9876 says:

    Me either but people will eventually forget; leading to the complacency of this country as it did happen many years after WWII. People have forgotten what led to WWII and the pre-WWII events make good analogies to today’s events, which means a new war is almost inevitable.

    We must do something to ensure that people will not forget and understand that appeasement does not work and the only way to fight fascism, regardless of religion, is to face it…HARD.

  2. lurker9876 says:

    IOW, the country did become complacent years after WWII. It would be just as easy to become complacent in a few years unless we make sure our generations do not forget.

  3. For Enforcement says:

    IF, and that’s a big IF: there was an
    “American “loss of innocence.” it was that the government, and that means whoever is running it at the time, is taking care of business and are looking out for “”OUR”” safety and welfare.
    There are people, and a lot of them are Democrats, who seem to believe that if we keep our head in the sand, we will be safe.
    They say, but I find it hard to believe, that they don’t really believe there are people out there that will do us harm if we don’t protect ourselves.

    I, personally, believed that the CIA was actually trying to keep our enemies at bay, now I realize that they have spent at least the last 6 years( since Pres Bush has been in office) trying to undermine our own government, doing what they can to defeat Republicans and get the Dems back in office. It seems to have taken Pres Bush a while to figure that out and to do some restructuring, but unfortunately, it seems to have been so deep-seated and engrained in them that it is going to be hard to root out the non patriots. Maybe it should just be disbanded and start over again.
    So, I agree that we can’t go back to letting Democrats run the government. They won’t protect us. In fact, if you look at John Kerry as an example, he is a “LEADER” in selling out the US. Look what he did in and after Vietnam. He met with the enemy and tried to figure out how we, the US, could surrender to them.. and it worked.
    Now, he would sell us, the US, out in a minute if he thought he could get just one ounce of power or one minute in the spotlight for it.

    So, I don’t really believe there was a real innocence out there to go back to, I think it was just a lack of awareness that some people had rather be having sex with interns than doing their sworn duty to protect the people of the US.

  4. pull says:

    This is another good observation… about how pathetic it is for people to complain about their ‘loss of innocence’ and how that innocence was nothing but selfish ignorance…

    Many good things have come from 9/11… just as good things came from WWII and Pearl Harbor. That is how life operates. Goodness rises from adversity and villains allows heroes to show themselves. We would all rather do without such suffering, but it is, at the same time, that which defines us.

    For myself, much sadness came from 9/11… not in that there were 19 murderers… but in that so many people from around the world joined in with those 19 murderers and took blame upon themselves by doing so.

    I knew about the problem of Islamism. I knew that Communism was evil. But, I did not understand just how wide spread and condense was the hatred for us… among our “friends”.

    While the nations leaders spoke up in mourning… online we who argued with the Left and Islamists saw a different face entirely. It was like grasshoppers turning into locusts.

  5. pull says:

    “For Enforcement”:

    Not for CIA enforcement? Seriously, people need to support the good people in the CIA and understand that some leakers, as powerful as they may be, do not define the entire organization… I would suggest, anyway.

    I do not see it as the ‘whole CIA is rotten’ kind of perspective, but rather we have a lot of rot in there and in our other agencies. We have a lot more rot in the diplomatic services which leftists tend to flock to.

    I think that 9/11 has helped us define an enemy a little better and start to stick to it… and has defined a little more clearly what it is to be an American… but still, to a large extent, our intel agencies have a very, very skewed vision of what is partisan and what is patriotic.

    As long as Democrats make treasonous beliefs appear to be a valid, partisan stance… I think we may very well to continue to have these problems. Unless the war on terrorism really begins to heat up.

    (And remember, the European prisons situation may have been leaked by outsiders from the CIA… the FBI has leaked many things about the CIA… and the NSA issue, of course, was leaked by the NSA and some other individuals…)

  6. Terrye says:

    I guess I was not all that surprised at what those men, but I was shocked at my reaction.

    I thought, how dare they, who the hell do they think they are?

    Then I thought, I hope we kill them all.

    I was shocked at my own reaction. I really did not think I had it in me.

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