13 Years Later
It was Tuesday morning and my world was just waking up to clear and bright skies. I was in downtown Phoenix attending a training seminar. It was about 7:00 AM when I received a call from my wife. She works at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in the tower managing the ground traffic at Terminal 4. I could hear the stress in her voice; something I rarely hear from her. She insisted that I find a TV and turn to national news. She said that she had received a message from the FAA that there were some flights missing – off flight plan. They were unsure where they were headed. As the TV came on the first aircraft, AA flight 11 hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Moments later the second aircraft United flight 175 hit the south tower. I watched in disbelief as these events unfolded. I muted the sound – the commentators were making me crazy with their wild speculations. The seminar was cancelled and we were sent home. There was crazy speculation about nation-wide attacks of a similar fashion so downtown Phoenix was abandoned. I watched intently from home for the remainder of the day: in fact for the next several days as these events were sorted and misrepresented by the media. I worked for a power company that runs a nuclear generating station west of Phoenix. The Feds were concerned that this would make an excellent target. It was locked down as well.
My poor wife was locked down at the airport for the next several days while they located and inventoried all the aircraft for all the airlines and reported their locations and status to the FAA. This was a tedious task considering the FAA enacted a little used practice of immediately landing everything in the sky at the nearest practical airport: commercial and civilian. A few day later air travel resumed but under much tighter scrutiny and security. We couldn’t have a repeat performance.
I remember. I promised myself I would remember as clearly as possible.
13 years ago on the morning of September 11, a moment that I hoped would live forever in the hearts and minds of Americans, our country was attached by 19 al-Qaeda operatives from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates. They murdered 2,977 people / civilians in their attack. The immediate question was why? Why would these people attack us at home? I can understand targeting the military and military installations, but why civilians. Well it seems that an extremely wealthy Saudi Arabian, Osama Ben Laden, son and heir to the Saud family fortune had adopted fundamental Islam as his religion. This particular version of Islam encourages the murder of civilian infidels (those who are not Muslim) and by his writing and by signing a Fatwa or religious complaint against them. In his eyes we were all guilty of:
• Support of the “attacks against Muslims” in Somalia
• Support of Russian “atrocities against Muslims” in Chechnya
• Support of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan
• Support of Indian “oppression against Muslims” in Kashmir
• The presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia
• US support of Israel – As an aside here Saudi Arabia was in total agreement with the rest of the Arab world at the time regarding the creation of Israel
• The sanctions against Iraq.
Mind you these actions were sponsored by our government. They decided without asking us to take these controversial steps. It cost us all that day and as you all know continues to cost us. That’s quite a list. It is interesting to note though the UN is / was also guilty of the same list of crimes yet no Fatwa was placed on the UN? England was our partner in many of these atrocious acts, yet they stayed safe for the moment. It was the Great Satan that pissed off Ben Laden. He decided to take action against us. What he didn’t expect was the galvanizing effect this had on most Americans. We were really angry. This was our generations’ Pearl Harbor. Didn’t America support the Mujaheddin against the Russians in Afghanistan? Didn’t we help them with arms and advisers? Well it seems that our assistance with the Mujaheddin created al-Qaeda. We trained them in modern tactics and techniques. We are responsible for arming and training the people that attacked us that day. In fact I discovered first hand that several of the terrorist pilots were trained in Metropolitan Phoenix area flight schools. I wonder why no one asked why these pilots didn’t want to learn takeoff and landing procedures. Just flying. Oh well…
Our next steps still confound me. We declare war on terrorism… in Iraq! This country had nothing whatever to do with the al-Qaeda attacks or even the planning. We picked them because…? We all know how this worked out. After 9 years and trillions of dollars we finally kill Ben Laden and a few of his cronies. Ben Laden was hiding in Pakistan, our ally, who claimed they had no idea where he was.
We manage to alienate the entire Middle East in the process of retribution and make Halliburton and their HMFWIC (look it up) Dick Chaney (yes – 46th VP or these United States) that Dick Chaney. The same man that promised us Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. We handed him $39.5 Billion in profit during our little Middle East excursion for his company Halliburton. Is this a Conflict of interest? They don’t seem to think so. So where did the other $5.5 Trillion go? The Government isn’t really too sure. They know they had it when they left home, but don’t seem to recall the details… No worries…
After 13 years, an anticipated $6 Trillion in extended costs, and 8,273 lives have we learned anything: Anything at all? We spend $140 Million per year on 149 prisoners (almost $800,000 per prisoner per year) on Guantanamo Bay Prison: and will for the foreseeable future despite promises to bring these prisoners to justice and to close this facility. We still have troops in the Middle East fighting to maintain the precarious gains of past 9 years: they are advisers. Where we once had a few friends, we have garnered the enmity of the entire Middle East. We are spending more money than we make to, as Junior said…”bring Democracy to this region” and to “ensure freedom for the peace-loving people in the Middle East.”
Our remaining ally is Israel the other country equally hated and despised by the Muslim world. They are fighting their own battle with their peaceful Islamic neighbor. The same neighbor we sold cement and building product for houses and stores in Gaza. These Peaceful Palestinian’s took this building material and created a tunnel system under the fences so they could attack Israel. When Israel retaliated the world screamed FOUL because children were being killed. The twisted fact here is that the Palestinian attacks killed Israeli children as well, but the world turns a blind eye to that travesty. I still wonder where Palestine got over ten-thousand missiles?
We seem to be doing our usual great job fighting this “War on Terrorism” because as soon as we pull out, this region is again embroiled in civil wars. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is taking over as the regime de jure’, killing, excuse me, cleansing ethnic Infidels – all non-Islamic believers and their families from this holy region. They recently beheaded two American Journalists’ for spreading / reporting the truth which is the wrong message. And now President Obama is ready to send more aid and troops and aircraft and drones and Halliburton into the fray again to ensure US interests – sorry – to return the region to domestic tranquility and stability. There is no concern for cost where peace, tranquility, democracy and regional stability are concerned. Somebody needs to cut up that man’s credit cards… quickly!
Our success so far:
• Spend huge amounts of money to finish Bush Senior’s war
• destabilize the entire region by removing a despot in Iraq – who was the only stabilizing force in the region thus allowing the strengthening of al Qaeda and they various splinter groups. BTW Papa Bush warned Junior NOT to do it and not to kill Hussein because it could destabilize the entire region… Nice work Junior.
• Killed Ben Laden creating a leadership vacuum in al-Qaeda and the splinter group ISIS
• Certifying our status as “The Great Satan” giving the faithful a focus for hatred and spreading the fundamental word of al-Qaeda to the Muslim world at large. Europe can thank us later for their religious problems.
• American in our own self-righteous efforts to fix something that wasn’t broken has introduced al-Qaeda to African countries as well.
• The reach of al-Qaeda is in the Near East and Far East as well. So far Japan and China have avoided problems but I’ll bet the message will spread there soon.
• We now have TSA – The Transportation Security Administration with an annual cost of $7.39 Billion. Some call this the “Grope a Granny” program because power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The 56,000 + employees of this Federal Agency are notorious for finding nail files and clippers, cigar cutters, pen knives, scissors, knitting needles, and open bottles of water. However they do regularly miss the odd gun, ammunition, K-Bar Combat knives, shoe bombs, underwear bombs, etc.
o The original name suggested was “Federal Air Transport Airport Security Service” but “FAT ASS” didn’t look good on the jackets so they adopted TSA.
America is under attack from within, too. The Islamic Fundamentalists are in our back yard. There are groups all over our country fighting to destabilize us and recruit supporters from within our borders. They insist on Sharia Law where there are concentrations of Muslims. I thought when you came to America, our laws applied. That’s the way it works in the rest of the world. I guess I was wrong. So maybe we should start colonizing the Middle East and demand that our ineffective form of justice applies there. They already know about corruption, it would be an easy step to the rest of the “Justice for Sale” protocol. We would fit right in with our heavy handed police actions: Our clandestine operations to destabilize governments: our anything for profit tactics: Segregation of races and classes: and our ability to lie to our people in the name of National Security. I think there are more parallels than differences here.
If you examine these two regions, the US and the Middle East, the only difference is the name of the religion. If you change Islam to Christianity, you see the similarities and the parallels. OK, Christianity has abandoned beheading and torture for now, but boy they were good at it in the middle ages… Remember the Spanish Inquisition?
The quote about repeating history is being proven again and again in this country. We keep making the same mistakes expecting different results. They tell me that this is the clinical test for insanity. I can see it. We are back in the Middle East – actually we never technically departed so I guess we’re rebuilding our troop strength – Sorry – our Stabilizing Consultants / Advisers. We are choosing sides in a losing battle, and as soon as we start to pull out again, they will celebrate the defeat of The Great Satan and revert to civil war again. Once our numbers fell to a minimal level as we began our withdrawal the old civil rivalries were reignited and they went back to their old hatred and century’s old unresolved arguments over whose cousin or brother was Mohammed’s successor or valet or water boy. The argument is not important. The lesson is that these people will fight about anything and with anyone. If they don’t have a common enemy, they will fight with each other. It is all they know. It is what they teach in schools. They have special camps to indoctrinate the faithful. They pay families for suicide bombers. They teach war and kill anyone that disagrees. Hatred is their chief export.
Our ignorance and persistence are our undoing. We know nothing about the minds of these people. We expect them to adapt our life style and rules for living before they encounter and engage us. We expect them to meet us with honor and chivalry. We expect a fair fight but they don’t fight fair. They have no problem killing women and children but protest loudly when we do it in collateral fashion.
War is an unpleasant activity. There is only one rule… fight to win. That’s what our opponent does, but we know better. We must fight fair. It is neither fair nor honorable nor pretty nor pleasant. We would do well to remember that. It would also be helpful to remember that the people that we send to fight and die are not the people that decided to have this war. We let Congress and our Jet Setting President start these wars and send our children to die defending these ungrateful and undeserving people.
Have we learned anything? Nope… Not one god-damned thing.