Fewer and fewer Americans can remember the day our nation was attacked and thousands of men lost their lives at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Hence, except among those who have read or been told the history of that event, there is only a weak or non-existent consciousness of how much our citizens were enraged at the Japanese aggression against our military forces in the Hawaiian Islands. Thousands of young men lined up at military recruiting centers the very next day, volunteering for military service in order to help crush this vicious enemy. The events of that time, unfortunately, are a long time ago and far away from the present. Then they cried, "Remember Pearl Harbor!" Now many of us just hope that we can "move on" from the war declared on us and get on with our lives.
Following our initial shock and deep sadness at the vicious hijacked airliner attacks one year ago on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. (with at least one other attack foiled by some courageous Americans aboard an airliner over Pennsylvania), we as American were outraged and prepared to do whatever was necessary to do justice to the wicked perpetrators of this evil deed that killed nearly 3,000 people.
But while our military forces and those of other nations exacted revenge on the al-quaida terrorists and the government of Afghanistan which harbored them, we have lost some of our momentum and are now wondering whether we should take the next logical step and take out the regime in Iraq that engages in its own form of terrorism and may well have had a hand in the terrorism that struck us on September 11, 2001. We have been too much influenced by the political therapists and appeasers in our land who are turning an act of aggression into a mere clash of mutually misunderstanding cultures.
The time for mourning and sadness is over. It certainly should have ended once this nation pummeled the Taliban tyrants in Afghanistan and deprived terrorists of their major base of operations. But as President George W. Bush and prominent members of his administration have continually reminded us, the war goes on, on numerous fronts military, political, economic and even psychological. Our enemies do not merely misunderstand us or envy us. They hate us and Israel for our demonstration of the superiority of freedom and equality over the injustice and oppression that characterizes virtually the entire Arab and Muslim world.
As we properly commemorate the first anniversary of the crime against our nation, we should do so with dry eyes, clear heads and stout hearts. We need to remember not only last year's aggression but all the others that were clear indications that more was coming. Two stand out. In 1993 Muslim extremists bombed the World Trade Center, killing six people and blowing a crater six floors deep in the parking garage beneath. In 1999 terrorists attacked the U.S.S. Cole in 1999, a navy ship docked in a Yemen port, taking the lives of 17 American sailors and blowing a huge hole in the ship (now restored).
Both of these events were wake-up calls that everyone informed about them now acknowledges. But even the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 has raised some interesting questions. A diligent reporter for that city's television station found links between Timothy McVeigh and Muslim terrorists of which the FBI was aware but did not pursue. There are also reports that McVeigh made trips to meet with terrorists in the Philippines and came back trained in the art of making bombs.
More, a Middle Eastern expert warns in a new book that there was Iraqi involvement in both World Trade Center attacks.
The evil men who are making war on the United States are not looking for a dialogue on how to improve relations or develop mutual understanding. Neither are they impressed with our genuine sympathy for the victims of their attacks. They are barbarians who respect only force.
Doubtless when our government finally takes out the Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein, our nation and people will understand once again what it requires to avenge the crimes against us. But that may pass, for our problems run deeper. No sooner will those feelings return when the political therapists and appeasers among us dredge up the same useless palliatives for terror.
Most recently the National Education Association sent primers to the nation's school teachers concerning how to deal with the events of September 11, and its main point is that we should not seek to assess blame for the attacks on us, but rather try to find ways to increase our tolerance of cultural diversity, meaning Arabs and Muslims. This is a bad rap. Americans are as human as any other people in the world, but we are more free, more just and more tolerant than any of them. We are mixture of numerous races and ethnic groups, yet this did not keep the vast majority of us from affirming that America is a good country and deserves to prevail over its current enemies.
But many who provide the news to us in the mass media, who teach in our colleges and universities, who hold positions in our government, and who lead religious faiths have taken up the line that somehow that "America had it coming" for a variety of reasons, but mainly because we are a wicked nation. This palpable lie is the foundation for the insidious work of those who can bring themselves to call the attack on our country a "tragedy" but more often make it out to be a warning to us for being the world's only remaining superpower.
The watchword for our current commemoration of September 11, 2002 is not "Where were you on that day?" but rather "What can we do now to support our government in its fight against worldwide terrorism?" Remember the World Trade Center! Remember the Pentagon! Remember Pennsylvania! It's time to say. "America, let's roll," once again.