September 11, 2001- a look back

I didn’t have a blog then. Instead, I wrote an e-mail, sent it to everyone I know- and it ended up in the DDN with someone else’s name attached.

It was how I felt that day.

To my fellow Americans,
Today, my country was attacked.
Not by warriors flying under their colors-
Or by armies of men fighting for what they believe –
But by faceless cowards, who think that what they believe in means a damn thing.
While many of us believe in a higher power- it is universally accepted that a higher power is a positive force. These idiots somehow think that what they do here on earth will bring them glory in the eyes of their higher power. They are mistaken.
Only madmen believe that acts of evil are somehow redeeming.
I grieve for those who have died today.
They weren’t warriors, they were innocent people with families, children, parents, friends- they were like you and me, they were Americans.
Many of us identify ourselves by what we do, what our color is, who are favorite football team is or where we hail from in our grand country. We are a diverse bunch, but when things like this happen- we must remember, we are all Americans.
We have our differences- but while some madman is jumping up and down with glee thinking he has stuck a mortal blow, we must all come together and reaffirm: We will not bow, we will not flinch, we will not change our way of life.
We are Americans and we accept all challenges to our way of life with dignity. We are not ashamed of what we do, we do not hide behind an imagined moral righteousness, we believe in the words of our pledge: liberty and justice for all.
We have faced greater evil by men more mad, we have fought the world’s battles and won. We have become the most powerful nation in the world not by anything other than our shared resolve to be a place where freedom is sacred, and the rights of the individual come first.
If this e-mail by chance ends up in the hands of those responsible for today’s act of cowardice, and I hope it does. I welcome you to my neighborhood. You will find the finest people on the planet. You can walk safely in the company of people from all races, religions and socio-economic status. And when you do- you can come and find me- and tell me to my face why you did this- and you can bring your sword, wave it in my face, tell me all the reasons why you think you had a right to kill my brethren, and then try your luck on someone who wasn’t sitting in an office, minding their own business, doing their small part in the play called life.
You may win, you may lose, but if I die, there will be millions more just like me who will take your challenge and in the end you will die, and no one will shed a tear.
You will go down in the annals of history as just another petty punk who thought you were more important than the rest of us sharing this planet.
Rest assured, that the more of us you kill, the more we will stand united in our belief in our way of life, and it will continue.
If you decide to show your face- be prepared to meet your higher power, because we are and will continue to be proud Americans.

My name is David Esrati, 113 Bonner St, Dayton OH 45410

You may add your name to the list and forward this- we will not bow, we will not flinch, we will not change our way of life.

Unfortunately, I believe we have changed our way of life due to these maniacs, and in doing so, have given them more time, energy and credit than they deserve.

The simple fact that we’re fighting in Iraq, while Bin Laden is sitting in a cave sending video greetings, says somehow we got off course.

We’ve given up some of our personal freedoms because of made for TV terrorism. Never mind that more damage was done by Hurricane Katrina, and more Americans kill other Americans every year with guns or driving drunk- somehow, we’ve let the terrorists take our eyes off the prize- freedom and liberty for all.

If only we had a time machine, and could turn back the clock- and have stopped those planes from crashing into the World Trade Center towers. If the passengers had taken over like we believe they did on United Flight 93. How would our country be different?

Our President has squandered all the good will we had that day on a reckless and dangerous policy in Iraq, of which we’re now told, we can’t get out of.

Our national debt is soaring, thanks to the cost of a war with no end in sight. And, more Americans have died in Iraq- and continue to die in Iraq, than the number who died on 9/11.

We have changed our way of life. All because of the actions of 20+ mad men.

How do we change it back?

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7 Responses

  1. D. Greene September 11, 2007 / 10:34 pm
    Support the politicians who had the courage to speak out against the Iraq invasion in 2002, for starters. Somebody should start a list.

    Support the candidates in BOTH parties running for president who are consistently anti-war and have been from the start. Dems: Kucinich, Gravel, Richardson, Obama (I Think that’s right

    Repubs: Ron Paul, and Chuck Hagel (if he backs out on his claim he ain’t runnin)

    If I were George Soros, I would not be putting my money into polarizing groups like Moveon.org or the like, trying to influence one major party, I would be throwing millions of dollars at supporting the anti-war candidates, regardless of party affiliation, by fighting the War Party’s propaganda through their media mouthpieces.

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  2. PhotoJim September 12, 2007 / 9:31 am
    On the first anniversary of the 9-11 attacks I was teaching a journalism class as an adjunct at Saint Thomas More College in Northern Kentucky. I told my students then that the true impact of that day may not be known for quite some time. Today it is starting to become a bit more clear, and as is the case with just about everything else in life it is not what was predicted or expected.

    I don’t agree or support everything the current administration has done, particularly as it applies to the situation in Iraq. I agree it was ill-planned and it did cause us to “take our eye off the ball.” I also don’t agree with Obama and Hillary both using the recent Senate hearings with General Petraeus as speaking platforms for their political campaigns (which we all know will eventually come together as the Democrats 2008 ticket for the presidential campaign). Then again, Republican senators would probably do the same thing if the roles were reversed.

    At the time of the attacks there should have been a very clear message and politically cohesive calling for national service in support of a long-term strategic military campaign against a clearly defined enemy versus the inherent ambiguity of this so-called “war on terror.”

    Now we have our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines fighting a war while our civilian population not only goes on fat, dumb and happy but also inadvertently (and in a growing number of cases purposefully) giving support to our enemy ! There is enough blame for this to go around on both sides of the aisle.

    Of all the things that were racing through my mind on the morning of 9-11-01, the very least was imagining that such a horrific attack on innocent Americans would eventually result in the United States populace becoming so divided and without resolve to the point where we now want to just turn tail in give these animals what they want.

    Unbelievable.

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  3. Seth September 12, 2007 / 9:53 am
    We need a thousand more Ron Pauls…

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  4. Seth September 12, 2007 / 10:04 am
    “You cannot win a War on Terrorism. It’s like having a war on jealousy.” – David Cross

    You really can’t.

    I wish the American people had more than a cursory interest in how totally fucked up everything is. But to most, a flag on your truck, apple pie, Walmart, and no gay marriage is enough to feel warm and cozy. What a pathetic existence.

    Though it’s a cliche, the truth of “If you aren’t outraged, then you aren’t paying attention” still resonates louder than ever before.

    On the flip side, if the only thing you care about is your three inch view into the fog, then you’re probably pretty damn happy.

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  5. John Ise September 12, 2007 / 12:54 pm
    “After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this administration’s pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again. I don’t oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism.

    What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne…

    I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars,”

    – Barack Obama, October 2, 2002.

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  6. Zak September 23, 2007 / 10:48 am
    Moreover, why did we react the way we did after September 11th? What is the source of this odd fear or anxiety that causes such idiocy in the way we react?

    I’m sure you’ve noticed it too, that everyone acts like they’re afraid of something, or as if there’s some kind of low-level background anxiety running through everything. Responses to problems tend to either be macho bullshit like our gungho war policies (trying so hard to prove that we’re not afraid that we instead prove that we’ve no confidence in ourselves at all, just lashing out irrationally to try to scare off or destroy what is causing the fear) or instead succumbing to some odd catatonia while looking for someone else to take care of our problems so that we don’t have to look at them ourselves.

    And I’m not just generally referring to our response to the September 11th attacks either, I’m referring to almost everything. We’ve got better educational resources and access to information than any generation previous to us, we’ve got technology that was considered science fiction just two generations ago, even the poorest among us (but not the homeless) lives better than any medieval king could even DREAM of, and yet most people have no confidence in themselves at all.

    Why is this? Are our lives so simple now that we lack sufficient challenges to prove ourselves to ourselves? Is our education system focusing too strongly on what to think rather than on how to think? Are medicine and public health preventing so many needless deaths that, unlike our ancestors, we have a much greater fear of death due to our lack of seeing it around us and thus having to face the potential of our own death? Do we have so many conveniences and manufactured products that, unlike the pioneers, we have lost the concept of doing something ourselves and have replaced it with the concept of purchasing solutions from others? Are industrial toxins causing such environmental damage that we’re all experiencing imperceptibly slight brain damage due to persistent minor oxygen deprivation? Too many growth hormones/antibiotics/pesticides in our foods? Breakdown of the community and the family causing us to no longer focus on being strong for others?

    I don’t know what the cause is, but whatever it is, that is what caused our response to 9/11 to be as idiotic as it was. Once we can solve the source of this anxiety and root it out, once people start being sufficiently confident and collected that they can use logic and react appropriately, these kinds of things won’t happen anymore.

    (Odd thought: what if we’d reacted to Soviet communism the way we’ve been reacting to terrorism? MAD would have surely been the result… Bush overseeing the Cuban Missile Crisis would have been the end of the planet)

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