ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Il Papa - Missteps with Islam

I mean, he should already know that you can't say anything regarding the weird coincidence about Islam, violence, beheadings, terrorism, etc without touching off a firestorm.

NABLUS, West Bank - Two West Bank Christian churches were hit by firebombs early Saturday, and a group claiming responsibility said it was protesting Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks about Islam.

Pakistan’s legislature unanimously condemned Pope Benedict XVI. Lebanon’s top Shiite cleric demanded an apology. And in Turkey, the ruling party likened the pontiff to Hitler and Mussolini and accused him of reviving the mentality of the Crusades.
You see, if you're pissed that someone calls into question your religion's reliance on violence, the best thing to do is starting firebombing buildings, don't you think? That'll make your point that you're really a peaceful religion.

Here's a pic of some peaceful followers of Mohammed, calmly displaying their displeasure with The Pope's remarks:


Here is another picture of followers of the Religion of Submission Peace, asking for dialog with the Pope:


And here's some video of the peaceful response.

Ok, but seriously... here's what the Pope said in Regensburg:
The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality.
Now, it perhaps was not politically correct to quote the part about Mohammad only bringing inhuman and evil practices (although I bet that would be an interesting study for a doctorate theology student!) However, if you remove that text (or simply read the speech with a "rational soul"), the message is quite clear: attempting to influence people's souls through violence on their bodies is contrary to God's Will. I think we can all agree on that, right? (I mean, except for the guys who compelled Steve Khaled Centanni & Co to convert at the point of a gun or rusty knife.)

And wrap your head in duct-tape for this snippet from Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Tasnim Aslam:
"Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence."

Wow... I mean, just wow. If Islam was tolerant, why would referring to it as intolerant encourage violence? I mean, tolerant people aren't typically prone to violence against those who might misunderstand them or criticize them.

All I have to say on this matter is the following:
If the Muslims want to demonstrate that they're "open for dialog" and want to remove the great divide between the Judeo-Christian faiths and the Religion of Peace®, it probably would be a good idea to respond to a speech with speech, not demonstrations in which you burn the Pope in effigy or compare the Pope to Hitler, etc.

Oh, and while they're at it, they could also issue a fatwa every week condemning beheadings, terrorism, indiscriminate targeting of women & children, etc. That would help, too.

As for the Pope, he should apologize for the words that he used - but he should apologize for his lack of understanding that the Muslim faith is so insecure. And the purpose of his apology should be twofold:
  1. To reiterate his belief - shared by millions around the world (Jew, Christian, and Muslim alike) - that violence against any human - regardless of belief - is not viewed favorably by God. (If that runs counter to the written word of the Quran, then this will also prove the Pope's original point.)
  2. To open a dialog with Islam and encourage its leaders to agree with his position that violence in the name of God - regardless of the form - cannot be condoned.
It will be interesting to see how the Pope and the Religion of Peace® work this out.

Captain's Quarters & The Anchoress are also covering.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Friday, September 15, 2006

Blinders

Devastating cartoon by Cox & Forkum. (Apparently one of FireDogLake's favorites, showing that they have no clue.)



Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

McCain's Hubris

Regarding the idiotic position of McCain, Graham, Warner, and Powell on the interrogation of terrorists, the following was used to describe McCain's position:

McCain stands his ground on CIA jails
By Demetri Sevastopulo, Caroline Daniel and Holly Yeager in Washington
Published: September 14 2006 21:03 | Last updated: September 15 2006 00:20

John McCain, the Republican frontrunner for the 2008 presidential election, has dramatically raised the stakes in a fight with the White House over interrogation techniques permitted for use at secret Central Intelligence Agency prisons by saying he is unwilling to back down on the issue even if it ruins his chance of becoming president.

The Arizona senator, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, strongly opposes Bush administration legislation that he says would redefine US obligations under the Geneva conventions. The White House played down the escalating dispute yesterday, which mirrors a similar battle Mr McCain won last year against the administration.

“This is not a showdown at the O.K. Corral,” said Tony Snow, the White House press secretary.

But two people briefed on conversations that Mr McCain had with his staff said the senator told aides he was willing to risk the presidency, because of possible loss of support from Republican lawmakers and voters.

Now, talk about counting your chickens before they hatch. McCain might be "the front-runner" two years out, but that means nothing. This isn't your presidency to risk, Mr. McCain. Talk about Hubris! His best shot for the White House was in 2000 and he blew it. And given his track record on tax cuts and other conservative principles from 2001 to 2004 (when he switched his tune in order to get in W's good graces), I don't think he has a shot at the nomination, anyway.

Unless McCain is meaning that he's willing to risk the presidency (of Bush) over this.... that's the only thing that makes sense to me.

And, to address the concerns of Powell, McCain, and the other pinheads - Here are the techniques used by the US when interrogating terrorists (from my post on November, 2005 - Torture (aka Tickle Fight)):
"They would not let you rest, day or night. Stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down. Don't sleep. Don't lie on the floor," one prisoner said through a translator. The detainees were also forced to listen to rap artist Eminem's "Slim Shady" album. The music was so foreign to them it made them frantic, sources said.
[...I understand that the Red Hot Chili Peppers is a favorite now...]

The CIA sources described a list of six "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" instituted in mid-March 2002 and used, they said, on a dozen top al Qaeda targets incarcerated in isolation at secret locations on military bases in regions from Asia to Eastern Europe. According to the sources, only a handful of CIA interrogators are trained and authorized to use the techniques:
  1. The Attention Grab: The interrogator forcefully grabs the shirt front of the prisoner and shakes him.
  2. Attention Slap: An open-handed slap aimed at causing pain and triggering fear.
  3. The Belly Slap: A hard open-handed slap to the stomach. The aim is to cause pain, but not internal injury. Doctors consulted advised against using a punch, which could cause lasting internal damage.
  4. Long Time Standing: This technique is described as among the most effective. Prisoners are forced to stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor for more than 40 hours. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation are effective in yielding confessions.
  5. The Cold Cell: The prisoner is left to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees. Throughout the time in the cell the prisoner is doused with cold water.
  6. Water Boarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.
But seriously folks... when the Dems and the Media talk about torture, images of much worse come to mind. I know I normally have visions of car batteries... fingernails being pulled off, etc. And it's important to note that these techniques have only been used on 12 - count them, 12 - of Al Qaeda's top leadership. These are not employed for your average terrorist caught in the field. The fact that most of these techniques are rather milquetoast (shirt grabbing?!?!) and authorized only for the top leaderhsip makes me question our seriousness when interrogating prisoners.
Now, these all sound like acts similar to what recruits in our military go through during hell week of boot camp, the only excepction being water-boarding.

That Colin Powell and John McCain think that captured terrorists (who do not wear identifiable uniforms and who do not carry their weapons in the open - specific requirements for combatants to be covered under the Geneva Convention)... that these two mental midgets think that the only thing we can ask of the terrorists is name, rank, and serial number just blows my mind.

It demonstrates to me that there are some even in the Republican party who do not take this war or this threat seriously. They think that we should be fighting this war with one hand tied behind our back - from interrogating terrorists in order to stop terrorist acts in advance to keeping mosques and Islamic holy sites (often used as caches of military equipment) off our target list).

And with regard to Colin Powell specifically... who gives a crap what that idiot thinks? He is the same guy who knew that Armitage was the leaker and sought to protect himself, his subordinate, and his bureaucracy rather than identify the person that broke a law. The State Department (lead by Albright & Powell) was one of the bureaucratic agencies which is most responsible for the attacks of 9/11, our anemic response to terror threats in the '90s, and our inability to speak the truth about the Islamofascist threat to the world since the attack. Yet another example of hubris...

***UPDATE***
Wizbang and StopTheACLU (should be called StopTheSenate and a failed Sec of State)also covering.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Your Thursday Afternoon Tinfoil Truthiness

Here are the nutroots on display at DU. Note that the bloggers who met with a former President share these opinions... This is the "Democratic Base." Now, on with the rantings of someone suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) - and I apologize in advance for the language of these Moonbats:

boolean (357 posts)
Thu Sep-14-06 04:02 PM
Original message

I fear election fraud

Even with the Dems up in the polls, after seeing the diebold video, I fear that it doesn't even matter anymore.

If they rig another election and have the pugs pull another victory up their collective asses, the dems will once again back down and do absolutely NOTHING about the election fraud. Anyone who claims the fraud will be called a sore loser and/or a whiner.

This is not a conspiracy theory. There are several studies that show election fraud DID HAPPEN in 2004 in Ohio. Exit poll data. Whistle blowers. It's all there and NOBODY CARES. Kerry is the legitimate president of the United States.

Yet, where are the millions of people marching in the streets? Where are the democrats fighting tooth and nail to stop this obvious destruction of Democracy?

I understand the this kind of shit needs media exposure and the media is clearly not on our side. But we can get the media on our side if we gather enough people to march the streets and demand an end to this fascist dictatorship that has taken over.

I'm talking Russian Revolution style protesting. No more of this one day shit. It's time to shut the entire fucking country down until a true Democracy is restored. Do you all realize that Democracy is DEAD in the United States of America? With bush using "signing statements" to make up his own laws, with the rigging of the last 2 elections (at least), with the media controlled by corporations backed by powerful GOPers? It's already all over. The Internet is the only thing left keeping the truth, and they're about to attack that, too. Make no mistake, the Internet will be regulated eventually if we all don't wise up and then it'll be too late.

It's not too late, yet.

When the GOP wins in November yet again, and the exit polls once again show discrepancies and evidence of outright fraud, will the people finally stand up and end this bullshit?

Ahhh, setting the stage for this November already. Normally they wait until a week before the election to start complaining about GOP dirty tricks and voter fraud.

This post got several comments from other members in the "reality based community." First up is a pair who think the US Air Force is going to microwave anyone who protests the "election" results:
valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts)
Thu Sep-14-06 04:04 PM
Response to Original message

2. Don't fear it. Expect it. And hope the populace can demand change

without getting microwaved by the Air Force during protests.


AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts)
Thu Sep-14-06 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #2

8. The Message from the USAF General Was Unmistakably Clear

They're saying they are going to steal the election,and they'll fry us if we try to stop them.

Note that the Air Force is almost completely taken over by Fundies, who will have no qualms about using those horrible weapons on us.

Here's a dem in "the O.C." who shares his opinion of his fellow Americans and pulls out the age-old threat to leave the country. (Say it ain't so!!!!)
OrangeCountyDemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts)
Thu Sep-14-06 04:07 PM
Response to Original message

3. Too Many MORONS

I'm honestly beginning to think this is the start of some bad times in this country.

People laugh when I say that someday I might leave the U.S. completely, and relocate somewhere not quite as Fixed and filled with MORONS.

I think that between 20-35% of this country are MORONS, and they are bent on taking control of things, and dragging us down. Of course, since they're MORONS, they don't comprehend this quite yet.


Next up is Marr, who is resigned to the fact that the Dems won't be taking control of either house of Congress. Not because they're unable to communicate with the voters and develop a strategery for the most pressing issues of our time, but because the Repugs will steal and cheat enough to retain control:
>Marr (1000+ posts)
Thu Sep-14-06 04:19 PM
Response to Original message

7. I'm expecting the Republicans to maintain control of both
houses of Congress, though by a slimmer margin.

It'll all be totally fraudulent, of course- and in a real vote they'd be swept out of both. They know the public perception is that the Republicans are going to lose big, so they'll sacrifice a few seats here and there. But they won't give up control of Congress, no matter how blatantly they have to cheat to hold it.

They know very well that the corporate media will fall right into line when they see that Republicans have stolen another election and remain in control.

Now, I know The Architect will be ticked at me for posting this on a public website, but it's already too late for the Dems to do anything anyway. I just thought that Marr should know that he's closer to the truth than he realizes:
  • The House will be retained by the GOP by just five seats
  • The Senate will be a net loss of 1 GOP seat.
This will be just close enough of a "win" keep that pesky press (ie those not already under our control) from digging too deeply into our "Stop the Vote" (instead of Get Out The Vote) efforts.

p.s. Please don't tell Rove....

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Moonbat Bloggers Get Their Kneepads Out

Lovefest about this meeting between the greatest man ever to walk the Earth and a gaggle of fringe, Leftist bloggers. Let's get a sense of the meeting from their own words:

My impressions? He [Clinton] looks a little older than I expected, though befitting someone who was president for eight years (and he was first elected 14 years ago). He's got beautiful blue eyes (this isn't something I normally notice, but in his case I did, and he does, and I suspect he uses it to good effect). The man is smart as hell. He knows a lot about everything, and he gets it, he gets politics, he gets people, he understands what's going on and knows how to get things done. His political advice is no-nonsense and straight forward - he'd rather take an issue on than run from it (oh for the days of that in a Democratic politician).

Oh, those blue eyes!!! I do declare!

And yes, Clinton was always the one to take on an issue rather than run from it. From Al Qaeda to North Korea to Social Security to Sworn testimony in front of a grand jury. That Clinton was always straight forward and ready to tackle the problem in a straight-forward manner!

Continuing with the excerpt.... a rundown of the Moonbats that a former President has time to meet with:
Among those attending, that I can recall, were Atrios, Joe in DC and me [from AmericaBlog], Chris Bowers and Matt Stoller from MyDD, McJoan from DailyKos, John Amato from Crooks & Liars (by phone from CA), Jane and Christy from FDL, Liberal Oasis, Steve from CarpetBagger, Jeraly and son from TalkLeft, Dave Johnson from Seeing the Forest, and I'm sure a few others I'm forgetting.

Quite an assemblage of Moonbats. Here's my breakdown of the major ones:
  1. Atrios - King of the Open Thread. Advertisers pay him big bucks because he's clever enough to provide ZERO content for his readers
  2. AMERICABlog - gaggle of Moonbats
  3. MyDD - People Powered Politics for those that don't trust the people
  4. McJoan from DailyKos - unhinged Kossack Lieutenant. Apparently Clinton isn't worthy enough for Markos, the Kossack Supreme
  5. John from Crooks & Liars - In Love with Keith Olberman and his anti-Bush lovefest every night. What are his ratings again?
  6. Jane & Christy at FDL - When they're not photoshopping their political opponents (both within and outside of the Democratic party) into blackface, they're keepin' hope alive on the Wilson/Plame Fitzmas party. Reality has no impact on these gals! (Note - When the NY Times is too conservative for you, you're unhinged)
  7. etc
Back to the event:
The lunch was only scheduled to go for an hour and he stayed with us for two. I think that means he enjoyed himself, which is good. It's of course fascinating to be in the presence of someone like Clinton. You feel for a moment a part of history, a witness to history. And you get a small glimpse at greatness. For a politico, this kind of lunch is a life's dream. But on a more practical side, as I said at the beginning, these kind of meet-and-greets are what make politics work when it works - the importance of the personal cannot be overstated. We get more done working together than working separately, and that's one of the main messages we delivered.

Wow... sounds like a religious experience.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Novak tells the rest of the story

Drudge has a flash alerting us to Novak's upcoming column for tomorrow which will indicate that Richard Armitage's "coming out" as the initial source for the Plame Kerfuffle is not fully truthful.

The column is a real doozy. Let's dive right in (all emphasis mine).

First, Armitage did not, as he now indicates, merely pass on something he had heard and that he ‘‘thought’’ might be so. Rather, he identified to me the CIA division where Mrs. Wilson worked, and said flatly that she recommended the mission to Niger by her husband, former Amb. Joseph Wilson.

Second, Armitage did not slip me this information as idle chitchat, as he now suggests. He made clear he considered it especially suited for my column


This further highlights the distance this whole issue has with Rove and Libby. Armitage at State was the first to talk about these issues, and was providing plenty of details about Valerie. This was not Cheney outing Plame to hurt Joe Wilson. This was State hitting back at Tenet at the CIA for being incompetent and sending a former ambassador out on a nepotistic wild goose chase.

But lets explore further. It just gets better.

A peculiar convergence had joined Armitage and me on the same historical path. During his quarter of a century in Washington, I had no contact with Armitage before our fateful interview. I tried to see him in the first 2 years of the Bush administration, but he rebuffed me — summarily and with disdain, I thought.

Then, without explanation, in June 2003, Armitage’s office said the deputy secretary would see me. This was two weeks before Joe Wilson surfaced himself as author of a 2002 report for the CIA debunking Iraqi interest in buying uranium in Africa.

Wow. Almost like Armitage actually DID all the things that Rove was being accused of.

Neither of us took notes, and nobody else was present. But I recalled our conversation that week in writing a column, while Armitage reconstructed it months later for federal prosecutors. He had told me unequivocally that Mrs. Wilson worked in the CIA’s Counter-Proliferation Division and that she had suggested her husband’s mission.


That's basically everything (minus the Who's who of the last name Plame) that's in Novak's column. Armitage outed Plame. All of it.

Duberstein told me Armitage wanted to know whether he was my source. I did not reply because I was sure that Armitage knew he was the source. I believed he contacted me Oct. 1 because of news the weekend of Sept. 27-28 that the Justice Department was investigating the leak. I cannot credit Armitage’s current claim that he realized he was the source only when my Oct. 1 column revealed that the official who gave me the information was ‘‘no partisan gunslinger.’’


Seems that Armitage needed to know if he was in jeapordy or not, so he arranged through a patsy to find out if Novak was going to rat on him. Using Duberstein allowed for plausible deniability in case it ever got back that he was attempting to tamper with a witness. Seeing that Novak was being shy, Armitage had no choice but to go to Fitz himself with the inadequate "suddenly realized" story on Oct 1.

Armitage’s silence the next 2 years caused intense pain for his colleagues in government and enabled partisan Democrats in Congress to falsely accuse Rove of being my primary source. When Armitage now says he was mute because of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s request, that does not explain his silence three months between his claimed first realization that he was the source and Fitzgerald’s appointment on Dec. 30. Armitage’s tardy self-disclosure is tainted because it is deceptive.


This should bar Armitage from service in any department of the government under any administration. Any presidential campaign looking for foreign policy advice should not look towards Richard Armitage.

And the press should start asking questions of Colin Powell. Among the first, why did he obviously not let the Vice President or President know that their principal aides were being falsely accused in the press and by a out of control prosecutor? Why did he not immediately ask for his subordinate's resignation. Was Powell directing Armitage to leak the informaiton in a battle against State? Powell certainly felt Tenet had hung him out to dry with the WMD intelligence he touted before the UN Security council. So there was certainly motive.

Armitage should also immediately release any report anywhere from confidentiality regarding the Plame matter. Since he seems to forget every conversation that involves Plame (we know of now two, Woodward and Novak), his memory can't be relied upon. I'm willing to bet that Miller and Mitchell were also informed.

It looks like the White House didn't push this story - the State department did. As I believe at least one blogger on this site correctly identified oh so many years ago. It wasn't to refute Wilson, it was to highlight what idiots were in charge over at CIA.

In addition, Fitz should hang up his hat, and return to Chicago. There is no Al Capone to get on tax evasion. He is no Eliot Ness. Give it up and go home.

**Update**

I note from Drudge that Valerie Wilson has now named Armitage in her lawsuit. She hasn't dropped Rove and Libby however.
By adding Armitage's name to the suit, Plame's lawyers set up a different scenario. They contend a White House conspiracy existed, but that Armitage's leak was independent of it.

Yeah, good luck with that....



Just One Minute (a great source for Plame-related material) is covering this story as well.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Have a Laugh at the Expense of the Conspiratorial Moonbats

Check out the video from Amy "I hate makeup" Goodman and watch as a pair of 12 year olds who like to play crime scene investigators take on engineers from Popular Mechanics.



It's hilarious to watch them try to refute guys who actually know what the hell they're talking about. I mean, their reactions are like kids who are told that Santa Claus isn't real. (Sorry to you had to find that out via the blog, Brian.)

Loose Change is clearly the product of some kids with wild fantasies.

There's a Chinese Adage at the bottom of this site which I think is appropriate here:
The longer the explanation, the greater the lie

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Missed Opportunity

I mean... what better place to kill a bunch of Islamofascists than at a funeral? Talk about the right place at the right time.

Taliban terror leaders who had gathered for a funeral - and were secretly being watched by an eye-in-the-sky American drone - dodged assassination because U.S. rules of engagement bar attacks in cemeteries, according to a shocking report.

U.S. intelligence officers in Afghanistan are still fuming about the recent lost opportunity for an easy kill of Taliban honchos packed in tight formation for the burial, NBC News reported.

The unmanned airplane, circling undetected high overhead, fed a continuous satellite feed of the juicy target to officers on the ground.

"We were so excited. I came rushing in with the picture," one U.S. Army officer told NBC.

But that excitement quickly turned to gut-wrenching frustration because the rules of engagement on the ground in Afghanistan blocked the U.S. from mounting a missile or bomb strike in a cemetery, according to the report.

Pentagon officials declined comment and referred The Post to Central Command officers in Afghanistan, who did not respond to a request for comment or explanation.

Agonizingly, Army officers could do nothing but watch the pictures being fed back from the drone as the Taliban splintered into tiny groups - too small to effectively target with the drone - and headed back to their mountainside hideouts.

Given the smartbombs that we have, we probably could have:
  1. blown a huge crater in the ground in front of the Talibanis;
  2. dropped another bomb behind the guys in formation - knocking them into the crater; and
  3. dropped a MOAB on the whole scene, sealing up the grave.
In all seriousness, this seems to be a return to fighting the Islamofascists with one arm tied behind our back. We were already calling off engaging jihadists if there were in a mosque (as shown in this footage from an AC-130 gunship in Afghanistan).

And I suspect that this will have one of two results:
  1. Jihadists will never regroup at a funeral, fearing that the ROE has changed now that it's be publicized and we're begging our government to get tough
  2. The Islamofascists will now accessorize their current "uniform" with a coffin and a spade, allowing them to claim that they're always participating in a funeral and thus protected from attack by the US.
Surely the Islamofascists are laughing at us... what in the hell is wrong with us?

Michelle Malkin is covering (of course)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bloggers Recall How 9/11 Changed Them

I'm a big fan of Jeff Goldstein's Protein Wisdom (although I'd be a much bigger fan if he'd put a link to ARC on his site!) and thought his post from yesterday was a must read for everyone. He recalls the impact that 9/11 had on his political views...

Excerpted in full

Has it really been half a decade?

On the morning of September 11 2001, my wife and I were up early packing the car for a weekend stay we’d planned in Taos, NM. We were watching “Good Morning America” while having our coffee when the report broke of a “small plane” hitting one of the Twin Towers—a report that was soon thrown into doubt by eyewitnesses who claimed the plane was much larger than the initial accounts were claiming.

We decided to stick around for a bit until we knew what exactly was happening, and because of that, we watched live as the second plane hit the Towers. It was at that point, I think, that we cancelled our trip. Not long after, we watched the Towers collapse.

In the days and weeks following what we eventually learned were terrorist attacks, I became—along with millions of Americans, I suspect—a news junkie. And it was during the second stage of the coverage—after the immediate 48 hours, when networks began “contextualizing” the attacks—that I found myself growing disillusioned with media outlets I’d previously watched fairly uncritically. Pre-911, I wasn’t at all a political animal; but CNN and Peter Jennings turned me into one.

They also allowed me to find FOX News, which I had never before watched—and blogs, which I had never before read. The rapidity of the updates on blogs, which were pulling stories from multiple sources and offering commentary, fed both my hunger for information and my desire to consider a broad range of commentary. And in December 2001, I started my own site, which eventually became protein wisdom.

I also subscribed to a number of magazines within a month or two of the 911 attacks in order to read across the ideological and political spectrum. Among these were The Nation, Harpers, The American Prospect, The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, The National Review, and Reason. And it was through these periodicals that I was able to find my political bearings—which I’d always believed was more toward, say, Harpers -- but which in fact turned out to be some combination of the The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, and National Review on foreign policy, and Reason on social policy.

Which, I have to be honest, this came as quite a shock to a guy who’d spent the last 10 years of his life in the Humanities—though in retrospect, I don’t think it should have been, given the way I now believe one’s understanding of how language works (even if that understanding is entirely unconscious) either determines (or possibly is determined by) one’s ideological orientation, which then translates into a nodal point on the political continuum.

My own orientation—which I’ve come to identify as classically liberal—also exposed an ideological rift between me and many of my friends, one that had previously been a far more localized and discipline-specific dispute over hermeneutics, often argued vigorously over beer and bad 70s music. Unsurprisingly (to me, at least), my friends who were of the postcolonial / new historical / post-structural (including reader-response) schools of interpretation theory turned out to hold “progressive” political views and were the most likely to embrace ideas about “blowback” and US imperialism / hegemony, which they often trotted out as a way to distance themselves from the crass nativists who had taken to wearing American flag lapel pins or decorating their cars with ribbon magnets, and had committed the unpardonable sin of having never read Pynchon or Delillo or Said or Walter Benjamin.

So for me, not only was 911 an horrific day of tragedy, but it was likewise the day that began my political awakening, and compelled me to think through and clarify my political beliefs, as well as endeavor to understand the philosophical underpinnings of my ideological inclinations in much the same way I’d previously gone about understanding, say, The Time Machine or The Prince.

Now, five years later, I’m completely comfortable with my politics; and I am firmly behind the current administration’s basic strategy for fighting the scourge of Islamic radicalism—even if I often disagree with particular manifestations of that strategy.

And at this remove, I find it rather pointless, now, to argue with those who have become entrenched in their views. Nevertheless, I continue to write—sometimes to persuade, sometimes to crystalize my own thoughts—so that those who are perhaps new to an examination of politics, foreign policy, etc., can, if they’d like, add my observations and arguments to the mix that will eventually define their place on the political spectrum.

911 was a clarion call. It told us we are indeed at war—that an enemy has sought us out, and that no amount of projection or denial or blame shifting or strained attempts to “understand” that enemy (ironically, often in completely western terms, this despite the constant suggestions that we need to understand them through the lens of their peculiar cultural beliefs) was going to change that fact.

Some of us have embraced that message and have decided to support a particular strategy for fighting the war; others (on both the left and the right) think our current leadership has chosen the wrong strategy; and still others deny that we are even AT war.

And so for me, today is a time to reflect not only upon the horrors of that sunny September morning—but it is likewise a time to take stock of where we are, what we’ve done since, and what we need to do going forward in order to protect our country and our way of life from those who would annihilate them.

I figure watching United 93 ought to be a nice way to jumpstart those reflections. So if you’ll excuse me --

And after reading Jeff's post, I recalled that another of my favorite bloggers, the Neo-Neocon, also experienced a similar reaction to 9/11. I visited her site and, sure enough, she had reposted her thoughts following that horrible day, explaining how that tragic event transformed her thinking on many issues:
9/11: the watershed

[On this fifth anniversary of 9/11, I am reposting the following. It is part of my "A mind is a difficult thing to change" series, and deals with the events of 9/11 and my reaction to them.]

INTRODUCTION

Although I've written in my "About Me" section that I was "mugged by reality on 9/11," that's really just a convenient and probably misleading shorthand description of a much more complex reaction, one that began that instant but emerged only slowly, over a period of several years. It's probably still in the process of evolving and changing.

But the beginning wasn't slow. Not at all.

It began in an instant, the instant I heard about the 9/11 attacks. Like most of you, I remember exactly where I was at the time and how I learned the news.
[...]
I knew immediately and intuitively that a watershed event had occurred. I didn't know the exact parameters of it, nor any details of the direction in which we were headed, but I knew that this moment felt like a break with everything that had gone before. Assumptions I hadn't even known I'd held were dead in a single instant, as though their life supports had been cut. I didn't know what would replace them.

What were the main assumptions that had died in that instant for me? They had to do with a sense of basic long-term safety. Some utterly fearful thing that had seemed contained before, although vaguely threatening, had now burst from its constraints. It was like being plunged into something dark and ancient that had also suddenly been grafted onto modern technology and jet planes--Huns or Mongols or Genghis Khan or Vlad the Impaler or Hector being dragged behind Achilles' chariot--a thousand swirling vague but horrific impressions from an ancient history I'd never paid all that much attention to before.

I remembered having read articles within the last couple of years that had told of terrorist plans and threats, but managing to successfully surpress my rising fear and reassuring myself that no, it wouldn't actually happen; it was just talk and boasting bravado. The nuclear nightmares of my youth now came to mind: the fallout shelters, the bomb drills, the suspicion that I wouldn't live to grow up. I had suppressed those, too, especially in recent years when the fall of the Soviet Union had removed what had once been the likeliest source of the conflagration. It now felt like one of those horror movies where the heroine is chased by someone out to do her harm and then she gets home, feels safe, closes the door and breathes a sigh of relief--and then the murderer leaps out of the closet, where he'd been hiding all the time.
[...]
Each prior terrorist attack had contained elements that had allowed me to soothe and distance myself from it, and to minimize the terrorists' intent. Most of the attacks had been overseas, or on military personnel, or both. Or, if the attack had been in this country and on civilians (both were certainly true of the previous WTC bombing), the terrorists had seemed almost comically inept and bumbling. Each attack had been horrible, but the presence of one or more of these elements had kept knowledge of what was really going on at bay.

Those planes that had crashed into the towers and toppled them on 9/11 also had smashed the nearly impenetrable wall of my previous denial. These attacks had been audacious. I could not ignore the fact that the intent of the terrorists was to be as lethal and malicious as humanly possible. The change in the scope and scale of the project made it seem as though they did indeed want to kill us all, indiscriminately, and it gave their motives even less grounding in any sort of rational thought that I could fathom, or any real strategic end. The creativity of the attacks (and I do not use that word admiringly, but the attacks were indeed an instance of thinking outside the box) made it seem that anything was possible, and that the form of future attacks could not be anticipated or even guessed at. The attacks had imitated an action/adventure movie far too well, the type of thing that had always seemed way too improbable to be true. But now it had actually happened, and the terrorists seemed to have become almost slickly competent in the split-second timing and execution of the attacks.
[...]
Now, and quite suddenly, I wanted to learn what had happened, why, and what we might need to do about it. In fact, I felt driven to study these things, in the way that a person suddenly faced with the diagnosis of a terminal illness might want to learn everything possible about that disease, even if they'd had no interest whatsoever in it before. Samuel Johnson has written that the prospect of being hanged focuses the mind wonderfully. A terrorist attack on this scale had focused the mind wonderfully, too. That was, perhaps, its only benefit.

Even on that very first day, as I sat on the rocks overlooking the beautiful ocean that I loved so much, I thought we had entered a new era, one which would probably go on for most of my lifetime however much longer I might live. The fight would be long and hard, and there would be many many deaths before it was over. Perhaps it would result in the end of civilization as we knew it--yes, my thoughts went that far on that day. This war would encompass most of the globe. I had no idea how it would work out, but I knew that we were in for the fight of our lives.

The legal actions of the past--the puny trial after the first World Trade Center attack, for example--no longer seemed like an effective response. It seemed, in retrospect, to have been almost laughably naive. The situation didn't even seem amenable to a conventional war. Something new would have to be invented, and fast. And it would have to be global. It would have to have great depth and breadth, and it would probably last for decades or even longer.

Read the entire post, because I excerpted quite a bit and it doesn't do justice to Neo's writing style.

I know that for many moderates and self-proclaimed liberals, 9/11 was a wakeup call. A day in which they realized that the multicultural tolerance of intolerant cultures and ideologies could no longer be promoted. It was a return to classical liberalism for them and they truly saw a fissue between their clarified views and the views of their Leftist friends. For me, I was always a "jingoistic" American and it was crystal clear to me on 9/11 that the Middle East had to be changed to secure our nation for future generations. Even though I have a degree in international business and had plenty of training and courses about not being the "ugly American" and learned to respect other cultures, it never meant (to me) that I had to subordinate what I know is the greatness that is America - the shining city on a hill - to ideologies and cultures which are its antithesis.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, September 11, 2006

ARC Reviews The Path to 9/11

Unlike my counterparts in the blogosphere, I've held off on commenting (to a great extent) on the kerfluffle over ABC's The Path to 9/11 until AFTER I watched the show. I have to say, the acting was pretty poor and here's my assessment of the content:

  1. It's pretty clear that this is a docudrama, not a documentary. They have scenes in which Atta is talking to fellow hijackers in coffee shops about their religion, followed by scenes of Atta cleansing himself in preparation for martyrdom. Transcripts of such conversations are not available, but provide the viewer with context. That Albright thinks any portrayal of her role should rely on transcripts of her conversations shows that she is more stupid than how she was portrayed in the docudrama.
  2. Dick Clarke & John O'Neil are clearly portrayed as the heroes.
  3. The villains are not Clinton, Berger, Albright, Bush, Condoleeza, or Cheney, but rather bureaucratic ineptitude and deference for being politically correct. I suppose the only villain that I could gather from the film would be Jamie Gorelick, creator of "the wall" between the FBI and the CIA. Of course, she wasn't mentioned by name in the film (nor in the 9/11 Report, since she actually was part of the committee).
  4. After 9/11, our thoughts about the threat we faced has changed, but we are still prone to our old, bureaucratic ineptitude and desire to be politically correct
  5. The State Department bureaucracy did not (and perhaps still do not) have National Security as their primary interest.
  6. The CIA under George Tenet was a disaster. The guy was a putz and the fact that his influence spanned two administrations is very telling regarding our response to international Islamofascism. I'm disappointed that he wasn't fired shortly after 9/11.
It was sad how ABC had to kow-tow to the dictates of the liberal moonbats... That they edited away scenes because Sandy "My Undies are in a bind because of the classified documents" Berger wasn't pleased with the way he was portrayed shows that some the MSM is still beholden to administrations of a bygone era.

*** UPDATE ***
Thanks to Media Lizzy for reminding me of another item that I failed to mention in my original post:

7. The Fallen Lion of Panjshir, Ahmed Shah Massoud, was another hero in the docudrama and in real life. He was the canary in the coal mine and knew the danger that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda represented for civilization. His assassination by Al-Qaeda was a severe blow against the US and its allies in the region. Had he lived, I suspect the result in Afghanistan would be even better today. (And, like the other conversations that were portrayed in the movie, I doubt that each actually took place word for word. No doubt that Madeline Albright will rise up and sue ABC over the falsified memory of Massoud.

All I want to know is where can I get a Massoud t-shirt? Rip-off the Che stylings and put Massoud on the front.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Because Even Moonbats Can't Take the Day Off

The Moonbats decided to head to Ground Zero to protest Chimpy W. McBushitler! (Click the video below to see it on YouTube.com.

(See ARC Posts reflecting on 9/11 here and here)



The commenters to the video think these people are courageous for speaking out. True, but it should be noted that they're all a bunch of loons, Alex Jones in particular. They complain about the silence and the lack of dissent, yet they're speaking out publicly and not being rounded up by the fascist police state. No, they're being featured by the Associated Press.

Some of those featured are prominent lefties and their orgs:
Alice Sturm Sutter

  1. member of Stop CAFTA (Apparently doesn't like helping the poor in Central America;
  2. Member of the National War Tax Resistance Coordination Committee (or, as I like to refer to them, the "NWTRCC")
Litsa Binder
  1. Founder of Northwest New Jersey Peace Fellowship
  2. Member, United for Peace
Alex Jones - See Infowars.com if you want to lose some brain cells.

***Update ARC: Brian ***

My own two cents. Saw this on Outside the Beltway and felt it was probably best by adding to this article (caution bad language):
But, anyway, just a big hearty fuck you to the White House and the news media who have decided this day is largely a personal narrative about George Bush, a man who was almost entirely absent on that day then had a big giggle before falling asleep early. It isn’t about him, and unless you were in New York or Washington or were close to people who were directly affected, it’s probably not about you either.

It's funny how Bill Clinton receiving oral sex from an intern while on the phone with a congressman discussing troop movements is considered not "absent" from the job, but George Bush staying out of potential harm's way while leading the nations defense while being attacked is considered being absent and "having a giggle".

To atrios and the rest of the left, 9/11 isn't about Bush, it isn't aobut Bill Clinton either for that matter, it's about America and the threat we face.

ARC: Brian
*********************

Regards,
ARC: St Wendeler

Never Forget


Thanks to my friend Hick at Bee-mused in the Country. I could not have said it better myself.


Todd Beamer...One of the Heros of Flight 93

"We do know the final thoughts and words of Todd Beamer, a 32-year-old Oracle Corporation account manager from Cranbury, N.J., with a wife and two young sons (and a third child on the way), who was travelling to California for a September 11 business meeting on Flight 93. Somehow, Beamer's cell phone call from Flight 93 was routed to Lisa Jefferson, a supervisor with the GTE Customer Center in Oakbrook, Illinois. As Mrs. Jefferson proceeded down the checklist in GTE's "distress call" manual, Beamer relayed the details of their situation: number of passengers, number of hijackers, weapons carried by the hijackers, etc. As reported in Newsweek's "The Real Story of Flight 93," Beamer's last words to Lisa Jefferson included a recitation of the Lord's Prayer:

Up to this moment, Beamer had been all business. "Lisa," he said suddenly. "Yes?" responded Jefferson. "That's my wife," said Beamer. "Well that's my name, too, Todd," said Jefferson. "Oh, my God," said Beamer. "I don't think we're going to get out of this thing. I'm going to have to go out on faith." Jefferson tried to comfort him. "Todd," she said, "you don't know that." Beamer asked her to promise to call his wife if he didn't make it home. He told her about his little boys and the new baby on the way. Then he said that the passengers were going to try to jump the hijackers. "Are you sure that's what you want to do, Todd?" asked Jefferson. "It's what we have to do," he answered. He asked her to pray with him. Beamer kept a Lord's Prayer bookmark in his Tom Clancy novel, but he didn't need any prompting. He began to recite the litany, and she joined him:


Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


"Jesus help me," Beamer said. He recited the 23d Psalm. Then Jefferson heard him say:

"Are you guys ready? Let's roll."

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Reminding the WaPo - Or Can They Not Read?

From yesterday's editorial in the Washington Post:

In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11 Mr. Bush's declared enemy was al-Qaeda and the allied Taliban regime in Afghanistan; later he defined an "axis of evil" that lumped together Communist North Korea, Iran and the secular Iraqi dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Now he perceives both al-Qaeda and Iran, as well as affiliates like the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, as collectively making up "a worldwide network of radicals that use terror."

From Bush's original address to the Joint Session of Congress where he laid out the aims of the War On Terror.
Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated. (Applause.)

See my previous post which seeks to remind everyone of Bush's words in the aftermath of 9/11...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Day the World Changed


I remember September 11th like it was yesterday. My wife and I had just found out that we were expecting our first child a few days before. I was working from home that day and had a conference call with people from all over the world scheduled. The phone rang and ARC:Brian told me to turn on the TV. I flipped it on and saw the smoking WTC and asked him what had happened. As he was telling me, the second plane hit before my eyes.

Both Brian and I commented that the world had just changed. That we were at war and that none of the things that we had tolerated for so long in the past would be allowed to continue. I seem to recall that we even said that Saddam's days were numbered.

Anyway, on that day and in the days to follow, it became clear to many that the environment in the Middle East, one that revere's the 12th century and uses 21st century technology in the hopes of returning to such a backward state, had to be changed. Our efforts in the middle east will take years, but generations from now our children (in the US and those in the Middle East) will look back and be grateful that we finally changed the course of history in the Middle East.

Of course, if you have a poor grasp on reality and have difficulty identifying the actual enemies which attacked us on 9/11, you might not understand why changing the Middle East is so important.

Anyway, on this 9/11, I thought it would be interesting to see how the President's words evolved and formed into a coherent policy which he hasn't strayed from.

From Bush's remarks at Emma Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida:

9:30 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Ladies and gentlemen, this is a difficult moment for America. I, unfortunately, will be going back to Washington after my remarks. Secretary Rod Paige and the Lt. Governor will take the podium and discuss education. I do want to thank the folks here at Booker Elementary School for their hospitality.

Today we've had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country. I have spoken to the Vice President, to the Governor of New York, to the Director of the FBI, and have ordered that the full resources of the federal government go to help the victims and their families, and to conduct a full-scale investigation to hunt down and to find those folks who committed this act.

I think it's important to note that at this early hour on September 11th, President Bush hadn't yet grasped the impact of this event. He still has the mentality which was held by the Clinton administration - that this was a law enforcement issue. He's requesting an "investigation" to hunt down the "folks" that committed this act.

After flying on Air Force One and hearing of the Flight 93 crash, he landed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisana and gave this statement:
THE PRESIDENT: I want to reassure the American people that the full resources of the federal government are working to assist local authorities to save lives and to help the victims of these attacks. Make no mistake: The United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts.

I've been in regular contact with the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, the national security team and my Cabinet. We have taken all appropriate security precautions to protect the American people. Our military at home and around the world is on high alert status, and we have taken the necessary security precautions to continue the functions of your government.

We have been in touch with the leaders of Congress and with world leaders to assure them that we will do whatever is necessary to protect America and Americans.

I ask the American people to join me in saying a thanks for all the folks who have been fighting hard to rescue our fellow citizens and to join me in saying a prayer for the victims and their families.

The resolve of our great nation is being tested. But make no mistake: We will show the world that we will pass this test. God bless.
A little more resolute, but still not grasping what needs to be done. I recall that many criticized Bush's early statements because they were not forcful enough.

Later that night, Bush addressed the nation. I've excerpted pieces of that address - note that law enforcement is still mentioned, but you can see the shift in thinking:
8:30 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes, or in their offices; secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers; moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror.

The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed; our country is strong.

A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.

America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.
[...]
The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I've directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.
[...]
America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism. Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me."

This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.

Thank you. Good night, and God bless America.
Note that this is the first mention of the Bush Doctrine, making no distinction between the terrorists and those who harbor them. Also notice the first mention of the War On Terror.

The following day, Bush met with the National Security team in the White House and gave this statement following the meeting:
10:53 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: I have just completed a meeting with my national security team, and we have received the latest intelligence updates.

The deliberate and deadly attacks which were carried out yesterday against our country were more than acts of terror. They were acts of war. This will require our country to unite in steadfast determination and resolve. Freedom and democracy are under attack.

The American people need to know that we're facing a different enemy than we have ever faced. This enemy hides in shadows, and has no regard for human life. This is an enemy who preys on innocent and unsuspecting people, then runs for cover. But it won't be able to run for cover forever. This is an enemy that tries to hide. But it won't be able to hide forever. This is an enemy that thinks its harbors are safe. But they won't be safe forever.

This enemy attacked not just our people, but all freedom-loving people everywhere in the world. The United States of America will use all our resources to conquer this enemy. We will rally the world. We will be patient, we will be focused, and we will be steadfast in our determination.

This battle will take time and resolve. But make no mistake about it: we will win.
[...]

Next, on September 14th, Bush stands on top of a pile of rubble at Ground Zero and lets us all know that our response to 9/11 won't simply mean a retreat inside fortress America and an unending mourning, but an offensive against the terrorists. (This is the scene which drives the Left totally bonkers, btw.)
4:40 P.M. EDT

CROWD: U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. I want you all to know --

Q Can't hear you.

THE PRESIDENT: I can't talk any louder. (Laughter.)

I want you all to know that America today -- that America today is on bended knee in prayer for the people whose lives were lost here, for the workers who work here, for the families who mourn. This nation stands with the good people of New York City, and New Jersey and Connecticut, as we mourn the loss of thousands of our citizens.

Q I can't hear you.

THE PRESIDENT: I can hear you. (Applause.) I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. (Applause.) And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon. (Applause.)

CROWD: U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

THE PRESIDENT: The nation sends its love and compassion to everybody who is here. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for making the nation proud. And may God bless America. (Applause.)

CROWD: U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

(The President waves small American flag.) (Applause.)

And finally, all of these statements culminate into this address to the Joint Session of Congress on September 20th:
[...]
On September the 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country. Americans have known wars -- but for the past 136 years, they have been wars on foreign soil, except for one Sunday in 1941. Americans have known the casualties of war -- but not at the center of a great city on a peaceful morning. Americans have known surprise attacks -- but never before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day -- and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack.

Americans have many questions tonight. Americans are asking: Who attacked our country? The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al Qaeda. They are the same murderers indicted for bombing American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and responsible for bombing the USS Cole.

Al Qaeda is to terror what the mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money; its goal is remaking the world -- and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere.

The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics -- a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam. The terrorists' directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans, and make no distinction among military and civilians, including women and children.

This group and its leader -- a person named Osama bin Laden -- are linked to many other organizations in different countries, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. There are thousands of these terrorists in more than 60 countries. They are recruited from their own nations and neighborhoods and brought to camps in places like Afghanistan, where they are trained in the tactics of terror. They are sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world to plot evil and destruction.

The leadership of al Qaeda has great influence in Afghanistan and supports the Taliban regime in controlling most of that country. In Afghanistan, we see al Qaeda's vision for the world.

Afghanistan's people have been brutalized -- many are starving and many have fled. Women are not allowed to attend school. You can be jailed for owning a television. Religion can be practiced only as their leaders dictate. A man can be jailed in Afghanistan if his beard is not long enough.

The United States respects the people of Afghanistan -- after all, we are currently its largest source of humanitarian aid -- but we condemn the Taliban regime. (Applause.) It is not only repressing its own people, it is threatening people everywhere by sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists. By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder.

And tonight, the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban: Deliver to United States authorities all the leaders of al Qaeda who hide in your land. (Applause.) Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens, you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, and hand over every terrorist, and every person in their support structure, to appropriate authorities. (Applause.) Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating.

These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion. (Applause.) The Taliban must act, and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate.
[...]
Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated. (Applause.)
[...]
Americans are asking: How will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command -- every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war -- to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network.

This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause.) From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

It's amazing how so many in this country, including leaders in government, have forgotten these words. On this fifth anniversary of September 11th, let's remember that awful day - but let's also remember our pledge to make sure something so horrific never happened again.

That day our first responders were firemen, policemen, doctors, nurses, and the passegers of Flight 93 - armed with their bare hands and boiling water. After that day, we understood that there are more effective ways of dealing with our enemies.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler