In the years prior to 9/11, if you lived in New Jersey as I do and drove into New York there was a sweeping curve of roadway leading into the Lincoln Tunnel that provides a view across the Hudson River of downtown Manhattan. One could see the Twin Towers from that vantage point and it always bespoke the financial power of the nation, the greatness of our economic system, and our role in the world.
Little wonder it was targeted, along with the Pentagon, for destruction by al Qaeda, the evil spawn of a seventh century religion whose name translates as “submission.”
Though preceded by a number of violent attacks that included U.S. embassies and other manifestations of the Islamic mandate to make war until the entire world accepts Islam, it was 9/11 that demonstrated the demonic forces it has let loose in the world.
There are more than a billion Muslims worldwide and most desire peace no less than the vast majority of mankind. Too many, however, are driven by their worst instincts, their sense of victimization, their romanticized view of Middle Eastern culture and history.
It is instructive, therefore, to see how active leaders throughout the Middle East have become in their effort to hunt down and destroy al Qaeda. Awash in oil billions, the monarchies that control the region understand the threat to their suzerainty. In the meantime, the West continues its own largely secretive war.
It is the reason President George W. Bush sent the CIA, followed by U.S. military into Afghanistan to chase out the Taliban and al Qaeda following 9/11.
It is the reason President Bush decided to rid Iraq of its dictator and establish a U.S. military presence there. Too many other nations were too eager to do “business as usual” with Saddam Hussein and to continue likewise with Syria’s dictator and others who threaten the peace of the world.
It is the reason the U.S. military can be found in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Yemen. It is the reason we can be found in places large and small around the world. We are the guarantor of peace and the safety of the world’s sea lanes.
It is the reason the U.S. Secretary of State recently sat down with the dictator of Libya, granting him a measure of forgiveness after he abandoned the pursuit of nuclear weapons and made payments for the losses inflicted by the bombing of a Pan Am flight.
And these are the reasons, in part, why the United States of America has not been attacked by al Qaeda since 9/11.
I am mindful of these things as my mind goes back to dining at the doomed Windows on the World, a restaurant at the top of the North Tower of the World Trade Center from 1972 until the horror of 9/11. One could walk the perimeter of the restaurant and enjoy magnificent vistas of Manhattan, look out to New Jersey and Brooklyn, and see the Statue of Liberty, still welcoming those seeking freedom in the New World.
My mind goes back to 9/11 and the willful destruction of both buildings by men who believed they had a place waiting for them in Paradise and that Islam justified killing thousands of innocents trapped in airliners and in the great structures that stood for a new age of world trade and worldwide prosperity.
A religion that celebrates such barbarity has no place in the modern world.
It is not a religion of love and forgiveness of sin, the central theme of Christianity. It is not a religion that has produced countless scientists, artists, and others devoted to advancing knowledge and the welfare of mankind as Judaism has. It is not a religion that seeks harmony with the world as does Buddhism. It is not Hinduism devoted to a single divine principle, nor any of the other faiths that offer prayers for peace and tolerance.
9/11 occurred because of a religion that literally divides the world into Dar al Islam and Dar al harb, the world of war.
9/11 was an act of war, not just against the United States, but against the West in particular and the whole of the rest of the world that resists Islam, a religion that has been at war with the world from its inception.
We need to be mindful of that on 9/11/08. We need to stir the embers of our memory of 9/11/01 when we hear calls to withdraw from that war and to yield to its terrorism and threats of war.
We need to remember. We need to resist.