Voices V

Lair Simon: “Ezekiel 25:17 – We are the righteous men, the shepherds. The House of Saud demonstrates themselves to be evil men. The oppressed people of the world looking to us for freedom are the weak, the lost children. And those that that attempted to poison and destroy our brothers, well, we’ve laid a lot of vengeance upon them in Afghanistan, and we’re about to pay them a visit in their new homes in Iraq.”
Jay Reding: “To all those who perished… you shall always be remembered. To those who fight so that we may be free… you shall always be honored. To those who would harm this great nation…Justice is coming…”
WeekendPundit: “At 8:45 AM precisely, I spoke these words to my fellow employees, my friends, my fellow Americans… ‘We saw our tragedy bring us together rather than humble us. We did not tremble in fear as our enemies had hoped, but joined together, continued living our lives, worked to heal the wounds, and saw each day as a blessing instead of something to be endured…'”
Jason Rylander: “For me, it is always in music that I turn for comfort. Music is the one eternal sentiment, the medium through which the human and the divine meet…Whatever shall befall us individually and as a nation, let the blessings of love, music, and the memories of lives well lived be always among us. Be safe and godspeed.”
Jason Rubenstein: “To the men & women in uniform, some of whom are friends, or acquaintances, or fans who buy my music, all I can say is thank you.”

Voices IV

Meryl Yourish (via a perfect morning): “The overwhelming refrain I’ve heard, from literally everyone I’ve spoken to about 9/11: It doesn’t matter what is asked of us. We will do whatever it takes to end this threat. We want to be left in peace. Take these cancers out of our world and let’s move forward.”
Andrew Olmsted: “We can take today to mourn. We have that luxury. But tomorrow we must return to war, for our enemies will not wait for us to find and destroy them.”
Sydney Smith: “God never promised us a world without pain and suffering. We don’t live in paradise, after all. He only promised to be with us always, our comfort and our hope – our comfort and our hope that there’s a better world in the life to come. That “life to come” doesn’t necessarily have to be the afterlife. It can mean the life to come in this world, too. Maybe, in the grander scheme of things, the events of 9/11 and whatever wars they spawn, are a movement towards that better life – toward the elimination of despotism and tyranny, and toward a universal recognition of the rights of man. You don’t have to believe in God to find hope and comfort in that idea.”
Mike Hendrix: “The sympathy from the rest of the world was genuine, I think. The goodwill and courage of the free world is intact, or so I hope and believe. I could be wrong, sure, but today I choose to celebrate that goodwill and to hope for its continuation in spite of the cramping, restricting effect of mere politics. So herewith, a few photos from around the world taken immediately following 9/11…”
Glenn Frazier (via a perfect morning): “I spent all of Tuesday, September 10, 2002, trying to reach back into the past, to pull up something appropriate for the coming anniversary of the September Atrocity. After all these months, after all the words I’ve typed, you’d think I’d have something to say. At least, I thought at first it’d be easy to come up with the appropriate words…”

Voices, Part III

Cato The Youngest: “On September 11, 2001, four hijackers siezed United Airlines Flight 93 and turned it in the direction of Washington, D.C…Only God knows where the hijackers would have directed their attack, or how many more innocent lives would have been lost. Only God knows what national icon would have been destroyed. Only God knows, because 40 men and women said, “You shall not pass.”, and earned a place in history next to Leonidas and the 300.”
a small victory: “no ordinary day : other voices – [A]ll of the quotes below are excerpts from comments. You can read the full comments in the post below. I’ll be adding more as the day goes on. I’ve taken some of the longer emails I received and posted them here. I encourage you to read each and every entry in full, even if you don’t do it all today. They are heartfelt and heartbreaking, they are sad and hopeful. I spent most of my night crying while I read through each one of them. Thank you to everyone who participated…”
Dr. Manhattan: “I found (via a commenter on Little Green Footballs) a television archive site which has portions of the live TV coverage of the attacks from numerous sources. I personally watched this clip from ABC’s Good Morning America. I was struck by the following two feelings: 1) How utterly shallow and stupid the show was before the news broke; and 2) Wishing that the stupidity and shallowness would continue, rather than be blown away by the intrusion of the horrible reality that could no longer be ignored…”
Eric S. Raymond: “…the war is far from over. Islamic terrorism has not been repudiated by the ulema, the college of elders who prescribe the interpretation of the Koran and the Hadith. The call to violent jihad wired into the foundations of Islam has not yet been broken or tamed into a form civilization can coexist with. Accomplishing that is the true challenge that faces us, one greater and more subtle than merely military victory.”
Scott Koenig: “I wasn’t planning to post anything on the various commemorations and memorial services today — but this morning I saw something that changed my mind. I was getting ready to go to work, just like a year ago, and the television was on. Donald Rumsfeld was giving an address at the Pentagon memorial. The camera panned through the crowd as Rumsfeld spoke of the survivors, and settled for a moment on a man wearing a Stetson hat, with scars on his face and neck. I instantly recognized him as a college classmate, Kevin Shaeffer…”

Voices, Part II

Dean, Just Cuz: “[W]e must not forget those who died early in this conflict. Our soldiers in Mogadishu, our sailors on the USS Cole, our embassy staff in Africa, and the victims of the first WTC attack. If we had responded more appropriately to these attacks on our nation and our sovereignty, their deaths would not have been in vain. Instead, our weak kneed, half-assed responses to blatant acts of war encouraged our enemies, and led to September 11. Now is the time to remember these events, stiffen our resolve, and fight the fight. We must finish it for good this time.”
Spoons: “Even a year later, it’s impossible for me to wrap my mind around the enormity of what happened last September. That’s why I’ve decided to think about just one person that the terrorists murdered that day. I don’t know this person: I just scanned the list of victims and found the name that was closest to my own. Today I’m going to think about Jennifer Lynn Kane.”
Terry Oglesby: “R E M E M B E R .”
Lionel Mandrake: “We are at war ladies and gentlemen – lest we forget, or take notice of those that portray 9/11 as a tragedy or a disaster.”
Dawn Olsen: ” I am free. I am lucky. I am an American.”

In other news…

Wasn’t planning to break off topic today, but take a look at this:

Sep. 11, 2002
ARAFAT’S CABINET FORCED TO RESIGN

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ramallah
In a major blow to Yasser Arafat, his 21-member cabinet was forced to resign Wednesday to avoid being ousted by parliament in a vote of no-confidence.
The showdown between the parliament and Arafat marked the most serious challenge to the Palestinian leader since he returned from exile eight years ago to take the helm of the Palestinian Authority…
Just moments before lawmakers were to hold the vote Wednesday afternoon, cabinet ministers submitted their resignations to Arafat. The Palestinian leader accepted the resignation, making a vote unnecessary. A majority of legislators speaking Wednesday said they would not approve the cabinet.

Hmph!

Voices in the Wilderness

Good morning all. It’s that day.
Yes, I have a piece with my thoughts coming. It’s not quite there yet… but soon. Stay tuned.
I am filled with a complete lack of interest in viewing the day’s events on television. I fear the overpackaged, airbrushed and “appropriate” remembrences that I’m sure will overwhelm the normally rational voices that make up my daily radio streaming diet.
But I find myself very interested to hear what my fellow webloggers have to say on this day.
I was tempted briefly by the idea of trying to capture as many sentiments as possible and post links to them here, but quickly realized that idea was redundant; many others, I’m sure, will do so. For starters, you should visit A Perfect Morning. And then perhaps keep an eye on Martin’s page, where he is keeping a running list of links in his navbar.
So: No grand claims or attempts at comprehensiveness. But I think I’ll highlight those that speak to me most throughout the day, nonetheless. It is something to do. And on this day, that seems more important that usual.
Here’s a start.
Stephen Green: “Life goes on, gets better. The War sees setbacks and victories. I don’t have to sleep to the news anymore.Thanks to fellow bloggers, readers, family, and my bride, I don’t worry, get morose, or wallow in pity. But I still dread the phone at eight A.M.”
Patrick Nielsen Hayden: “Have a good 11th. Turn off your television. Light a candle. Be kind.”
Glenn Reynolds: “I’ve thought about what to do to observe the anniversary of last year’s atrocities, and I’ve concluded that the main thing I can do is to keep on blogging…Fancy memorial pages aren’t what I’m good at. (Go here for one of those.) So while I’m going to post a couple of retrospective items, I plan to spend today thinking about today, and tomorrow — not last year.”
Andrew Ian Dodge: “I am not going to stop posting because of the date, however I shall only be making this post on the subject. I will be paying my respects with a decent bottle of wine. I shall raise my glass and raise a toast to those who died. It is the way I ended that terrible day a year ago.”
Joe Katzman: “It is a time of war. The question before us – the only real question – is whether we will prolong its bitter duration and human cost by failing to acknowledge the obvious. The true monument to those we have lost is not self-pity. It is victory. Then, and only then, we may find some time of peace.”

Ask me a tough one

Hesiod spams me & others with a link to the following challenge:
“THE DR. WEEVIL CHALLENGE: Here’s a rather simple challenge to all those who favor a war with Iraq: How about ponying up an extra 3% on your income taxes to pay for it? You don’t have to join the Marines and face down Saddam’s chemical-weapons tipped scuds. You don’t have to send members of your family to die in the Persian Gulf.
All you have to do is pay a relatively small surcharge on your income taxes.
Surely a war to prevent Saddam Hussein from blowing up Chicago or Houston with a nuclear bomb is worth that?
Right?”

Sigh. I think he actually expects us to say “no”.
Yes, Hesiod, if my contribution were what would make the difference between us proceeding to depose a murderous dictator who is developing weapons of mass destruction and issuing threats against America as we speak, and, say, sitting on our hands and doing absolutely nothing while we wait for him to obtain those weapons, then yes, sign me right up.
I’ll pay, and do so gladly.
Any other questions?

Strength in Chaos

It’s here. Anniversary week.
It feels like some kind of dark holiday; sneaking up faster than you expect and leaving you wondering where the time went. Was it really a year ago? Seems improbable; impossible.
And now, there’s a preoccupation running loose across the country; a tension and worry — particularly among the media — about what they should do this week. What they should say; print, program. What is appropriate, and what is not.
Watching all this self-analysis and doubt, I’m drawn back to the first weeks after the attack. I was watching one of the benefit concerts — the Concert for New York, I think — and some of those same thoughts were running through my mind. Is this right?
And it slowly dawned on me that the question itself was faulty. Not just faulty; worse than that. It was un-American.
Because the question assumes that there is some “correct” method of recognizing what was done to us; some one way — or limited spectrum of ways — that we can all deem appropriate.
Could there be a less American thought?
China, perhaps, might set a National Mood, and ensure that all public remembrances; all media commentary, followed it faithfully. Cuba, I’m sure, celebrates its holidays similarly; with a firm consensus across the land as to How To Feel; with compliance ensured at the point of a gun.
That, of course, is not our way.
Our way is noisy; it’s messy, and chaotic and tacky and somber and inspiring and revolting and dramatic and insipid; it’s full of genuine heroes and puffed up nobodies; it’s crass and commercial and giving and charitable and is guaranteed to showcase the absolute best and absolute worst in our society.
Our way is to have no one way. It is to have millions. One per citizen, as a matter of fact.
And so a word to the network executives; the managing editors; the columnists and pundits and anchors and journalists and yes, bloggers: stop worrying about whether you’re setting the right tone. Stop worrying about whether what you’re doing is appropriate.
Stop worrying about whether you’re going to screw it up. Because you can’t.
Program the most sentimental, cult-of-victimhood survivor profiles you can find. Write the most blustery, jingoistic let’s-kill-’em-all columns you can produce. Program hour after hour of airbrushed, santized remembrances, full of waving flags and slow-motion firefighters. Do some hard journalism and show us the facts of what really happened; and what threats still face us out there. Give us celebrities telling us where they were when it happened, somberly reflecting on How They Were Moved. If you’re in Big Media, do exactly what you think will boost your ratings highest. Or say screw it all, and do a week full of programming that feels right to you without giving a damn about Neilsen. If you’re a CEO, sponsor some commercials on Wednesday — or don’t; whichever helps you sleep better at night. Or whichever helps your bottom line. If you’re a blogger, let fly your deepest raw emotion and reaction without sanitizing it for public consumption. Or write the kind of piece you know everyone wants to hear — make a play for those big links — even if it isn’t really what you’re feeling.
Pander. Offend. Inspire. Challenge. Inform. Manipulate. Provoke.
In short, do your worst. And your best. It’s all part of the dialogue. It’s all part of how America reacts in time of crisis. In our glorious chaos, we demonstrate who we are far better than any national proclamation could ever hope to do.
And this American, at least, wouldn’t have it any other way.
Addendum: Sean Hackbarth has some qualms with this approach, stating:

It’s “all part of the dialogue,” but that doesn’t make it virtuous. Remembering the terrorist attacks by some intellectually dishonest lesson plans uncritical of our enemies is no honor to the victims and heros of that awful day. Building a sterile, post-modern memorial like the monstrosity in Oklahoma City will allow the memory of those killed to fade away. There are good and bad responses to September 11. I’m a fan of dialogue. It’s both entertaining and thought-provoking. Nevertheless, every voice shouldn’t be considered equivalent.

Thanks to Sean for a good point which helped me clarify my own thinking. Let me see if I can elaborate further on my original piece and address Sean’s concerns:
1) All voices are equivalent in matters which we must decide as a nation. That would include, I’m afraid, the kind of monument that we will build to 9/11. I will join Sean in speaking out against a banal, ugly monument — but if it is truly determined that such a memorial is, in fact, what the majority of our fellow citizens want, well then, we should sit down and shut up. But until that time, we should vigorously speak our minds. Democracy in action.
2) The example of the memorial has a key aspect — it’s something which there can be only one of. We can’t all go our own ways on it; we have to make a choice as a nation. Contrast this with, say, how a weblog will commemorate the anniversary. In that case, there’s no need to choose; everyone can (and should) do exactly as they please. So I say: if a choice must be made, it should be made as a democracy; if we can avoid making a choice at all and allow everyone to reach their own decision individually, even better.
3) Sean concludes by saying, “every voice shouldn’t be considered equivalent”. I would agree — many of the voices being raised this week will be spouting what I consider to be nonsense. I will define them as stupid, insipid, or foolish, and I might well do so publicly. But while I agree that “every voice shouldn’t be considered equivalent”, I will also stand by the proposition that every voice should have an equal right to be heard. That doesn’t mean “right to be heard without being criticized” — because the freedom to criticize others’ views and statements is simply another form of the right to be heard itself. It’s been said far better by those who have come before me: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”*
A good sentiment to hold in mind this week, I think.
* I have found conflicting citiations for the originator of this rather famous declaration; QuoteWorld says it was Alexis de Tocqueville, while Quoteland indicates that the quote is commonly attributed to Voltaire, but was actually originated by his associate S. G. Tallentyre.