Saturday, December 1, 2012

Perspective on 9/11

It has been over a decade since Sept. 11, 2001, an event that changed so much in our world.  I have read a number of books about the Middle East, Islam, al-Qaeda, and the war against terrorism.  I'm currently reading "Manhunt:  The Ten Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad", by Peter Bergen.  It has caused me to reflect on bin Laden's imprint on our world and upon history.

Those of us in the West would be inclined to view the tragedy of 9/11 as not unlike that of Pearl Harbor in 1941.  The Japanese experienced a profound victory, but at the cost of awakening a giant that ultimately destroyed their war machine and brought down their government.  We brought down the Taliban in Afghanistan, the safe haven for al-Qaeda and militant Islam.  We dismantled and neutralized al-Qaeda, eventually finding and killing bin Laden himself, as well as many of his lieutenants.

Bin Laden didn't achieve his stated objectives in his war on the United States and the 9/11 attacks, namely the removal of American troops from Muslim lands, the fall of American puppet states in various Arab countries, and the destruction of the U.S. economy and power in the world.  On the contrary, Americans are awakened and united against the militant Islamic threat, there are many more American soldiers in the Middle East, and al-Qaeda itself has been decimated.

Yet, I'm sure that in the minds of many, especially in the poorer Islamic world, bin Laden is viewed as a great martyr, someone who stood up to the great Satan and struck with success.  He has inspired many thousands, perhaps millions, to take up his cause to one extent or another.

I myself have a great distaste for bin Laden, and those like him.  I place him in the same ranks with Hitler and Stalin, who has brought untold misery and hate into the world.  I fail to see how the world, or anyone in it, is better off for his being here.  I grant that he has made an imprint upon history, but a very ugly one indeed.


  1. Have you read Victory For Us Is To See You Suffer by Philip C. Winslow?

    I posted about it four years ago on my blog. Here is one bit that your post (second to last paragraph) reminded me of. Maybe this is why some Arabs were reported to have rejoiced when the Twin Towers were hit.


    Another interesting story is told by Ami Ayalon, a former head of Shin Bet and a retired career naval officer. He is now a peace campaigner and member of the Knesset for the Labor Party.

    I had a very interesting meeting in London . .. during the intifada. A Palestinian friend approached me [and said], "Ami, we won. We Palestinians won." ... I asked him, "Are you crazy? What do you mean 'We won'? You are losing so many people ... and we are losing so many people. What is the whole essence of victory?" He said, "Ami, you don't understand us. Victory for us is to see you suffer. This is all we want. Finally, after so many years, we are not the only ones who suffer in the Middle East. (pg. 193)

    1. No, I haven't read that book, but will look for it. I think it such a human tragedy when so many are indoctrinated into a philosophy of hate and extreme dogmatism.