Usually I write about Israel. Halfway around the world, America looms large. The bond between the land of my birth and the land of my heritage is strong.
It is a bond of principles and values, of Judeo-Christian ethics. Ideas that were born in Israel and woven in to the founding of the “New Zion”, America.
It is a bond of freedom. Of ‘doers’, people allowed to speak their mind, people who, if they work hard enough can achieve anything. That is the America I grew up believing in, it is the Israel I know today.
Ours is also a bond of enemies – because of what we represent. It is America that is the ‘Great Satan’, Israel that is the ‘Little Satan’
We were horrified as if the attack had happened to us. We ached for the pain of our friends, the victims and the heroes, the Jews and Israelis that were involved. At the time, our horror was in seeing our friend and ally, the country we saw as a big brother or sister, hurt in a way we thought only we would experience, a pain we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies.
Today, the pain is in looking back at lessons unlearned. The lessons are in the actions of every-day people who knew they were the “watchmen” at the gate. People who didn’t wait to be saved, people who knew it was better to go down in flames than be used to terrorize others.
This is for Danny Lewin. Did you know that the first victim of 9/11 was an Israeli? His Israeli Special Forces training told him that something wasn't right aboard American Airlines flight 11. Deciding to tackle the terrorists, Danny was fatally stabbed trying to save everyone on the plane.
This is for Todd Beamer.
They and too many others like them have been stolen from us by terrorists. Let’s learn from their legacy.
Now it is our turn.
“Are you ready? Okay. Let’s roll.”
On 9.11.2001 America learned there is an enemy. They didn’t understand who the enemy was or why they were being attacked. They did understand that someone wanted to bring the great US of A to her knees and most Americans resolutely declared they would not let that happen. America would stand proud as she had always done, America is good and good prevails.
Todd Beamer and the other passengers on flight 93 didn’t know who the enemy was. They did know that they had been hijacked, that other planes had been hijacked and slammed in to the Twin Towers. Together they made a swift choice, deciding that it was better to go down in flames than to be used as a killing machine to murder and terrorize other Americans. Those who could, called their loved ones to say goodbye. Todd Beamer rallied other passengers around him. They recited the Lord’s Prayer and the 23rd Psalm and then Beamer led the way, saying: “Are you ready? Okay. Let’s roll.” The passengers stormed the cockpit, bringing the plane down in an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Al Qaeda attacked America and almost 3000 Americans died.
On September 10, 2012, at least 18 hours before the attack in Benghazi, Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called for attacks on Americans in Libya.
Despite the betrayal the American people re-elected the same government. The people did not notice (or maybe did not care) that all American fundamental values had been thrown out the window. The idea of “leave no man behind” no longer mattered. America denied protection to her own Ambassador but what difference does it make? Doubt seeped in… maybe America isn’t so good, maybe it’s America’s fault that so many people around the world hate her. Maybe America has mistreated Muslims and should apologize…
On 9.11.2014 the Islamic State looms large.
Americans took little notice of the organization as it massacred Iraqis, Christians, Shiite Moslems and Yazidis. The massacre of Syrians was dismissed as an internal civil war and mostly blamed on Bashar Assad. It was only when two American journalists were beheaded by a Muslim with a British accent that Americans really began to realize the enormity of the problem and demand Mr. Obama define US policy to deal with it.
Mr. Obama has explained that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam. He has spoken about terror as a method but he has made no mention of Jihad, terror leveraged to achieve a religious-political goal i.e. submission to Islam. Mr. Obama has explained that America will fight the organization from the air and by supporting “moderates” who will do the fighting on the ground.
Who are the moderates?
One year ago, when Mr. Obama was talking about the evils of the Assad dictatorship the “moderates” were the “Syrian rebels”. America, Britain and France provided them support and weapons. In a very short time it became clear that the term “rebels” or “opposition” included secular groups that want to overthrow the Syrian government as well as the Syrian version of Al-Qaeda (=Al-Nusra) and ISIS.
Now ISIS has grown and become the Islamic State. They have captured American weapons in Iraq and were given weapons as well. Mr. Obama is proposing to fight the Islamic State by arming the “moderates” which, in his dictionary, seems to mean anyone who will fight IS. This includes Hezbollah and the Syrian version of Al-Qaeda.
The enemy of your enemy is not your friend. The moderates are not moderate at all. Nothing has changed.
Or maybe one thing has changed – America. The sleeping giant has been kicked in the side repeatedly but it only made her mumble, roll over and go back to sleep. The spirit of “Are you ready? Okay. Let’s roll.” has been forgotten. The memory of the victims, of the heroes and everyone who strived to make America the great country she once was, is being dishonored.
Apathy is just as dangerous as any terror threat. America can only be beaten if she allows herself to be defeated.
America began as an idea that provided hope to the world. The Islamic State also began as an idea and its flames are swiftly spreading across the globe. The idea of a global Caliphate has existed for centuries, America for only a few hundred years. Both ideas are very powerful, both provide hope and the opportunity to belong to something larger than the individual. Which will win?
There is hope for the free world but first the sleeping giant must wake up. The enemy must be named. Action must be taken.
“Are you ready? Okay. Let’s roll.”