Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern.”     Lord Acton

September 11, 2007

2191 Days

by Chris
September 11, 2001, 8:46am Eastern Daylight Time:
2191 days

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This much we pledge—and more. — John F. Kennedy

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34 Comments

  1. I have to point out that there is no logical connection whatsoever between the Kennedy quote and the 9/11 attack. The 9/11 attack had nothing to do with liberty. It killed people. I suppose you could argue that it therefore deprived them of their civil rights, but I really don’t think that the hijackers had that as their primary goal. “Hoo, boy, are we gonna deprive a lot of people of their civil rights!”

    Comment by Chepe Noyon — September 11, 2007 @ 10:35 am
  2. Um, I believe the point of the quote is for us, the people, to make sure we make no sacrifices to liberty in the name of security. Alas, much destruction has already been done by the government since 9/11.

    Comment by somebody — September 11, 2007 @ 11:20 am
  3. Weather intended or not the result of the 9/11 attacks has been a diminishment of our liberties. Now our government can search us before we fly, listen to our phone calls, read our e-mails, check on what we read and conduct a search of our homes without telling us. All this is done to protect us.

    Comment by Bob — September 11, 2007 @ 11:22 am
  4. Yes, it’s certainly ironic that the assault on our freedoms has come not from the terrorists but from the government. So, it looks as if the “oppose any foe” has to be pointed at the Bush Administration.

    Comment by Chepe Noyon — September 11, 2007 @ 11:44 am
  5. The “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, to quote the Declaration of Independence. The JFK quote is not about “civil rights”, but about the right to life. Without your life, you cannot enjoy the right to liberty or the pursuit of happiness. The human beings who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11/01 were deprived of their right to life by evil men who intended to murder them to make a political point.

    While I very much dislike many of the things that our government has done, it is not in the same class as mass murder. Maybe you folks should check your priorities?

    By the way, the Patriot Act was created and sponsored by Republicans AND Democrats, Democrats were fully briefed in to all of the activities that the Bush Administration has undertaken. Their opposition to those things now is sheerly political. I am not arguing if it was good or bad (anyone who knows me well knows what I think), I am pointing out that is a problem of politicians and government, not of a specific individual.

    In fact, I think that if Al Gore had been President, the usurpation of our Constitutionally assured rights would have been even worse and the Press and the Democrats would have been silent.

    Again, get your priorities and view of the world straight.

    Comment by Eric — September 11, 2007 @ 4:06 pm
  6. Eric, I’m not sure what you’re driving at, but let me make the technical observation that by enumerating the rights (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness), the writers differentiated them (they’re not the same). Of course we don’t like mass murder. Let’s not confuse the issues by claiming that the fight against terrorism has something to do with Truth, Justice, and the American Way. It doesn’t concern any of these things. It concerns survival.

    Comment by Chepe Noyon — September 11, 2007 @ 4:43 pm
  7. We were attacked, because that, as a nation, is who we are.

    We went to war, because that, as a nation, is who we are.

    This is what America is, what America means, what America stands for.

    It is that spirit, that dedication, which the evil men of the world must destroy to accomplish their ends; which are no less than the death or enslavement of all who do not accept their rule.

    We cannot, must not, and will not allow that to happen.

    Comment by Chris — September 11, 2007 @ 4:51 pm
  8. Chepe, our current government.. and in fact all governments… may be incompetent; but at least they are not craven.

    Comment by Chris — September 11, 2007 @ 4:52 pm
  9. Chepe, what I’m pointing out is that when you murder someone you violate one of their Rights, and not a mere civil right as someone else said. The one legitimate function of government, at least in the original Liberal tradition, is to protect the Rights of the citizens.

    There is an organized group of people who actively desire to murder Americans (and many others). This group of people can be found in many countries, to include Afghanistan and Iraq. Draw your own conclusions from there.

    Comment by Eric — September 11, 2007 @ 4:57 pm
  10. Oh, not only do they actively desire to kill Americans, but they are continuously plotting to do so AND have done so in the past.

    Comment by Eric — September 11, 2007 @ 4:58 pm
  11. Interesting that you glossed right over my other two points. THoughts on them?

    Comment by Eric — September 11, 2007 @ 4:58 pm
  12. “We were attacked, because that, as a nation, is who we are.”

    This is precisely the kind of vapid thinking I’m decrying. It’s vague and meaningless. The hijackers did not sacrifice their lives for anything near so vague. As long as we refuse to address the real causes and mindlessly wrap ourselves in the flag, we can’t solve the real problem.

    Comment by Chepe Noyon — September 11, 2007 @ 6:51 pm
  13. Eric,
    I’m a conservative Republican and it doesn’t make me feel any better if a Democrat or a Republican is reading my e-mail or checking up on what I read.
    Frankly its none of the government’s business what books I read. A free people should be be ashamed that its representatives inacted the Patriot Act. I don’t think you really what to go over all of the acts provisions. Let’s just say that I think my chances of dying in a terroist attack are so small that I’m not concerned. But I am concerned about the erosion of my liberty.

    Comment by Bob — September 11, 2007 @ 8:01 pm
  14. Vapid my ass. The “real cause”, is that we are “immoral”, rich, and culturally dominant; all of which are explicitly connected to the philosophy expressed above.

    Of course by their lights we are immoral because we aren’t slaves to their particular form of insanity; and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to subscribe to their morality; so that aint gonna change any time soon.

    Since I don’t follow their morality, then they absolutely believe that they are commanded by god to kill or enslave me; and that if they don’t they’ll never see paradise.

    The foreign policy of the U.S. has NOTHING whatsoever to do with islamic terrorist (or any other kind of totalitarian) enmity for the west, or for America in particular. When they say otherwise, it’s just a smokescreen; an attempt to incrementalize their ultimate goals so that the craven and the stupid will appease them.

    They HAVE to destroy us, or our cultural dominance will destroy them, because their children will want what we have, and their women, will want what we have, and pretty soon the old crazy men who rule those places will be killed; because you can’t stop the music coming out of western culture. You can’t stop the sex. You can’t stop the money. The only way you can stop the freedom is by killing or enslaving everyone… so that’s just what they are trying to do.

    We could pull back inside our borders, and never let another American leave the country, never send a dime of money or support to Israel or another soldier anywhere, and they would STILL attack us, because the only way their failed culture is going to survive is if they destroy us, before our successful culture destroys them.

    Either you are ignorant of reality, too stupid to understand it, or so cowardly you have deluded yourself into believing it isn’t true; that they don’t really mean it when they say they want to convert us all or kill us.

    Comment by Chris — September 11, 2007 @ 8:04 pm
  15. Well, Chris, you seem to hold very strong feelings on this, and you express them vituperatively, so I’m not going to try to reason with you, as it would surely accomplish nothing.

    Comment by Chepe Noyon — September 11, 2007 @ 8:18 pm
  16. Chris, What’s the difference between Al Queda and the white supremicist group Church of Christ, Christian?

    Both have apocolyptic visions, both hate American liberty, and both plot terrorist attacks to further their political/cultural goals.

    One seems to have an easier time attracting members than the other, and so is far more capable of carrying out attacks. I wonder why that is? Why are they having an easier time selling their vision to the great unwashed masses?

    Comment by tarran — September 11, 2007 @ 8:44 pm
  17. No vituperation there, only fact. You called my reasoning vapid, which it is not; I called yours either ignorant, craven, or delusional, which by my reasoned conclusion it is.

    Any rational person, presented with the facts of the situation, and uncolored by any ideology except that of essential human freedom and liberty, would come to the same conclusion.

    You are certainly free to attempt to convince me otherwise; but I’ve been there. I’ve been an intelligence officer, whose job was to help defend this country from these madmen. I am an avid student of both history and religion. I am aware of the political, social, religious, and economic history involved. I am familiar with the realities on the ground, and the theories all around them. I know what I’m talking about, and I can back it up. I came to this conclusion not out of emotion, but oout of a complete and thorough evaluation of the facts, pleasant and unpleasant.

    No-one ever wants to acknowledge that perhaps several million people would like to kill him; but that is the plain truth.

    There is no change you or I could make, or that our country could make, that would allow us to remain free; while at the same time ending the desire of those several million people to kill us.

    It seems unlikely to me that you have any special hidden knowledge, or frighteningly piercing insight, that I haven’t heard from a thousand others before you, equally as incorrect; but I am willing to listen.

    So, feel free to argue, but if you want to convince me, you had better come up with something other than isolationist, objectivist, or pacifist slogans.

    Comment by Chris — September 11, 2007 @ 8:47 pm
  18. Tarran, that’s simple. Life in America is really, pretty good; even if you’re an ignorant racist scumbag who can barely maintain employment.

    On the other hand, in much of the middle east and Africa, glorious death followed by paradise, seems like a pretty good option compared to their actual lives.

    Living in mud and shit isn’t very romantic. Being a “freedom fighter”, makes people feel good about themselves.

    It’s simple as Maslow.

    Comment by Chris — September 11, 2007 @ 8:50 pm
  19. Oh, and to answer the other part of the question that you didn’t quite ask Tarran:

    THe reason why they are able to EXECUTE their operations, is because of funding and support from government and quasi governmental entitites.

    Tae corrupt regimes, and their supporting quasi governmental entities (such as the extended Saudi royal family) REQUIRE that terrorist organizations exist, because those organizations give them cover for their own activities.

    By supporting such organizations, they distract their own populations of dissatisfied agitators, and create more favorable opinions of themselves among those who support such factions (or at least defer their wrath). Then, through selective betrayals, they curry favor with the west, and appeasement oriented folks everywhere (“see, they’re making progress”).

    Without the PLO, Hamas, and other so called “Palestinian liberation” movements, governments in the middle east wouldn’t be able to get away with half of what they do. By focusing their dissatisfied populations outward, on the “foreign enemies” they are able to maintain power and control.

    Thus these governments provide shelter, and funding for various terrorist organizations. It is important however that they strictly limit how much funding and protection they give, else these organizations may usurp their power. The incentive is to keep the terrorist organizations effective enough to draw attention, but ineffective at being a direct threat, and importantly, never effective enough to “win” against those they are terrorizing.

    This proxy game creates a continual state of low level conflict which attracts agitators and malcontents, distracts the west, and provides opportunities for politicking. It’s an almost ideal position for the corrupt regime, and an extremely negative position for everyone else.

    This exactly why we get so much support for our efforts against Al Qaeda when it is very strong; but whenever we make too much progress, the co-operation evaporates.

    I could go on, but I’m getting to a full length post at this point.

    Comment by Chris — September 11, 2007 @ 9:00 pm
  20. Bravo Chris! Its good to see that I’m not the only sane person around here.

    Comment by Stephen Littau — September 12, 2007 @ 2:03 pm
  21. I could go on, but I’m getting to a full length post at this point.

    As long as your not sitting next to a wide stance kind of guy, you should be okay :)

    Seriously though, you make some excellent points that I fully agree with, but to nullify those as you’ve correctly outlined as being the enemy, what choices will people like us have to make to survive or simply coexist with them? Do those choices need to be harsh ones or is it a matter of taking the time to show a new generation that we are not to be feared? And in the process are we going to promote American ideals or will it merely be lip service to gain access for our (I hate using the word our since I see very little patriotism on behalf of many of these corporations our men and women in uniform are dying and being injured for) native corporations?

    The average terrorist is not angry at you or I–the normal American who does not have any impact on their lives, whatsoever. That’s the impression I get and I don’t care to wave the flag and see blood spilled over something that a majority of us are not party to. Does that make sense? And I doubt a majority of Islamic folk care to hate us either. It’s not human nature.

    Comment by effodee — September 12, 2007 @ 3:00 pm
  22. You see effodee (cute name by the way. Too few people know what “Get the FOD” means, or what FOD is in the other sense), you are unfortunately incorrect in your assertion that

    The average terrorist is not angry at you or I–the normal American who does not have any impact on their lives, whatsoever. That’s the impression I get and I don’t care to wave the flag and see blood spilled over something that a majority of us are not party to. Does that make sense? And I doubt a majority of Islamic folk care to hate us either. It’s not human nature.

    This isn’t about corporations or actions or policy; Islam views American and western culture as a whole to be the work of Satan, and it cannot be allowed to survive. (see todays comments about madonna and Brittney Spears for example)

    Islam remember is not just a religion, it is also a system of laws, and a system of politics. The islamist state MUST by the dictates of god (at least to their believe) make war upon the infidel.

    Now, there are a large fraction of muslims who would prefer to ignore that part of their religion, but there are literally hundreds of millions who do not. So long as those people believe as they do, there will never be peace and safety from the islamists.

    The only thing that will work here is a massive military defeat of the forces of Islamism, combined with a massive social change on the part of Islam; similar in nature but far greater in extent to the Christian reformation of the 15th through 17th century.

    Comment by Chris — September 12, 2007 @ 3:25 pm
  23. Chris, perhaps you haven’t read the Pew reports or any of the Islamic statements against terror. Perhaps you would find these useful. For example, the latest Pew report on Pakistan (dated August 8th) found that 72% of Pakistanis consider suicide bombing to be never justified. 76% consider terrorism to be a very serious problem for their country. And 38% expressed confidence in Osama bin Laden — down from 51% in 2005.

    These claims of yours about Islam being a bloodthirsty religion replete with millions of homicidal maniacs are utter nonsense.

    Comment by Chepe Noyon — September 12, 2007 @ 4:03 pm
  24. There are approximately 1 billion muslims in the world. That is an estimate; and some believe it may be as low as 600 million or as high as 1.4 billion; depending on your definition of Islam, and what constitutes a muslim, and whether you count the entire population of nations that allow only islam as a religion in their nation; or just those who actively profess islam (typically a few percentage points lower).

    The most conservative estimates are that between 10% and 25% of all muslims (this is from Paralells, the strategic journal of the U.S. military by the way) support active, violent jihad and terrorism against the west. 40% express some level of support for active jihad and terrorism. Only about 15% (and remember these are very rough numbers, and not very solid) actively condemn jihad and terrorism.

    So, at a minimum there are 60 million muslims who would like to kill or enslave all those in the west; motivated solely by their religion. The number may be as high as 300 million.

    They believe that god commands them to kill or enslave us. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars; perhaps billions of dollars; annually supporting those who do take direct action against the west; and they most often support their governments in both direct and indirect action against the wast.

    As I said, it may make you feel better to believe this is not so; but how you feel isn’t very important to reality.

    Comment by Chris — September 12, 2007 @ 4:13 pm
  25. So, at a minimum there are 60 million muslims who would like to kill or enslave all those in the west; motivated solely by their religion.

    (emphasis mine)
    You jumped there. I won’t challenge your numbers, but you said nothing which supports your statement in regards to their motivation.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — September 12, 2007 @ 4:21 pm
  26. Yes, if you have any data to back up your claims, I’d like to see it. The best data I have seen is from the Pew Foundation. Here is what they have: when asked to complete the statement “Violence against civilian targets in order to defend Islam can be justified _____”

    I’m guesstimating from the tables here — you should look at them yourself — but very roughly, it looks as if about 25% of the respondents answered “Often” or “sometimes”; perhaps 20% answered “seldom”, and maybe 50% answered “never”. Note that this is in defense of Islam, not to spread it. Clearly, the numbers in favor of using violence against civilians to expand Islam are going to be substantially smaller than these.

    I couldn’t get the link html working, so here is the hard link
    http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=253

    Comment by Chepe Noyon — September 12, 2007 @ 4:44 pm
  27. If you are right Criss do we have any hope at all? We have a limited number of choices.

    1. Kill em all. (And everyone that’s related to them)

    2. Contain them all (oh boy, another fence)

    3. Remove their teeth (remove their financial backing)

    4. Stop being their recruitment tool and wait for attrition to fade them away.

    There is absoluty no chance that we can cause a reformation by waging war on them. That will only galvanize them.

    Comment by Norm Nelson — September 12, 2007 @ 6:29 pm
  28. I don’t like the options much either Norm; though there are two you didn’t list.

    1. Kill 100 of them for every one of us who dies. Kill 1000 of their children for every one of our children who dies. Destroy 1 of their cities for every bomb that a muslim explodes in the west. Destroy ALL of their cities if a nuclear, biological, or chemical attack is ever conducted. Hold all responsible for the actions of the terrorist groups until such time as they are all rooted out and killed, and an internal reformation occurs.

    Personally, I’d really like to avoid that one.

    2. Give them such a crushing and humiliating military defeat that anytime anyone even suggests militancy they are stoned to death by their own people. Repeat the process until it stops being necessary.

    This one could work, if we had the stones to go through with it; but it would be ugly, bloody, nasty, and expensive.

    I’m reasonably certain that Americans as a whole will ignore militant islam as much as possible for as long as possible. Europe isn’t so lucky. If we don’t see massive genocidal anti-islamist movements rise in Europe over the next ten years I’d be amazed.

    Comment by Chris — September 12, 2007 @ 6:45 pm
  29. Mr. Nelson, let’s review those options:

    1. Kill em all. Ever tried to kill a billion people? It’s really tough. Adolf Hitler only managed six million. Do you think we can do better? Do you want to?

    2. Build a fence around most of the globe? I don’t think so.

    3. Remove the financial backing of the nations controlling most of the world’s oil? That’ll be quite a trick.

    4. Well, yes, this can work if we play it well.

    So it looks as if the basic strategy has to be something along the lines of peaceful coexistence.

    Comment by Chepe Noyon — September 12, 2007 @ 6:46 pm
  30. Chepe, if you think 4 has even a remote possibility of working, you are willfully blind to the nature of islamism.

    Comment by Chris — September 12, 2007 @ 6:48 pm
  31. Chepe, if you think 4 has even a remote possibility of working, you are willfully blind to the nature of islamism.

    If you continue to make this assertion without supporting it, we will have no choice but to conclude that you can’t.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — September 12, 2007 @ 7:04 pm
  32. 1. Kill 100 of them for every one of us who dies. Kill 1000 of their children for every one of our children who dies. Destroy 1 of their cities for every bomb that a muslim explodes in the west. Destroy ALL of their cities if a nuclear, biological, or chemical attack is ever conducted. Hold all responsible for the actions of the terrorist groups until such time as they are all rooted out and killed, and an internal reformation occurs.

    This is truly insane. Let’s examine its consequences, shall we? First off, they cut off our oil and our economy goes into a nose dive. Then the rest of the world imposes harsh economic sanctions upon us for using nuclear weapons in communal reprisal (the last government that implemented community reprisal was Nazi Germany), sending our economy even further into collapse. We can’t deliver food, goods, or basic services. Millions of Americans die. The government collapses and anarchy ensues. Eventually a combined force of UN troops moves in to restore order. We end up under foreign rule.

    Smooth move, Chris.

    2. Give them such a crushing and humiliating military defeat that anytime anyone even suggests militancy they are stoned to death by their own people. Repeat the process until it stops being necessary.

    I see. Like the crushing military defeat we’re inflicting upon them in Iraq? No, you want to pull out all the stops and start shooting anything that moves. Which would of course trigger a firestorm of reaction throughout the world. Not quite as bad as the above, but enough to insure that we wouldn’t have the military power to carry out your bloodthirsty scheme.

    Smooth move, Chris.

    If we don’t see massive genocidal anti-islamist movements rise in Europe over the next ten years I’d be amazed.

    Prepare to be amazed. The Europeans are civilized people.

    if you think 4 has even a remote possibility of working, you are willfully blind to the nature of islamism

    So, Chris, you can’t respond with facts, evidence, and reasoning, so you sling mud about somebody you know nothing about.

    Did you even bother to read the links I posted?

    Comment by Chepe Noyon — September 12, 2007 @ 7:14 pm
  33. Chepe, should I also prove to you that water is wet?

    Comment by Chris — September 12, 2007 @ 7:29 pm
  34. Chepe, should I also prove to you that water is wet?

    I think I speak for everyone here when I stipulate to the wetness of liquid water.

    As for whether or not our foreign policy has and continues to inflame hatred amongst Muslims, more than a few of us disagree. If you wish to convince us otherwise, bring some supporting evidence. If you don’t, that’s cool too. Your opinion is duly noted.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — September 12, 2007 @ 7:58 pm

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