On September 11th, 2001, in the early morning. Like most Americans, I was at work. I had taken a job with Monsanto Corporation in 1998 as a corporate security Supervisor. I was in my office, when my boss Kevin walked in and told my partner and I that something big was going on in New York. We walked over to one of the new lab buildings where they had a big screen TV there were already over a hundred people there watching what was going on.
When the second plane crashed into the towers in New York, we knew that this was no accident. I had thought that the attack was probably related to the some middle eastern terrorist organization. Due to the fact that the World Trade Center had been attacked before by radicals from that area.
As the hours passed we found out that the attacks were more widespread, and that the Pentagon had also been attacked, and that another plane had been downed somewhere in Pennsylvania.
In retrospect, I don't think anyone knew what to think of what happened. There was a lot of confusion. Over the next few days, the skies over the U.S. would fall silent, as every aircraft in the country would be grounded until the incident could be investigated and the reasons determined behind what had gone wrong.
Though it remained vague for sometime, there was a pattern here, an MO (Modus Operendi), a history. A history that went back many years, but in my recent memory, back to the days of the Munich Olympics, when Israeli athletes were killed by Arab terrorist at the Olympic Games. Not to mention the steady flow of war, aircraft hijackings, mass murders, bombings and all in the name of intafada and Jihad.
But on 9-11, though I had watched the violent images on television of death dished out by these unchecked winged tigers, I felt nothing. No anger, no hatred, no fear, NO nothing. My soul went silent, as did many Americans. It is unfortunate for our enemies, but I don't know of one American who lost a lot of sleep over what happened, we mourned in the obligitory sense, we felt a little patriotism, waved some flags. But when it was over, we simply went back to work, back to our families, back to our lawns, back to our gardens, back to our sports, back to the things that matter to each indiviual American. I hate to say that the famed attack of 9-11 had no real impact on us, because in some ways it did, for collectively, it slowed us down a little at the airpoirt, it created the Patriot Act and made some minor threats against our liberty. But as far as having any real impact, the attack failed to shake us to the bone, because we as Americans have so much more to worry about, that the attack in New York was like a bad car accident on the highway. We saw it, we cared the best that we could, and then we drove on. So therefore, caring about Jihad, Intafada, Islam, or anything complicated that pertains to holy war. Most Americans just did not (and still do not) care. We cared in a sense of the basic type of caring, but anything deep, thoughtful or profound never happened.
I myself had internalized what happened. My wife had noted that I never really said much about it, and this is a little unusual for me, as I would probably be the first one to sound off about such things. But what was there to say? who was to blame? who knew? Who knows now?
As time passed, Americans found out some basic things about the attack. For one thing, the terroists were all young Arab men. All were possibly linked to a terroist group called "Al Queda". Up until this point in time, Americans had never heard of Al Queda, we did'nt know who they were, where they came from or what they had against us. And it would be years until we got any type of decent information about this group of killers.
We also learned that their leader was a guy by the name of Osama Bin Laudin, another Arab, a very close friend of the Saudi oil families. Apparently Bin Laudin was self-made cast out of the Saudi family, who was a bi-product of the earlier CIA supported Afghan war against the Soviet Army. And he hated the U.S. because of the Gulf war and American intervention. This is of course unusual as the Gulf war was surely sanctioned by the Saudi family in defense of Saudi oil..
Also in the equation is the State of Israel. The small state has been a thorn in the side of the Arabs since the late 1940's and had been at war with its neighbors since that time. And anytime that any leader tried to make peace with Israel, generally found themselves dead, example being the bold assassination of Anwar Sadat of Egypt, when he along with many other politicians and military leaders were attacked and killed at a large military parade. All of which was prominently shown on TV.
What time has told us about the attack on the World Trade Center was, that it was perpetrated by Arabs, supported by Arabs, admired by Arabs, funded by Arabs. It was Arab, it was Islam interpreted by Arabs, carried out by Arabs. It was Arab.
But even knowing this, Americans are hard pressed to clearly recognize any particular ethnic group as an enemy, as this would be considered racism, and racism in America is severly punished at all levels. If you were in your workplace in America, and identified the attackers of 9-11,as Arabs, indians, blacks, orientals or any other ethnic group for that matter, you would quickly find your job in jepordy. If you were an American politician, you would find yourself redering a public apology.
Another aspect of pre /post 9-11 America, is the fact that the U.S. is more "corporate" than anything else. Most states in the U.S. are "at will states". Which means that any employee can be terminated at any time for any reason. So there is no political voice in the workplace, there is no sexual voice in the workplace and no racist voice in the workplace. This means, that the place where a majority of our life is spent, is spent on work and work only. Then we go home, see our families (after two thirds of our day gone at work and related commute), eat and go to bed. So the terrorist message is lost, on tired deaf ears, it falls.
The average American is not a warrior, the U.S. is not Sparta, though we would like to think this so, it could not be farther from the truth. The U.S. is a country of workers and immigrants who for many years now, had left their warfare to the quiet warrior, the special forces and the streamlined military, the professional soldier and the part time warrior. Those who were versed in fast moving warfare, and after the initial stages of the attack did not change this, and the goverment was looking for the "terrorist".
AFGHANISTAN The War on Terrorism
For a Soldier, it does not matter
For the volunteer soldier, war is an operation, a mission. A phase which is expected and prepared for. This is part of the "job description" of the professional soldier. The attack on the twin towers invited the professional soldier to react as trained.
So the Secret Warriors, alongside the regular soldiers and the part time soldiers went looking for the terrorist in Afghanistan. They were all there, the CIA, the regular troops, the airmen, the marines and more, they were there, in the montains, in the snow at Tora Bora, fighting the terrorist. For the Soldier, it does not matter, Americans are workers, "workers at will". And for these warriors. War is their work. It's how they earn their pay.
But some of these workers carried with them, small pieces of the World Trade Center in their pockets, when they achieved victory, which they did. They buried these pieces of the WTC in the Afghan soil.