A bitter anniversary

BFP Magazine

9/11, Blame Root causes

A bitter anniversary

By Klaus Rohrich

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9-11 TributeIt was a crisp, sunny Tuesday morning, not unlike today, when at 8:46 AM the first plane crashed into the north tower of New York's World Trade Centre, forever changing our world. Truth is, our world had changed many years previous to that fateful day, but culturally we were incapable of recognizing the change. To this day people are still looking for "root causes" for the hatred that fundamental Islam bears toward the West.

While the ability to turn the other cheek is an admirable one, there is also a time to draw a line in the sand and stand one's ground. That line should have been drawn six years ago today at 8:46 AM.

Instead a large part of the world put the blame for the 9/11 outrage squarely on the shoulders of the victims with excuses that the attacks were the result of abject poverty, which bred the rage that resulted in the attacks. The kindest things that can be said about that viewpoint is that it is delusional, as it has been demonstrated time and again that the prime movers of the Jihad come from middle and upper class backgrounds and are university educated. Osama bin Laden is a multi-millionaire. His deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri is a surgeon, as were the perpetrators of the recently foiled attempts to detonate bombs in downtown London and the attempt to blow up Glasgow Airport. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the killer of Daniel Pearl lived in the United States and took an engineering degree from North Carolina Tech. Mohammed Atta, the lead 9/11 hijacker was university graduate with a degree in architecture. Poverty and disenfranchisement has absolutely nothing to do with Jihad.

For those who believe that the hatred this movement harbors toward us stems from our forefathers' imperial tendencies or our opulent lifestyles or the decadence to which our culture has slipped, they are only half right. Certainly, Jihadists hate us for these reason as well as many more. I can understand why a fundamentalist Muslim would draw the conclusion that our culture is worthy of destruction when I look at the cultural icons we revere. Yes, there is Madonna, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, gansta rap and a plethora of vacuous airheads whose images grace the pages of our celebrity magazines.

But our civilization has also produced the Magna Carta, the Emancipation Proclamation, Shakespeare, has traveled to the moon and back and has managed to extend the average person's lifespan by over 60% within the last century. The British Empire brought stability and prosperity to much of the world. American ingenuity created the economic powerhouse that made the defeat of Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and Soviet Russia a reality. Western science and technology have steadily improved the lives of those living within western countries, even those of the Jihadists among us.

When you examine the countries from which the Jihadis originate, countries like Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Nigeria, Somalia or Sudan, they haven't contributed anything meaningful to the world in the last 100 years. Many countries that once were a part of the British Empire are economic and human-rights basket cases today, Zimbabwe being the most stellar example.

The Jihad has nothing to do with economics and very little to do with our lifestyle. The Jihad is an effort to reestablish the Caliphate, the militaristic Muslim empire that was destroyed at the end of World War I. The Jihad is a war of ideas that pits a medieval totalitarian religious mentality against 21st century Western civilization. Sadly, many in the West have failed as yet to realize this fact. But, according to Walid Phares, the Lebanese American historian, whose book The War of Ideas: Jihadism versus Democracy was recently published, we are capable of winning this war. All we need to do is hang tough, firmly stand our ground and allow the counter-Jihad to take effect. He believes that the so-called "moderate Muslims", those who prefer to live their lives out in peace and prosperity will eventually depose the authoritarian fascists in favor of democracy.

While there is no historical tradition of any Muslim nations enjoying a democratic heritage, it's not too much to hope for, given that a country like Japan also had no democratic heritage prior to World War II and is a fully functioning democracy today.

We in the West need to remain vigilant against any further jihad incursions against us. Will there be another attack? The possibility looms large, as our counter-terrorist operations must succeed 100% of the time, while the Jihadis only need to succeed once.

The important thing though is that we do not forget how we arrived at this place. September 11, 2001 was a greater day of infamy than the original Day of Infamy, Dec. 7, 1941 because more people died and they were all civilians. It is important that we keep the image of those twin towers collapsing firmly embedded in our minds as it will help us understand the depth of evil with which we are struggling.

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