Sept 11.

That morning I was on my way to Travis County for a job interview with the Sheriff’s Office. I was just north of Decatur when Operation: Mindcrime wound down. I popped out the CD, and hit ‘Scan’ to find a radio station.

The first radio station I found was rolling live feed about an aeroplane that had hit the World Trade Centre, and I remember hoping that it was a Cessna or other small, private ‘plane, and then finding out it was a airliner.

Terrorism never crossed my mind, even though I was familiar with the terror attack of 26FEB1993 — that it was a deliberate act never crossed my mind.

Then the description of the second plane hitting the tower came across the radio, and I stopped right there on the shoulder of US287 and stared in disbelief at the radio. I was hoping that I had misheard, or that between the on-scene reporters and the station news-anchors someone had gotten confused.

Because two planes hitting in a row was too far-fetched to be an accident or a coincidence. Two planes hitting the World Trade Centre back-to-back would have to be a deliberate act.

It would have to be …

It was. It was terrorism.

And things have never been the same since.

I pulled across the median and headed back home. I hope I called and cancelled my interview, but I honestly don’t remember.

I was considerably more involved at The Firing Line at that time — moderating the Legal/Political forum — and I became somewhat distressed at the on-line attitudes I was seeing, so I wrote a post the next day.

Six years later, as I scroll through the comments, I wonder if those folks who were yelling so loudly for Muslim blood in retaliation for the attacks at the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre then — still feel that way after several years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq now?

Further along in that thread, I postulated that one of the results of 9/11 would be loss of some of our civil liberties. I wonder if those folks who didn’t seem to mind at that time, still feel that way now after years of the PATRIOT Act, Department of Homeland Security and the TSA?


I probably already know the answer to those questions.


I heart walking sticks

16 thoughts on “Sept 11.”

  1. Like you (and probably many others), I thought the first plane must have been a puddle jumper piloted by someone who’d had a heart attack or something. The second one pulled back the curtain and everyone saw it for what it was.
    I think all of those who hastily and willingly traded personal freedom for state endorsed safety are finding out they bought into an illusion.

  2. I never wanted Muslim blood after 9/11 … but I did and still do want to see every living thing that supports the ideology which led to 9/11 exterminated. Not for vengeance, not even for “justice” (if such a word has any meaning in this context), but simply because they, like a rabid animal, are too dangerous to be allowed to live.

    I also recognized that some loss of civil liberties was inevitable after 9/11, and reluctantly accepted that notion as a necessary evil. But you can be damn sure I don’t like the inept, stupid way in which that theoretical necessity has been turned into reality by the blundering morons in the federal government. I wanted to see Homeland Security and the intelligence agencies ripped apart and rebuilt after expunging every trace of the stupidity and incompetence that failed to stop the 9/11 attacks. I wanted to see political correctness thrown out the window, and intelligent rules created & applied regarding how to identify and deal with threats. Instead, all we got was the same stupid bureaucrats shuffling their desks around, and the same stupid pinko lawyers, judges, and congressfilth stopping most of the proposals that might have actually ID’d the guilty without unduly burdening the innocent. Disgusting.

    There are days when I think we deserved 9/11. There are even days when I think we deserve something worse. Why won’t this country wake up and recognize the actual threat that we face, and start fighting it with something resembling common sense?

    Annie: yes, state-endorsed safety is an illusion. But safety enforced by intelligent, properly-trained people (like LawDog) who just happen to get paid by the state is something else entirely. What I want is the latter. What we’ve gotten is the former. I reiterate: it’s disgusting.

  3. Oh LD! Travis County is my stomping ground! Would have been nice to have you be the LEO in my area. Right now we got a LEO hell bend on traffic control.

  4. For me, I got to watch the second plane hit via TV. They were on the first one when the second one hit.

    I lost a friend at the Pentagon.

    I still have mixed emotions about the “Hero” flight, yes, I think they are heroes but, I also feel anyone that truely deserves the name American should have done the same thing and am disturbed when I hear things like students being lined up and executed at Virgina Tech like cattle being led to the slaughter.

    Six years ago, we saw churches filled, God in the schoolhouse and just about everywhere and be damned what is “Politically Correct”, it gave me hope that much like Peral Harbor, the US of A would take this act of stupidity and hate and use it to get back to what made the US the best damn place in the world to be…the fundamental belief that each person, once they are an “adult” has the right to determine thier own life so long as that doesn’t impede or otherwise adversely effect anothers in an unreasonable fashion.

    Sadly, that last part seems to be the stumbling block. What is unreasonable to some is not to others and since then, I’ve seen the level of stupidity rise while common sense gets less common by the day…

    Personally I think John Wayne in the shootist had it right.

    “I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, and I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people and I expect the same from them.”

    If more people could follow this simple thought, the world would be a hellavalot nicer I think…course then we’d not need the walking sticks for fun, just aid. *evil grin*

  5. Whats ironic is that right after 9/11 I was one of those “voices of moderation” calling for calm … saying Islam was as much a victim of terrorism as we were, that it was a noble and peaceful faith that had been hijacked (no pun intended) by extremists and wackos. That the majority of the Islamic world were decent, God fearing, peaceful people that would condemn these acts as much as Christians condemn abortion clinic bombings.

    Then I saw the dancing in the streets.

    Then I started reading the Qur’an.

    Now I’m convinced that “moderate” Islam is as much an apostasy to true Islam as Christianity is.

    Western culture is so blinded by political correctness that we will either be slaughtered, enslaved or one day awaken and realize that we are in a new phase of a war that is about 1500 years old.

    Islam cannot peacefully coexist with ANYTHING ELSE unless it goes through a major reformation (which would be on a magnitude 1000 times greater than the Christian Reformation and birth of Protestantism).

    That said, violence against innocent individual Muslims is just foolish.

    We’re better than that.

  6. After I realized that the crashes were deliberate:

    I bid a silent farewell to my civil liberties, knowing that any civil liberties or civil rights that I was allowed to keep would be by accident and would be largely useless.

    I knew that now, right after the attack, more than any other time, the Federal government should restore rights, not curtail them. I had a better chance of winning the lottery.

    I knew that anyone who even vaguely resembled a Middle Eastern person would be discriminated against and harassed, and that this would likely include a nice couple from India who owned a restaurant I liked.

    Later on, after the wreckage had largely been cleared and it became very apparent that we were two giant steps closer to a dictatorship, I had time to wonder why our president, George W. Bush, hadn’t immediately ordered all airline pilots to arm themselves, and to go armed at all times.

    A good friend pointed out to me that President George W. Bush should have flown to the site of the attack and defied our enemies on national television. Instead, the President went into hiding.

    I could not understand the reason for invading Iraq when the real problem was in Afghanistan. I still don’t know why we invaded.

    I don’t understand why the Federal government would want to hire a bunch of largely hard core unemployables to staff the TSA. Stories of TSA abuse abound, which is no surprise given the staff.

    As large as the United States is, and as wealthy as it is, the national government is proportionately inefficient. Maybe a smaller government would be better.

  7. I felt the same way as you did back then. Even wrote a similar post, though it was on the Yahoo news message board which has since disappeared.

    As far as civil liberties go (away), believe, there are lots of people keeping tally. We just have to wait for the current administration to go away before doing repairs.

    What I can’t understand is how we got embroiled in Iraq. Do you think it is because of 9/11 or in spite of 9/11? It’s saddening to read that many people today associate Saddam Hussein with 9/11.

    Here’s an excerpt from a post I wrote on St Paddy’s day 2003:

    > Greg, this ought to pique your curiosity.
    > Shalom from war-ready Tel Aviv.
    > Andy (who has prepared the sealed-room shelter for his family).

    Well, then, “Don’t do that” 😉

    What are the messages that you are getting ?? Maybe I missed removing
    a debug or something…


    ps. Best of luck. It’s a sad day when I don’t feel comfortable about
    voicing my own political opinion.

  8. Greg, you asked: “What I can’t understand is how we got embroiled in Iraq.”

    The result of three mistakes:

    1) Western intel services mistakenly reported that Saddam probably still had active WMD programs and stockpiles in Iraq. As it turned out, he did have the programs but not the stockpiles.

    2) President Bush thought that once the invasion was accomplished, rebuilding Iraq post-Saddam would be a relatively simple task — as simple as Afghanistan was already turning out to be. He never expected or planned for the scope of the anti-American insurgency.

    3) Bush also underestimated the level of hatred, stupidity, cowardice, and treason on the American Left. He didn’t foresee that this gang of homegrown quislings would use the first two mistakes to justify turning the American public against the war completely, and actively working to bring about an American defeat there.

    If our intel about WMDs had been right, if the Left had not been so bitterly antiwar, and if the enemy in Iraq hadn’t drawn comfort from the domestic opposition, then Iraq would not have become such a problem.

  9. Thank you for the explanations wolfwalker.

    In my mind, at the time, I thought the WMD issue was trumped up. Seems history is proving my suspicions. Almost seems the administration willfully disregarded the facts.

    In my mind, I don’t think the administration knew the differences between Shia’s and Sunni’s. I don’t think they considered the aversion a citizen in an occupied country would have against the occupier. I don’t even think they even considered that occupying soldiers would be a magnet for `al-quaeda’ wanna-be’s.

    In my mind, I don’t think the quisling Left had any say so on how the `war’ was waged. I quoted `war’ because we are not at war, this is a presidential police-type operation, and therefore soldiers are housed in temporary (tent) structures rather than permanent (building) structures.

    How many times have we preemptively invaded a country? Well, we took out Noriega in Panama and there was Grenada, but those were quick & dirty, in & out, kinda things, not something with a 5 month buildup and a now projected exodus in the tens of years. In other words, unprecedented. Do you think we will invade Iran preemptively?

    I’m not left or right. I’m a registered independent. I don’t need some political party thinking for me. My political philosophy might be summed up in the unattributable phrase `That government is best which governs least’. Some say it’s from Thomas Paine, some from Thomas Jefferson, others from John Adams. It strikes my fancy as a programmer/mathematician because `best’ and `least’ can vary over time. I would say today that the `least’ part is our biggest problem.

    In my mind, I think GWB invaded Iraq because Daddy didn’t.

    I think 9/11 got in the way but provided an excellent war-mongering platform.

    This is my theory, and I’ve had it since the beginnings of the war, and I’ve not yet seen any verifiable facts to prove me wrong.


  10. Lawdog, I was wondering:

    I know I don’t like some of the changes that occurred after 9/11. I gather from this post that you don’t either. I also gather that we agree on at least some of the things we dislike.

    I know what I would’ve done differently. I’m curious, however: what would you, operating from your POV as a longtime law-enforcement officer, have done differently?

  11. mad jack said: “A good friend pointed out to me that President George W. Bush should have flown to the site of the attack and defied our enemies on national television. Instead, the President went into hiding.”

    jack, you’ve got it wrong. On the evening of Sept 11, 2001, President Bush made a speech in public on the White House lawn about what had transpired earlier that day. In fact, the news agencies were all preannouncing the fact that the President was going to speak from that location. I thought it was a damned brave move by the Pres, what with at that time we didn’t know if anyone would try to assassinate him or what the Hell was really going on.

    That doesn’t sound much like “hiding” to me. It *was* an act of defiance to our attackers.

    — chicopanther

  12. “Mad Jack said… “

    “… Bush should have flown to the site of the attack and defied our enemies on national television. Instead, the President went into hiding.”

    Mad Jack,

    That would have been the STUPIDEST (and perhaps most selfish) thing he could have possibly done.

    1. His presense IN AND OF ITSELF would have interfered with any rescue or stabilization operations. That’s fine once you’ve shifted into a “recovery” operation — but not when you are still trying to locate and recover survivors.

    2. Don’t forget: In addition to being “teh bully pulpit”, POTUS is ALSO the bloody National Command Authority. He doesn’t have the RIGHT to risk himself in such a Hollywood fashion when there is a real question as to whether or not he needs to have the big birds start their 30 minute journey to Hell. It could have been a true two-stage attack, LIKE TERRORISTS OFTEN ATTEMPT.

    As for what Iraq had to do with anything. . .

    Well, Sadaam isn’t paying people $25K PER HEAD for conducting suicide attacks anymore, is he?

    Sadaam isn’t providing major, well-equipped, training camps for teh practice of terrorist operations, particularly involving airliners and air terminals, is he?

    There is no chance that Sadaam will transfer WMD – WHICH EVEN THE UN THOUGHT HE HAD! – to any terrorist with a truckload of money and a hatered of the US, is there?

    Sadaam isn’t in CONTINUOUS violation of the very cease fire the paused DESERT STORM, is he? (Keeping in mind that the very first violation was full and sufficient cause to immediately roll in hot and occupy the entirity of Iraq. When you break a cease fire, the other party has full authority to resume total war. And there ISN’T any statute of limitations, outside a peace treaty or other normalization.)

    Of the nearly TWO DOZEN DISTINCT (and each one being, IN AND OF ITSELF, sufficient) reasons for invading Iraq, ONLY ONE has failed to be BLATANTLY established as 100% factual. And that would be the ONE charge that EVERYONE – EVEN SADDAM HIMSELF – said was 100% proven. In the end, WMD was emphacized, but only because it was the LEAST arguable reason. Again: Clinton though WMDs existed, Hans Blix thought they existed (hell, his people BAGGED AND TAGGED ‘EM, and then left then in Saddam’s hands!), the French thought Saddam had WMDs, Germany thought the WMDs existed, Scott Ritter thought they were there, and Saddam BOASTED ABOUT STILL HAVING THEM — Hell, he issued ORDERS THAT THEY BE USED!

    Be disappointed or pissed with Bush if you like. be disappointed with the way the war has gone, if you like.

    But (EVERYONE), PLEASE shut the Hell up about “WMDs weren’t EVER the REAL reason, and teh never existed”. Such revisionism is dishonest, and destroys any credibility as a thoughtful commentator on this entire period of history.

    He HAD them. We know he did, because not only did he USE them, but we FOUND them.

    Then he tossed the inspectors out of his country, AND THE UN LEFT THE ALREADY COUNTED WEAPONS BEHIND.

    Khaddafi had no problem establishing he had dropped his WMD program nearly INSTANTANEOUSLY. All Saddam would have had to do was the same — and Bush would NEVER have gotten teh political support to authorize the war.

    And Saddam KNEW THAT — because BUSH TOLD HIM, and the French, Germans, Russians, and Democrats all agreed.

    Saddam just thought he could play chicken with Bush like he spent eight years doing with Clinton. A few cruise missiles, and it would all be over.

  13. We are in a fight for world control.The 21st century Judeo Christian world against the the 7th century barbarian .They see this as an extension of the crusades. Are there innocents on their sides, yes few and far between. Islam and it’s people are just as guilty as AQ is only by omission and inaction. The moderates and even the secular muzzies for the most part remain quiet, don’t speak out and inform on the extremists. Governments like the Saudis pay off these individuals to leave them mostly alone while at the same time treating in country Christians like they are living in/or as dhimmis.Our only hope of controlling these people is to kill enough of them so that they can not manifest numbers enough to bother use for the next several hundred years.
    Unlike most of my delusion country men I do not believe America can set up representative Republican forms of government for these people and it work. Culturally they are not ready for it.They have to want it and fight for it it cannot just be handed to them.
    As I tell my liberal friends as often as I can We aren’t killing these folks as often, and in the high numbers we need to to protect our nation and western culture. We have a choice about about who wins and I damn sure want it to be us.To do this means we cannot conduct this war like a blushing young virgin who has idealized the act based on goofy romance novels. We must realize that the enemy sees our so called standards as a weakness and will exploit them.
    We must be as aggressive, as violent , and as merciless as our enemy to all who act against us, by direct action or failure of action in stopping the terrs.You can not conduct a war in this manner and not have collateral damage.The way figure it be it a IED on a roadside, or a major terr attack against a priority target someone outside the terrs cir sees something but they don’t break the code so they all become suspect and the enemy.

    If we had done this intrusive, and constitutionally repugnant things like the Patriot act and follow ons wouldn’t have been needed or successfully past.But we took the PC High Ground route and here we are 6 years later.

  14. I must apologize for the truly atrocious typos, misspellings, and mis-punctuations in my previous post.

    I could blame the lack of a spellchecker on blogger, but the simple fact is I was so annoyed that I didn’t take the time to export to Word, check it, and bring it back in.

  15. Rick R said:
    “Sadaam isn’t providing major, well-equipped, training camps for teh practice of terrorist operations, particularly involving airliners and air terminals, is he?”

    Yea, well, where exactly was he paying for al qaida camps in Iraq, again?

    Al Qaida was NEVER a big issue in Iraq simply because Saddam did NOT want to share power.

    All this horseshit about Iraq having a AQ connection is just that, HORSESHIT.

    That said, Saddam richly deserved death. He was a worthless murdering shitbag, but he’s not the worthless murdering shitbag we should have been hunting down.

    Of course, Osama never threatened Bush Sr’s life.

  16. Now, where exactly did I specifiy that Saddam was providing camps for AL QAIDA use?

    “Global War on TERRORISM” was how it was sold, not “Global War on AL QAIDA”.

    It doesn’t matter if the cockroaches Saddam was training were the specific ones that attacked us on September 11, 2001.

    The lesson of 9/11 is, “Don’t wait for the fanatic death-worshippers to hit you first. If they say ‘Death to America’, take them at their word.”

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