9/11 and Me - 5 Years Later
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    9/11 and Me - 5 Years Later
    By Matthew Dodd

    This past weekend, I was struggling with a lot of pent-up thoughts and emotions about the five-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our country. For the last week, I have taped and watched many cable and network television shows about 9/11. Most of those shows have been very good, and practically all of them have driven me to tears, anger, or disbelief. I knew I wanted to write about this significant day, but I had no clue where to start.

    Then, as frequently happens with me, a seemingly unrelated thing or event provided me with the inspiration I needed to start my 'hunting and pecking' on the keyboard. My kindergarten son and I were listening to one of our favorite country singers, Toby Keith, on a CD in the car when inspiration flowed from the car speakers when he sang:

    "I wanna talk about me, I wanna talk about I
    Wanna talk about number one oh my, me, my,
    What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see."

    I am going to be selfish today. I need a release, and this article is my self-prescribed therapy. I will try to organize my thoughts, but I expect a somewhat scattered stream-of-consciousness type of effort....

    I consider myself a good Christian, and would say that I am more spiritual than religious. I am not sure if my gut feelings about the fanatical extremist terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks, and all the subsequent threats, boasts, and attacks and actions elsewhere, are in line with my Christian ideologies: I hate them, I would not lose any sleep if they were all wiped off the face of the earth (by any and all means possible), and I believe the world would be a much better and more peaceful place without them.

    Am I empowering the terrorists by letting their actions lead me to abandon my Christian beliefs? Am I failing this test of my faith? Or does "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" apply to people who are so blatant in their hatred for my people and our way of life? Maybe I need another five years to work through these spiritual struggles.

    One of the best things to happen since the attacks of 9/11 has been the increased recognition and deepened respect for our everyday heroes, those people who willingly accept the responsibilities of putting themselves in mental and physical danger to serve others. The men and women of law enforcement, firefighters, and emergency medical services immediately come to mind when I think about everyday heroes. Where would we be without them?

    No talk of post-9/11 heroes is complete without mentioning the tremendous sacrifices and achievements of our brave, forward-deployed warriors who are taking the fight to our enemies. Our combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have given us many modern-day warrior heroes. These brave men and women are helping keep the wolves away from our doors and they deserve our deepest respect for a tough job well done.

    I recently had a very good e-mail exchange with a man I consider to be my most loyal reader, frequent feedback provider, and a friend, and want to share some of that exchange….

    I am deeply concerned that Afghanistan had been all but ignored until violence began to rise there and the public news media decided that Afghanistan was suddenly newsworthy again. I cannot say I was surprised at the ignoring of Afghanistan's progress, after all, so are the many good things we are doing in Iraq. The reason is simple: politics.

    Will someone please explain to me how ignoring the progress and successes in Iraq and Afghanistan, where our troops are fighting to establish, protect, and nurture the environments that make that progress and those successes possible, is supporting our troops? Do we really ever want our troops to think that the fruits of their labors are not worthy of recognition and praise? How long will certain politicians and the biased public media feign legitimate support for the troops yet demonstrate purely political pursuits not in keeping with the best interests of our country?

    We are at war. Period. Regardless if you are in favor of war in general or abhor it, we are at war. A war we did not start nor want, but a war nonetheless. If we are at war, there is only one thing to do-win the damned thing. I am not a fan of war, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

    To win it, you must first understand the nature of your enemies, and when they are fanatical extremists determined to wipe us out, who are not limited in their thinking and actions to willingly sacrifice their lives or use their bodies as explosive weapons, and who blatantly target innocent civilians without hesitation, you must accept the fact that this war is totally different from any war we have ever fought, and the fact that it will be a dirty, nasty, and prolonged struggle for our very survival.

    Why are there so many people who refuse to see that Iraq is the current 'hot-spot' in this war? Whether you believe that Iraq was that 'hot-spot' before we removed Saddam, or that there was a real possibility that Iraq could or would have easily become that 'hot-spot' if Saddam were to remain in power, Iraq is the current 'hot-spot' in this war.

    Will the war end with success in Iraq? It might, but I believe it will move to another 'hot-spot' or two (or more) before this war will be over. Will we not survive if we fail in Iraq? No, but anything less than success in Iraq will mean that we should expect to see our homeland under attack again from more-emboldened fanatical extremists. Personally, fighting and succeeding in Iraq is the only option when the alternative is failing in Iraq and fighting at home.

    What if I knew I was to be placed in a steel cage and lowered into a tank of hungry, aggressive sharks that just killed many of my colleagues, proving their blood-lust for the taste of my flesh? What if I discovered one of the sides of the cage was either completely missing or had big gaping holes in it that allowed those sharks easy access to my cage? I guarantee you that I would find a way to secure that missing side, and I would repair those gaping holes before I ventured out to face those sharks. Common sense, right?

    Why, five years after the 9/11 attacks exposed how terrorists (i.e. sharks) could use our porous borders and our inability to effectively deal with our illegal immigration problem (i.e. missing cage sides and gaping holes in cage sides), do we have such political paralysis with such a critical part of our national security in these times of international fanatical extremist terrorism (i.e. tank of blood-thirsty sharks)?

    Based on the amount and intensity of emotions I have experienced in the days leading up to this fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our great country, my healing is not yet complete. I heard a retired Fire Department of New York (FDNY) 9/11 hero on the radio today say that time may heal all wounds, but the scar tissue left behind will last a lifetime. I plan to keep looking at and feeling my 9/11 scar tissue so I will not forget the pain and the memories of the thousands of families who were permanently scarred by that fateful day.

    Matthew Dodd is a Senior Editor of DefenseWatch. He can be reached at mattdodd1775@hotmail.com.

    “There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion.”

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    I believe in an eye for an eye but in this case
    we cannot wait for their next shot in order to respond.

    I don't think their talk about "nuclear" is a veiled
    threat. I have every reason to believe that OBL,
    true to form, must makes his next attack
    much greater than his last. After 9/11, and perhaps
    the failed attempt to take down 10 planes in the air,
    the next logical step is to take out several US cities
    at the same time. Rumor has it that al Qaeda
    has been bringing in nuclear materials over the
    Mexican border and there are cells in this country
    which have the capaibility of detonating them
    in several cities.

    I'd like to see every Arab Muslim deported from this country.
    Call me a Fascist, I don't care.



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