Two Must-Reads For September 11th.
First, from Christopher Hitchens in the Wall Street Journal:
The second point makes me queasy, but cannot be ducked. "We"--and our allies--simply have to become more ruthless and more experienced. An unspoken advantage of the current awful strife in Iraq and Afghanistan is that it is training tens of thousands of our young officers and soldiers to fight on the worst imaginable terrain, and gradually to learn how to confront, infiltrate, "turn," isolate and kill the worst imaginable enemy. These are faculties that we shall be needing in the future. It is a shame that we have to expend our talent in this way, but it was far worse five years and one day ago, when the enemy knew that there was a war in progress, and was giggling at how easy the attacks would be, and "we" did not even know that hostilities had commenced. Come to think of it, perhaps we were a bit "innocent" after all.
Second, Peggy Noonan, from Friday's WSJ, on the sounds of 9/11:
Something terrible had happened. Life was reduced to its essentials. Time was short. People said what counted, what mattered. It has been noted that there is no record of anyone calling to say, "I never liked you," or, "You hurt my feelings." No one negotiated past grievances or said, "Vote for Smith."
Amazingly --or not--there is no record of anyone damning the terrorists or saying "I hate them." No one said anything unneeded, extraneous or small. Crisis is a great editor. When you read the transcripts that have been released over the years it's all so clear.
Flight 93 flight attendant Ceecee Lyles, 33 years old, in an answering-machine message to her husband: "Please tell my children that I love them very much. I'm sorry, baby. I wish I could see your face again."