Republication of our September 11, 2006 post "A virtual lamp beside the golden door, revisited": "It’s been nearly three years since 9/11," wrote Michele of A Small Victory two years back, inviting her readers to add their own two cents' worth to her Voices 2004. "Where do you stand right now as far as emotional recovery goes? Have you moved on? Healed? How does your emotional view of 9/11 differ now from three years ago? Do you find yourself more hopeful than you were then?" We're republishing our response, which seems to have stood the test of time, in that we still agree with ourselves.
How would Osama answer the question "Do you find yourself more hopeful than you were then?" We think he would be of two minds: 1) Yes and 2) No.
1) Yes. Surely the evil genius whose own demons made him wake the sleeping giant* must be gratified to see the Orwellian inversion that has taken place in some large portion of the popular imagination, where the lunatic ravings of homegrown academics blinded by their hatred of America — the Susan Sontags and Noam Chomskys of this world — have metastacized into a toxic worldwide anti-American hysteria that threatens to derail the War on Islamic Extremism (Condi Rice's term for the War on Terror). We could write volumes about that. We have, in fact, written blog volumes about that. Listen to Sontag's solipsistic, a-historical, hyperventilating pontifications from her New Yorker essay published in the aftermath of 9/11:
The disconnect between last Tuesday's monstrous dose of reality and the self-righteous drivel and outright deceptions being peddled by public figures and TV commentators is startling, depressing. The voices licensed to follow the event seem to have joined together in a campaign to infantilize the public. [Note to Ms. Sontag: Our response was our own. It was visceral. We didn't wait for some public figure to tell us what to think or how to feel.] Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a "cowardly" attack on "civilization" or "liberty" or "humanity" or "the free world" but an attack on the world's self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions? [Note to Ms. Sontag: You haven't a clue re the terrorists' motives. See Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer et al.]
Our leaders are bent on convincing us that everything is O.K. America is not afraid. Our spirit is unbroken, although this was a day that will live in infamy and America is now at war. But everything is not O.K. And this was not Pearl Harbor. We have a robotic President who assures us that America still stands tall.
2) No. Despite the appeal of Sontag & Company's "arguments" to all who would blame America first, Osama must be worried about our country's pesky refusal to cut and run. 9/11 was, in fact, like Pearl Harbor in that the enemy realized he had awakened a sleeping giant.* In fact, the enemy has awakened two sleeping giants. America stands taller than ever on the world stage, staring down the nattering appeasement crowd on the one hand, and tearing down the terrorist networks and support systems on the other, thanks to the great leadership of President George W. Bush, his remarkable team of seasoned advisors, our superb military and the Coalition of the Willing.
But 9/11 awoke another sleeping giant, one that may have been slouching towards some kind of cyberBethlehem waiting to be born even as world attention was focused elsewhere. We're speaking, of course, of the blogosphere. A virtual lamp beside the golden door, this new medium was a beacon to the virtual "huddled masses yearning to breathe free" in the wake of 9/11, giving voice to those who had been voiceless — Iraqi bloggers, milbloggers, homefront bloggers and bloggers of every stripe, seekers of wisdom and truth who weren't buying what effete academic elites and mainstream media pack journalists were selling anymore
*Note. "In the movies Tora! Tora! Tora! and Pearl Harbor, [Japanese naval commander] Yamamoto's character says, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, 'I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.' Considerable doubt exists, though, whether he actually ever said (or wrote) anything like that; it was probably invented for the movies, although it may well have encapsulated some of his real feelings about it," according to Nationmaster Encyclopedia. Update post 2004 election: False but accurate?