One Final Thought on 9/11

We’ve spent the last few days imploring each other to never forget 9/11. But leave it to Vin Scully to put it in perspective. Like so many other things, he has a way of painting a picture with words and capturing the moment like no other broadcaster. This past Sunday, the Los Angeles Dodgers were in San Francisco to face the Giants. Scully paused following a pre-game 9/11 ceremony to reflect on the meaning of the anniversary:

“We had a lead, gray morning, slowly burning off to a brilliant sunrise, making you think of that beautiful day in New York 10 years ago, Sept. 11, 2001. Certainly a day in which God must have wept, wept over man’s inhumanity to man. A day of heroes and a day of horror … But it should also bring some honor for as we watch rising from the ashes of New York, like the Phoenix itself, the high-rises that will once again be a testimony to the heart and soul of this great country. I remember Ronald Reagan once said, ‘If we ever forgot that we were one nation under God, we will be one nation that goes under.’ And you might notice today, above all days, you will hear God’s name mentioned, and we hope, not in vain.”

You can read his entire remarks here as well as see a video of his first game following 9/11.

Hat tip: Hardball Talk

9/11 Ten Years Later

I’ll never forget it no matter how hard I try.

When aggressors receive honor

Imagine, if you will, a documentary being broadcast on PBS, the gist of which pertains to details surrounding an attack on the United States; an attack which claimed almost 3,000 American lives. Also imagine the producers of said documentary extolling the sacrifice made by those who took part, and perished, in the attack.

No, I’m not describing an apologetic for the events of 9/11, but the recent PBS NOVA episode, Killer Subs in Pearl Harbor. From NOVA’s website,

NOVA dives beneath the waters of Pearl Harbor to trace provocative new clues to one of the most tragic events of World War II—the sinking of the USS Arizona. More than 1,000 crew members perished in the greatest single loss of life in United States naval history. For decades, it has been thought that a bomb dropped by a Japanese aircraft sank the Arizona. But the discovery of a group of Japanese midget subs in and around Pearl Harbor has raised questions about the battleship’s final hours.

While the program primarily consisted of historical investigation, pertaining to the events of December 7, 1941, I was taken aback by remarks made at the conclusion of the episode in which the remains of one of the midget submarines was found. From the show transcript,

NARRATOR: Today Admiral Ueda visits the wreck of midget sub number 5 to honor the remains of pilot Sadamu Kamita and commander Masaji Yokoyama.

KAZUO UEDA: Mr. Kamita, here is your brother. Here is Mr. Dewa who accompanied you to Pearl Harbor.

NARRATOR: A cup full of sand is carefully removed from the seafloor, beneath the sealed control room of the midget sub, and given to Admiral Ueda to take home.

AKIRA IRIYE: The remains or the spirits of the dead, ah, from the submarine would now be reunited with the sand.

NARRATOR: Admiral Ueda presents the sand to Petty Officer Dewa. He brings it to a memorial service for Japanese sailors who lost their lives in midget submarines.

AKIRA IRIYE: The sand that was brought back from Hawaii is purified now, becomes Japanese soil, so to speak.

NARRATOR: For Kichiji Dewa, the mission is at last over. For Parks Stephenson, it’s always been about bringing the facts to light.

PARKS STEPHENSON: I want their accomplishment known, so that their sacrifice will have meaning.

NARRATOR: Time may yet uncover new details in the history of Pearl Harbor. And each step we take towards the truth of the heroic and tragic events of that day, not only honors the people who lived it, but serves future generations, as the real story is finally revealed.

(emphasis added)

Color me unimpressed, but I find no reason to honor, as sacrifice, the actions of those who were responsible for the deaths of 2,400 U.S. personnel, the subsequent deaths of those U.S. personnel who fought in the Pacific theater of World War II, and those civilians, throughout the Pacific, who fell to the bloody actions of the Empire of Japan at that time.

It seems to have become politically correct to view aggressors upon our land with a sympathetic hand, in some attempt to excuse their actions as either psychologically or culturally motivated or, worse yet, somehow caused by our own actions (read: WE are the guilty party). Indeed, Mark Steyn raised such issues in his book America Alone (which I reviewed, here). As I wrote,

Steyn quotes an Arabic proverb, “A falling camel attracts many knives,” and then applies it to Europe. It is falling and, as it falls, it continues to be attacked… We’ve feminized our approach through our multi-culturalism: we ask “why?”, we try to understand, we sympathize, we concede, and we apologize – and these are all seen as signs of weakness.

Yes, and now this sympathetic sentiment is being expressed in our view of history. Oliver Stone recently remarked that,

Stalin, Hitler, Mao, McCarthy — these people have been vilified pretty thoroughly by history,

And when comparing two warring factions, motives and actions are melted into one as both the aggressor and those who are forced to fight to retain their freedom are seen as essentially the same. In the book, Flags of our Fathers, we are made witness to descriptions of the atrocities which occurred during the World War II battle of Iwo Jima. In a post I wrote for, I quoted the book’s author, James Bradley,

The Japanese army fought using the most ruthless tactics of any combatant in World War II. Their practice of “no surrender” meant they were unpredictable, as they fought far beyond the limits of a Westerner…

The Japanese soldier turned all Western logic on its head. If surrounded, a German would surrender; a Japanese would fight on. If wounded and disabled, an Englishman would allow himself to be taken prisoner; a Japanese would wait and blow himself and his captor up. The Marines could not treat the Japanese soldiers as they would hope to be treated. Their only choice was to exterminate him.

While the book was made into a movie, by Clint Eastwood, a companion movie, Letters from Iwo Jima, was also made and received more critical acclaim. Letters from Iwo Jima recounted the battle from the Japanese perspective, based on letters from the Japanese soldiers themselves. Hailed as an unprecedented demonstration of worldly citizenship, by Eastwood, the movie was also praised for humanizing “the enemy”, and paying honorable tribute to ill-fated men. Indeed, at, in a post listing the movie reviewer’s top 100 films of the 2000s, Letters from Iwo Jima is listed at #36 as an “other side of the story” companion piece to Flags of our Fathers.

Wow. I can’t wait to hear the “other side of the story” regarding Mohamed Atta and the other 18 terrorists responsible for the attacks on 9/11.

Our culture is deeply confused if it cannot distinguish between good and evil. To make such a distinction is not to diminish the humanity of the Japanese soldiers of World War II or of the Islamic terrorists of 9/11; such a distinction is, in fact, a deep recognition of the humanity of these individuals. Humans, created in the image of God can, and do, engage in evil acts. And the fact that there are two sides to a story does not mandate that both of those sides are valid.