Another year, another traffic spike, because people who knew and loved Rudy Mastrocinque search for his memory on the web. (My 2996 Tribute post on him is below.) Every year I’m more intrigued by this person who is so greatly missed. I imagine meeting his loved ones, and writing his biography. He must have been an amazing person.
And that’s the tragedy of terror attacks. God forbid my son in law is killed in Iraq – but he’s a soldier, taking a soldier’s chance. Every morning he gets up and is aware of the risks of simply being in that country. (Although we’re all very thankful that it’s a good deal less risky than it was in 2006.) All throughout the 1990s, America suffered terror attack after terror attack… but all overseas, and in our insular thinking, we weren’t really that involved. What did some buildings in Africa have to do with us? The Cole was a tragedy, but it was so far away, and it was the military, after all. Ah, but 9/11 brought it all the way home. That’s when we began to understand what Israelis have known for years. We’re really not safe at all.
In addition to stealing the lives of nearly 3,000 people, jihadists stole our childish, false sense of being safe and sheltered. We’ve been called upon to understand that yes, there really is a group of people – and we can argue about how many people comprise that group, but they undeniably exist – who want us dead because, as bin Laden and others put it,
Carrying out terrorism…is one of the tenets of our religion and Shari’ah…This war is fundamentally religious…Under no circumstances should we forget this enmity between us and the infidels. For the enmity is based on creed. — Osama Bin Laden
We don’t make a distinction between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non-innocents. Only between Muslims and unbelievers. And the life of an unbeliever has no value. It has no sanctity. — Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad
We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you. – Hussein Massawi, former leader of Hezbollah
We do not differentiate between those dressed in military uniforms and civilians; they are all targets in this fatwah. – Osama Bin Laden
One may not make a [peace] treaty with an apostate, nor grant him safe passage or protection. According to Allah’s religion, he has only one choice: ‘Repent or be killed.’ — Abu Mus’ab Al-Zarqawi
(Quotes from the Gitmo Cookbook.)
They really are at war with us, and the level of war which we return to them varies wildly. We are subjected to often misdirected, unevenly applied, and contradictory rhetoric that fails to warn us of the dangers and stir us up to effectively resist. The idea that Americans need to constantly be petted and sheltered with pablum like “Islam is a religion of peace,” as though we’re not bright enough to comprehend that there are denominations and degrees of literalism in the practice of Islam by a billion Muslims is tiresome. And the longer our leaders fail to lead in this area, the longer the war will drag on. The only thing that will really stop it is a Muslim reformation, and so far, instead of applying pressure to Muslims to reform their faith, we reward and empower the most radical among them, making life ever harder for the moderates.
Some nut in Florida threatens to burn a Koran. Rather than shrugging and saying, “Yeah, that’s how we roll here, deal with it. Just like we don’t go completely bananas every year when the Saudi government shreds and burns confiscated bibles, you can just suck it up.” Instead, we have even the President and pretty much every political leader begging him not to because, “mustn’t upset the Muslims or they’ll riot and kill!” They extort us into complying with sharia law by threats of bad behavior. And we are ever more tolerant of it, though no such respect is shown us in kind.
Until we figure out how to fight it, it’s going to be a very long war, and more innocents like Rudy Mastrocinque and the other 2,995 who died nine years ago will be victims of it.