Jewish World Review Oct. 1, 2001 / 14 Tishrei, 5762
Adults say many things to you, but you really don't understand what happened to your daddy. You want to understand, but you can't. So you lose yourself in a world of play -- the only escape little kids have when tragedy taps them on the shoulder.
That is what the murderous attack on America was about -- that 4-year-old girl and the thousands of other little kids in her situation. Those children can't possibly understand the evil that altered their lives forever. And we should protect them from that evil. All Americans should want the evil stamped out forever.
But not all of us do. Some of us want to understand the terrorists who attacked us. At California State University, a professor was quoted as saying: "We should try to understand why there are people in the world that hate the United States." The attacks, the professor said, were an assault on the forces of "globalization."
That kind of foolish thinking is creeping into the national discourse now that the shock of the attacks is wearing off. But like the 4-year-old girl, I don't understand the point. Who cares why the terrorists did what they did? Who cares why some people hate America? It is simply not important to explore the motives of brutal killers unless you're doing a psychology thesis or something similar.
Should I try to understand why Jeffrey Dahmer slaughtered people? Why Hitler hated the Jews? Why Mao murdered millions in China? Am I supposed to waste my time trying to ascertain the motives of monsters?
That would be a colossal mistake. Do you think General George Patton tried to understand the Germans he captured? No, he killed or imprisoned them without a second thought. He did that because they were fighting for a brutal regime. The general could not have cared less that Germany got hosed in the peace agreement after World War I.
America must now reject and scorn the voices of the appeasers and excusers. We owe the terrorists nothing but death and destruction. They have forfeited any kind of due process or consideration by attacking innocent civilians in order to please their god, who approves of mass murder.
The federal government of the United States is in place to protect the citizenry. That is its primary function. The feds let us down by failing to take national security seriously enough. Now our government must act aggressively to punish those who attacked us and discourage the maniacs who would do it again. Understanding the terrorists is only necessary in order to catch them. You can't persuade evil. You can't reason with fanatics.
I get frustrated with Americans who see the world through their own selfish prism. The Holocaust would not have happened if the nations of Europe had recognized the evil dripping from Hitler's every pore. But they wanted to understand the Third Reich, to negotiate with it in the hope of attaining peace.
It is no different today. There is an incredible evil in this world, and it is not capitalism or a foreign policy that tilts toward Israel or a failure to recognize global warming. No this evil kills women and children in the name of G-d, and it rejects all humane behavior. This evil is easily understood if one looks at the face of the 4-year-old girl waiting for her father to finally come home. And that's the kind of understanding America needs right
09/24/01:We are all soldiers, and we have a job to do