2001 Is America’s Year
The year 2001 will especially be remembered for the unforgiven attack on our way of life, with the images of the destruction of the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon defining our new perspective of ourselves and our nation. We can now allow ourselves to focus on the events of September 11, wage a successful war to eradicate the perpetrators, and be satisfied to end there or, use the war as a means to realize a broad international agenda that has the potential to yield far- reaching benefits globally.
Unfortunately, the year 2001will be seen as one of the most violent years not only because of the number of people killed here at home, in the Middle East, Afghanistan and many other places, but because of the dehumanizing aspect of the violence. The cold, calculating and corrupt ways in which this violence was perpetrated and the sickness that has permeated the souls of the many committing these most heinous misdeeds, all in the name of God, will leave an indelible mark on our individual and collective memory.
The bin Ladens, the Mullah Omars, the Yassins and the Arafats of the world are not insane: They are sick. It takes a sick mind to muse and be amused over dinner about the incineration of thousands of innocent men women and children as repulsively revealed in the video showing bin Laden boasting about September 11. It takes a sick mind to torture a whole nation and stamp on its people's dignity as Taliban leader Mullah Omar and his gang of criminals have done while rationalizing their misdeeds by repeatedly invoking the name of Allah. It takes a sick mind to send suicide bombers to blow themselves and their victims to pieces as the Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin, has done while celebrating the falsehood of martyrdom. And it takes a sick mind to subject a whole people to senseless violence and hopelessness as Arafat has wreaked on his people while embracing a cynical and phony dream to obliterate Israel. These men have committed crimes against humanity; they will receive no salvation, no deliverance, no redemption and no martyrdom.
The hideous attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, have placed America at an historic juncture. We will either emerge as the world leader in the wake of our war on terrorism, with the moral authority to lead, or be seen as a nation that has squandered this historic chance. Not since the fall of the Roman Empire has a power towered over all others its rival as has the United States today. We have, therefore, an unprecedented opportunity to use our military, economic, technological and cultural prowess prudently and become the catalyst for global peace and prosperity. To that end we must work with other powers like Russia, India and China and with our close allies in pursuit of a global agenda to deal with ethnic strife, human rights and poverty. We must dedicate ourselves not only to promoting democracy through free elections, but, to pushing for the creation of liberal institutions that enshrine the rights of the individual so democracy can flourish. We must spare no resources to expose the young of the world, especially in the Middle East and other Islamic nations, to our true values. We must reconcile many of our differences with previous and current adversaries, build bridges to new friends and help settle any violently raging conflict. Finally, we must be bold in continuing our battle against terrorism, with a focus on the Middle East where terrorism festers and future generations of terrorists lie in wait.
The year 2001 will be remembered for the sad day of September 11th, but it will also be remembered for the resolve that America has shown in dealing with adversity and emerging victorious. The Taliban are defeated, and Bin Laden will be captured, killed or on the run for the rest of his life. Al Qaeda as an organization will be dismantled piece-by-piece, and other terrorist groups will probably never see a day of rest until they vanish into oblivion. But America is here to stay. The year 2001 may very well be America's year. The tragic events of September 11th may be the catalyst behind the rise of America to assume this new global responsibility and dedicate itself to the betterment of the human condition here at home and abroad and the expansion of global awareness of our values. Thus, we may defy the fate met by successive empires in the past.