Fort Hood: Terrorism or just a tragedy? Propaganda, Part I

by Clio

In my earlier blogs (“Man-Caused Disasters” and “Grab Your Merriam-Websters…”), I expressed disdain for the Obama administration’s terminology tinkering. “Man-Caused Disasters” focused on taking out terrorism and replacing it with an easier to digest “man-caused disaster.” “Grab Your Merriam-Websters…” examined the new policy of wiping out “war on terror,” giving preference to “global overseas contingency operations.”

When those exchanges were announced earlier this year, I felt so strongly about the White House’s word wrangling that I grabbed my laptop and pounded out a couple of blogs to express my disapproval. I had a feeling that these subtle substitutions marked the beginning of a campaign to change our opinions about the new government’s domestic and foreign policies.

It seems that Mr. Obama believes that if he expunges a certain word, such as “terrorism,” and replaces it with a less offensive term like “man-caused disaster,” the result will negate or change reality.

Reality arrived home last week in the form of an Army major at Fort Hood, Texas. Major Nidal Hasan murdered 13 people and wounded 29 others in first act of terrorism on American soil since September 11, 2001. News reports are surfacing regarding Major Hasan’s ties to radical imam Anwar al-Awlaki and Hasan’s attempts to contact members of Al Qaeda. In fact, there is enough information regarding Major Hasan, his activities and statements to launch a Senate inquiry into the shootings; other agencies will follow suit with their own investigations.

How did Mr. Obama respond to last week’s terrorist attack? During a brief press conference in the White House Rose Garden, Mr. Obama spent two minutes acknowledging a member of the audience and touting his health care package before he mentioned the Fort Hood attack: “… some of you might have heard there has been a tragic shooting at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas,” he told the assembled guests and cautioned “not to jump to conclusions” about the event.

Mr. Obama used poor judgment in failing to mention the attack on Fort Hood before giving “shout outs” and promoting ObamaCare, but I concur with his prudent advice about jumping to conclusions. Meanwhile, the facts are beginning to emerge and the evidence collected thus far suggests that a thorough examination of Major Hasan and his deadly acts is warranted.

On Tuesday, November 10th, the Commander-in-Chief spoke at a memorial service in honor of the fallen soldiers at Fort Hood Army Base. Again, Mr. Obama refused to use the term terrorism or even his own spin, “man-caused disasters.”

“This is a time of war. And yet these Americans did not die on a foreign field of battle. They were killed here, on American soil, in the heart of this great American community. It is this fact that makes the tragedy even more painful and even more incomprehensible.

It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy. But this much we do know – no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor. And for what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice – in this world, and the next.

We are a nation of laws whose commitment to justice is so enduring that we would treat a gunman and give him due process, just as surely as we will see that he pays for his crimes.” Barack Hussein Obama, Fort Hood Memorial Service, November 10, 2009

The attack was a “tragedy,” not terrorism, according to Obama, and Major Hasan is a “gunman” and a “killer,” but not a terrorist. The exclusion of the expunged terms is pertinent because there is significant evidence, not far-fetched right-wing conclusions, that Major Hasan is a terrorist and his words and deeds provide substance to the charge. Mr. Obama may not want to acknowledge that, after eight years without a terrorist attack on America, one just occurred during his first year in office.

“It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion” – Joseph Goebbels

Author’s note: after posting this blog around 4am, I turned on the television. Commentators on FoxNews were discussing Major Hasan’s legal defense and his attorney’s intent to use a mental illness defense for his client. I’m quite certain that Major Hasan suffers from some mental malady (the diagnosis was psychopath, according to the commentators), but that begs the question: are all terrorists suffering from mental illness?

Surely, strapping explosives to one’s chest and walking into a building filled with innocent adults and children qualifies under that presumption. Piloting airplanes filled with highly explosive jet fuel and frightened passengers into skyscrapers and government offices – those 19 terrorists on September 11, 2001 were clearly mentally disturbed, as well as terrorist militants who engage in variety of murderous activities.

It all makes perfect sense to me; anyone who shouts “death to America” or carries signs that read “America is the Great Satan” is obviously a few nails short of a dirty bomb.

Will psychological illness become the new defense for terrorism? If so, what will that mean for those who were detained at Guantanamo Bay or tried, convicted and jailed for their attacks on America, its people and military? Should we release all of them for humanitarian reasons or ship them to a mental hospital to be tended by trained psychiatric staff?

If Major Hasan’s legal defense is successful, this could open a Pandora’s box in the prosecution of terrorism.

Psychopath or terrorist? Oh, here we go again… Shall we just trash our dictionaries and let liberals tell us what words mean and what we should or should not believe? It’s PROPAGANDA, my friends, an insidious ploy to stage manage our perception of the world and its dangers.

An Inconceivable Violation…

by Clio

On September 11, 2001, I awakened late in the morning to another sunny day in Calabasas. Sunlight seeped through the slats of my bedroom blinds as I put on my robe and stumbled into the kitchen to make my morning cup of tea.

I didn’t rush or worry about getting to the office on time; I was recently unemployed. My company, a subsidiary of large privately-held publishing group, laid off its entire staff a few days earlier – the result of a depressed economy.

The light on my answering machine blinked, but I ignored it – probably another call to a company that used to have my phone number or a telemarketer.

After retrieving the newspaper, I closed my front door with one hand and pressed the play button on the answering machine with the other. I froze as I heard my mother’s voice, urging me to stay calm, that she and my Dad were okay and to not be afraid… end of message. My parents live in Portland, Oregon, so many thoughts raced through my mind: St. Helens erupted again, their house was on fire or there was a car accident.

I remember thinking that if it was St. Helens, it would probably be on the news, so I looked for the television remote while punching in my mother’s phone number: busy. I dropped the phone and turned on the TV.

Sights and sounds exploded before my eyes on CNN; my knees weakened and I crumbled to the carpet. With shaking hands holding the remote, I surfed the cable news channels, only to see the same visions of panic and pain. News anchors reported assaults on the Pentagon and New York and planes crashing in Pennsylvania, it was clear: America was under attack.

I watched terrified people running, covered in gray dust; my television screen filled with images of flames and buildings collapsing, creating tsunamis of dust and debris. I didn’t know that the pandemonium and horror in front of my eyes took place three hours earlier – everything seemed immediate and confusing.

I tried to reconcile my mother’s voice mail message with the television footage, the barrage of reporters’ words and alarming sights … bombs, the Pentagon, fires … Initially, I thought our country was the target of an invasion (based on my mother’s reassurances from Portland) and tried to think of who would have the audacity to launch an attack on America?

Eventually, news reports put the words and pictures into context: there were terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Twin Towers, the Pentagon, as well as another plane crash, its mission unfulfilled due to a courageous coup by the hijacked passengers, into a vacant field in Pennsylvania.

Professionally, I’ve been a publicist, business development executive and, now, a media consultant and writer. That morning, as I watched jet-fueled planes, filled with innocent civilians, deliberately driven into the Twin Towers, the only words I could verbalize were “oh, my God, oh my God” – literally, a plea or a prayer, but not a phrase I used frivolously or with disrespect.

Unable to move from my spot on the floor, I sat and watched the reports for hours; silent tears streamed from my eyes. I was numb with the horror of what my brain told me was inconceivable.

In the hours and days that followed, the true culprits were revealed: a terrorist group, Al-Qaeda.

2,975 innocent lives were lost on September 11, 2001 (I won’t add the deaths of the 19 terrorists to that toll; they don’t deserve, in my opinion, to be counted among their victims).

The terrorists rejoiced at their success, but I knew they had made a huge mistake. The fiends who planned and carried out their heinous attacks seriously underestimated or misunderstood America. There would be retribution for their lethal schemes and it would be swift and decisive.

While examining the rubble and remains of the Twin Towers in New York City, President George Bush draped his arm around a fireman, and, with megaphone in hand, addressed hundreds of workers and rescuers at the scene. A shout from the crowd; someone couldn’t hear the President’s words:

“I can hear you. I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!”
– President George W. Bush, September 14, 2001

He kept his word. On October 7, 2001, a strong and effective military strike, Operation Enduring Freedom, was successfully mounted against the terrorists and their supporters in Afghanistan.

“Now, we have inscribed a new memory alongside those others. It’s a memory of tragedy and shock, of loss and mourning. But not only of loss and mourning. It’s also a memory of bravery and self-sacrifice, and the love that lays down its life for a friend – even a friend whose name it never knew. “
– President George W. Bush, December 11, 2001

Eight years after the attacks, I can still recall every emotion I felt that morning, as well as the intensity of the anger and grief that permeated every waking moment. I remember the sight American flags flying from every house, apartment or car – even billboards. It was hard to find an American who wasn’t a patriot – an angry, indignant and injured patriot.

My personal belief system encourages me to forgive and forget, but September 11th is my personal exception. I will never forget and I pray that Americans and the rest of the world will never forget what happened on that day. Sadly, we must continue to keep these memories alive, to remember the fallen – the victims and the heroes. We must remember for the safety of our country, for the protection of our freedom and way of life.

It is vital that we remember every minute of that day, from the moment we first glimpsed those visions of horror on television, as well as the sadness, anger and resolve for retribution that we, as a nation, felt in the days and weeks ahead. We must remember, so we can make sure it doesn’t happen again.