Never Forget

It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it. — General Douglas MacArthur

This true-color image was taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) aboard the Landsat 7 satellite on September 12, 2001, at roughly 11:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time.

Satellite photo from NASA’s Earth Observatory page.

I used the MacArthur quote a couple of years ago on my 9/11 anniversary post. I think it’s just as relevant today, if not more so. I’ve lately begun referring to this Fourth World War as the ‘Long Global Test of Wills’, and it’s going to go on for a long time. I believe it’s worth winning, and part of believing why it’s worth winning is remembering the reasons it’s being fought in the first place.

I get the feeling that a lot of folks don’t really remember.

I’ll be heading to the annual all-day salute with the Boy Scouts shortly. The Boy Scouts of America and the Gerald R. Ford Council are determined that we never forget.

UPDATE: Just back from the salute. Here’s Murdoc and his son honoring and remembering:

Murdoc’s the taller one, but not for too much longer in all likelihood.


  1. How can I forget? I wasn’t born yet when Kennedy was shot. I remember the Berlin Wall coming down, the end of Apartheid, both shuttle losses, the Gulf war, Sept 11 2001, the invasion of Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq. Those are the unforgettable events of my generation.

  2. I’m linking the Long Global War on Terror, which I call WW 4, to 9/11. I thought that’s what I said, and looking back I see that it is. I also happen to believe quite strongly that the campaign in Iraq is an important part of the war, FWIW. Surely linking 9/11 to terrorism isn’t going to set anyone off. I always try to make sure I don’t say anything to make waves. I’d sure hate to set anyone off.

  3. Linking 9-11 to terrorism will not set me off. Watching Bin Laden 6 years later sticking his thumb in our noses will. I respectfully disagree with you on Iraq.

  4. That’s a great photo, I downloaded it and now it’s my desktop. Small point but, I noticed you had labelled it as 9-11-07-overhead, I think you got the year wrong. Just for your records.

  5. The two main reasons often cited for us not to depart are 1) Al-Qaeda will take over, and 2) Iran will be the regional power. I don’t recall either of the above being a possibility before we invaded and removed Saddam. How will al-qaeda take over in Iraq? The Shia (60%) will oppose them and probably so will the Kurds (20%). Since the Sunnis in Anbar are now fighting against Al Qaeda what would make you think they would embrace them if we left? Any chance Al-qaeda had in taking over Iraq they got after Saddam’s removal and they probably lost with their brutal tactics. As far as Iran we have agreed to sell the Gulf Arabs $20 Billion worth of military hardware and GIVE Israel another $30 billion. Given Israel is the only nuclear power in the region, I don’t see how Iran is suddenly going to start dominating its neighbors. I am actually more concerned with the current invasion of the USA then I am with the middle east.

  6. How can anyone POSSIBLY continue to believe that the conflict in Iraq is not important in the struggle against terrorism, whatever name you want to give it. Admitting that it’s important in no way admits that you ‘support’ having gone there in the first place, it’s just acknowledging reality, for pete’s sake.

  7. Timmeeee: I named it that because it’s the photo I used for my 2007 9/11 post, is all. I had originally planned to use several photos, and they were named 9-11-07-wtc, 9-11-07-pentagon, 9-11-07-overhead, etc. Then I decided to go with just the one, but the odd naming convention lived on. spacey: I’m not terribly interested in arguing the ‘what does Iraq have to do with the GWOT’ once again, but I would like to point out that I don’t know how often I’ve heard that one threat of early withdrawal is that ‘Al-Qaeda will take over’ Iraq. You give some good reasons why this is, right now, fairly unlikely. What I have heard is that Al-Qaeda would be able to thrive in the splintered warlordish ruins of a nation, similar to how they flourished in Afghanistan. Perhaps they might even manage to gather a significant slice of the pie with an ‘Iraqi Taliban’-type scenario. This seems to be a legitimate concern, even if instead of ‘thiving’ they just ‘hide’.

  8. The Shia and Kurds didn’t like Saddam either, but that didn’t seem to even slow him down. OBL himself cited our flight from Somalia as the source of his ephiphany regarding our status as a paper tiger that could be attacked with impugnity. So what message do you think tucking tail and running from Iraq would send? What message do you think abandoning our only ally in that region would send? Was the war necessary? Probably not. Was it prosecuted competently? Hell no. None the less, that does not mean it has nothing to do with the war on terror. Every time we look weak, it makes us more vulnerable to attack, not just from terrorists, but from anyone. Pretending like we will be safer if we tuck and run is crap. Now that doesn’t mean it might not be the best course of action, but at the very least we should not kid ourselves about the cost.

  9. I don’t think I will ever agree with you on this. I think our biggest weakness is our lax borders and alien enforcement policy. The crew that hit us on 9-11 trained in the USA. Every 6 months we hear of another group of terrorists in the UK plotting to do something. The point is these guys launch attacks from the heart of the West. What good is it to waste blood and treasury in Iraq when you allow anyone to waltz in here? What are we trying to preserve over in Iraq when the country we grew up in is being transformed in front of our eyes? The last I heard Islam is the fastest growing religion in the USA. I agree the West and Islam have been at war on and off again for over 1000 years. So why are we so eager to let them come here? To paraphase Mao, the people are the sea in which the guerilla swims. If that is the case, we are just increasing the pool for these guys to swim. Yes, I know not all muslims are terrorits. But how long do you think it will take before their numbers here reach critical mass? We recently agreed to give Israel $30 billion. Do you think we will be able to do that once there is a substantial ‘muslim’ vote? Meanwhile we just had our first presidential debate in Spanish. Last I heard to be a naturalized citizen you had to demonstrate the ability to read and write basic English. If this is so, why do you need to cater to voters in another language? I am off topic now. But my concern is we are wasting away in Iraq while the very character of our nation at home is being forever changed and no one seems to care.

  10. I think allowing anyone to come here, squat and refuse to leave shows weakness. I think being afraid of being called ‘racist’ shows weakness. I think having the President of the USA proclaim on cue that Islam is a religion of peace shows weakness.

  11. Doggone it SPACEY! Who DID attack us on 9-11? 19 guys and a several hundred ‘support personnel’ with Osama as the leader? So all we have to do is get Osama and then they’ll all be dead the war will be won and we can all go back to peaceful ease? HECK NO!! That would be like saying all we had to do to win world ww2 was kill that pesky carrier group that attacked us not all Japanese attacked us and Germans definitely didn’t attack us. Spacey you have a fundamental – FUNDAMENTAL – misunderstanding of who the enemy is and what they are trying to do. They enemy is islamic nazis who believe it is their duty to God to convert the whole world to islam by force. They believe God blesses and commands the killing of anyone who does not convert. Any muslim who believes this (be they sunni of shia) is our enemy. It doesn’t matter if they are in Afghanistan or Iraq or in your local mosque. Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because different factions of muslims don’t get along with each other they are not equally determined to kill us all. I imagine that the Nazis (being the perfect race) and the Japanese (being divine) would have gotten along after they took over their half of the world. On 9-11 every muslim in the world who believes in ‘death to the infidel’ attacked us. And they WILL kill us if we don’t kill them first.

  12. Umm.. I imagine that the Nazis (being the perfect race) and the Japanese (being divine) would NOT have gotten along after they took over their half of the world.

  13. Hannibal read my posts. I thought it was clear. I don’t like muslims period, and I don’t want them in my country. What good is it to hunt them down in Iraq if you are going to allow them unrestricted entry here? I for one do not want what is happening in Europe to happen here. They are being overrun. I think too many of my learned bloggers feel contests are decided militarily. What is happening in Europe and possibly here is an invasion. It might not be military in nature, but it is happening and our societies are being changed. What we cherish as Western civilization might be at risk and we are paralyzed. Finally, getting Osama will not end the struggle which has been around in one way, shape or form for over 1000 years. It would just be nice as a taxpayer to see justice come his way after 6 years and a trillion dollars.

  14. Spacey – You’re absolutely right about the border. But hunting them all over the world does a lot of good in that it keeps them on the run. Or at the very least gives them an ‘easier’ way to attack us by going after our troops and our work in Iraq. As some one serving in the armed forces I would much rather be a tempting target for them over there and whip their ass over there than waiting to counter whatever they decided to do next which would be the case if all we did was lock down the border. – That said we really do need to lock down the border. BUT attacking them in the heart of their territory is much more effective short term and the only way to be effective long term.

  15. Spacey brings up an interesting point about the ‘invasion’ and I think that there’s more to it than just closing the border. With our Constitutional separation of church and state, we have to watch how people whose religion is their government (as I understand it) start to influence our way of life and freedoms. The Minnesota airport is an example where Sharia law being followed by the taxi drivers (they’re refusing to carry passengers carrying alcohol [or were]) are inherently imposing their beliefs on others and thereby impinging upon their freedom under the guise of freedom of religion. It’s an interesting dilemma that may be building. In London, I read of an instance where local Muslims refused to press charges against a Muslim that had committed a crime against another Muslim through the British courts (don’t know exactly how prosecution works in England) and instead dealt with the perpetrator some sort of Muslim tribunal under Sharia law. Would that be an acceptable outcome here under Spacey’s scenario of ‘invasion’? I personally wouldn’t want to see that sort of thing here.

  16. We didn’t enter this conflict so much as tossed into it. Nevertheless – I’ll lay money on us prevailing, in the end. It may be slow and inefficient with a lot of moaning and groaning and missed opportunity along the way but . smart money’s on us. And no, I don’t mean the campaign in Iraq but the whole sorry global mess.

  17. ‘Nevertheless – I’ll lay money on us prevailing, in the end. It may be slow and inefficient with a lot of moaning and groaning and missed opportunity along the way but . smart money’s on us. Who is US Brian? The United States, The United States + Europe, or the Christians & Jews all over the world? AND, Who is them? Fundamental Islamists, Western Converts to fundamental Islam, or the pathetic apologists right in the United States who’s theory of relativity states: ‘If you don’t bother them they’ll leave you alone’? Murdoc’s (as usual) correct when he says we’re fighting WW-4. The only trouble is we’re like a blind boxer. We can’t see the opponent, but he sure as hell can spot us. This conflict isn’t just being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bad guys are wackin heads off and blowing up lots of innocent civilians all over the world (Malaysia, Thailand and Pakistan to name a few). There only solution is to accept the fact that there is no solution.

  18. I’d have more confidence if we were developing weapons like this, and were willing to use them:

    The Tu-160 supersonic bomber that dropped the bomb, widely known under its NATO nickname of ‘Blackjack’, is the heaviest combat aircraft ever built. Putin, who has overseen the roll-out of new tactical and anti-aircraft missiles and combat aircraft, has ordered ‘Blackjacks’ and the Tu-95 ‘Bear’ bombers to patrol around the world. The report said the new bomb was much stronger than the U.S.-built Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb — MOAB, also known under its name ‘Mother of All Bombs’. ‘So, Russian designers called the new weapon ‘Father of All Bombs’,’ it said. Showing the orange-painted U.S. prototype, the report said the Russian bomb was four times more powerful — 44 metric tons of TNT equivalent — and the temperature at the epicenter of its blast was two times higher. In 1999 Russian generals threatened to use vacuum bombs to wipe out rebels from the mountains during the ‘anti-terrorist operation’ in its restive Chechnya province.

    Instead we’ve developed the Small Member Bomb because we are so worried about collateral damage. There’s nothing worse than a bomb that makes the neighbor’s wall paper peel and causes some of the prisms to fall off their chandeliers.

  19. This, to me, seems like some clear thinking on Iraq:

    While he was critical of Republicans’ ‘stay the course’ strategy, Gingrich said that ‘the results [of the troop] surge are impressive and worthy of our continued support.’ He added that ‘supporting Gen. Petraeus in Iraq is not enough to win the larger war.’ Citing Abraham Lincoln’s adaptability during the Civil War, Franklin Roosevelt’s mobilization of the American people in World War II, and Ronald Reagan’s efforts to define the enemy and victory during the Cold War, Gingrich called for a more broad approach than a dual focus on Iraq and Afghanistan allows. ‘The key debate for the next year should not be the Petraeus Report and conditions in Iraq,’ he said. ‘The key debate for the next year ought to be the larger war, the real enemies, the need for a real strategy, and solutions to the scale of the challenge we face.’