Since I grew up after World War II, September 11, 2001, was — as it was for many of us — by far the most cataclysmic public event of my life. I may have experienced it staring at a television screen in my Los Angeles bedroom, but watching those planes fly into the Twin Towers like a time bomb from the Middle Ages changed my world view, even altered many of my relationships, forever.
And, although I certainly didn’t know it at that moment, that assault on modernity led inexorably to the founding of Pajamas Media and ultimately PJTV. Pajamas Media is very much a child of 9/11.
Not just because of me, of course. A large number of people banded together online then, realizing that a war of civilizations had been joined. They became known as the “war bloggers” and a good number of those bloggers are still with us now.
Was it by accident that Glenn Reynolds commenced Instapundit — our most popular blog — one month before 9/11?
Well, probably. But it was a fortuitous accident because it gave us some place to go and from which to expand outwards. The war bloggers were early adopters of sorts in the global struggle against fundamentalist Islam.
Or was it Islam itself? That is the question we are still asking ourselves ten years after that fateful day. As I write these words, news comes that the Libyan revolt against Gaddafi has been heavily infiltrated by allies of al-Qaeda, that same al-Qaeda that supposedly suffered a mortal blow with the assassination of bin Laden.
Of course, it didn’t, because Islamism (Islam?) is an ideology and ideologies only suffer a mortal blow when they are really and truly no longer popular. A cursory look at the so-called “Arab Spring” yields the opposite conclusion.
Irredentist Islam in its Sunni and Shiite strains is everywhere now, not only in Egypt, Libya, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and (hugely) Iran, but even in putatively secular Turkey where the reforms of Ataturk seem a distant memory. It has also spread to Latin America through the nefarious alliance of Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez.
And this Islamic ideology has a major advantage in durability over the totalitarian ideologies that pervaded the twentieth century — Nazism and communism. It promises eternal life. There is no easy way to disprove that.
The bad news is that no one currently reading this article is likely to see the resolution of this struggle. The good news is that some of us are now awake –even if made so in the most brutal manner ten years ago.
Yes, many of those awakened at that time have gone back to sleep, but let’s take a minute to applaud those who have not. This is not meant to be an applause of self-congratulation, but one of encouragement. We must continue.
Toward that end, PJMedia is assembling a week’s worth of special memorial material for the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001. Here is the list to this point. It is growing.
Former Congressman Fred Grandy talks about the controlled panic in Washington, D.C., on the morning of 9/11.
Barbara Ledeen and Mark Rogers recount their experiences being among the last to evacuate the Capitol building that morning.
Former Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer describes to host Alexis Garica the challenges in communicating the events of 9/11 to the public.
Former Bush Chief of Staff Andrew Card takes host Bill Whittle behind the scenes with President Bush as he learns of the attack. This is a two-parter: day of attack and days following.
NRO’s Deroy Murdock discusses the dangerous sanitization of the language of 9/11. People did not “perish “ on 9/11. They were “murdered.”
Joe Hicks updates us on the Ground Zero mosque and ho clergy would be allowed at the ceremony.
Allen Barton joins colleagues Yaron Brook and Terry Jones to discuss the economic implications of 9/11.
Tevi Toy warns Tony Katz of the future dangers of biological attacks.
Barry Rubin answers the question: ten years after — who’s winning the war on terrorism?
Bruce Bawer looks into the “pastness of the past” and remembers Howard Stern on 9/11.
Elise Cooper interviews family members of the victims.
The peerless Victor Davis Hanson gives his evaluation of the war on terror ten years out.
And the rest of our great roster of XpressBloggers weigh in: Michael Ledeen, David P. Goldman, Ron Radosh, Claudia Rosett, Roger Kimball, Stephen Green, Richard Fernandez, Michael Totten, Ed Driscoll, Andrew Klavan, and last, but far from least, Zombie.