It Was Just an Office Building…
I cannot remember the exact date, but in late 2000 I was sent by my employer to build out a new office space for our New York sales division. The reason for the trip was to build a sales office in some newly acquired space located at One World Trade Center on the 86th floor. Approximately one year later on September 11th, 2001 the al-Qaeda terrorist attack happened. As I drove into work that morning I was stunned to hear the NPR news team reporting the first attack.
The plane impacted floors 93 through 99. The people located on floors 92 through 110 were trapped. My brain was racing with all of the information that kept pouring in. Another plane struck the second tower, then the Pentagon, and yet another plane had crashed somewhere in Pennsylvania. I went numb emotionally and focused on my work which now was focused on how my company would retrieve any data lost in the attack and what was needed to get the New York team back to work (the human resources department had the job of accounting for all of our New York staff, and luckily our company lost no one that day). I was later commended for how I kept so calm and focused during the crisis and was able to quickly put a plan together for what my department needed to do following the attacks.
Calm and focused? I was keeping busy to prevent my reaction to one thought that kept racing through the back of my mind:
“If they had launched this attack one year earlier and struck six floors lower I would be dead.”
And what would I be dead for? It was just an office building.
I was just another worker earning a paycheck and doing my job. I was not doing anything special or even that difficult. I was just making sure that the staff had their phones and their PCs running. It was just a typical office setup, and one year later it was all gone.
When I got home that day I held my wife and she cried in my arms. She had had the same thoughts as I. She had done the math herself and knew that it was only a matter of a date and some altitude that kept her from being a widow. She did the reasonable thing: She cried.
Me? I did not cry. I probably should have. I had no tears simply because I could not fathom it all. I have always been like that. When there is a real crisis I just shut down emotionally. If I am being emotional it means that there is no real crisis.
That is what I do. I just shut down my emotions and go numb. It works for the moment, but not for the long term. I still wrestle with the thought that I could have been one of those nearly 3,000 people who were just going about their daily routine and then were murdered for no reason at all.
A natural disaster I can deal with. Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, floods, meteorites, lightning, brushfires, and even killer bees just happen. That is nature. Nature is both cruel and wonderful, and it is always a chaotic dance from which an order eventually emerges.
But murder? Murdering strangers? Murdering strangers to make a point?
It is ridiculous that nearly 3,000 people died so that a point could be made. The World Trade Center was not a symbol for capitalism. It was not a monument to American politics or power.
It was just an office building.
I do not think I will ever be able to make sense of what happened that day. I just cannot come to terms with why anyone would want to murder strangers who were simply going to work, or were attending school, or wanted to see a midnight showing of a movie, or were worshipping in the church of their choice.
I cannot make sense of any these things, and I have not lost a loved one to any such event like them. I would probably break down completely if I ever did suffer such a personal loss.
I do not even know how to end this article. It is still too much for me to make sense of. Why were all of those people murdered?
It was just an office building.
Okay, I fully understand that you will not like what I have to say. Furthermore, for the sake of the argument and following the principles of representative democracy, I am equating American people with the American government.
Still, in the words of Tolstoy, there’s nothing more valuable than the truth. And the truth is simple: the world is fed up with your bullying, and you got a taste of your own medicine. You mourn the loss of American life on 9/11, but hundreds of thousands of people all over the world murdered by your troops for fun and profit do not appear to cause the same reaction.
You know, I’ve been reading an old Soviet propaganda book called “Why we have to perpetuate the arms race”, and while it of course operated terms like “imperialism”, it still had a few surprisingly precise predictions: once the world becomes unipolar, USA will be free to invade smaller nations under the guise of “fight for freedom” or any other such ideological reason, but in fact motivated by purely economical reasons, with military and resource corps being the benefactors, without any regard for international law or justice. The country that book was written in is long dead, as are most likely its authors, but look how it works out. From Korea and Vietnam through Nicaragua or Panama to Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan, you don’t shy away from ripping millions from their daily routine and throwing them into the cauldron of bombings, occupation and civil war. Even the countries you’ve left you left broken and poisoned, their women giving birth to cripples.
Now, as a bully who has been punched back for the first time, USA has flown into a rage. It certainly will take a few punches more before you understand that being beaten hurts, and thus starting fights is a bad idea; just like it took, say, Germany. But undoubtedly sooner or later you will get what you deserve.
@danvolodar: Hmmm. I don’t seem to remember too many incidents when the USA used a civilian aircraft to attack a civilian location without a formal declaration of war. Yet the people who launched the 9/11 attacks are the same people who shot a 14 year old girl for being outspoken about her beliefs regarding women’s rights and education.
You mixed up so many different issues in that comment to justify an attack on innocent people. You justified murder. You claimed that this all happened because the USA started a fight. Bullshit.
It started because some rich fuck who was trained by the USA to combat USSR forces that were raiding Afghanistan without any regard for international law or justice then turned on the USA because he was power hungry. He killed civilians and the backlash destroyed his world and made the situation even worse for the people he was supposedly fighting for. And he ended up dead, and exposed for being the hypocrite that he was (“Go be good Muslims and die for our cause! But stay away from my porn.”).
No nation is perfect, but justifying acts of terrorism like you have in your comment is utterly ridiculous. Stop reading propaganda and pick up a history book instead.
@Patrick Benson: How about incidents where you used military aircraft to destroy whole cities? Three cases in half a year; and two of the cities involved had no legitimate military targets whatsoever. How about purposefully poisoning a whole country? Or more recent cases, with American aircraft bombing refugee trains, marriage processions and bunkers with civilians?
You are missing my point there. I am not saying that the particular terrorists were just or justified (although it is ironic how you nurtured these ones yourself, don’t you think?) Neither am I even saying that murder of civilians can ever be morally justified. It’s just a bit naive to murder hundreds of thousands of civilians around the world regularly, and then act surprised when your civilians are murdered in return: for they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.
You ask why what happened happened? Here is your answer: the voice of blood crieth from the ground.
(On a side note, it’s not like USA declared war on the many third world nations in bathed in blood; and USSR intervened in Afghanistan in full accordance with international law, after numerous requests from its democratically elected government).
Which cities? Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII? You say three cases in half a year. Cite the news articles for these whole cities that were destroyed. There have been civilian casualties in cities do to mistakes made by U.S. pilots and commanders, but whole cities?
Plus did the military act on bad intelligence? You just kind of gloss over how in war bad information leads to civilian casualties, and no nation is immune to that. It happens, and it is horrible, and it is absolutely nothing like a planned terrorist attack against civilian targets. You are comparing apples with oranges. Better yet, apples with watermelons.
Keep your biblical quotes to yourself please. I’m an atheist and think that “Ye shall reap what ye has sown.” bullshit thinking is what gets some murdering fuck thinkg it is okay to crash a plane into a building.
On a side note, it isn’t like the USSR had the support of the U.N. or the nations of the Middle East when it invaded Afghanistan because the people of Afghanistan decided to overthrow their government. Many considered it not to be a democratically elected government at all. You know, those evil Western governments like Egypt and China.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, yes. Chosen specifically because there was no military presence there, and thus no risk of losing the bomber. Dresden, which was purposely made a funeral pyre for its population. It wasn’t bad intelligence, it was deliberate usage of terror tactics. You need news articles on these? At the same time suggesting that it’s me who should be reading a history book?
If you’re an atheist, you might notice that God hasn’t really been taking revenge upon himself since the biblical times. So next time you’re puzzled why the people in the WTC had to die, ask yourself, why did tens of thousands of iraqis have to die because someone over the ocean suspected their government might have chemical weapons (which it didn’t). And then got, by his own words, a divine mandate to attack them. Why hundreds of thousands of Japanese had to die in a single day, or were left to rot slowly of radiation poisoning. Was Hiroshima a symbol of Japanese nationalism, or a monument to Japanese politics and power?
You can’t endlessly destabilize the world without the desperate you’re creating fighting back. You can’t fight wars without casualties. And an eye for an eye is not exactly a religious principle, it’s natural to humans.
On a side note, legality of international actions is not determined by whether other polities like them – because really, quite few actions would be legal then. Similarly, legality of elections is not determined by whether international powers like their results, but purely by how democratic they are: for example, by whether they’re held under the barrels of the occupants’ guns, like the recent ones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
@danvolodar: Hiroshima was the captial for the Japanese army, Nagasaki was a major manufacturer of ships and home to harbors for the Japanese naval forces, and Dresden had over 100 factories supporting the German war effort.
Oh, and all three were bombed when the U.S.A. had an official declaration of war against Japan and Germany.
Like I said, read a history book. You obviously need to.
Since I am an atheist I noticed that there is no god a long time ago. When any leader claims divine mandate I know that it is bullshit regardless of the nation that they represent.
But we’re de-stabilizing the world? Bullshit again. The Middle East has been destabilized long before the oil was discovered there.
Has the U.S.A. made mistakes? Of course. Does any innocent person deserve to be murdered? Of course not.
You came here and posted a comment that justified murder. Plain and simple. I don’t care how you try to justify it – murder is wrong. And that is the problem with war, any war, because it is organized murder or the threat of murder. Which is why declarations of war are made. They are warnings that anyone within the warring nations are not safe.
SO WHEN A FUCKING TERRORIST ORGANIZATION STRIKES PEOPLE AT THEIR WHIM IT IS NOTHING LIKE A WAR BETWEEN NATIONS.
History lesson complete, son. Now go forth and keep your head out of your ass, or if you insist on keeping it there at least walk into traffic.
There is a certain difference between “justified” and “expected” that you’re obviously yet to learn.
Blah, blah, blah. You got your ass handed to you based on your ridiculous statements and what you implied. Cry me a river.
Well, if you consider inability to understand a simple point after it’s explained for the third time handling someone his ass, sure.
@danvolodar: From your first comment – “But undoubtedly sooner or later you will get what you deserve.”
Your words. Note the last one – “deserve”.
Tell me again how you meant “expected” versus “justified”?
I expect the sun to come up tomorrow. I expect any powerful nation to have enemies. I expect wars to happen, and I expect terrorist acts to occur.
But when you say that people deserve a terrorist act, any people mind you, then you are justifying the act of terrorism.
Is it sinking in yet, skippy? Probably not. It isn’t like I even want to change your mind, because any moron who believes that those 5,000+ people who died in the twin towers got what they “deserved” is too far gone to reason with.
Nope, the only reason that I am even replying to you and letting your account to remain active is because I want anyone else who comes to this site to see your crazy dipshit talk and see all the holes I’ve punched in your arguments.
U.S. destroyed whole cities? You cited three incidents. All during WWII. All against nations that we were at war with.
You then tried to equate that to being the same thing as a terrorist attack. Which is ridiculous because the terrorist were in no way a recognized authority, nor was there ever a formal declaration of war. That was the apples and watermelons part, if you can remember that far back.
Then you back pedaled and tried to say “Expected! Not justified.” But your very first comment on this post shows that you meant justified.
So go ahead, and keep trying to justify the 9/11 attacks. Then you can go on to justify the IRA bombings against innocent people. Then you can go on to justify the 1999 apartment bombings in Russia. Because your stupid twisted logic is that the citizens of powerful nations being killed in a terrorist attack is what they “deserve”.
And when I showed your pathetic comments to a Russian friend who lived in Moscow for most of his life all he could do was laugh and say “Anyone who quotes Soviet propaganda as a way to support anything is woefully ignorant of what Soviet propaganda did to the Russian people.”
Get your head checked. Your comments clearly justified murder. Have you no sense of shame for even allowing that kind of filth to come forth from you? Probably not.
Quite obviously, that “deserved” referenced the unified opposition from the world you keep ripping apart. Or do you think that you deserve better: keeping up the body count? Who’s next: Iran, Syria?
If you expect terrorist acts to occur, it’s rather strange to ask questions like “why were all of those people murdered”, as you do in your post.
They were murdered, as I have already written, because millions of people around the world have been shown that murdering hundreds of thousands of civilians to further your political goals is perfectly fine. This is the very essence of the issue: you, both you as a person, you as a state and you as a civilization, don’t understand that murdering innocent people is absolutely abhorrent. Your justifications like “we sent them a note that warned them we’re going to kill them”, “there were people with guns stationed at the other end of town from them” or “our mass murderers wore similar clothes, unlike their mass murderers” are pathetic.
That history of violence is what gave the terrorists both the reasons to act and the ability to justify those acts before their supporters. And, of course, it gave them people willing to sacrifice themselves to harm others: what were they doing that for, if not revenge? Just like the Chechens and the rest of them?
You really should try actually reading people’s comments, – not that I hope you’re starting with mine. Maybe then you’d have noticed that the Soviet propaganda piece I referenced to show that even a work so obviously ideologically motivated still manages to predict the predatory actions of the lone superpower left without checks and balances.
And no, I don’t think it’s me who should be feeling shame. I am not the one electing leaders who’ve had more than a quarter million civilians killed in the last decade alone, and then crying crocodile tears of surprise and anger when the peoples being murdered dare fight back. I am not the one justifying mass murder simply because it was performed after a formal declaration and by men in uniforms.
Come to think of it, I find myself uninterested in perpetuating a discussion when the question you’re really asking, judging by the sum total of your post and comments, not the post alone, is not “why did that happen”, but “how comes they, scum who we’re right to mass murder, dare attack us, the Land of Freedom”. That is not a question that needs a reply, obviously.
@danvolodar: Wow! Are you even more fucking twisted than I could imagine!
First things first, dipshit, expecting something does not automatically include an automatic understanding of what causes that which is expected. Plenty of people expect a car to start when the ignition is is activated. That does not meant that they understand how it works or why. I expect terrorism because a very small minority of our global population is bat shit crazy, it doesn’t meant that I understand how a person can reach that level of craziness.
And your comments come down to “The U.S.A. is evil and kills people, so now people kill U.S. citizens.” and you thrown out examples from wars.
How many of his own people did Mr. Stalin kill, eh Comrade? How many nations did Stalin absorb into the Soviet Union and how much violence did that lead to? What is the most widely used firearm in the world? Hint: It didn’t come from the U.S.A.! The AK-47 has killed more people than the U.S. military forces ever had. Let’s not even get into Soviet built land mines.
And we can talk about the United Kingdom, or China, or Israel, or pretty much any modern nation that has a military and enemies and use your argument to justify killing anyone. The problem is that it doesn’t play out like that at all.
You skipped over all of the diplomacy that goes into the prevention of conflicts. You certainly didn’t mention how the U.S.A. did appeal the U.N. before launching an attack against Iraq. You certainly skipped over how Iran and the U.S.A. do talk to each other through diplomatic channels, and that in a recent Presidential debate the American people were calling out one of the candidates for his views on Iran and Syria (not to mention his understanding of geography)m, because many of us are against any type of military conflict involving U.S. troops. That is why many of us vote for candidates who promise to end wars, and who are doing so.
No, your whole argument is based on the fallacy that “The U.S. is a bloody tyrant facist of the world.” Wake up buttercup. This nation is powerful, but nowhere near THAT powerful.
Again, I’m not trying to convince you of anything. I just want anyone who comes to this site to see your comments for what they really are – a simpleton’s excuse to blame everything on people he doesn’t like so that he can justify killing people in his own head.
You are pathetic. I’m so happy that you decided not to comment on this site anymore. Now I can disable your account, knowing that you had your final say.