Basically, I was writing my last column two days after Hurricane Katrina hit, and for some ungodly reason, I lost the whole friggin thing after spending two hours writing it. I was so incredibly pissed and frustrated, that I haven't written jack-shit since. Over a year and some Prozac later, I've decided to write again. I mean, I'm just too damn clever not to write these things down. Also, there's nothing to do at the front desk of Inn Marin right now, so I might as well do something other than check my email and my many fantasy sports teams.
Ten days have passed since last Monday. The date was September 11th, 2006; five years after that gut-wrenching day. Shit, has it really been that long? It sure doesn't seem like it to me. There are events that people just never forget. In fact there are some events that are etched in our minds so vividly, that you not only remember where you were, but how you felt, what the weather was like, what you were doing, who was around you, and a multitude of intangible feelings.On that morning, those feelings weren't so intangible though. The were pretty goddamn tangible to me.
Lest any of you forget how you felt, I will tell my story of that day exactly as it happened. I REMEMBER EVERYTHING!
It was just into the school year at MC, we were juniors back then, and we thought we were cool. That morning we had to go in early to work out for football. It definitely sucked big time. We had to get to school by 7:00 or something. Needless to say, I was not down.
It seemed like it was too early when my Mom shook me awake that morning... and it was. "Dan, turn on the TV, a plane just flew into the Twin Towers in New York." I sat up abrubtly, and wide awake asked, "Was it terrorists?"
Of course no one knew the answer at that time for sure, but I turned on the TV to see a second plane flying into the towers. I felt sick. It was terrorists. They did it on purpose. No one could mistakenly fly two planes into the same place like that. They did it on purpose, I thought to myself.
I couldn't really speak much as I got ready to leave that morning. I think all I remember was saying, "I'm driving," as I got into the rented silver Durango we had had for a few days. I'm pretty sure we had it because my dad's car got into an accident. Anyway, it was pretty sickening to hear all the details and speculation on the radio. I remember changing the radio from KCBS to KNBR to listen to something better like sports, but no one was talking about sports on that morning. I remember hearing the financial guy, Gary Allen, I think his name is, saying that Wall Street was closed, and that he had to leave for the day because his daughter worked in the South Tower, but luckily she had called in sick that morning. I remember how weird it was to here those robotic radio voices suddenly filled with human emotion, and to not read from their daily script. There was no script for that morning.
As I got to the weight room, I felt a little better seeing all my teammates. But I remember telling my mom that I loved her, which isn't something I generally do... it's sort of an implied thing with me.
As the rest of the team filed in to the cold, rubbery room, everyone seemed quieter and more zombie-like than they usually were, which says something for a bunch of 16 and 17 year old guys up early in the morning.
As I began to get warmed up from all the activity, my brain started working again.
WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED OVER THERE? AND WHY THE HELL ARE WE LIFTING WEIGHTS? WE SHOULD BE DOING SOMETHING--ANYTHING OTHER THAN THIS! PEOPLE ARE DYING, AND WE'RE LIFTING WEIGHTS!
"FUCKING ARABS!" I yelled, as I threw down the bar from the power clean station.
"DAMMIT!" came from my mouth as I slapped the metal door hard with an open hand.
The next noise didn't come from me. Coach Morrison had come out to confront the profanity, something he did not stand for.
"PERA! Will you shut up! What the hell is wrong with you? Father Daly is trying to sleep!"
Well I can't remember exactly what he yelled at me, but it was something to that effect. I didn't know how to respond. I probably apologized meekly and went back to my stupid workout.
I think it was the feeling of helplessness that most people dealt with in the aftermath of the attacks. You wanted to do something, save someone, take up arms and kill someone; but you just had to sit and watch and pray.
We all dealt with it in our own way, and I think Alan Jackson's "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning" was probably the best way of summing it up.
"...Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor?
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her?
Did you dust off that bible at home?
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened?
Or close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow?
Go out and buy you a gun?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family?
Thank God you had somebody to love..."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you didn't do any of those things on that day, then you're souless and and should be killed; you're dead inside anyway.
What we really need to do as a country is to never forget what happened that day. We need to move forward by bringing those who have attacked us and plan to attack us to justice.
Now who does that sound like? Well it sure as hell isn't Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, or Harry Reid, I'll tell you that.
Those may be my own words, but they sure sound like George W. to me.
Say what you will about the President, but for all his mistakes, and shortcomings, he sure has a lot of common sense. He sure as shoot isn't Ronald Reagan, but I thank God that he's our leader instead of Al "I Invented the Internet...Global Warming" Gore or John "Flip-Flop" Kerry.
Does it not make sense to chase these bastards down, slap them around a little bit and then go after the rest of them? I mean, what the fuck is wrong with people?
What I fear is that many have forgotten that day 5 years ago, and they have forgotten that helpless, angry feeling. But now, we are not helpless. The only thing stopping us is ourselves, and the rest of the idealistic people on the far left living in a utopian Neverland.
Geneva Convention Rights to all enemy combatants? Are you serious? For God's sake, Deion Sanders had more leeway to interrogate T.O. in his interview last week! If we are only allowed to question terror suspects by asking them their name, rank, and jihad number, then we are losing the fight, and we will be sorry.
These motherfuckers hate us! They hate you, they really hate me, and they would love nothing more than to kill your family! How people can say that plainclothes religious extremists who target innocent women and children should be granted the rights of a uniformed soldier fighting under a nation's flag, is purely insane to me.
Last time I checked, Islam is not a country. There is no equivalent between some jihadist and someone in the Marines. Therefore, a special NEW set of rules for interrogation and treatment must be created. The Geneva Convention rules do not apply anymore.
Under Convention guidelines, all our military and CIA people can do is ask for their name, rank, jihad number, and question them verbally about various things. This makes zero sense. We must be able to use coercive interrogation methods to get intel from these bastards. I've got a few ideas, some of which are already in practice by the CIA, and some of which I think they should try.
Strip them down to their loincloth in a dark, cold room, and blare Red Hot Chili Peppers. Play Ying Yang twins at them and turn up the bass until their Qu'ran starts to vibrate. Make them watch hardcore porno for hours. Blindfold them and make them walk on raw eggs. Scream at them. Write "Allah Sucks Big Time" on a whiteboard and have a translator tell them what it means. Dunk their head in a toilet a few times. Waterboard the hell out of them. Inject Jack Daniels into their veins and make them go to the Sonoma County fair for a Charlie Daniels concert. Anything!
But no, terroists shouldn't have anything done to them. They should be treated better than Scott Peterson. Any why is that exactly? Oh they're human beings... yeah, they are flesh and blood, but they'd slit your throat and kill your sister if you let them out. Therefore they should have no rights. They should be treated like the shit that they are. Also let it be known that these techniques do work.
Brian Ross of ABC publised a story on secret CIA prisons and what methods of questioning were used on top Al-Qaeda leaders that we have in custody. It took 35 seconds to waterboard these hardened killers into giving us information. In fact, it is believed that these techniques by the CIA got us intel that stopped attacks. The Chili Peppers got us the names of some fuckheads in Europe that led to the Brits stopping the Trans-Atlantic jetliner attacks. Also, waterboarding led to the arrests of other fuckheads who were going to bomb the Library Tower in LA. We wouldn't have gotten this information by using our words. Believe what you will, but this is the truth.
Do you know what happens to you in Iran, Syria, Egypt, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, or China if you fuck with them? Well they'd just as soon give you hundreds of paper cuts and dunk you in a salty lemon bath, or attach electrodes to your genitals and shock you, or cut off half your fingers. In North Korea they put a tube down your throat and pump 4 gallons of water into you until you're ready to burst, and then they but a 2x4 across your belly and jump on you repeatedly until water comes out every hole in your body involuntarily.
That, my friends, is torture.
What we need in this country is the ability to coerce jihadists into giving up their bretheren. It does work, and it is not torture. Playing loud music at them in a dark room or making them watch Jenna Jameson bone some dude is not torture. It is a necessary tool and it is meant to prevent another 9/11. If you can't understand that, then you don't remember how it felt 5 years ago.