On these shores, Americans commemorated the cold-blooded gleeful murder of thousands of their fellow men and women by bowing their heads and enlisting in one of the free work projects of the National Day of Service listed at Serve.gov, a combination that says all that needs to be said about our present day relationship with our government.
In Cairo, a mob of a thousand climbed the wall, tore down the American flag, tore it to pieces, burned it and tried to replace it with their own flag with the words, “There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger”. That message was the same one that the murderers of Americans have shouted, written and videotaped themselves chanting in one form or another.
As befits a great power, the US Embassy in Cairo responded by condemning "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims." The US Embassy's statement was virtually indistinguishable from the one issued by the beleaguered Christian Copts of Egypt. The Christians of Egypt act that way because they live at the merciless mercy of Muslims. Apparently so do we.
When the Prophet-Criers climb our walls and murder us, we apologize for having offended their religious feelings. The same religious feelings that took down the World Trade Center as part of a murderous crusade going back over a thousand years. They kill us and we elect a man with a Muslim background to tour the world and explain to all the angry Muslims that we're really very nice people once you get to know us.
If they want to be ruled by Muslim governments under Islamic law, we'll give that to them. If they want a billion dollars, we'll send it to them. If they want us to apologize for having free speech, we'll do that too.
If they burn a couple more embassies, we'll even do something about that Bill of Rights which does not permit the gendarmes of tolerance to arrest a man for blasphemously calling Mohammed a pedophile and burning a Koran bought and paid for with his own money. Not like our more enlightened European cousins who put a stop to that behavior long ago and are sniffing around the flanks of Sharia law to see which parts of it can fit safely into their tolerant order.
And of course burning a Koran is ridiculous. So what if they burn American flags. So what if they burned 3,000 people, the ones who didn't jump or kill themselves some other way. So what if their great ambition in life is to climb over all our walls and kill most of us and enslave the rest because the Koran, that most holy book which unlike New Yorkers must not be burned, tells them to do it. So what?
They can kill us because someone somewhere insulted their prophet. But when they kill thousands of us, then we must feel eternal shame because we renditioned some of the perpetrators, put them in a room and then, under medical supervision, poured water on them until they eventually told us about all their other plans to kill us.
The answer, you see, is that we are better than they are. And we get plenty of opportunities to show off how much better than them we truly are.
They kill us and we apologize to them. They kill us and we spend a fortune developing drones that will be able to take out the leader who ordered the attack with as little collateral damage as possible. And then when the natives dig up the daughters they murdered last week and the brother-in-law they beat to death last month in a clan feud, and dump them on the smoking vehicle, and the local stringers who have arrangements with Al Qaeda and the Taliban snap away at the wreckage, we will feel bad because after all the billions we spent developing and deploying a weapon meant to kill as few people as possible-- there are the bodies that prove we are terrible people.
And when Karzai, whose prisons are full of raped and mutilated women, yells at us in front of the camera, before taking a hit of coke, and going off to have sex with one of his dancing boys, and tells us that we are terrible people, we will believe it. Because we are better than them and we have a conscience.
After September 11 we could have struck back, the way we struck back at Japan, without mercy or empathy, with no concern for the enemy as anything but a faceless mass that hurt us. We could have leveled their cities, brought their civilization to the ground and done it with no more concern than a government legislator deciding how much money to squeeze out of the taxpayer for this year.
But we didn't do that. We did not come to hurt them, but to save them from themselves and teach them how to be good people like us. We wanted to make them into the kind of kind noble people who only respond with the minimal amount of violence possible to an attack. The kind of people who will let thousands of their own people die rather for the sake of their conscience. Good people like us.
Our experiment at civilizing the savage failed miserably in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will go on failing as often as we keep attempting it. And at the end of the experiment, there will be burning embassies and savages crying, "There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger", the same words that the bearded bandit who was one of the first Muslims and their many times great-grandfather was crying out as he was raping the shamelessly unveiled tribal woman who would become their many times great-grandmother.
"There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger" means that the Muslim need not waste time worrying about his conscience. His conscience is a Koran and that book says that he's entitled to kill any time that an infidel offends Islam by mocking his prophet, walking in front of him or building a skyscraper that is taller than a mosque. The Muslim need not waste time pondering the ethical implications of killing another human being to know that he is better than we are. His little black book assures him that he is better than us, that he has every right to kill us and that if he fails, he will be raping demon virgins who are so anorexic that their bones can be seen through their flesh.
But, we oh what good people we are, we will apologize for having an embassy and for having free speech and for getting our embassy in the way of their mob and our free speech in the way of our religious sensibilities. And we will see about getting all of the above out of their way. After Muslims killed thousands of Americans we did everything we could to learn about their religion, to celebrate it and soothe their ruffled feathers. Like an anxious host, we are still rushing around to see that our Muslim guest has enough coffee and egg rolls while promising to do something about that free speech that offends him.
Like all good people, we are expert at blaming ourselves. Aside from the rabble who claim that there really were no Muslims on those planes and possibly no planes at all, just a vast conspiracy by the people in our own government who were not at all Muslims, there are the other rabble who claim that our foreign policy motivated the attacks. One way or another, we are to blame. That is how we know that we are good people... by blaming ourselves. The more we apologize and ask our murderers to forgive us, the better people we know ourselves to be.
One day, and this is our highest hope, we will look a Muslim terrorist in the eye right as he shoots us and beam into his soul a message of hope and peace, and just as the life bleeds out of our veins, the Muslim will fall at our feet and be filled with the understanding that all life is precious and sacred. And even if we are the last of our kind, our deaths will have been worthwhile if by the final sacrifice of our civilization we can elevate the savage out of his savagery.
We are you see, good people. Not moral people nor sane people. Morality requires values and sanity demands contact with some outpost of the real world outside the simulacrum of outraged noise on all the channels, real and virtual. Morality is hard, goodness is easy. Morality is about right and wrong, but goodness is about condemning those most like you in order to feel better about yourself.
Goodness is childishly easy. Go to a movie theater and wait for people to talk. Then feel good about not being one of the talkers. Goodness is watching thousands of people getting killed and feeling good because unlike those crazy rednecks or the bridge and tunnel crowd, you feel no yearning for vengeance. Goodness is watching Americans die and then picking out a Muslim convenience store and offering him whatever support he needs against all those bigots who are sure to show up with American flags and torches sooner or later, because unlike you, they aren't good people at all.
We are a nation led by immoral people who think they are good, by politicians, professors, priests, rabbis, pundits, crackpots and activists who having no values are determined to excuse all the evil that they do by being relentlessly good people. When they sacrifice something, whether it's a night out or your life, then they will make sure that everyone knows it. And when you protest, they will tell you about all the sacrifices that they are making, because despite all the blood and filth on their hands, they are good people. Good amoral sociopaths who learned everything they know about right and wrong from television and feel-good slogans.
The bigger their hypocrisies, the bigger their sacrifices, and they love nothing so much as sacrificing others. Their conscience is always bothering them and they put it to sleep with showy acts of public goodness. They will not feed a beggar on their street, but they will go around the world to feed an orphan, especially at someone else's expense. And that way they remember that they are good people. Not just good people, but better people than us, the miserable mob waving torches and flags who don't know the value of condescending to an Imam at an Iftar dinner or feeding Bangladeshi orphans on someone else's dime or spending thousands of lives to enable Muslims to be the good people that they must be somewhere underneath all those ugly layers of murder, child-murder and mass murder.
Embassies can burn and so can skyscrapers, but like all amoral people, they will cling to the moral high ground with their fingernails because it is the only thing between them and the abyss. They will tell us that we act the way we do because we, as a nation, are better than they are. We don't lash out, we don't get angry, we don't go to war for revenge. We are not meant to feel anything except for the satisfaction of serving others, whether it's picking up trash outside an inner city school on a National Day of Service, that happens to coincide with something called 9/11, or dodging Taliban bullets so that Afghan schoolgirls can get a proper education.
We are meant to be good people and that is what good people do. They give until it hurts and then die knowing that their giving natures kept them on the moral high ground of being six feet under.
We are good people. Too good to fight. Too good to defend ourselves. Too good to keep our laws and retain our traditions. Too good to be angry when we are killed. Too good to want to do anything but make our killers understand our pain. Too good to respond to our own murder with anything but immediate guilt.
We are better than they are. Not better at survival, but better at rationalizing our own destruction. We are so good that we open up our cities to our own murderers and close our eyes at the airport so as not to make a single one of them feel bad. We could fight back, but we're too good. And if we start defending ourselves, then we will be forced to ask, "What is the difference between us and them?" Once we start killing, we will become murderers and it is better to be murder victims, it is better to mourn in defeat than to celebrate a victory, it is better to serve as Dhimmis than to live as conquerors.
We could fight back, but we are better than they are. That is a decision that our leaders have made and they remind us of it every September 11. They remind us that they are too good for victory. We could object, but they would only remind us that they are better than we are.