“I told her we were gonna kill ’em all.”

(previously posted with the title “I remember where I was . . . I remember who I was with”;  an updated version of this entry has been posted on Escape from Averageness® every year, approaching the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks)

EFA - 9-11

On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, I was in the offices of Fidelity Homes, in Venice, Florida, commencing a process mapping engagement to give this start-up homebuilding company a state-of-the-art set of business processes.  SAI Consulting’s involvement was part of a large pro bono effort, sponsored by Professional Builder, that included a number of top consultants then serving the homebuilding industry.

I was the Process Architect for Fidelity Homes.

Sitting across the table were David Hunihan and Todd Menke, two young builders, eager to take their experience in homebuilding and pursue a National Housing Quality award.  We had barely started, when David was pulled away by a telephone call.  It was his wife, Lauren, asking if he was aware of what was going on in New York City.

As the events continued to unfold, in New York City, in Washington DC, in western Pennsylvania, we finally decided that it was impossible to focus on mapping workflow, and whatever we were doing did not seem all that important, anyway.  We cancelled everything for the rest of the day, and, in our own ways, watched and tried to process what was happening.

Bill Lurz, then a senior editor at Professional Builder, joined us the following day.  We finished the project two days later, and I drove back to my family in Ponte Vedra Beach through a tropical storm.  The embraces had particular conviction.

The article was written and published in Professional Builder.  The full story of Fidelity Homes was told in a six-part series on Escape from Averageness in 2011, coinciding with the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attack.

I still consider the events of 9/11 to be a matter of unfinished business for this country.  Time has only increased my feelings about it.  We were attacked, fourteen years ago, because of who we were, and because of who we unapologetically remain.  Our enemy sees it as unfinished business, as well.

Evil remains the enemy of good, and that evil has an ever-more-radical face.  In the presence of that evil, we have failed to clearly state what war is;  we have dismissed the understanding of war as the utter and complete destruction of an enemy.

It doesn’t matter what we think of issues like American Exceptionalism, our place in the world, the tradeoff between national security and the constitutional rights to privacy of US citizens, the still-unaddressed murder of US diplomats and security personnel in Benghazi, the ramifications of decisions not to intervene in Iran and Syria, the emergence of ISIS, or the question of what happens when Iran becomes a terrorist regime with nuclear weapons.

The discussions on all of those matters miss the point.

The discussions miss the point, because they don’t address the root cause of the problem.  The core problem is not the threat of future terrorist attacks.

The problem is the terrorists, and their sponsors.

And, the solution is not attrition, or containment, or control, or minimization, or dismantlement of the threat, or mounting an international coalition against terror, or imposing sanctions, or providing more humanitarian aid, or granting political asylum, or creating deeper understanding, or negotiating peace, or peace, itself.

Yes – the One, True God, in His righteousness and omnipotence, may decide to impart His justice on this situation.

However – absent divine intervention – we cannot afford the “problem of conjecture”, as Henry Kissinger described it.  We have now assured ourselves that there will be a war;  if not a nuclear war, then certainly a war over who will have nuclear weapons.  We are now in a far more dangerous, more deadly situation than we were in the aftermath of 9/11.

“Fleury.  Tell me what you whispered to Janet, in the briefing, to get her to stop crying about Fran, you know, before all this, before we even got airborne.  What’d you say to her?  You remember?”

“I told her we were gonna kill ’em all.”

(The Kingdom, Universal Pictures, 2007)