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

(posted on Escape from Averageness® every year, on the anniversary of 9/11, with the title “I remember where I was . . . I remember who I was with.”)

September 11, 2001.  8:46 AM.  On this date, twenty years ago, 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, called “From the Ground Up”, arranged by Professional Builder, that included a number of top consultants serving the homebuilding industry.

My role was to be the Process Architect for Fidelity Homes.

Sitting across the table were David Hunihan and Todd Menke, two then-young builders, eager to take their experience with a larger homebuilding company and pursue a National Housing Quality award.  We had been underway for a couple of hours, when David was pulled away by a telephone call.  It was David’s 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, besides, under the circumstances, whatever we were doing did not seem all that important.  We cancelled everything for the rest of the day, and, in our own ways, watched and tried to process what was happening.

The late 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, Florida through a tropical storm.  On that day, the welcome home had extra meaning.

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

The events of 9/11 remain a matter of, now increasingly, unfinished, unaddressed business for this country.  And, yes, it is admittedly difficult to address unfinished business when the risk associated with that business is constantly changing.  Osama bin Laden is dead, Al-Qaeda is a remnant, ISIS was destroyed (for now), Suleimani is dead, but the intentions they all fomented remain.

Vanquished within the space of three months following 9-11 by small groups of CIA agents and the Northern Alliance with US air support, the Taliban has now, in the space of the last three months, undone everything that was accomplished in Afghanistan at such a high cost and sacrifice, the safe havens destroyed, all the hopes provided, all the assurances made.

It has created the world-wide perception that the United States of America has become “a pitiful, helpless giant” (The Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2021).

The threat of terrorism has not ended;  far from that, it is alive today on four or more continents;  it is worse now than before;  the Taliban re-takeover of Afghanistan has opened the doors to what will almost certainly become ransom, torture, and genocide.  By the way, domestically-speaking, is Antifa, at its heart, really any different?

Time has only increased my feelings about 9-11.  We were attacked, twenty years ago, because of who we once were, and to which we must resolutely and unapologetically return.  We see it as unfinished, unaddressed business;  our enemies see it the same way.

Evil is the enemy of good;  this evil now has an ever-more-radical and aspiring face, both secular and non-secular.  In the presence of that evil, we have failed to clearly state what war is, what war has to be.  We have dismissed the understanding of war as the complete and utter destruction of an enemy.

Complete.  Utter. Destruction.

Whether the outcome of complete and utter destruction of an enemy can be accomplished by merely cutting off its head(s), or has to be achieved through the complete annihilation of its being(s), doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter what we think of issues like American Exceptionalism, our place in the world, or the tradeoff between national security and the constitutional rights to privacy of US citizens.

It doesn’t matter what we think of the threat of terrorist attacks on our own soil, or the never-addressed murder of US diplomats and security personnel in Benghazi, or the ramifications of decisions not to intervene decisively in Iran and Syria, or the perilous withdrawal of remaining forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, or the ebb and flow of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and all of the other bad actors.

It doesn’t matter what we think about the question of what happens when Iran or North Korea become terrorist regimes with nuclear weapons, or the aspirations of China and Russia, or the use of cyber warfare, or the employment of infectious diseases as weapons of mass destruction.

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 problem is not the threat of future terrorist attacks or rogue regime nuclear attacks, or the threat of Chinese global dominance, or any of the rest.  The problem is the terrorists and their sponsors;  the problem is rogue the nuclear regimes and their enablers;  the problem is the Chinese Communist Party and its intentions.

The problem is countries that have always been and will always be our enemies.

And, the solution is not negotiation, or attrition, or containment, or control, or minimization, or dismantlement of the threat, or nation-building, or mounting an international coalition against terror, or imposing sanctions, or providing more humanitarian aid, or granting political asylum, or opening our borders to the massive illegal immigration of people who expect to have the privileges of living in America without accepting the responsibilities of being Americans, or teaching Critical Race Theory, or promoting equity over equality, or creating “deeper understanding”, or becoming more woke, or negotiating peace, or peace, itself.

It is true that, as Christians, we are told to love our enemies.  It is also true that love and forgiveness do not remove consequences.  There are circumstances recorded in scripture when the children of God are instructed to destroy their enemies (Deut. 20:16-17 is an example).  And, yes, at some point, the one, true God, in His righteousness and omnipotence, will impart His own, all-encompassing justice.

However – absent divine command or divine intervention – we cannot afford the “problem of conjecture”, as Henry Kissinger described it.  We have now assured ourselves that there will be war;  if not an outright nuclear war, then a conventional war over who will have nuclear weapons, or who can use the threat of those weapons to expand their empires.  Enemies that already have nuclear weapons no longer fear us;  the ones that hope to obtain those weapons will not fear us, either.

We are now in a far, far more dangerous, far more deadly, far more vulnerable situation than we were in the aftermath of 9/11.  It is becoming more dangerous, more deadly, more indefensible by the day, with the enemy external being abetted by the enemy within, in the context of complete, unaccountable incompetence on the part this government and its military leadership.

The solution is simple.

“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)