The day before the Marathon Massacre, the New York Times had scored plaudits for running an op-ed by one of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards complaining about his hard life in Guantanamo Bay.
On April 14th, the paper of broken record paid 150 bucks to an Al Qaeda member for the opportunity to complain about being force fed during his hunger strike. On April 15th the bombs went off.
The attacks of September 11 introduced a dividing line between awareness and disregard. There was the world of September 10 and the world of September 11. In one world the planes passing in the sky were a minor reminder of our technological prowess. In the other, we were at war.
There was no such clear dividing line when September 11 faded from memory and we returned to a September 10 world. Nor is there an exact date for when we will return to an April 14 world in which it is okay to pay a terrorist in exchange for his propaganda. But if the media has its way, that day can’t come soon enough.
A day after the bombings, the New York Times wrote that a decade without terror had come to an end. But the terror had never stopped or paused. The FBI and local law enforcement had gone on breaking up numerous terror plots to the skepticism and ridicule of the media which accused them of violating Muslim civil rights and manufacturing threats.
Some of those plots seemed laughable. A man setting up a car bomb near a Broadway theater where crowds waiting to see The Lion King musical, kids in tow, were lining up. A plot to detonate bombs in the Grand Central and the Times Square subway stations. Underwear bombers. Shoe bombers. It became fashionable to laugh at them. Silly crazies trying to kill people in ridiculous ways. Almost as silly as trying to hijack planes while armed only with box cutters and then ramming those planes into buildings.
Liberal urbanites stopped breathing sighs of relief every time a terror plot was broken up and turned on law enforcement. There were suspicions that these were just setups. Representatives of Muslim groups complained that law enforcement was taking confused kids and tricking them into terrorist plots that they never could have carried out on their own.
But there was only one way to find out.
Last year the Associated Press won a Pulitzer for its attack on the NYPD’s mosque surveillance program. But that was the April 14 mindset. Now after April 15, the police are once again heroes and any editorials from imprisoned terrorists complaining about the lack of new Harry Potter novels at Gitmo have temporarily been placed on hold. But the police know better than anyone that it will not take very long for them to go from the heroes to the villains. The period of consciousness after April 15 will be much shorter than after September 11.
The long spring in which Americans didn’t have to turn on the news and see bloody body parts everywhere was made possible by the dedicated work of the very people the media spent a decade undermining. The media was undermining them on April 14, but two days later it was acknowledging that the temporary peace brought about by the work of the very people they despised had made their temporary ignorance of terror possible.
We don’t know who perpetrated the Marathon Massacre, but many of the Muslim terrorist plots broken up by the authorities would have been as deadly. And there will be others like them in the future. The one thing we can be certain of is that terrorism as a tactic is here to stay.
While law enforcement pores over the wreckage, the media is examining the political fallout. It is waiting for the time when it will once again be safe to pay terrorists for their propaganda. If the bomber turns out to be anything other than a Muslim terrorist, then they can get into their limos and drive back to that Sunday, April 14, when it was safe to be pro-terrorist. If he turns out to be in any way associated with the right, then they can celebrate hitting propaganda pay dirt. But even if he’s only another Unabomber or even another Bill Ayers, the false spring of April 14 will still beckon.
Three days later, in the pages of the New York Times, columnist Thomas Friedman used Israel as an inspirational example of getting back to business as usual while leaving no reminders that an act of terror took place. Friedman wasn’t the only one to use Israel as an example, but it’s a very bad example. Israel’s peace process locked it into a cycle of terrorism. The threat of violence is constant and no one dwells on it.
A decade after the Hamas bombing that Friedman mentioned in his piece and after Hamas had shelled Jerusalem and Tel Aviv last year, Obama was able to pressure Israel into cutting a deal with Turkey that will help Hamas. That is the sort of terrible mistake that gets made when you don’t dwell on terror, but pick up the pieces and move on as quickly as you can.
Refusing to dwell on terror doesn’t defeat the terrorists. It makes it easier to make bad decisions in the moment. It locks you into an April 14 mentality where you strive to put April 15 out of your mind as fast as possible. To honestly move past April 15, September 11 and all the other dates like it, you must learn how to stop them from happening again; rather than forgetting that they ever happened.
A longer version of this article originally appeared at Sultan Knish.
About the Author: Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli born blogger and columnist, and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. His work covers American, European and Israeli politics as well as the War on Terror. His writing can be found at http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of The Jewish Press.
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