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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering September 11, 2001

I woke up around 8:30 AM that fateful day. I was living in the state of Utah, USA at the time. It was a day off for me and I went to make a cup of coffee and feed the cats. After completing these important tasks, I sat down in front of my computer to check my emails. I turned on the radio and heard something different than the usual local talk show host. It seemed to be a live news feed and as I listened closely, the reporter was talking about a a small aircraft that had accidentally collided into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City.  I quickly turned on the TV and saw that was indeed smoke was issuing from the tower. It didn't look that bad then as it had apparently just happened and it did seem just an unfortunate mishap.

What transpired in the next few hours was a rapid-fire sequence of horrible events that left me stunned, sad and very angry. The second plane hit the other tower, the Pentagon was hit with a third aircraft, a fourth airliner crashed in a farm field in Pennsylvania, the first tower collapses, the second tower collapses, and all commercial aircraft over or en-route to the U.S. were ordered out of the air and to land at the nearest airport. All of this within a few hours.

Second Impact

The Pentagon

First Responders in Shock

The Mastermind

The Perpetrators

The Flight Crews of the Hijacked Planes

Photo Montage of the 3000 Victims
I still can't believe the incredible luck of the hijackers. I had Microsoft Flight Simulator on my computer and mimicked the well publicized flight route of the aircraft. It was very difficult to fly to the southern tip of Manhattan turn 360 degrees, line-up and hit a relatively thin target at 500 MPH and I was sitting in the calm and quiet of my study. They pulled this off twice!

In the Pentagon attack, the impact hole was almost at ground level. This means the hijacker had mere feet to work with or the plane would have hit the ground before reaching his target. A surprisingly accurate bit of flying. It is reported that none of the hijackers had experience flying large, complex aircraft.

The fourth hijacked aircraft ran out of luck. The passengers caught word of what was happening in New York City and Washington D.C. and realized they were facing the same fate. With nothing to lose, they mounted a counter attack against the hijackers. A group of passengers broke into the cockpit with a galley cart in an effort to gain control and the resulting scuffle sent the aircraft out of control, crashing on a field in rural Pennsylvania. 

Since this incident, passengers take a much more aggressive attitude against odd behaviors of fellow travelers. If you act weird, you WILL get your ass whipped! Also, cockpit doors are reinforced, some pilots carry pistols on the flightdeck and armed Federal Air Marshals anonymously ride in the passenger cabin on random flights.

Osama Bin Laden is given credit as the mastermind behind 9/11. It certainly bore his trademark modus operandi of "simultaneous multiple targets".

This is ironic as many of his fellow Mujahideen were supplied weapons by the CIA to help them to victory in Afghanistan over the Soviet invaders. Word is that OBL's hate for the US festered when US troops were quartered in Saudi Arabia during Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. He considered our troops mere presence as "desecrating" holy ground. In my opinion, he should be more angry at the Saudi government for allowing permission for the troops to be there. Furthermore, without the might of the US military on hand at the time, Saddam Hussein may not have stopped at the Kuwait/Saudi Arabian border. No good deed goes unpunished!

I am well aware the US government has done things to piss some folks off but there are other avenues of dialog. It should be realized by now that attacks to the homeland will be met with the strongest possible force. Someone will get their hair messed up. If you want to fight, be a man, put on a uniform, grab a gun and lets settle our differences on the battlefield and leave innocent civilians out of it. Terrorism is a cowardly, chicken-shit way of settling disputes. If you are not up to that, deal with it!

The US is often criticized for being an ally of Israel (and I can't personally see what good that does us),  but we seem to be Johnny-on-the-Spot when our Muslim friends are in trouble too. Think Kosovo and Kuwait. Once a Kuwaiti man bought me a beer in the Abu Dhabi airport in appreciation when he found out I was an American citizen.That made me feel good!

I sincerely hope this kind of hateful. pre-meditated death of civilians and destruction never happens in anyone's country. At the end of that fateful day I knew the US will never be the same. We have lost rights and freedoms . It gave my government excuses to pry into citizens' private lives and gather intelligence as never before, all in the name of security. It instantly erased decades of Christian and Muslim understanding, cooperation and goodwill. That is why we are seeing the recent frictions.  Because of this, the terrorists scored a solid victory by changing the way of life in the US. As for me, I would rather have it the way it used to be and take my chances!


hemlock said...

ace: "If you want to fight, be a man, put on a uniform, grab a gun and lets settle our differences on the battlefield and leave innocent civilians out of it."

LOL ace. your comment made me laugh out loud. is THAT what americans are doing with drone attacks in pakistan that have killed over 10,000 CIVILIANS?

you and your president clearly dont speak the same language.

Chuck said...

I had worked the night before, getting off about 2 AM, and I slept through the whole event. I went into work on the afternoon of 9/11...very surreal. Planes parked all over the place in LAS.

Dave said...

I never truly understood when people (older than I) stated that they knew exactly where they were when certain events took place -such as the assasination of JFK.....
but on Sep 11 2001 as these acts of evil unfolded I remember exactly where I was (and always will).

Ace said...

@hemlock: You are correct, the Prez and I are in disagreement. The US needs to cut losses and leave. Afghanistan will always be Afghanistan, no matter what the U.S. does. It is way too costly for all involved.

You have to realize why those drones are there in the first place.

The Pakistani govt. continues to accept $1 billion a year from the US to secure the border area.

Some drones are based on Pakistani soil.

The Taliban use civilians as human shields in the border areas.

Uniforms serve a very useful function to differentiate between combatants and civilians.

The side that doesn't wear some kind of markings that distinguish them from civilians and lives with those civilians are putting the innocent at risk for tragedy from a determined enemy. Americans DO NOT endeavor to kill civilians, unlike the 9/11 perps.

Seems our countries are in a bad co-dependent situation. The Pakistani govt. needs the money and the US govt. needs an ally in the region, even if they have to pay for it.

It's time to pull the plug on both.

Anonymous said...

So, as a US citizen, how do you reconcile working for the national flag carrier of a country from which some of the hijackers originated?

Anonymous said...

LOL ace. your comment made me laugh out loud. is THAT what americans are doing with drone attacks in pakistan that have killed over 10,000 CIVILIANS?

Its about 30,000 now no?

Ace, you got a collage of their pictures, to go under the one of 3000 people?

I have no sympathy for that day or the US at all. They had it coming, if only for one simple reason.

You though you were better than everyone, detached from the world. Everyone lived on earth, and the US somehow wasnt part of earth.

This brought a realization that oh, the world is fucked up, and we are a part of it, not the masters of it, but a part of it. (Remember, 20 year prior YOUR govt EMPLOYED this insane mastermind to FIGHT the soviets)

It's called Karma. And it bites like a bitch.

Thats the Afghan war, as for the Iraqi war, again, the US saw it as it's RIGHT to go and INVADE a nation to SWITCH one dictator for another. at least this one listens to them.

Uniforms serve a very useful function to differentiate between combatants and civilians.

So how can you account for situations when the US apologized for doing things like bombing a wedding party? Where no combatants where. Was the groom holding his wife to be as a human shield?

Anonymous said...
So, as a US citizen, how do you reconcile working for the national flag carrier of a country from which some of the hijackers originated?

Ooooh! I wants me to hear the answer to this! It's almost un-american to be working in the UAE!

Ace said...

@Anonymous: I would have no problems working with JAL, Lufthansa or Aeroflot either.

Our governments are all officially allies as well as the UAE. I am in a non military function.

9/11 was not sanctioned by the UAE govt. but was carried out by some rogue citizens. I recognize the difference.

If you were invited to work with United or Delta in the US would you refuse the opportunity?

By the way, in the unlikely event that the UAE or any another GCC country was invaded "Kuwaiti Style", who you gonna call?

Ace said...

@the blue: With 30K innocent Pakistani civilians dead at American hands (with alleged malicious intent) you would think the government of Pakistan would refuse all further US money on principal and be screaming bloody murder at the UN to petition the US out of the area because of war crimes.

Until this happens, I will have to question the statistics. Google it!

As I said before, some of these drones continue to be based on Pakistani soil.

If Mexico killed 30K Americans with drones, I doubt they would be welcome to base their weapons in the US. Well maybe if they paid us enough. See the analogy? It's quite clear what is going on.

The Pakistani military is being paid more than $1bil/yr by the US to provide security in the border regions. My Prez has said that if they can't do it, he will take matters into his own hands. I didn't vote for him and I don't agree.

You have an internet presence, you do your own photos.

You have to hate the game and not the players, I disagree with what my govt. is doing now, no good has or will come from it.

You know from my other posts that I wish the US would withdraw back into the domestic borders and let the rest of the world's countries fend for themselves. We have our own problems at home rather than chase a boogeyman halfway across the world.

Anonymous said...

So, like most expats, it's all about the money?

Ace said...

@Anon...I see you did not comprehend my response to your comment. You are asking money questions now versus the morality question on your first comment.

Firstly: I don't judge an entire country(the UAE,for example)just because two of your citizens were involved in the 9/11 attacks.

One must be able to discriminate individual actions from private citizens versus official actions from the government. It makes a big difference! The US is not angry with the UAE or it's citizens, just the two guys who took part in the crime. They are dead now, so justice was served. Case closed.

Secondly: I will be honest with you, most expats did NOT come to the UAE for a moderate climate, wine women and song, stunning vistas, a progressive justice system, personal rights and freedoms, employee rights or an opportunity for citizenship so that leaves just one thing left, the $$$$!

Can you blame us? It is the only incentive we have. We don't make the rules.

If you want us all out of here, I am sure that can be quickly and easily done.

Be very careful what you wish for though!

Anonymous said...

Ace, I was a US expat living in Dubai working for an Abu Dhabi PJSC that developed just about everything you can see from your windows at the Kalifa City facility in which you live (having worked primarily on the stuff under that biiiig red roof just across the ad/d highway) ... and I wholeheartedly agree with your frank evaluation of the bottom line for going there.

At the end of my contract, I high-tailed it on to the next adventure, happy to have survived the items you ticked off. Good luck to you in your continuing adventure in the face of adversity - and come on home soon - there is a TON of stuff happening back here at home ....



Ace said...

@CJ: I knew someone would understand, that guy was trying to back me into a corner but I wasn't having it!

The rules are not made by me or you. This place is like a long-term Vegas. You come, you play, and win (or lose), then you go home. Everything is set up that way.

Unfortunately, I have a bucket that is near full and it ain't the one reserved for the "Benjamins".

Looking for my next adventure also.