But, the report skirts the real issue.
It slides over the heart of Terrorism’s true nature—that the
Beast of Terror is doing pushups in us all, waiting for a chance
to escape the corrals of civilized behavior and turn any of
us into “monsters” capable of far more devastating acts than
those that occurred on September 11, 2001.
In referencing the “lack of imagination” in the report, the
authors stated: “We do not believe the leaders understood the
gravity of the threat.”
If “lack of imagination” is the crux of the cause of physical
terrorism from forces seeking to do ill to the security of America,
then an even greater “lack of imagination” exists in those who
think that Terrorism can be prevented by the 37 recommendations
outlined in the 9/11 Commission report.
Terrorism isn’t about the result of the acts of Terror, but
instead about its causes, its roots, its seeds, its fertilization
by those whose arrogance likes to point fingers at others rather
than recognize that to do so, three other fingers point back
at the accuser.
Terrorism is about infecting an individual with Fear, Intimidation
and Complacency. It’s about weakening the sense of individual
security and turning threats and shadows into realities that
eat away at one’s Courage, Convictions and Right Actions.
All the physical and governmental defenses in the world cannot
keep the maggots of Terrorism from feeding off the carcass of
human frailty for Fear is cancerous unless it is treated, and
will gnaw at the marrow of an individual’s and a society’s constitution
unless it is countered with its antidote—Courage.
The same is true of Intimidation and its antidote, Conviction;
and also the last of the Triads of Terrorism, Complacency, which
must be countered with Right Actions that benefit the Children’s
The 9/11 Commission skated over these primary concerns, assuming
that the protection from Terrorism was an external rather internal
challenge that could be met by someone sticking his or her fingers
in the holes of the dyke.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
First, physical terrorism is here to stay. No longer will anyone
escape its threat. September 11, 2001, was only an exclamation
point as to the severity of Terrorism, not its entrance into
True Terrorism—Fear, Intimidation and Complacency—has existed
since the dawn of America, and, for that matter, the dawn of
the world. It has manifested itself in the “faces of evil” such
as the Genghis Khans and Adolph Hitlers and Saddam Husseins,
but it also exists in much smaller proportions.
The parent who molests his or her children is just as vicious
a Terrorist as any of those who flew the airplanes into the
World Trade Center.
The parent who tells a child: “I wish you were never born,”
ranks up with the worst of “evil monsters” for that individual
is destroying an innocent child’s self worth in a slow torturing
process that is far more cruel than the beheadings we see and
read about in Iraq.
Statements by parents: “It’s too bad you’re not smart enough…”
Or, “It’s too bad you’re not as pretty as…” Or, “I’m too busy
now….” Or, “don’t bother me, can’t you see I’m watching TV.!”
All these little “emotional booby traps” that mount up into
suicide bombs infecting a child’s sense of worth, crippling
a child’s vision and image of himself or herself. Each level
of pain and suffering is delivered by a parent, someone who
is supposed to represent the “Emotional Homeland Security” of
Anti-Terrorism begins at home.
When societies live in Fear, Intimidation and Complacency and
rely on secondary sources such as governments to protect them,
they become subservient to an outside force. They relinquish
their right, their duty, to protect themselves and their children
from the true impact of Terrorism—the Fear, the Intimidation
and the Complacency that provides the fertilizer for Terrorism
Terrorism is a bully. It seeks to demoralize and render impotent
human Courage, Conviction and the ability to take the Right
Actions necessary to protect future generations from harm.
Plugging up external holes in the Terrorism grid cannot assuage
The true grid that needs to be strengthened is the mindset of
each parent, grandparent, cousin, uncle, aunt and loved one
who is willing to dedicate him or herself to the ongoing duty
to stop and think about protecting a child’s sense of self.
It is the child’s innermost emotional security that will thwart
a bully that will drive a Terrorist from the desire to induce
Fear or Intimidate because the society refuses to be driven
down by such acts.
But this cannot come about until a society is willing to fight
Terrorism within itself first, and secondly, without. Until
a society makes a Pledge of Vigilance, and directs that Pledge
to its children, and to all the children of the world, will
the true antidote to Terrorism begin to heal the wounds of Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency.
The 9/11 Commission report scratches the surface of this issue.
Its comment about the “lack of imagination” is a reminder to
us all that we must stretch our imaginations into the future.
We must see the Children’s Children’s Children’s rights to freedom
not just as an external extension of human liberty, but an internal
one as well.
It means we must guard ourselves to not be selfish regarding
our children, and recognize their need to deal with their own
Beast of Terror, and to teach them how to balance the primal
nature of us all to think we are “less than,” or “not as good
as,” or “not as gifted as” or “not as lucky as,” others who
have, or appear to have, more than we.
The right of the self to be its strongest self begins with the
recognition that within us all is the Beast of Terror trying
to delimit our human potential, eating at it like termites at
a foundation, or drops of water eternally pounding on a rock.
When we fire our imaginations, we see that Terrorism can be
stopped in the mind of a child by the safety and security of
a parent's or loved one’s arms, by a soothing comfort, by teaching
a child that he or she can have at least One Percent more Courage
than Fear, One Percent more Conviction than Intimidation, and
that we can take One Percent more Right Actions to benefit future
generations than fall into the quagmire of Complacency that
suggests someone else is responsible for our safety and liberty.
To launch your own 9/11 Commission report, simply take the Pledge
of Vigilance. Vow to it each and every day. Pass it on to your
children and loved ones.
Then, Terrorism will be on its way. The opposite way. It will
seek out those who are ill prepared to handle the Beast's venom,
and we will have the antidote.