My confession: I’m responsible for Sept. 11

By WND Staff

I feel compelled to make a confession: The treachery directed against America was my own.

After more than a year of American intelligence gathering about who was at fault for Sept. 11, let me disclose: The responsibility was mine.

I never set out to do harm – it was just a matter of attitude. For more than three decades, I’ve harbored an unflagging animosity toward my country. This all began, I suppose, during college in the ’60s, when the notion of America as a greedy, racist oppressor of humanity was the very air I breathed.

Since that time, my perfidy has permeated every aspect of my life. For instance, I’ve long been drawn in by any movie in which the Central Intelligence Agency was portrayed as evil. Some years ago, I was so taken by Steven Seagal’s “Above the Law,” in which CIA agents were sadistic thugs whom the hero beat to a pulp, that I hung the movie poster in my office to daily bask in the anti-American sentiment.

More significantly, I voted for Jimmy Carter. Twice. Both times were knee-jerk votes – for a Democrat, against Republicans, whom I took without analysis to be the incarnation of evil. Even by the second election, I didn’t bother to inform myself that the man to whom I gave my Jewish vote was virulently anti-Israel. (It would turn out that Reagan’s running mate, George H.W. Bush, wasn’t much better, but that’s no excuse for supporting Carter.) Neither was I aware that Carter had encouraged the overthrow of the relatively progressive Shah of Iran in favor of the Godfather to today’s Islamo-fascists, the Ayatollah Khomeini. Am I not personally responsible for all that followed? Surely I am.

Perhaps my greatest act of disloyalty occurred when I protested against U.S. involvement in the Gulf War. I had no coherent political or philosophical basis for opposing our role in that war. It just felt good to be against war and America, a nostalgic sentiment that substituted for informed thought. If you want to assign blame for the fact that one of the great terror supporters yet remains in power, blame me.

President Clinton, for whom I cast rote votes twice, has been criticized for his passivity against the known Islamic terror threat, even in the light of numerous attacks against American facilities around the world. In fairness, though, how much enthusiasm could be expected of him for all-out war when so many people like me were ever ready to stand in reflexive opposition?

My multiculturalist attitudes – which precluded holding Western values above those of any other region – made me feel good about myself, even if they did nothing to promote democracy for others. I would, if I’d thought about it, have been opposed to challenging totalitarian regimes that nurture mass murderers, because self-conscious humility cannot abide ethnocentricity. (Even now, the State Department recoils at confronting terror masters like the Saudi royals for fear of bringing offense. You can thank me for the precedent.)

This, though, in my defense: At long last, I have shed old habits of thought, even if only as a result of recent events. It is as if, on Sept. 11, someone hit me in the head with a steel pipe and, through sheer physiological circumstance, turned my thinking 180 degrees. My instinct now is that America is generally a font of good. I can still be critical – for instance, I’m wary of the president’s seeming deference toward Saudi Arabia and his isolation of Israel as an ally – but contrary to my former presumption, my default mode now is that America is in the right.

Still, I accept my responsibility for the consequences America has suffered as a result of my past beliefs and actions. Next time, though, I won’t take the blame. Then the fault will lie with others who – even under attack – remain determined to believe that America is essentially a bully, that freedom is secured by trite sentimentality, that justice never requires blasting the bad guys into oblivion.

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Steven Zak is a writer and an attorney.