On this day, September 17th, 2001, the 214th anniversary of signing of our Constitution….
“After an unequivocal experience of the inefficiency of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America. The subject speaks its own importance; comprehending in its consequences nothing less than the existence of the Union, the safety and welfare of the parts of which it is composed, the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world. It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.” –Federalist Papers Number 1
“Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.” –Daniel Webster
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
“The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.” (Proverbs 10:9)
“Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.” (1 Peter 2:1)
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
“Amid terrible times of suffering, Americans turn to God. Americans always have been…a religious people. George Washington believed the American Revolution, and the ensuing experiment in free government, was guided by the hand of Providence, because he thought God on the side of freedom…. This week we have seen the face of evil up close. Evil has been thrust upon us. If anything good is to come from these terrible events, we must use them as reminders of the principles of right and the duties of citizenship. Our God and our Constitution demand it. Our slain countrymen deserve it…. Our enemies think their political cause – the cause of tyranny – is good. We think the cause of freedom and constitutional government good. Both think God on their side. It cannot be. As the preachers of the American Founding explained, reason is the voice of God, no less than revelation. Reason and revelation agree on the equal rights of all men, government by consent, and the rule of law. Any revelation, any religion, that contradicts these simple dictates of rational morality–that denies the equality of all men,and the equal rights of liberty, life, and conscience with which we are endowed by our Creator – is untrue.” –Thomas L. Krannawitter
“While the casualties in the terrorist attacks are expected to run into the tens of thousands, in a larger sense the casualties run into the millions because we are all affected now and will be as long as we live. People from all over the country have kept the phone lines jammed with calls to New York and Washington, trying to find out if their family and friends are all right. People far from the scene are nevertheless connected to it, one way or another. …The angry reactions of the public make more sense than some of the words coming out of the government. …But when members of your family are dying, you don’t worry about what the neighbors will say. …President Bush will make his own decisions on his own terms, regardless of what anybody else has said. He has rejected the advice of Beltway denizens in the media and politics before and may do it again. He faces a greater challenge than any other president has faced since the Cuban missile crisis. When it is all over, we will know a lot more about what he is made of. And the world will know a lot more about what Americans are made of, for better or worse.” –Thomas Sowell
“The terrorists have persuaded themselves that Americans are a nation of rich, clever cowards, who are willing to kill but not to die for their country and its interests. From Hiroshima to Somalia, from Vietnam to the Sudan, America has sought to conserve its sons and to do its killing with the most efficient technology possible. This long-range, antiseptic approach to warfare reached its apogee in the Persian Gulf War and especially in President Clinton’s pinprick attacks on Iraq, Sudan, and selected terrorist bases; our willingness to suffer casualties reached its nadir in our panicky withdrawal from Somalia and our super cautious deployments in Kosovo. Leaving aside the merits of any of these engagements, from them many of our enemies around the globe drew the conclusion that America was a technological colossus but a moral midget.” –Charles R. Kesler
“Some commentators and so-called experts have been quick to suggest that we will have to give up rights and freedoms in order to achieve greater security against the terrorist threat. They are wrong. The liberties of America’s citizens do not facilitate terrorism – rather it is the liberties we have wrongly allowed to non-citizens. Because so many of us are the heirs of America’s immigrant tradition, we have been tempted to lose sight of the common-sense truth that we have the right to maintain and enforce the distinction between those who are citizens and those who are not. We have the right to scrutinize more carefully the access and activities of non-citizens, and to bar from our ports of entry or expel any non-citizens who we believe are involved with or abet the terrorist threat. With fairness, but without apology, we must implement a regime that secures the borders and gateways of the nation.” –Alan Keyes
“Times of tragedy and war naturally bring out strong emotions in all of us. Yet we must be careful to preserve personal liberty and privacy rights in the months ahead. Sometimes the people are only too anxious to sacrifice their constitutional liberties during a crisis, hoping to gain some measure of security. Yet nothing would please the terrorists more than if we willingly gave up some of our cherished liberties because of their actions.” –Rep. Ron Paul
“After this horrendous series of attacks our new FBI Director has suggested that we may have to limit some of our freedoms in order to deal with terrorists. The truth is that if we further emasculate our Constitution the terrorists will have achieved the greatest victory imaginable. Their triumph won’t just be the thousands of people they killed, the triumph will be if they see our democratic institutions crumble.” –Paul Weyrich
“Terrorism, the warfare of the new century, is engaged in for the specific purpose of destabilizing free societies. The terrorists succeed if free people cower in fear and begin to restrict their treasured freedom and liberties. We should never succumb to terrorist-inspired fear. We can never allow such people to win. Instead, we must renew our commitment to the most fundamental liberties and to the rule of law.” –Charles Colson
“In his 1995 book, ‘Fighting Terrorism,’ (former Israeli prime minister Binyamin) Netanyahu forecast that Islamic fundamentalists would be the ‘delivery systems’ of increasingly lethal terrorism. Tuesday they delivered to Manhattan two 198-ton bombs – fully fueled aircraft. When they get nuclear weapons, Netanyahu says, they will use them. So U.S. policy must respond to a closing window of opportunity for pre-emption. That, says Netanyahu, means not going after needles in haystacks, but against the haystacks – the states that sustain terrorists. U.S. forces at Midway, he says, did not just destroy Japanese planes, they sank their carriers. Certain supportive states are the terrorists’ carriers.” –George Will
OPINION IN BRIEF
THE GOD OF STORMS, THE LIGHTNING AND THE GALE
Today we commemorate the signing, 214 years ago, of our nation’s Constitution, the operational implementation for our 1776 Declaration of Independence.
And today we also remember with unfathomable grief the attack, six days ago, on our countrymen and our nation’s symbols of material and military might.
In one deep sense, our country was attacked September 11th because of our Founding Documents. Our government, based on the Declaration and Constitution, is rooted in the principle that humans are creatures of liberty who freely choose to do good or evil, and that any legitimate government must properly be so ordered. Our enemies believe, contrarily, that conscience must be coerced, and that those who do not believe “correctly” may arbitrarily be deprived of life, liberty, and happiness.
But by the same token, though, we were attacked because we – and especially our leaders representing us – have failed to honor our Constitution sufficiently. Had we recently anchored our foreign and domestic policies more firmly to our constitutional beliefs, does anyone seriously doubt that we would have been less likely susceptible to the attacks that claimed so many lives scant days ago?
Falling into the confusing thickets of diplo-babble and fuzzy spin, our leaders have deluded that age-old enmities could be erased by blurring clear distinctions between right and wrong, that diametric opposites could be juxtaposed through equivocation and terms to be defined later. But absent clarity in morality, negotiation is meaningless.
In the moral geography of our broken world, there is no place for neutral arbitration – no “Switzerland.” Everyone takes a stand in one country or the other, among allies or enemies. Each person either tacks toward or away from the proposition, “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…,” and charts an irretrievable political course. For the United States, our North Star has been clear and visible for two and a quarter centuries; to be proved is whether we still have sufficient sailors to navigate that safe harbor.
In their words…
“Liberty and order will never be completely safe until a trespass on the Constitutional provisions for either, shall be felt with the same keenness that resents and invasion of the dearest rights.” –James Madison
“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” –Patrick Henry
“And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; or to raise standing armies, unless necessary for the defense of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, papers or possessions.” –Samuel Adams
“A treaty cannot be made which alters the Constitution of the country, or which infringes and express exceptions to the power of the Constitution.” –Alexander Hamilton
“[T]he conception of [the Constitution] and the deliberate union of so great and various a people in such a plan is, without all partiality or prejudice, if not the greatest exertion of human understanding, the greatest single effort of national deliberation that the world has ever seen.” –John Adams
“[An] act of the Congress of the United States… which assumes powers… not delegated by the Constitution, is not law, but is altogether void and of no force.” –Thomas Jefferson
“It’s hard to believe, but there are some people who think the main lesson of Tuesday’s attack is that we don’t need national missile defense. …We trust this won’t be the lesson drawn by the American public. Hijacking a jet and flying it into a target is now yesterday’s threat. …As long as the U.S. remains unprotected against ballistic missiles, launching one will be appealing to any adversary. …Before Tuesday’s attacks, Senate Democrats had staged their own raid on President Bush’s missile defense proposal, cutting back on even the $8.3 billion he had requested. In the aftermath of Tuesday’s attacks, both Democrats and Republicans pledged to set aside differences over missile defense to focus on new strategies for dealing with terrorism. …The President’s plan for missile defense ought to go forward with all speed. It’s a realistic blueprint to develop and deploy a layered defense against ballistic missiles in all three phases of their trajectory – boost, mid-course and terminal – and builds on promising research and already-deployed theater missile technology. If anything, and in Tuesday’s wake, it may be too modest.” –Wall Street Journal
“For us to ignore by inaction the slaughter of American civilians and American soldiers, whether in nightclubs or airline terminals, is simply not in the American tradition. …Self-defense is not only our right, it is our duty.” –Ronald Reagan
“Terrorists exist only through the sanction and support of the governments behind them. Their lethal behavior is that of the regimes that make them possible. Their killings are not crimes, but acts of war. The only proper response to such acts is war in self-defense. We do not need more evidence to ‘pinpoint’ the perpetrators of any one of these atrocities, including the latest and most egregious – we already have total certainty with regard to the governments primarily responsible for the repeated slaughter of Americans in recent years. We must now use our unsurpassed military to destroy all branches of the Iranian and Afghani governments, regardless of the suffering and death this will bring to the many innocents caught in the line of fire. We must wipe out the terrorist training camps or sanctuaries, and eliminate any retaliatory military capability – and thereby terrorize and paralyze all the tyrannies watching, who will now know what is in store for them if they choose in any form to attack the U.S. That will be the end of terrorists.” –Leonard Peikoff
“Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday that the United States will now go after terrorism wherever it is found in the world. That’s a nice change from the State Department’s criticism of Israel for doing precisely what we now plan to do. Mr. Powell has said Israel went ‘too far’ when it retaliated against terrorists who killed Israeli civilians. Mr. Powell seems to indicate that America’s approach to terror will be limitless. If that’s good policy for America, why isn’t it good policy for Israel? Perhaps the idea of a ‘cycle of violence’ in the Middle East has also died. That phrase has always implied there are no perpetrators and no victims. Funny how American leaders stop talking about such things when Americans bleed and die. … We have eviscerated our intelligence-gathering capabilities, mainly due to politicians and their media colleagues who have alleged that the United States no longer has enemies and to think so is to engage in a Cold War mentality. … Those humanistic, ‘can’t we all get along,’ ‘profiling potential terrorists is racism,’ ‘we’re all God’s children,’ Kumbaya, ‘all we are saying is give peace a chance’ moral equivalency equivocators will soon be back. They’ll try to wear down our resolve. They should be ignored. They have lost all credibility, just as the ‘peace in our time’ crowd did at the start of World War II. We know the enemy. We know where they live. Let’s go get them before they get any more of us, and let the moralizers sort it all out later.” –Cal Thomas
FOR THE RECORD
President’s Remarks at National Day of Prayer and Remembrance
The National Cathedral
THE PRESIDENT: We are here in the middle hour of our grief. So many have suffered so great a loss, and today we express our nation’s sorrow. We come before God to pray for the missing and the dead, and for those who love them.
On Tuesday, our country was attacked with deliberate and massive cruelty. We have seen the images of fire and ashes, and bent steel.
Now come the names, the list of casualties we are only beginning to read. They are the names of men and women who began their day at a desk or in an airport, busy with life. They are the names of people who faced death, and in their last moments called home to say, be brave, and I love you.
They are the names of passengers who defied their murderers, and prevented the murder of others on the ground. They are the names of men and women who wore the uniform of the United States, and died at their posts.
They are the names of rescuers, the ones whom death found running up the stairs and into the fires to help others. We will read all these names. We will linger over them, and learn their stories, and many Americans will weep.
To the children and parents and spouses and families and friends of the lost, we offer the deepest sympathy of the nation. And I assure you, you are not alone.
Just three days removed from these events, Americans do not yet have the distance of history. But our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.
War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder. This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way, and at an hour, of our choosing.
Our purpose as a nation is firm. Yet our wounds as a people are recent and unhealed, and lead us to pray. In many of our prayers this week, there is a searching, and an honesty. At St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on Tuesday, a woman said, “I prayed to God to give us a sign that He is still here." Others have prayed for the same, searching hospital to hospital, carrying pictures of those still missing.
God’s signs are not always the ones we look for. We learn in tragedy that his purposes are not always our own. Yet the prayers of private suffering, whether in our homes or in this great cathedral, are known and heard, and understood.
There are prayers that help us last through the day, or endure the night. There are prayers of friends and strangers, that give us strength for the journey. And there are prayers that yield our will to a will greater than our own.
This world He created is of moral design. Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time. Goodness, remembrance, and love have no end. And the Lord of life holds all who die, and all who mourn.
It is said that adversity introduces us to ourselves. This is true of a nation as well. In this trial, we have been reminded, and the world has seen, that our fellow Americans are generous and kind, resourceful and brave. We see our national character in rescuers working past exhaustion; in long lines of blood donors; in thousands of citizens who have asked to work and serve in any way possible.
And we have seen our national character in eloquent acts of sacrifice. Inside the World Trade Center, one man who could have saved himself stayed until the end at the side of his quadriplegic friend. A beloved priest died giving the last rites to a firefighter. Two office workers, finding a disabled stranger, carried her down sixty-eight floors to safety. A group of men drove through the night from Dallas to Washington to bring skin grafts for burn victims.
In these acts, and in many others, Americans showed a deep commitment to one another, and an abiding love for our country. Today, we feel what Franklin Roosevelt called the warm courage of national unity. This is a unity of every faith, and every background.
It has joined together political parties in both houses of Congress. It is evident in services of prayer and candlelight vigils, and American flags, which are displayed in pride, and wave in defiance.
Our unity is a kinship of grief, and a steadfast resolve to prevail against our enemies. And this unity against terror is now extending across the world.
America is a nation full of good fortune, with so much to be grateful for. But we are not spared from suffering. In every generation, the world has produced enemies of human freedom. They have attacked America, because we are freedom’s home and defender. And the commitment of our fathers is now the calling of our time.
On this national day of prayer and remembrance, we ask almighty God to watch over our nation, and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come. We pray that He will comfort and console those who now walk in sorrow. We thank Him for each life we now must mourn, and the promise of a life to come.
As we have been assured, neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, can separate us from God’s love. May He bless the souls of the departed. May He comfort our own. And may He always guide our country.
God bless America.
SELECT READER COMMENTS
"Bill Clinton, the man who said, ‘I loathe the military,’ savaged our military. He cut military spending from $303 billion in 1989 to $258 billion in 1999 even as total U.S. spending rose from $1.143 trillion to $2.099 trillion during that same period. Clinton was and remains the Leftist darling for the ages. A liar. A sexual predator. A glib con artist without peer in American politics, and Democrats loved him, defended his every act, enabled his every act.”
“The Federalist wrote: ‘The real legacy of Bill Clinton was sketched in graphic images yesterday, across the skyline of Manhattan, before the eyes of the entire world. Clinton’s DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe said, "There are no partisans today, only patriots.” But, to be sure, the partisans of yesterday have patriot blood on their hands today.’ I say BRAVO Federalists. The rest of the conservative media will catch up with your senior editor, Cassandra Cornell, in a week or two!“
”The Federalist is like a preview script for what we hear out of the White House 48 hours later. Who are you – really…?“
"Without yet knowing the actual counts, it is possible that in the matter of two hours or less a number of innocent Americans were killed that’s nearly 10% of those who died in Vietnam. How can we as a nation fail to respond? I trust we will not.”
“Thanks to Arafat for his donation of a pint of blood for the victims of New York and Washington, D.C., I believe he has 8 more pints to go before I’m satisfied!”
“To all those Leftists politicos and media talkingheads who have initiated your war of words against our president, our military and our intel case officers around the world – in symphony with bin Laden – be damned you, one and all. Peter Jennings, Demo Reps. Martin Meehan and Richard Neal, pinko Sen. Patrick Leahy, and your patron saint Bill Clinton – damn you!”
“As I signed onto AOL (please forgive me for using AOL) I noticed that they recommend that we teach our children ‘tolerance.’ I say ‘NO!!! Teach our children TRUTH!’”
Editor’s Reply: Did their welcome page mention that some of the Islamic terrorists, who slaughtered our countrymen Tuesday, had e-mail accounts with AOL?
“I would just like to say a resounding AMEN to the most recent issue. The Federalist has once again cut straight to the heart of the matter and boldly printed the truth when other media outlets, even in such a dramatic time as this, have failed to hold up the truth.”
“I enjoy The Federalist but must admit I was utterly appalled that only one day after the Trade Center attack, you were using these tragic deaths for partisan bashing.”
Editor’s Reply: Then we suggest you file this edition and read it again next month. Apparently you are not burying relatives this week. If we are partisans, we are partisans behind our President at this tragic moment in our nation’s history. Indeed, we are partisans for the truth and as American Patriots, we will not let that truth be denied.
“Isn’t it amazing how quickly the partisan blowhards in Congress went from attacking our President’s military budget on a Monday, to belting out God Bless America from the Capital steps on Tuesday afternoon?”
“‘Turn the sands of Afghanistan into molten glass?’ Are you people nuts?”
Editor’s Reply: No – well, maybe a little bit nuts.
“OK, now we know where the U.S. Navy can find another bombing range….”
“I take exception to your final comment in Wednesday’s Chronicle. To hear the likes of Daschle and Boxer singing ‘God Bless America’ is a mockery.”
Editor’s Reply: If you looked closely, Daschle and Boxer were not singing – they obviously didn’t know the words.
“It is worth noting that the most horrendous attack, with the most devastating instantaneous loss of life and property, on America in America and to Americans to date, was waged on an intentionally unarmed populace by men using knives.”
“O G-d, who art full of compassion, who dwelleth on high, grant perfect rest beneath the shelter of Thy divine Presence, in the exalted places among the holy and pure, who shine as the brightness of the firmament, to all those who have gone to their eternal home, the piety of whose life forms the subject of our meditation today. We beseech thee, Lord of compassion, shelter them evermore under the cover of Thy wings, and let their souls be bound up in the bond of life, and may they repose on their resting places, and let us say, Amen.”
“You people are Patriots! Thanks for your clear and uncompromising words through this crisis.”
“Thank you for your continued support of Liberty. As the Nation prepares for action, I ask your subscribers to uphold in prayer our fellow soldiers, sailors and airmen as we are called upon to support our great Nation. We are prepared to support and defend our Constitution.”
THE LAST WORD
A few more words from President Bush….
From his radio address Saturday: “We will smoke them out of their holes. We’ll get them running and we’ll bring them to justice. … This is a conflict without battlefields or beachheads, a conflict with opponents who believe they are invisible. Yet, they are mistaken. They will be exposed, and they will discover what others in the past have learned: Those who make war against the United States have chosen their own destruction. Victory against terrorism will not take place in a single battle, but in a series of decisive actions against terrorist organizations and those who harbor and support them …. We are planning a broad and sustained campaign to secure our country and eradicate the evil of terrorism. And we are determined to see this conflict through. Americans of every faith and background are committed to this goal …. Yesterday I visited the site of the destruction in New York City and saw an amazing spirit of sacrifice and patriotism and defiance …. A terrorist attack designed to tear us apart has instead bound us together as a nation …. Now we honor those who died, and prepare to respond to these attacks on our nation. I will not settle for a token act. Our response must be sweeping, sustained and effective. We have much to do, and much to ask of the American people …. You will be asked for your patience; for, the conflict will not be short. You will be asked for resolve; for, the conflict will not be easy. You will be asked for your strength, because the course to victory may be long …. In the past week, we have seen the American people at their very best everywhere in America. Citizens have come together to pray, to give blood, to fly our country’s flag. Americans are coming together to share their grief and gain strength from one another …. Great tragedy has come to us, and we are meeting it with the best that is in our country, with courage and concern for others. Because this is America. This is who we are. This is what our enemies hate and have attacked. And this is why we will prevail.” – President George W. Bush, Saturday September 15, 2001, Radio Address of the President to the Nation.
From his meeting with New York Sens. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Chuck Schumer: “When I take action, I’m not going to fire a $2 million missile at an empty $10 tent…. It’s going to be decisive.”