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9/11 - The Winds of Evil
September 6, 2002

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Evil springs up, and flowers, and bears no seed,
And feeds the green earth with its swift decay,
Leaving it richer for the growth of truth.
- James Russell Lowell

Human beings have a natural aversion to evil. We don't like to acknowledge its existence. We don't like to dwell on it. But when it comes to the anniversary of September 11, we must.

The sort of evil that occurred on that day dislocated the spiritual sensibilities of those who were victimized and those who observed. Acts of loathsome wickedness were perpetrated in the name of religion. Deeds such as these cannot be explained, excused or understood. They can only be condemned.

We took a predictable course to try and regain our footing. We moved from denial to grief to action and back to denial again. Various factors complicated our efforts to regroup physically, spiritually and emotionally.

In many ways, the war on terror is unprecedented. We don't know where the enemy is. We don't know how long we will have to do battle. And we find ourselves in periods of quiet that lull us into a false sense of calm. That is why the true nature of what happened on that day must be brought back into the forefront of our minds.

Many have proposed a day of getting in touch with our feelings, learning to cope and healing our wounds. But it would serve our psyche and security far better if we face up to the cold facts of an event that irrevocably changed the nation.

If we open our eyes we will see that, although precautions have been put in place, we are still substantially vulnerable to a shadowy foe. The enemy in our midst could spring from its lair in an instant.

If we summon enough strength, we will peer directly at that which is more treacherous than the shallow symbolism of modern darkness. We will see a surreptitious fiend that cannot be defeated by tactics of previous struggles. And we will know we have no choice but to root out the malignity and decimate it.

It is a forbidding task that has fallen upon this generation. But what's at stake is the continued existence of Western civilization.

The young people of America know that the evil spoken of is no mere superstition. They have witnessed its intensity in the scorched images of that day. But they were eyewitnesses to goodness as well. They saw self-denying courage, unifying patriotism and renewed faith.

The antagonist in this fight, like its despicable counterparts in history, wrapped up its evil in noble rhetoric. Its twisted face of malevolence must be revealed and stared down. Only then will authentic solutions emerge so that we may be richer for the growth of truth.

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.

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