"United 93"



What was most remarkable about "United 93" was its honesty. Who would have expected this from Hollywood? If one wanted to recreate the mood of the nation on the day the Twin Towers fell, sitting through this short but gut wrenching film will do precisely that. Which is why it was surprising. Hollywood, as one of the critical components of the liberal-left coalition, has pursued vigorously, along with fellow travelers in the media and the Democratic party, all that it could to undermine our efforts in the war against Islamofascism - and yet, from Tinsel Town now comes a product likely to inspire patriotism and a rekindled anger towards a brutal enemy that in some small way translates indirectly into support for Bush's beleaguered Iraq policy.

It was not a pleasant viewing experience for one knew at the outset the tragic outcome. Director Paul Greenhouse, from Britain, was scrupulous in recounting the confusion and horror that prevailed on 9/11, as one by one, four commercial jets loaded with passengers and fuel for long transcontinental flights were hijacked and crashed, first into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center, then the Pentagon, and finally into an open field in Pennsylvania, when courageous passengers aboard United 93 in phone contact with loved ones and others soon came to realize that the unthinkable was occurring, and wrested control of the doomed aircraft before the terrorists could plunge it into the nation's capitol.

The movie reminds us of how far we have come in our attitudes towards this problem. The nation has not suffered another terrorist attack on our soil since that fateful day more than four years ago and has grown complacent. In many influential quarters, there is outright hostility towards the nation's efforts to ensure another such attack does not occur. Opponents of the President obsess endlessly over Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, warrantless wiretaps, and now domestic telephone surveillance, yet insist that the administration "connects the dots." This film should serve as a corrective against the unending skirmishes with civil liberties zealots intent on scoring political points while compromising programs intended to protect the nation.

The film is to also be credited for its unwavering depiction of the enemy. The hijackers are devout Muslim males - intent on mass murder. They are youthful and not impoverished, probably of upper middle class origins and educated, thereby debunking the liberal myth that poverty creates terrorists. No, religious fanaticism does, along with a toxic ideology that glorifies death and destruction - and one other critical ingredient difficult for liberals to digest: evil. There is no caviling here to the corrosive doctrines of multiculturalism or political correctness, no tiresome intonations about Islam being a "religion of peace," nor silly concerns over "ethnic profiling."

One telling such moment in the movie occurs when one of the knife wielding assailants is told to finish off the stewardess he is holding, at which time he recites a prayer invoking the name of Allah - while slashing her throat. One must wonder what self-reflection if any occurs in the minds of secular elites (if any bothered to watch the movie) who refer to religious Christians as "fanatics" because they favor reciting a prayer or two at school - when confronted with the spectacle of those who slaughter innocents with God's name on their lips. How absurd their allegations must appear (even to themselves?) when witnessing atrocities committed by true blood thirsty fanatics like this.

Just prior to the films harrowing climax, we see the Muslim terrorists reciting benedictions as they prepare themselves for the anticipated assault by the passengers; in the back, the passengers also gather their courage through prayer. It is a pivotal scene and an allusion to the clash of civilizations inherent in this struggle that few seem willing to speak of. Yet, it is here where the dichotomy of the two world views is most apparent: on the one hand, an appeal to the almighty for strength to commit mass murder, the other, a supplication for strength to prevent it.

As 9/11 recedes into the past, some of us may come to believe again that the safety and relative calm we enjoy in the US is secure, forgetting how close we have come to losing it in the past when faced with deadly enemies - if not for the heroism of brave men who fought and died defending us. To see this film is to honor the memory of our valiant dead: both the heroic passengers of United 93 and the courageous soldiers who have died since in Afghanistan and Iraq. May we also honor them by succeeding in the noble enterprise to defeat Jihadism and spread the blessings of liberty to a benighted but important corner of the world.



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