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Author Topic: Tom Clancy's Alleged Response to Septemeber 11
Sam I Am
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Greetings everyone. I am one of the lurkers, dropping in from time to time, reading what you all write, and occasionally, very occasionally, adding my two cents. Today though, I am starting my first ever topic. I got this piece in the email from my friend. We met in baisc training, and were stationed together the entire term of our service. Neither of us are gung ho, Rambo's. We were both just regular guys trying to do the best we could for our families who took what the Army offered us, and did the best we could for the Army in return. Both of us have now moved on, transitioned back into civilian life, but we are still friends, living less than five miles apart, still, even after all the time together in the service. Enough personal background, I think.

It is alleged that Tom Clancy wrote this. I don't know if he did or not. Don't really care. Whoever wrote it, be he famous or not, soldier or civilian, American or not, he captured it. He caught the tone, the complexion, the truth and the meat of it all. He describes, in just a few paragraphs everything my friend and I felt watching the news on September 11. He captured everything we wanted to say, but couldn't, and ultimately, at least with each other, finally realized we didn't have to. But this author did. And I read it, and was moved, and so I pass it along to a group I have grown fond of, even if I don't always understand your ways, or feel as if I belong enough to become involved in more than a peripheral way. I hope you read it. I hope you understand it, and I hope, most of all, you remember it. Thanks to everyone for letting me take my moment here.

Tom Clancy's reply to Sep 11 written to the Sunday
Mail, London, Sep 14, 2001.

It was a friend of mine formerly of the Royal Navy who
first pointed out that the casualty count on this incident
exceeds that of Pearl Harbor. Yes, my country has taken a
big and costly hit, and somewhere, perhaps in South Asia,
some people are exchanging high-fives and having
themselves a good laugh. And maybe they're entitled to it.
Like Pearl Harbor, it was a well planned and well executed
black operation.

But, you know, they've made the same mistake which Japan
made back in 1941. It's remarkable to me that America is
so hard for some people to understand. We are the most open
of books, after all. Our values and customs are portrayed
on TV and movie screens all over the world. Is the
character of my country so hard to grasp? Japan figured
that they could defeat us not physically, but morally, that
America was not tough enough to defeat their death-seeking
warriors, that we would be unwilling to absorb the casualties.
(In this they were right: we didn't absorb all the casualties
they tried to inflict-but that was because we killed their
samurai much more efficiently than they were able to kill our
men.) An enemy willing to die in the performance of his duty
can, indeed, be a formidable adversary, but, you see, we've
dealt with such people before. They die just like everyone
else.

Perhaps the American sort of patriotism, like the British sort,
just isn't bombastic enough for our enemies to notice. We
don't parade about thumping our chests and proclaiming how tough
we are, whereas other people like that sort of display. But
they don't seem to grasp the fact that they do it because they
have to-they evidently need to prove to themselves how formidable
they are. Instead, our people, like yours, train and practice
their craft every day out in the field at places like Fort Bragg,
North Carolina and Fort Irwin, California. I've been to both
places and seen our people and how they train.

The difference between a civilian or a common ruffian and a
soldier, you see, is training. A professional soldier is as
serious about his work as a surgeon is about his. Such people
are not, in my experience, boastful. If you ask what they can do,
they will explain it to you, usually in quiet tones, because
they do not feel the need to prove anything. Off duty they
are like everyone else, watching football on TV and enjoying a
quiet beer with their pals. They read books, and shop at the
local supermarkets, and cut the grass on their lawns. They all
enjoy a good laugh. They make the best of friends. They look
physically fit - and, indeed, they are physically fit-because
their job requires it; and every day they do something tiresome
in the field, working at some more or less demanding field
exercise, again and again and again until every aspect of their
job is as automatic as zipping one's zipper is for us people in,
civilian life.

But, you know, inside all of these people, like the 82nd Airborne
at Fort Bragg, or the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Stewart, Georgia,
there burns a little flame. Not a big one, like the pilot light
in a gas stove. And when you put more gas here, the flame gets
bigger, enough to cook with. Inside every one of these people is
something else, something you have to look for pride. They know
that they are good at their work, in the event they ever have to
do it for-real. This doesn't happen very often, and, indeed,
they do not ordinarily lust to do it, because it's a serious, nasty
job. The job is the taking of life. Military organizations exist
for only one mission: killing people and breaking things. This
is not something to be undertaken lightly, because life is a gift
from God, and a lot of these people - kids, really - can be found
in church on Sunday mornings.

But their larger purpose - the reason these kids enlist, both in my
country and in yours - is to preserve, protect, and defend their
countries and the citizens who live there. It's not an easy job,
but someone has to do it, and typically the hardest jobs attract
the best of us. Mostly they never have to kill anybody, and that's
okay with them. It's knowing that they are able to do something
difficult and dangerous that gives them their pride. This purpose,
defending their country, is something they don't talk much about,
but it's always there, and with it comes a quiet, steely look in
the eyes.

Especially when something like this happens. That's when their sense
of self is insulted, and these are people who do not bear insults well.
Protectors, when those whom they are sworn to protect are hurt, then
comes the desire-the lust-to perform their mission. Even then it's
quiet. They will not riot or pose before TV cameras or cry aloud for
action because that's not their way. They are the point of the lance,
the very breath of the dragon, and at times like this they want to
know the taste of blood.

Their adversaries just don't appreciate what they are capable of. It's
something too divorced from their experience. This isn't like hosing
civilians with your machinegun or setting off a bomb somewhere, or
killing unarmed people strapped and helpless inside a commercial aircraft.
This means facing professional warriors at a time and place of their
choosing and that is something terrorists don't really prepare for.

The day of Pearl Harbor the commander of the Japanese navy told his
staff not to exult too much, that all their beautifully executed operation
had accomplished was to awaken a sleeping dragon and give it a dreadful
purpose. Perhaps alone in his country, Isoroku Yamamoto, who had lived
briefly in America, knew what his enemy was capable of, and for that
reason, perhaps he was not surprised when the .50 caliber bullet from
Tex Lamphier's P-38 fighter entered his head and ended his life.

Whoever initiated this operation is probably not quite as appreciative
of what he has begun as Yamamoto was - because the dragon is now fully
awake and its breath is too hot for men to bear. America is now fully
awake. Our quiet patriotism is a little louder now, but it will not
get too loud.

Why spoil the surprise?


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Jon Up North
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Ask him... his e-mail is tomclancy@aol.com. Another option would be to go on usenet's alt.books.tom-clancy or alt.fan.tom-clancy. He posts on both forums using his AOL account.

In a few of the messages he wrote in the post sept 11 days, he commented that Colin Powel reminded him of his character Jack Ryan.

--------------------
We're not insured for pickles.


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Tootsie Plunkette
Buy a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella


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I barely know what a bookachow is, but I think this qualifies as my first!

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--Tootsie

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Tom-Tzu
The Red and the Green Stamps


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No disrespect intended, because in fact I agree with most of the piece, regardless of who wrote it. But as a Canadian, it does seem a little odd to hear American patriotism described as quiet. (Although, to be fair, the patriotism of competent professional soldiers is probably quieter than that we see from the politicians, entertainers and hoi polloi...)
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snopes
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quote:
But as a Canadian, it does seem a little odd to hear American patriotism described as quiet.

By the comparison made in the piece quoted, it is. In the USA, outside of extraordinary circumstances (such as wartime), we generally only have grand patriotic displays on special occasions (such as Independence Day, presidential inaugurations, Veterans Day, etc.). Compare this with countries that have weekly parades of military hardware, soldiers, and adoring citizens carrying huge portraits of the great leader. Granted, a lot of that type of display went out with the fall of communism in eastern Europe, but it's still featured prominently in places such as China, North Korea, Iraq, and other parts of the world not often seen in network news coverage.

- snopes


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Anthony
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:

By the comparison made in the piece quoted, it is. In the USA, outside of extraordinary circumstances (such as wartime), we generally only have grand patriotic displays on special occasions (such as Independence Day, presidential inaugurations, Veterans Day, etc.). Compare this with countries that have weekly parades of military hardware, soldiers, and adoring citizens carrying huge portraits of the great leader. Granted, a lot of that type of display went out with the fall of communism in eastern Europe, but it's still featured prominently in places such as China, North Korea, Iraq, and other parts of the world not often seen in network news coverage.

- snopes


This is true, but compared to our Canadian and British cousins, we are a lot more overtly patriotic.

Canadian patriotism these days seems to be limited to saying that they are not American.

British patriotism seems mostly dead outside of the soccer stadiums.

I remember recently reading something by Peter Hitchens (Chris's radically Tory brother) which noted that an American who flies his flag outside his house is considered nothing special, but a Briton doing the same would be considered strange (unless he was flying the flag out of a "sense of irony.".


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Hell's Granny
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Up North:
In a few of the messages he wrote in the post sept 11 days, he commented that Colin Powel reminded him of his character Jack Ryan.

Funny - I never saw Ryan as the type to acquiese in a cover-up of a massacre of civilians commited by members of his own army.

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dofwai
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Hell's Granny:

Funny - I never saw Ryan as the type to acquiese in a cover-up of a massacre of civilians commited by members of his own army.


Oh, please.....


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chinpira
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Maybe it's just me, but it sure doesn't seem like any sleeping giant's been awoken. We as a society have changed much from the 1940's, and attention spans are much shorter these days. By attention span I mean yesterday's news is old news today. For such a traumatic and life altering event as 9/11, seems like many have already forgotten about it and are thinking about other relevant news and juicy stories. Sorry but that's the truth. I remember people, after the attack, talking about how unexpected and the such it all was, when in fact they've already forgotten that terrorist attacks claimed American lives in 1993, 1995, and many other years.

Patriotism just doesn't mean much nowadays as it used to. Is it the internet? Is is just society in general? I don't know. Certainly there isn't any of that controlled fury and resolve shown back in 1941. I highly doubt that in 1941 the general American public was too concerned about the possible casualties of Japanese civilians.


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Limey
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Anthony:

Canadian patriotism these days seems to be limited to saying that they are not American.

British patriotism seems mostly dead outside of the soccer stadiums.


The former comment is interesting - can someone bookachow me to wherever you discussed that Molson ad?

The latter comment shows I think a different concept of patriotism. Americans seem to me as noisily patriotic as democracies get. Just because we don't feel the need to shove it down people's throats, doesn't mean there's no deep-seated love of country.

British, of course is thorny - I'd prefer English myself. FWIW we had some noisy displays of British patriotism in Northern Ireland yesterday - 17 policemen injured in demos to stop children going to school.


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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Anthony:

Canadian patriotism these days seems to be limited to saying that they are not American.



Oh yes? And you know this is true because -?

Canadians by and large do not wear their hearts on their sleeves but they do wear their maple leafs proudly on jackets, backpacks etc. Flags are flown and Canada Day and Remembrance Day are celebrated with pride.

Maybe we are quietly patriotic compared to some but if you think patriotism is a dead issue in Canada just try living on the West Island of Montreal in Quebec for a few years. I guarantee the subject will be raised...again and again and again.

--------------------
If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr


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Moose
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Exactly, Appleby.

(Warning: long ramble.)

Canadians, in general, are fairly patriotic. We rarely, however, feel the need to demonstrate that patriotism, unless we feel our national identity threatened in some way. Outside of the Quebec separation issue, we've had few, if any, real threats to our national identity.

If you look closely, you can observe pockets of demonstrated patriotism. There is pressure (and regulations) to ensure that canadian radio stations play at least a minimum percentage of canadian music.

American magazines sold in Canada as canadian editions are required to actually contain canadian advertizing, and some minimum of canadian content. This was not always the case.

The CBC may no longer broadcast US films, may not import US sitcoms, or US-exclusive sporting events. This is not a particularly profitable way of operating, but fair is fair, the CBC is (and always has been) mostly subsidized by canadian taxes anyway.

Make no mistake, and I intend no offense here, the single greatest threat to the canadian national identity is american pop culture.

Perhaps this is why canadians are so insistant to be distinguished from americans. This is the same reason Quebec seperatists are so insistant that they are different from other canadians. The scottish and irish are rather keen to distinguish themselves from the english. Acadians distinguish themselves from quebecers. Both acadians and quebecers distinguish themselves from the french.

In all these cases, people are worried about losing their culture to someone else's. People are only defensive about things they fear to lose.

You'll rarely see canadian flags flying from homes, especially in urban centers. It's slightly less uncommon in rural areas. When you do see flags flown from homes, the residents frequently are (or were) transplanted americans.

Now, for a few weeks after Sept 11th, a great many homes (and nearly every business) flew canadian flags, and a solid number also flew US flags. Most (if not all) flags few at half mast.

The flags that flew in Canada are nearly all gone once again.

Osama is simply not a major threat to our way of lives, and has never been a threat to our culture, the very thing that is cheezing him off.

Civilians, in general, have realized how little threat he is and are now proceeding with their daily lives. It is our way of fighting back. Most of us are unable to effectively battle the way your soldiers can. Perhaps that is what makes our nations so great.

Osama cannot win. He never could. He can attract our attention, he can bruise our nations, but he simply cannot destroy our spirit and cultures.

As for the article quoted in the OP, I doubt it's Clancy's. It doesn't read like his work. He's writes more vividly, and is generally a lot more specific in detail than that piece was.


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Limey
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Moose:

As for the OP, I doubt it's Clancy's. It doesn't read like his work. He's writes more vivid, and is generally a lot more specific in detail than that.


OK, now go back and read the bit of this thread (3rd post) that confirms that he did actually write it.


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Harrier 1.9.8.0.
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quote:
Originally posted by Limey:

doesn't mean there's no deep-seated love of country.


We all know about America's deep seated love of country.

Harrier 'we have both types of music, Country AND Western' 1980


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Eowyn, warrior babe with gold toes
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Moose:
Make no mistake, and I intend no offense here, the single greatest threat to the canadian national identity is american pop culture.

None taken... I wonder sometimes if the single greatest threat to American intelligence and identity is American Pop Culture.


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Moose
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quote:
Originally posted by Limey:
OK, now go back and read the bit of this thread (3rd post) that confirms that he did actually write it.

Heh. Oops.


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Jon Up North
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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When I meet an American, I am reminded (in a positive way) that our two Nations are quite different. Yes, we do get a lot of American pop-culture. American's also import a good bit of our pop-culture. I don't see this as a threat. I see this as a product of years of peace, 6 billion dollars of trade each week, an unguarded boarder, and a strong friendship.

In the 80's it struck me that much of Canada's identity was derived from the contrast with the US. Lately I've seen our pride as a people grow, our knowledge of our past increase. Everyone I know is patriotic. Everyone I know thinks about what it means to be a Canadian. Maybe it is a Western Canada thing. Maybe it is a Northern Canada thing, in either case I see Canadians as deeply patriotic.

Jon

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The Ota Faction
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Jon Up North, and the others, you think you have identity and cultural problems, I'm a dual citizen of Canada and the US (I'm pretty sure I am anyway...I have a US Passport and Canadian IDs), and on both sides of the border I'm identified as being from the other country.

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"That lonely recluse who lives down the road is crying out. So is that pregnant teenager. And the prostitute. And the drunkard."
Join the Free State Project - I did!

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Jon Up North
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Actually, to clarify my stance, I do not think Canada has identity or cultural problems.

Jon

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We're not insured for pickles.


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bufungla
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Up North:
When I meet an American, I am reminded (in a positive way) that our two Nations are quite different. Yes, we do get a lot of American pop-culture. American's also import a good bit of our pop-culture. I don't see this as a threat. I see this as a product of years of peace, 6 billion dollars of trade each week, an unguarded boarder, and a strong friendship.

A slightly outdated joke:

Q: Why is the US border with Mexico so heavily patroled, while the US border with Canada so open?

A: Three reasons

1) Canada and the US share a common language
2) Canada and the US share a common heritage
3) Marijuana doesn't grow in snow

Concerning the unguarded border, I remember hearing that the US was having to beef up security on the Canadian border even prior to 9/11, due to an increased number of Mexicans trying to immigrate illegally into the US via the Canadian border.

Regarding the influx of American pop culture, I remember hearing either Dave Thomas or Rick Moranis responding to the application of the Canadian Content Law: "What do you mean, 'Canadian content'? The writers are Canadian, the actors are Canadian, it's filmed in Canada! What do you want us to do, eat back bacon and drink LaBatt's and say 'How's it goin', eh?"

buf 'thus SCTV's "Great White North" was born' ungla

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George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra


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jf3
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I don't know about the rest of you dudes, canuks, blokes, whatever, but I'd rather expend my bile on Osama and his target drones. Don't need to pick fights with my good close relatives, even if they do send us Peter Jennings and the Bronte sisters!

My mother-in-law is a french war bride from the Big One. Whenever her relatives come stateside to visit they always ask what holiday it is because so many flags are flying. They can't believe Americans fly them routinely. They say that no Frenchman would even think of flying a flag from his home or business. And when I visited them in France, that seemed to be true.

Still, as some have noted above, there is something superficial about all the US flagwaving. It seems too often to be a substitute for individual action or personal contribution to the nation. It also seems to me that it's too often on a par with mere sposrts fandom. After all, waving a flag can only be done after you've chosen to be on the sidelines, instead of on the field. I'm sure waving the flag is a sincere act on the part of many people; I just wish it weren't the full extent of their pariotism. Summer soldiers and sunshine patriots, or so the saying goes.

I apoligize if our USA patriotism grates on our siblings. It's and unavoidable result of those damned double cappuchino latte mocha espresso coffees with a Coke chaser. It'll wear off in a century or two.


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