The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Arguably The Best Thing Written On The Subject Of 9/11

Posted on | September 11, 2011 | 18 Comments

by Smitty

MAZAR-E-SHARIF, AFGHANISTAN — This is track five on Satriani’s 2006 Super Colossal release. It’s called “Ten Words,” though he never gets around to explaining what those words are. In the CD booklet, he noted that he composed this on piano on 12 September 2001, and then let it sit for a few years before recording it:

Inspired by Satriani’s work (the subject of this post), I composed a hymn against this melody in September 2006, the first two lines of which are my guess as to the identity of Satriani’s “Ten Words”:

Forgive them Father,
For they know not what they do.
Oft the clay rebukes the potter,
Times more than a few.

How many seeds of destruction,
Will foolish mankind sow?
He weeds the gardens of our lives,
In ways we’ll never know.

Forgive them, forgive them, forgive them, oh Lord.

I thought I knew the proper way,
My knowledge was my boast.
The following disaster showed,
‘Twas Him I needed most.

I hated my own brother,
There was envy in my heart.
Pondering Him upon the cross,
Was my repentance start.

Forgive me, forgive me, forgive me, oh Lord.

Anticipating some of the feedback to this, let me add the following: this is a personal, subjective response. It has nothing whatsoever to do with any policy response to the diabolical evil of terrorism, Islamist extremism, or any other existential threat to the country.
Pacifism is a sweet luxury that can only be afforded when protected by people willing, in the finest tradition of David, to undertake the defense of the nation.

Heaven rest fellow Naval Reservist LCDR Robert Randolph Elseth, my friend, who was murdered in the Pentagon that day, as well as the rest of those whose lives were cruelly ended in that hideous attack. And to that one dude who mumbled something about this being a ‘day of service’: I’m comfortable that I’m answering the mail on service. I choose to gently ignore what is at best a wrongheaded suggestion, and at worst could be construed as a subtle attack on the national psyche.

Ponder Satriani’s instrumental meditation, especially the solo. To my ear, it captures the tragedy and sorrow of the day as well as courage and resolve to do what must be done. What a blessing that man’s musical gift is to us all.

Update: Linked by Melissa Clouthier and The Rio Norte Line.

Update II: Also linked at Bride of Rove and WyBlog.


18 Responses to “Arguably The Best Thing Written On The Subject Of 9/11”

  1. Zilla of the Resistance
    September 11th, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

    It’s a beautiful poem, thank you for sharing it. Today I remember among all of our lost, my friend, Justin McCarthy, who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald and came from my hometown. It was a week before what would have been his thirtieth birthday. We were teenagers together, he was funny and smart and very, very kind hearted to everyone.

  2. Shawn Gillogly
    September 11th, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    I have my own thoughts on 9/11 ‘remembrance’ (too often ‘fixation’ in truth), but I’ll not say them here. I will say Joe Satriani is amazing to listen to. Perhaps the only guitar shredder who can actually write songs. (Yes, I’m counting Yngwie Malmsteen in that. He didn’t ‘write’ songs, he lifted parts of classical music and called it his own. 😛 )

  3. Anonymous
    September 11th, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

    Beautiful. Thanks, Smitty.

    You might like this choral arrangement of “One Voice”, a piece improvised by the insanely talented Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater)  at a benefit concert shortly after 9/11. I can’t find the original, but this one gives me goosebumps.

  4. Michael Smith
    September 11th, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

    As beautiful as these are, Paul Krugman brings the ugliness. Some people just don’t get it. This guy needs to be put in a straight jacket.

    “What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know
    this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The atrocity
    should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue.
    Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush
    raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify
    an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.”

  5. Confirmed – Paul Krugman is an Idiot « The Rio Norte Line
    September 11th, 2011 @ 10:22 am

    […] at The Other McCain has the antidote to this “limousine liberal” moron here. 55.957870 -3.199357 Share this:FacebookEmailPrintRedditTwitterStumbleUponDiggLinkedInLike […]

  6. Beto Ochoa
    September 11th, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

    I know I’ve posted this other places but, if you will
    My poem for 9/11

    A day with skies of Robin’s Egg
    And higher up the Cobalt burned
    Standing in the windowed sky
    She watched the fatal, final turn

    The light reflecting from the wings
    Shielding glass that held their faces
    Eyes were met as death approached
    Frozen, in fate’s final places

    Quickly Prayers escaped the lips
    And in the hearts of these so bound
    God’s Will the moment soon divided
    With Spirits leaving mortal ground

    They watch us now, the dear departed
    And those who Satan’s will employed
    Released the Genie of despoilment
    The aim, all freedom be destroyed

    We will endure this newer fight
    And in the end of all man’s time
    Escape the grasp of evil tyrants
    Our resting place the true sublime

  7. A 9/11 Round-Up: Please share links in comments, too « Blog Entry « Dr. Melissa Clouthier
    September 11th, 2011 @ 10:49 am

    […] Smitty, from Afghanistan — Arguably the best thing written on 9/11. […]

  8. JeffS
    September 11th, 2011 @ 3:07 pm

    A beautiful poem, and beautiful music.  Thank you, Smitty.

  9. Powellcurt
    September 11th, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

    “the Ten Words” are, I believe,  what Jews call the Ten Commandments. Apologies, if wrong.

  10. WyBlog - Never Forget. Never Surrender.
    September 11th, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

    Never Forget. Never Surrender….

    Smitty composed a hymn from the depths of his heart….

  11. It’s tomorrow, right? at Bride of Rove
    September 11th, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

    […] “Pacifism is a sweet luxury that can only be afforded when protected by people willing, in the finest tradition of David, to undertake the defense of the nation.” ~ “Arguably The Best Thing Written On The Subject Of 9/11″, By Smitty at The Other McCain […]

  12. mystere
    September 11th, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

    Exellent job! Well said!

  13. Shawn Gillogly
    September 11th, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

    “Decalogue” translates as “Ten Words” or “Ten Sayings,” yes.

  14. Anonymous
    September 11th, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

    A straight jacket would be too kind. While Krugman and those who think  like him, including the organs they write or speak for such as the NYT and MSNBC are certainly MAD, they are not “sick” in the clinical sense of that term. Their sickness is of the soul and of the “heart” and while almost certainly incurable it is not a disease in the sense that cancer or schizophrenia is. Their madness deserves no compassion or understanding other than that necessary to marginalise them and the institutions they work for to the point that they can no longer earn a living or turn a profit. Ideally the day will come when the bile spewing from their shriviled souls as expressed in written word and sound on TV is forgotten in it’s specifics but not forgiven. It’s time to revive shunning of those who are simply unacceptable.

  15. RichG.inIN
    September 12th, 2011 @ 12:08 am


    Thank You for not only writing but sharing your truly heartfelt thoughts in this article about one day (September 11th) in a calendar year that has and shall always be remembered by all of us. Let us never forget what transpired this date ten years ago.

    I have had the CD “Super Colossal” in my music collectio for nearly three years and often play it on my CD player. The song you write of “Ten Words” is very powerful. You can hear and feel the emotions Joe Satriani felt as he composed and played this song the day after the heart and gut wrenching experience of the day prior. Smitty, you should interview Mr. Satriani some day soon and ask “What are those ten words that go to this song “Ten Words”? And “What his true thoughts, feelings and emotions were in writing this song and what they are now when he preforms the song on stage in his concerts?

  16. Jdogs
    September 12th, 2011 @ 12:52 am

    One of the major regrets of my life is never having met and getting to know Navy Captain Gerald Francis DeConto who died on September 11, 2001 at the Pentagon.

     His wife Anneva was a wonderful colleague of mine.  Anneva was a joy to know and someone who I respected immensely. 

    During the two years that I knew Anneva, we (her and Captain DeConto and me and my wife) tried to get together several times, but it just never worked out due to family obligations on both sides. 

    From what I knew of Anneva, Captain DeConto must have been an amazing man indeed.

    Anneva: After that terrible day, I just never had the words.  I hope you understand.

    To Captain DeConto: Fair Winds and Following Seas.  God Bless.

    Joseph Kelemen
    CTI2(SW) USN 1985-1991

  17. Anonymous
    September 12th, 2011 @ 3:24 am

    That was beautiful, Smitty.   It was exactly as Satriani intended for “Ten Words”.    We each, all of us, hear our own ten words in the music (it’s the manner of  music to touch our soul):

    “I wrote it for relief, I guess, and it was just written on piano and it wound up in my stack of manuscripts. It was just a personal reflection (of 9/11) and I was going through material, I played it on guitar and I thought, ‘OK, some time has passed and maybe other people can use it in another way.’ I don’t quite understand myself yet so that song’s a bit of a journey. Although it was written very starkly, I made sure there was at least 10 or 12 gurgling guitars playing rhythm and that the song had a very serious pace to it.” What are the ten words? “After writing pages and pages, I realized the listener should supply the ten words. The nature of instrumental music is more is left to the imagination.” … es_on.html

  18. ThePaganTemple
    September 12th, 2011 @ 4:13 am


    No Words