09-11-01 Version 3.0

Time for a ramble. I’m not sure I’m going to have an opportunity to post over the weekend, and we have 9-11-01 Version 3.0 coming right at us.
Not good news coming from the world writ large: Ayman Al-Zawahiri, widely regarded as OBL’s key deputy, issued a video shown on Al Jazeera promising an Al Qaeda victory (however that is defined). Coming to the third anniversary of 9-11-01, this is just bad good news, given A.Q.’s flare for the dramatically evil (the Madrid bombings occurred on 3-11-04, 911 days and 30 months after 9-11-01).
We can take reasonable confidence that our government actually DOES care about terrorism now (unlike its first 8 months in office), and if something can be thwarted, it probably will be. Of course, the RNC Convention lock down is gone; 4 or 5 thousand Republicans (one of whom was the President) have left town, leaving 7 or 8 million irrelevant people. So perhaps our guard here is down, though I wouldn’t think so. People get all anxious on 9-11, particularly because our government WANTS us to be.
So here we go again. Will the President make 9-11 a political issue? Why should he stop now– he’s been doing it for three years.
Here’s the thing: John Kerry should have taken this issue off the table a long time ago, by actually AGREEING with the President’s strategy. Honestly– I agree with the strategy. The problem is that the President himself isn’t very bright and the people around him are either not very bright (think “John Afraid of Calico Cats Ashcroft”), or are extremely corrupt if not outright criminals (think Dick Still on Halliburton’s Payroll Cheney), and the execution of tactics has been… a… fucking… disaster.
The fact is, we DO have to stop state sponsors and harborers of terrorism. Unfortunately, we have no relations with number 1 state sponsor Iran, and the little we knew about it has been compromised thanks to our friends in the DOD (and thank YOU Super-Ahmed). Our ability to control number 2– and the Al Qaeda Sugar Daddy– the Saudis, has been compromised by the fact that our President ostensibly answers to that government, rather than our own. Bush did an o.k. job with the number 3 sponsor, the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan, though by underdeploying, that regime may make a comeback (among the things promised by Al-Zawahiri). Our relationship with the number 4 state sponsor, Pakistan, is almost inexplicable. Iraq was never any better than number 5– if ever close to that high; our relations with Syria, another big terror sponsor, are… tricky (we may be at war with it soon).
But, in one sentence: We cannot allow these nihilistic Medieval extremist lunatics to get their hands on nuclear weapons. We will do whatever it takes to stop this, even if it means going to war. (Well, that’s two sentences.)
What the fuck is wrong with John Kerry? Why can’t he just say that, that simply (without a “Let me say to you…”). Bush, in his inarticulate babble, has said that.
And he asserted at least that the war against Iraq was for that end. Through corruption and incompetence, it proved not to be the case in Iraq, but the sentiment and theory was correct, if the execution bad.
As to bad execution, we find that the President wants less ability to verify and monitor the likeliest outfitter of nuclear weapons to terrorists, i.e. Pakistan, and other nations. Read the link and try not to scream. This alone, btw, is reason to remove the Bush Administration– immediately– but you haven’t exactly heard Senator Kerry condemning this, now, have you? HAVE YOU? Kerry is content to take pot shots at Bush, without offering his own alternative (or acknowledging the difficulties Bush is under which any President including himself would face, and this is not an appropriate political issue– and its too bad BUSH wants to make it one).
In short, three years to the day I sat in my freaking office at 100 Church Street, New York City, looked over my left shoulder at my window to see falling steel, glass and paper from a flaming One World Trade Center 100 yards away after hearing a sonic boom and popping, only to be followed by the same thing
at Two World Trade Center a half hour later, counting the human beings I saw falling to their death from that vantagepoint (14– that I saw), walking home through the soot and chaos on the street, watching the North Tower crumble from the Manhattan Bridge, trying to account for my brother (who worked at 222 Broadway, also a block from the WTC) and people I knew (including the late New York City firefighter Carl Molinaro), living a mile or two downwind with my wife and then not yet two year old child, losing my job at the aforementioned 100 Church Street, and then living with the knowledge that the worst part would not be what the motherfuckers did to us but we would do to ourselves, and here we are.
Have we learned anything? I don’t know, actually. The events of the week of the GOP Convention did not make me feel all warm and fuzzy. I realize the world IS different now– but we are grossly overreacting. GROSSLY. I’m here, people: once again, I work a block from Ground Zero. I was there that day. It was bad. I occasionally wake up with nightmares about it. We’re vulnerable to it again. You people in Houston and Atlanta and Charlotte and Phoenix and Detroit and people in swing states: YOU’RE NOT. This isn’t YOUR PROBLEM. THIS IS NOT 1000 SOVIET ICBMs AIMED AT US.
These are a particular breed of human vermin, who mean to harm a particular target, namely our capital and financial center (and Jews in general).
THIS IS NOT WORTH SURRENDERING OUR CONSTITUTION FOR. NOT EVEN A LITTLE. Even if New York (God forbid) suffers another strike of 9-11 magnitude.
I wouldn’t change anything about our pre-9-11 system (other than a Government so obsessed with irrelevant things, it overlooked clear evidence of looming disaster sitting in its own files). OBL doesn’t hate us for our freedom: he just hates us. But what do we think of ourselves? Ah- there’s the rub.
They that would trade their precious liberty for temporary security deserve neither. — Benjamain Franklin.
God bless. And hopefully, we’ll see you all on 9-11-01 Version 4.0.