The following are my personal questions which I keep asking myself in the aftermath of the tragedy.
The timeline indicates that the attack on the Pentagon happened almost an hour after the first WTC attack and 40 minutes after the second one - more than enough time to get the jet interceptors into the air!
Why were there no fighter jets in the air over the national capital to intercept the possible other attackers?
Answer: lack of communication between some US government agencies.
G.W.Bush said: "Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts". When suicide bombers killed teenagers in a Tel-Aviv disco and children in a Jerusalem pizza house (US population is 50 times as big as Israel's, so both of these bombings were comparable to the Attack on the US), Bush and Powell demanded restraint from Israel and condemned her policy of targeted killing of the organizers.
Why doesn't anyone call upon the US to show restraint?
G.W.Bush said: "We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts, and those who harbor them."
Is Israel allowed to ignore this distinction between HAMAS/Islamic Jihad who send the suicide bombers and PLO who harbors them?
The TV repeated several times Arafat condemning the bombing and Palestinian Arabs celebrating and rejoicing. Then the Palestinian Authority issued death threats to those who report the festivities (and actually made good on the threats when the reports were aired).
Who does Arafat represent? How can we deal with a man who is so at odds with his own people? Or maybe he is just a good lier?
Islamic Jihad and HAMAS condemned the attack but blamed in on the the US policies.
Is "it's your own fault" really a condemnation of the attack or its approval?
Islamic Jihad, who orchestrated numerous suicide bombings killing women and children in Israel, said that it opposes killing of innocent civilians.
Do we all agree that Israeli women and children are guilty civilians?
It appears that the terrorists have won the US over: Bush and Powell are pressing for new Israeli concessions to the Arafat's gang, while UK's Jack Straw blames terrorism on "the anger which many people in this region feel at the events over the years in Palestine". This treachery of the ally is the clearest sign of weakness, and the Arabs do appreciate it.
How about this joke:
September 2002 CNN report: Taliban's 5th tank army continues to expand its offensive South of what used to be Chicago. The European Union representatives insist on political dialogue and resolving the conflict by negotiations, and warn that if the US will continue its excessive use of force, the EU will have to impose economic sanctions on the US
Congratulations, G.W. Bush: this is where you are leading us! Trying to expand the coalition to include everyone and his brother, you are making it impossible to differentiate between a friend and a foe. Who are we fighting, exactly?
Yes, the US will strike at some targets within a week or two, but will this really help? People who send out suicide bombers can sustain heavy casualties and still regard themselves as winners. The impending strikes will (probably) help boost the morale in the US, but they will do little to stop terrorists.
The only way to deter the terrorists in the long run is to make sure they are never accepted as legitimate political subjects. Ever. Even after they repudiate their ways, confess, wrap themselves in sackcloth, and live in a desert for 10 years.
When the US and Israel started to negotiate with PLO, they made a criminal mistake. They legitimised a terrorist group, boosting the morale of all terrorists all over the world. Israel has seen a steady increase of terrorism since the negotiations started and a jump after each new accord with PLO was signed. Now the United States of America has paid a terrible price for that mistake - negotiating with Arafat, who personally ordered terrorist attacks against American targets.
How much time will have to pass before Osama bin Laden becomes an acceptable negotiating partner for the US?
Many people think that the enormous hostility of the Arab world towards the United States is predicated on the American policy towards Israel, i.e., if the US would repudiate Israel and encourage (or even just permit) the Arabs to destroy Israel and genocide the 5,000,000 Jews there, then the Arabs will become our best friends.
Of course, this is ridiculous.
First, the US is the biggest economy and the richest nation in the world and this alone is quite enough to evoke hatred in the people who wish they were "number one" (Arabs, Russians, Chinese). Even without Israel, the sheer visibility of the US - the movies, the technology, the media - is more than enough. In short: "they" hate us for the CNN, the Space Shuttle, and "The Sounds of Music". The pretext - bombing Baghdad, supporting Israel, bombing Belgrade, supporting the Shah - is secondary.
Second, the religious fundamentalists hate everyone who is not a religious fundamentalist of the same religion. Muslim fanatics will hate us regardless of our policies as long as we do not pray 5 times a day towards Mecca.
Frankly, I am sick of this communist drivel. But just to make things clear:
First, they are poor through no fault of ours: the Arab oil revenues are enormous, and if they had invested it into industrial and technological development and not palaces and yachts, they would have been as rich as we are. Yes, Afghanis are poor, but if we single them out here, why not single out the millionaire bin Laden?
Second, the wealth which comes through the robbery or generosity of the others does not do any good: just look at the results of the Bolshevist revolution: they robbed the rich and did not make anyone happier (ask the GULAG population).
Third, we did help them a lot in the past and are helping now - 2.5 billion dollars per year to Egypt alone! Increasing our support now would only encourage the terrorists.
"War on terror" (as the description of what we a facing) makes about as much sense as "war on tanks" (as the description of the WWII in Europe) or "war on vessels and Zero planes" (as the description of the WWII the Pacific). Terror is a tactic. The word has emotional connotations, so let us use the proper military form: asymmetric warfare. So, we are engaged in the "war on asymmetric warfare"?! Who are we fighting?!!
We must make good on our century-long rhetoric about the democracy and stop befriending nations whose populations hate us, even when the governments claim to be our best friends. The Arabs - whether in Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria or Libya - hate us, so these nations cannot be our friends and receive our support, and their citizens should be denied our visas (diplomatic visas can still be granted, but a nation is responsible for the actions of its diplomats, so this is okay).
It is imperative that we understand that our enemy is not Osama bin Laden, but the milieu which breeds terrorism. As a friend of mine aptly said, when a hornet stings you, you do not stick your arm into the hornet nest looking for the particular hornet which did the ignominious deed - you destroy the nest.
Terrorism is the enemy's method, not the enemy itself. Islamism is the enemy - know thy terrorists!
Mayor Rudy Giuliani understands that accepting money from the enemy is wrong.
Afghans understand that too.
60 years ago we were facing a much more dangerous enemy: Nazi Germany controlled Europe from Atlantic to Moscow and from Norway to Greece (and much of North Africa too), was supported by the Arabs, and was starving Britain to death. Japan ruled the Pacific. We fought together with our allies - Britain and Russia - and won!
Today, in addition to NATO, we have three more natural allies:
Not to forget Israel, of course!
Speaking of which, the following is a Russian joke from the early 1970-ies:
After a lecture on global strategy at the Soviet General Staff
Academy (the supreme military school for senior officers),
the lecturer asks for questions.|
An officer stands up and asks:
-- Sir, is WW3 going to happen?
The lecturer says:
-- Yes, WW3 appears to be inevitable.
Another officer stands up and asks:
-- Sir, who will be our adversary in the WW3?
The lecturer replies:
-- The current political situation indicates that China is our most likely nemesis.
A third officer asks, worried:
-- But, Sir, there is a billion Chinese, and we number only 250 million - 1:4 disadvantage?!
The lecturer replies, pensively:
-- Well, the Israelis are outnumbered more than 1:100, and they still fight successfully against the Arabs.
Yet another officer is worried even more:
-- Sir, are you sure we have enough Jews?!
|Sam Steingold<firstname.lastname@example.org>||created: 2001-09-12|