Thu. May 23, 2002
QuoteLog, 5/23 – "I am struck both by the number of web readers I have in New York, and by what they write to me. On Sept. 11th, at least 20 million people could actually see the smoke and debris uttering from the former WTC with their own eyes. It is now written into each of their souls. I have yet to hear from even one of them who is not willing, in reply to further such attacks from the same family of terrorist fanatics, to take out every single Islamic regime, whether ’radical’ or ’moderate’. I don’t think we in Canada, let alone those in Europe, fully appreciate the ’commitment’ there. That e.g. the moment the U.S. enters Iraq, Hillary Clinton will cry: ’Get ’im!’ [...] In the meantime, Europe, from its experience, conceives the ’war against terrorism’ as a battle of attrition, for relatively low stakes, comparing terrorist hits to bad traffic accidents. It is something to which they are inured, something for the police to deal with, something that can only get worse if you pay too much attention to it. Whereas the U.S. has not merely hypothesized but experienced a true catastrophe [...] ...on Monday, the U.S. Memorial Day, President Bush will visit the beaches in Normandy, where so many U.S. soldiers fell, in a noble battle to free Europe from the original Fascist menace, two generations ago. It is the U.S. that is now under attack, and the Europeans being asked to return the favour."
"I am a liberal (or more exactly a progressive) so I often have a good deal of disagreement with those across the aisle on many matters both fiscal and social. (Which is okay, because I have a great many disagreements with those sitting next to me too.) I know that talking, sanctions, diplomacy, debate, censure, and even the judicious use of force all have the ability to get positive results, to ensure freedom, and to make life a bit better for all of those involved. Circumspect restraint and thoughtful contemplation are the hallmarks of civilization and justice. But when all of the tools of civilization, all the generally agreed on norms of discourse and diplomacy that just about everyone, an any aisle, gap or divide agrees on as useful and necessary, are ignored, demeaned and rejected, there really isn’t much else to do. All bets are off, civilization becomes a quaint idea and the disquieting sounds of the jungle—and the monster tearing out of the jungle and towards your jugular—are all that exist. At that point, it’s survival of the fittest. And I have little desire to be rendered unfit."
"Let’s go even further: assume that the FBI had information on the exact date, time, flight number, and descriptions of suspects. So they raid all the planes, and arrest the 19 dirtbags. And then what? Not much, I imagine. Oh, CAIR and it’s ilk would be having a fit, of course, complaining to everyone including George W. about profiling and unfair targeting of Arab-Americans. After all, just what did the FBI find? Some box cutters? Those aren’t illegal on airplanes. Flight manuals? These men were all attending accredited flight schools, trying to achieve the American dream, etc. etc. So they had one-way tickets: is that a crime? Funeral shrouds? Are you honestly arresting these men for bringing white sheets onto a plane? Korans? So because these men are pious Muslims, you dare to assume…! And really, folks, come on: flying a Boeing into a skyscraper? You’ve been watching too many movies! Who would come up with something this complicated, when a truck bomb in a garage would do just as well? And so on and so on. I’m sure at least half these men would have been released within a couple of days. Profiling would be discussed at length on CNN and PBS. Several specials would be made, with weeping, hijab-wearing photogenic young women, describing in perfect Midwestern English the ordeal of being singled out by airport security. American Airlines would issue an apology, and make a contribution to the Arab-American Anti-Defamation Society, with a promise of more ’outreach efforts.’ Norman Mineta would be outraged! and put in all sorts of new restrictions designed specifically to avoid giving extra scrutiny to ’people of Middle Eastern appearance.’ (hey! wait a second!) George W. would go on the record saying that ’pro-filling’ is ’discriminatational’ and against everything he holds dear. Clinton would tell a story of his Lebanese-American great-uncle who was once denied entry into the White House. Al Gore would talk about his years of service under Lawrence of Arabia. Pretty soon, the whole thing would be forgotten as another embarrasing example of the Latent Racism in American Society."
"Suppose Bush had known 18 Muslim immigrants planned to hijack four planes on Sept. 11. What could he have done? Throw Arabs out of the country? Put them in preventive detention? Order airport security to take an extra little peek at swarthy men boarding planes? Liberals won’t let us do that now! [...] Hilariously, Democrats are especially indignant that nothing was done in response to the memo from an FBI (news – web sites) agent in Phoenix who had noticed a lot of Arabs enrolled in American flight schools. As The New York Times reported (in the always-crucial penultimate paragraph): ’FBI officials said there was reluctance at the time to mount such a major review because of a concern that the bureau would be criticized for ethnic profiling of foreigners.’ Let’s see, who might have criticized the FBI for ethnic profiling? For Ashcroft’s evident interest in immigrants of Mideastern descent rather than, say, currency traders after Sept. 11, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, railed that the detention of Arabs ’smacks of racial profiling.’ Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., hyperventilated that the Bush administration was ’literally dismantling justice.’ [...] Maureen Dowd sneered of the administration’s failure to prevent the Sept. 11 attack: ’I guess nothing short of a copy of Mohamed Atta’s Travelocity itinerary would have stirred the FBI from its stupor.’ But back on Nov. 25, 2001, as the corpses of 3,000 of her countrymen lay rotting in smoldering heaps, Dowd was snarling about Ashcroft’s questioning of Arab immigrants in the United States. She snippily noted that ’the first resistance to his edict to interview 5,000 Middle Eastern men came from police chiefs objecting to racial profiling.’ After Manhattan is nuked by Muslims, then will it be OK for the attorney general to question Middle Eastern men?"
"I was coming up to my favorite place on the 59th Street Bridge: on the upper roadway, a little more than halfway in. That’s where it happens … Manhattan spreads out like giant open arms, dazzling my eyes with a million twinkly lights. It’s just perfection [...] I let my eyes scan left toward downtown and right toward the Upper East Side. I smiled at the red, white and blue of the Empire State Building. The city seemed larger than life, impossibly huge, and yet soft and accessible. I felt as if I could reach out and touch the upper windows of the skyscrapers. Then it hit me. Just like that … it hit me. I’d seen the World Trade Center fall down. I had awakened one morning, climbed the stairs to my roof and watched the World Trade Center fall down. I watched the World Trade Center fall down!!!!!! Is it possible that this is the first time I have truly realized this?? Have I been just going through the motions these many months since 9/11, telling everyone about my experience, but not really telling myself? [...] There was a package from St. Paul’s Church. They had sent me a copy of the magazine printed by Trinity Church and a video of the relief work done by the churches [...] I came upon a picture of a group of rescue workers lining up for food in ground zero. In the background is a blonde woman in a yellow hard hat working the barbecue. The smoke from the grill makes a haze out of part of her face, but it’s clear who she is. She’s me. This means, I was there. The timing of receiving this package 30 minutes after the hugest reality jolt I’ve probably ever had, seems more than a coincidence. I’m not a religious woman. I don’t even know if I’m a spiritual person, whatever that means. But I do think that sometimes, God tells you things when you’re ready to hear them."