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Some Thoughts on 9-11-2001     page 1 2 3   p.1

print friendly version      posted 9-21-2001

Many of you have written to ask what are my "thoughts" on the 9-11 attacks on New York and Washington and when will I post something on my web site. I have been so overwhelmed by "feelings" that it has been impossible to write a complete and coherent analysis. So here are some fragmented "thoughts".

1. I had been working very hard on my book and fine-tuning the period of the 1930s when the disaster occurred. Possibly because of this, one of my first thoughts was a comparison to the Reichstag fire. Let me hasten to say that I am not accusing the Bush II administration of any part in planning this disaster (although I have seen some irresponsible, no-evidence remarks along that line on the internet). Rather, I immediately feared that this administration would take advantage of the calamity to cement the power of the unelected resident of the White House and enact legislation that would erase our constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms. And it is happening.

It took Hitler two months after the fire to get his Enabling Act and dictatorial powers. On September 14, only three days after Black Tuesday, Congress with only one dissenting vote gave Bush II a blank check to "use all necessary and appropriate force against nations, organizations, or persons he (emphasis added) determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons." Hooray for Representative Barbara Lee who voted "Nay", saying, "However difficult this vote may be, some of us must urge the use of restraint.... Let us ... think through the implications of our actions today so that this does not spiral out of control."

2. And it does seem to be spiraling out of control. Bush's latest speech has divided the world in two---- either you are "with us" or you are a hostile regime. No middle ground. The poverty-stricken people of rubble-strewn Afghanistan are fleeing the cities in fear of our bombers. Pakistan is on the verge of civil war in response to their leader's compliance with Bush's demands.

3. I am appalled at the bellicose reaction of some of our citizens. My corner grocery has posted a picture of the Statue of Liberty. In her outstretched arm she is holding-- not the usual Torch of Freedom but the decapitated blood-dripping head of Usama bin Laden. When I asked the owner if he was willing to trade the Bill of Rights for a John-the-Baptist-type end for bin Laden, he responded with "an eye for an eye." I answered with Gandhi's remark that if that would be the standard practice, we would all be blind. I hold Bush's Wild West-macho "Dead or Alive" remarks as well as the rhetoric of some of the TV commentators as responsible for this escalation of animosity.

4. And what does the Bush II administration plan to do with this blank check? Carpet-bomb Afghanistan? Send in Delta Force for a surgical strike ostensibly to remove Usama bin Laden? How do they expect to locate him and his current camp without decent human intelligence? Does that matter to them? Is he still in Afghanistan or did he join the line of refugees? Will they decide that it was people from Iraq? (Good possibility, Saddam Hussein might just be getting tired of our near-daily bombing of Iraq.) So, more bombings of Iraq? Syria? Libya? Whatever they do, no matter how good the intelligence and how well planned the operation, there are bound to be many civilian casualties. And this will only fuel more terrorist attacks.

Perhaps they are planning a massive invasion of Afghanistan? Before or after the snows begin? Any plans for avoiding the several million land mines left over from the 1979-1989 war? How many US soldiers and marines are they prepared to sacrifice in such a venture? As many as in the VietnamWar? As many as the Russians lost in their ill-fated invasion? Or as many as the British lost in their two fruitless wars against Afghanistan? (See Afghan Chronology.)

5. And what's with this proliferation of American flags? Are the wavers expressing their grief over the loss of life on 9-11 and their concern for the survivors of the dead? Or are they saying that they are behind Bush II no matter what he does to avenge Black Tuesday? Because it feels more like the latter I am not flying a flag (unless it is the UN flag). And this does not mean that I am not just as angry or do not grieve as much as any at what happened ten days ago.

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This site was last changed November 28, 2001. It was created on March 20, 1997.

© Janette Rainwater 1997-2001

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