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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.