Archives

Categories

Analysis and Recommendations Following 11 September 2001 23 September 2001

I hope they don’t think that I did it. On 6 September, I executed a Last Will & Testament, liquidated my entire stock portfolio and left the country for a vacation. These were moves planned in advance and not based on any hunches about a terrorist attack. When my plane took off, I had an especially pretty view of the definitive skyline of Lower Manhattan; who could have thought it would be my last? When my cell phone rang at the Florence, Italy airport, I thought my mother was joking when she said both towers had fallen down; I was pissed that my ignorant bliss was being interrupted with a reality report. I didn’t begin to get briefed until I arrived in Prague that evening. Boy, was I glad to be sitting in Prague which I figured was a pretty safe place to be.

I returned to New York this past Sunday the 16th; my luggage has yet to arrive as it was caught in the complete breakdown of air transport as we know it. I saw the day to day tightening of the screws as I continued my trip, culminating in a 3 hour boarding of a Virgin Atlantic flight from London that involved virtual strip-searching of everyone about to board a sold-out 747 airliner desperate to return to – of all places – New York City.

I am to visit the Middle East beginning next Thursday and have decided to go ahead with the trip. My parents just flew to Hong Kong. Life goes on. Nevertheless, I am reviewing my insurance policies, making contingency plans to move my business and self to another city or country, and rate the probability of NBC (nuclear, biological or chemical) attack in New York City as 1:3 during the next 3-6 months. A Japanese wire service quoting senior US officials warns maybe today. Yesterday, a past co-worker who profoundly dislikes me telephoned to inquire whether or not the rumors of an attack on New York City for yesterday were credible and should she leave town for the weekend. Just a few weeks ago, our biggest worry was how many times would the temperature reach 90 degrees this summer so we could predict our electricity bills. Heck, I was scraping the bottom of the barrel and posting an article about the intrigues of butt wiping. The world hasn’t changed since then, but we have received a wake-up call from hell – the world beyond America which we had thought we could avoid.

When you arrive in the Big Apple today, you immediately see “Missing Person” signs posted. Lots of flags all across America; we look like Switzerland now. Capitalism abounds – people selling Osama bin Laden T-shirts and soon we will have the parodies on the radio. The Black Moslem group that spews forth hate messages on the corner near my office are off the streets – they would not be tolerated in the current environment. Comedians are not yet telling jokes freely and people are being real polite; cough on the street and people will say Bless You. Instead of asking where God was that morning, people are turning to Him for support. The American street is not arrogant today; it is feeling violated and vulnerable – the quest for revenge is tempered with the fear that the evildoers are anticipating it and will then raise terrorism to an even more destructive level.

The following article has two objectives – to provide some useful commentary as well as recommendations for the future. As usual, I will call it as I see it; because my audience is so varied, everyone will find something to agree with and something to be offensive. Unlike Mr. Bush, I don’t have to appeal to the lowest common denominator to keep a coalition together so I will stick to my form. Just over 3 years ago, I posted an article “Rethinking Foreign Policy” (World Issues: Archive section of the site) which was criticized as imperialist and arrogant but which has turned out to be quite accurate in detailing the scope and complexity of the issues facing us today. So I’m cool with myself.

SUMMARY OF IVAN’S ACTION ITEMS:

1. Get everyone on board to reaffirm the social contract which is our only true defense and to delegitimize the religious extremist ideology that has been ambivalently supported till now among grass root movements and states.
2. Solve problems such as the Palestinian issue to cause everyone to agree that such terrorism is not justified. Currently, too many people think that it is and there are important strategic benefits to be earned by all concerned by getting this side-show issue off the table now.
3. Develop a more dynamic foreign policy which is more morally consistent and inclusive of states in the region.
4. Redesign the whole system of airplane security to take account of flawed assumptions about human nature but understand that we cannot foolproof a system against a suicide freak.
5. Aggressively carry the war to the terrorists and their underwriters and restore deterrence by applying ultimate sanctions against them, their families and their fortunes. Keep the war focused on people rather than states and innocents but do not be overly restricted in the pursuit of sheltered evildoers and do not permit sovereignty to be a shield that protects them.

                                             ———————

The concept of security has always revolved around the human instinct to survive. We protect ourselves against those who want to harm us, but we assume that they themselves want to survive. We have never succeeded at protecting people from harming themselves which is the most important reason the war on drugs has always failed. No matter what the Israelis have tried, they have been unable to prevent the suicide bomber from achieving his goals. The sad truth is that we will never be able to prevent such types of attacks; the world survives on certain social covenants and one of them is that nobody should cross certain red lines. One such line has been crossed with this attack and we all pray that no one crosses the NBC line. It is absolutely necessary for the future of humankind that those who perpetrated this attack suffer real consequences. Otherwise, others will be tempted to do it again or to up the ante. Today, the US – tomorrow Saudi Arabia, England, Russia and Japan. Let no one think he is immune – the US thought so.

For several years I have warned that the true threat exists not from states but from rogues. Rogues do not carry the responsibilities that states do, have nothing to lose, are hard to target, and it is too easy to do this kind of stuff. The cost of the September 11 operation is estimated by the US Government at $200,000; less than 10% of the cost of a 30 second commercial at the Super Bowl. How many of those advertisements do you remember? There are so many people who dream of changing the world and buying influence – for $200,000 this syndicate has brought entire industries to their knees and disrupted the world as we know it. I don’t have to convince you that $200,000 in the scheme of things is chump change. And you thought it took a billionaire to do this kind of stuff…

Two things bother me based on everything I’ve read. (1) Assuming that the White House hasn’t invented this story to cover for Bush’s initial absence from Washington, the story that the Secret Service was phoned by terrorist operatives using code words that are supposed to only be known by those that move the President around is very troubling and reflects a breach of security at the highest levels of our government. For details, read William Safire’s column in the New York times several days after the bombing which lists several on-the-record sources. (2) There are persistent rumors that ordinary young people in Muslim communities inside the US had an inkling that serious incidents were going to take place in New York and in Washington on 11 September. It almost seems that this was an open joke; there are stories that people were dancing on rooftops in Brooklyn even before it became known that the bombings were not accidents. I’m sure no one had any idea of the severity of the planned attacks but it is troubling that nobody is talking about this now and that there is a sense that a climate of alienation exists within America that could tolerate and promote this. I don’t have firsthand knowledge about this but I would be more comfortable seeing these rumors dealt with rather than being swept under the rug in an attempt not to offend anyone. If there is truth to this, it is very serious and carries significant consequences. What is clear is that following the bombings, printed statements by Islamic leaders in the US were worded in such a way as to leave open the possibility that such attacks would not be terrorism if the victims were not innocent (which of course makes you wonder who is innocent and who isn’t). There are lots of people here who want to see more resolute condemnation of these deeds from Islamic leaders from an Islamic perspective and not just words meant to protect the Islamic community from retribution. I personally have seen statements from Moslem clerics that condemned the attacks; the Saudis have run full page ads quoting their senior imams. It would be a good idea for American Moslem communities to run similar ads that do not contain equivocal statements but instead clearly condemn the acts and also state that they are un-Islamic in character. However, what is needed is not for Americans at large to see this stuff – what is needed is for a massive re-education program within the Islamic community to delegitimize these kind of acts from an Islamic point of view.

Alliances & Attitudes – Everyone has to get off the fence and make it clear from a religious as well as social-contract perspective that these types of attacks are beyond the pale, no matter how severe or legitimate the grievance. The world cannot survive this kind of behavior. These attacks may have been the work of a fringe group but they took place in an environment of states and people on grass-roots levels that tolerated the idea of suicide and terrorist attacks and in fact gave tremendous moral and financial support to charities that fronted for this syndicate. States paid blackmail money to this syndicate and there are some very wealthy princes and sheikhs who have been funding these organizations. The vast network of fundraising in the West that goes on behind Mosque walls for these organizations is well documented. Orthodox Jews had to rethink religious issues after Yigal Amir assassinated Mr. Rabin; he was from a fringe movement but that movement found support in a climate of extremism that had taken hold in the community at large. Moslems need to do the same now; Al-Qaida does not exist in a vacuum. The US should do its part to increase propaganda broadcasts into these regions and to assist mainstream religious movements that will publicize religious edicts condemning this kind of behavior – baseless assertions such as “Not one Jew died in the World Trade Center bombing because they actually did the bombing” should not be allowed to stand unchallenged in this part of the world and, believe it or not, many people want to believe this. What the US must do is release a good chunk of evidence that proves it has a case against Bin Laden; it is more important to do this than to be concerned that doing so will compromise its sources and methods. The World demands proof and it is entitled to feel that it is not the victim of lies from the US Government in war mode.

The Israel-Palestinian Factor – Israel’s Foreign Ministry is rushing to tell the world that Bin Laden was planning this attack way before the Israelis came to Camp David to offer Arafat 95% of what he was asking for. Ergo, the attack would have happened even had Israel made a deal with Arafat, they say. After the attack, the Israelis thought the Americans would cozy up to the Israelis because they are both victims of terrorism. But they now find the Americans pressuring them to make nice-nice with Arafat because the Americans want Arafat, Syria and Iran on board their coalition and have let it be known they expect Israel to stay on the sidelines. This is leaving Jews around the world scratching their heads in total cynicism. Like the US is getting together with the heads of the world’s leading mafias to crack down on organized crime. The Israelis are particularly unhappy because they sense that the Americans will act against Saddam and the Israelis this time will be subject to NBC attacks from Iraq – I don’t expect restraint from Sharon; the Israelis still regret they sat the last war out, are going to pay double for their loss of deterrence last time, and are not likely to repeat that “mistake” again.

Problem is, this problem is very complicated and even though “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is what created Bin Laden in the first place (he was on the CIA payroll against Russia – just as Saddam Hussein was when the US was against Iran and the Israelis created Hamas as a counter against Arafat), the US has no choice but to work with the Arabs who know Bin Laden best in order to get rid of him because the US doesn’t have the capability of operating against him by itself. We simply have lousy intelligence in that part of the world and the Israelis cannot fill the demand. 

Problem is the Arabs are also quite cynical. Many mainstream people in the Moslem World which consists of over 1 billion people believe that Israel wouldn’t exist for 5 minutes if it weren’t for the American fighter planes, tear gas, guns and money that are all turned upon the Palestinians in an occupation that has lasted over 30 years and that is viewed as exceedingly unjust. The Americans didn’t mind the Afghanis, Saudis or Iraqis who brutalized or milked their own people until it somehow affected an American vital interest such as oil or home-front terror. Jews have convinced themselves that the Palestinian rejectionism is responsible for continued occupation and that too many of them are hell-bent on destroying Israel no matter what they agree to. Mainstream Palestinians and the rest of the Muslim World are convinced that the Israelis will never agree to permit Palestinians to realize meaningful aspirations under a 2-state solution.

The Israelis at this moment are lucky – Bin Laden has not yet come forth to demand anything. I still have no idea what the man actually wants. If he did demand that the Israelis do anything within the bounds of reasonable, the Israelis would be immediately forced by the US to agree to it because the US will not stick by Israel for 5 seconds once it has been threatened with domestic insecurity as the price for continued occupation by Israel over the Palestinians. The Israelis must come to realize that they are never going to be able to hold onto the entire pie and survive; they should take the opportunity to compromise before they are forced to do so.

The reality is that a compromise with the Palestinians will not stop the Bin Ladens of the world. However, Bin Laden does not operate in a vacuum. He feeds on the fact that a billion Muslims are angry that the US/Israel alliance oppresses Palestinian Arabs. The issue needs to be taken off the table because the conflict is serious enough as a moral issue in this part of the world that it enables too many people to justify his movements as a counterweight. Once this issue is off the table, then it must follow that Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya and the rest must go out of business because there is no longer any justifiable reason for these terrorist operations to exist. Otherwise, we continue to live in an environment in which the US is forced to partner up with nations that are now being asked to believe that terrorism against Israel is acceptable and terrorism against the US is unacceptable and Israel continues scratching its head from the sidelines. Maybe that’s what George Bush meant when he said Thursday night in his speech that terrorists “with global reach” must be put out of business. If you were Jewish, those added words were chilling.

I will be severely criticized for seeming to sacrifice Israel on the altar of expediency. I don’t see it that way; the US is not Israel and its interests do not always coincide. The US has an interest in preserving domestic security for its own citizens. It cannot afford to be in Israel’s pocket to its detriment. The Europeans understand this and therefore enjoy more quiet. Israel needs a strong US to survive as well. So do the Arabs; even enemies of the US such as Syria and Iran enjoy the benefits of a strong US. There are bigger fish to fry at this moment in history; the Israel-Palestinian conflict no longer has the luxury of inertia. American foreign policy needs to be freed from distraction to become more dynamic – Iran is a significant player that must be engaged and won over to the rest of the civilized world – it is unnatural that it has been isolated for 20 years. If necessary, we must take sides and go with Iran against Iraq even though we have been trying to contain both sides and fear the expansion of Iran. The Saudis will continue to pussyfoot with the US (ie: not allow full use of its air bases) until it becomes convinced that the US will not deal half-assed with the region’s problems and leave it hanging after it fails to act convincingly. The US record as you know is quite awful in this regard. If we do target Iraq, our first move must be to wipe out Saddam and his central command in one definitive ultimate strike. If he survives one hour, you can be sure there will be NBC attacks against Israel. Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Jordan and Palestine all drink the same water – those who dance on rooftops will soon die of thirst.

To those who resent and hate Israel, there is also a hypocrisy at work. Governments gave the fundamentalists carte blanche as long as they deflected their wrath upon Israel and away from the regimes. This has left common Arabs feeling they live with illegitimate regimes but that the only viable alternative is Islamic fundamentalism. Everyone knows that Israel has become a code word within these regimes for their own domestic governments. If you are a Palestinian elite, you may hate Arafat but you fear the fundamentalists even worse. Your future is bleak but it is the fruits of 50 years of setting up a bogeyman as a decoy to solving a real problem. Even if you hate Israel, you should see the common interest at this point in time in fighting the real enemy – Israel does not seek to usurp governments or to impose a lifestyle or to cause massive attacks against civilian populations around the world. 

If you’re Israel, what to do based on these recommendations? What I would do is as follows: Next time Arafat goes up in his plane to cross the Sea, shoot it down. Let the world think it was an accident – who will know? It will be amazing to find out how few people mourn him once he is gone from the scene; once he is devoid of money and power, we will see how few friends he has. Afterward announce a Protectorate of Palestine conforming roughly to 1967 borders under the governance of the UN or the EEC for 2 years until local elections can be held with local leaders and basic institutions and infrastructure can be put into place. Israel promises noninterference and also gives the Golan back to Syria in return for security guarantees. The Protectorate includes most of East Jerusalem and the Israelis issue a face-saving solution to get the Right of Return issue resolved – some sort of apology for dispossessing people and property in 1948, restitution fund and a limited amount of family reunification slots plus a lottery. The point here is that the Israelis (and the Americans) cannot keep a straight face dealing with Arafat and the Palestinians will never get anywhere as long as Arafat is their man. So get rid of him as long as we are clearing the decks and give the Palestinians a decent chance to get a running start.

Home-Front Security – Let’s talk about airplanes first and foremost since we are now all such big experts on the subject and it seems most compelling. The current situation is a joke. There are 20 marshals in the entire federal program. There are 40,000 flights a day in the US. If you want to cover all flights with 2 marshals (you need at least 2 to have a fair fight against a team of 4-5 hijackers) you need at least 100,000 marshals and the only entity that can manufacture 100,000 qualified people in a jiffy at an affordable rate is the Army. So we create a division and call for volunteers to start enlisting. Meanwhile, start sensitizing passengers to methods of countering hijackers (ie: throw anything you’ve got at them, get a blanket over their face and keep them down on the floor).

The whole concept about airport security is flawed. The current objective is to create a zone of security around the airport; the objective should be to create a zone of security around the plane. As it stands, we don’t scrutinize people at the entrance to the plane after they have had numerous opportunities to make the round of the airport and acquire things past the security checkpoint. In the 2 weeks following the attacks, airport security has not become any tighter beyond cosmetics.

1. You know by now that the cockpits need to be locked (only the Israelis do this) and that certain practices such as pilots “hopping flights” in cockpit jump seats need to be stopped. It is too easy to impersonate a pilot and wind up in someone else’s cockpit. It is too easy to sneak into an airport’s restricted zone and to smuggle something aboard an aircraft. Checking baggage and being screened should move to the gate. It should be easy to get to the gate and harder to get on the plane. Passengers should match bags at the gate and be searched. Carry-on luggage should be checked separately at the gate and put on the plane in a special compartment that may be accessed only once the plane arrives at the arrival gate; that way people could be assured of not losing their carry-on luggage. Only the bare essentials should be taken aboard the passenger area of a plane.

2. Despite the fact that British security went overboard with my London-Newark flight and that the world will never tolerate 3 hour boarding times for a flight which then lasts 8 hours (we all felt like convicts), it took me all of 5 minutes to figure out how to bypass the security check. They don’t check your shoes. There is a huge shopping mall at Gatwick after the security checkpoint. Several stores sell shoes. Have a worker get a job at the Timberland store; manufacture some shoes with false bottoms and put guns inside them. Hijackers “purchase the shoes” and go on board the plane with them. Meanwhile, the fella at the store can be on a train halfway to Bulgaria by the time the deed is done.

3. Understand that even a nylon cord is an effective weapon on board a plane and that it won’t show up on a scanner or even a strip search if it is effectively camouflaged in hand luggage. Inspectors give women an easier time and a good terrorist will bring along a lady to hide something inside her boobs. Or a guy will hide something in his crotch area which is where inspectors don’t dare to go. The fellow who appears old and handicapped might be wearing a mask and may carry a weapon inside his cane or wheel chair. Airlines and airport restaurants give out cutlery – don’t assume that terrorists don’t purchase first class tickets (after all, they are closest to the cockpit). The point of this paragraph – it is almost impossible to foil the determined terrorist, especially the one who wants to kill himself. All the questions people are asked at check-in (ie: did you pack the bag yourself) are a farce if the person answering them is prepared to die.

4. Do we really care about the identity of the terrorist? If he is willing to kill himself, it is not terribly interesting to know about who he was once he is dead. We only care about verifying identities if we can immediately know who the person is and match that person up to a data base (which is going to be useless if the fellow is a sleeper agent who has been dormant for years). The only method that will work with reliability is some sort of biometric scan such as an eye scan. This is expensive but would be useful for certifying frequent flyers who would benefit by being able to essentially pre-clear security checks with an expedited identity check.

5. Expect a bigger trend toward creating small airlines for corporate travel with restrictions as to who may fly on their planes. Or for more flyers to bring along security agents on board. If I could afford it or felt it would be useful, I would start flying with a team of bodyguards or take hand-to-hand combat training myself. My personal impulse is to charge the hijacker; we’re going to die anyway so why go like a lamb to the slaughter?

6. Allow gate agents wide discretion to go on their gut and profile people. There is no substitute for human intuition. Mistakes will be made but x-ray machines and bored scanners will make more with worse consequences. Fact is, profiling is going to become common and either Arab-Americans shoot down this movement from within with decisive public actions or be prepared to see their loyalty questioned. It may be unfair but humans are only human and right now many humans here are scared. Overall, Arabs in America are going to pay a price for this deed; they will all be suspect. The hijackers worked out in the local gym, smiled for their ID photos, left their garage doors open and blended in. Today’s New York Times reports that 11,000 people graduated terrorist camps in Afghanistan and that several thousand “sleeper” agents are scattered around the US, attending universities and doing their jobs, just waiting for some phone call in a few years time to go and do something terrible. I wouldn’t like to be an Arab in the US today.

7. Remember there are many 747’s in the air without passengers. There is UPS, Fedex, and air cargo. There is hardly any security in this entire sector. What about planes flown in from Mexico or Canada or a MIG fighter from Russia? Trains, water and electricity grids, nuclear power plants – all are vulnerable. At the least, I think the proposed Airbus 380 (the flying city) is probably history.

8. Airplanes should use technology now available and transit cockpit conversations live to a ground facility for real-time monitoring. Likewise, cameras should be transmitting a live feed of passenger cabins. Pilots should be able to monitor this. There should also be remote controlled weapons hidden in the cabin that can only be operated by the pilot or the FAA to immobilize troublemakers (ie: a laser aimed at places where hijackers tend to stand).

9. Perhaps what we need aboard all flights is not sky marshals but respected Islamic clerics? Presumably, they don’t want to die and terrorists don’t want to kill them.

CARRY THE WAR TO THE TERRORISTS– If this is war, then let’s have a real war. End the ban on assassinations; our enemies do not deserve this kind of immunity. Increase wiretap surveillance. If you are not guilty, you have nothing to hide. I agree this is not about a witchhunt against Mr. Bin Laden (we understand the folly of knocking off one man to have 10 others take his place); on the other hand, I do not feel an obligation to put 500,000 American lives at risk overseas to hunt down this man if there are easier though messier ways of getting rid of him, and it is a given that this man must be eliminated. If Afghanistan Taliban wants to shelter him, either all Afghanis rise up and find Mr. Bin Laden and get rid of him themselves or be prepared to suffer the consequences of showing him hospitality. What this means is that I want to target individuals but I am not going to be deterred by the possibility of innocents being caught in the cross-fire; we simply can’t be that fussy. Surgical pin-point strikes just don’t exist in the real world and we should stop pretending that they do.

It is essential that evildoers realize that they and their families will be killed and that their fortunes will be lost. Even if one wants to die, he usually does not want his family to die or his money to go to waste. Even these supposedly religious fanatics found their way to Las Vegas to drink and gamble just before getting on these planes. If I am running the show, it means that a Saudi prince who is bankrolling Bin Laden finds his palace bombed away, his entire family killed and all his bank accounts frozen. Even if we have to bomb that palace in Saudi Arabia or the Emirates. We must go after the source and disregard the sovereignty of the nation that tolerates the existence of the person because it has already demonstrated its failure to shut down that source ultimately because they are afraid to do so. Deterrence will not be achieved by arresting and jailing these people – they and aspiring copycats must die terrible deaths and see their families and fortunes disappear.

I don’t want to bring these people to justice – it only costs more money and invites revenge attacks to try and “free” the person being held. It also invites the world to require near certainty to convict and this has become a luxury that is mocking the system of justice as we know it. Witness Mr. Milosevic or the Taliban demanding proof of Mr. Bin Laden’s deeds. Yes, if I am running the show it means that American lives are more valuable than anybody else’s lives; I am not going to put American lives at risk just to minimize the harm to the enemy. If the Saudis don’t like us bombing the palaces of their bad-ass princes or taking over the air fields we built if they won’t let us use them, then let them clean up their act or step aside temporarily. If necessary, we take part of it over – which wouldn’t be exactly an inconvenient thing to do. One consequence of this episode will be more US bases abroad that are controlled by the US – it is ridiculous to be begging around the world for rights to house troops and stage operations when we are ultimately protecting our hosts as much as we are protecting ourselves. Considering that we prop up that country, I find it infuriating that we give them as much deference as we do. We remember and resent their lack of cooperation in investigating the terrorist attacks against US personnel and facilities in Saudi Arabia by Bin Laden operatives a few years ago. We remember and resent their humiliating restrictions on the religious practices of US soldiers during the Gulf War who were there, after all, after the Kingdom was attacked by its neighbor when our people were not in the Kingdom. The fact that we do prop up the Saudi regime invites almost as much hatred for the US as does our support of Israel – the Saudis are quite dispensable. The meaning of this paragraph is that just as the US is about to give Israel a rough time, the Saudis had also be on notice to either get with the program or also be prepared for a rough ride ahead. I will be severely criticized for this section but remember one thing – America is not interested in the domestic affairs of Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden wants to overthrow the Saudi government.

I understand that we don’t want friendly regimes to fall in places such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. However, we should consider whether or not we ought to be propping up regimes that are considered highly illegitimate to their own people. It is an important reason the Bin Ladens exist and receive moral support from the Moslem World. Perhaps it is better to drop the charade and simply stake out territory to defend our vital interests rather than hide behind fraternal governments which reeks of hypocrisy.

Governments that don’t cooperate with us should be boycotted as far as air traffic and business relations. Cancel visas for people who support terrorism. 

Let me make it clear – If the US is bombing bases and countries, I will not take it seriously. When I hear that people are getting knocked off, I will take it seriously. I don’t want a new generation of Iranians to have cause to hate America; I don’t want ordinary Iraqis to continue suffering for the sake of Saddam. 

People must understand this is not a war against Islam. The US has, in this century, backed Moslems against Christians (ie: Serbia) and it is wrong to assume the US is locked in a Judeo-Christian conspiracy against the Moslem world. I personally have no reason to dislike the Koran or the Moslem religion. However, if the situation escalates and Islamic extremists escalate to NBC attacks, it will be necessary to hold Islamic holy sites around the world hostage to the escalation and to make it clear to the terrorists that the entire Islamic heritage on the planet risks extinction should the attacks continue. It may be the only deterrence left. This is the most important reason for Moslems around the world to unite now decisively to delegitimize the Bin Ladens of the world. If we don’t act now, the situation may become desperate and it is not hard to figure out the points of leverage that will be the points of ultimate reckoning. It will only take one NBC attack to throw America into a panic and I can assure you that no one anywhere in the world will go to sleep that night or any night in the future being as sure he will wake up the next morning.

As I said at the start, let no one think he is immune or that restraint and appeasement is the ultimate virtue. There is an important story about World War II that bears repeating. A priest said: First they went after the Jews but because I wasn’t Jewish I didn’t object. Then they went after the gypsies. And so on. By the time they got to me, there was no one else to object. 

Americans have been shocked into spurning liberal notions of moral equivalency that seemed fashionable until last week when the alternatives were abstract and we had the luxury of being holier than thou, at least with regard to the Israeli response to terrorism and glorifying those who opposed democratically elected governments. The New York Times Magazine of 2 weeks ago had a cover story glorifying domestic terrorists from the 70’s; that kind of story will not appear for the next 20 years. 

Today my writing looks hysterical; in 6 months it might be reality. It may already be too late. I am now going to my office to catch up on some work. My office is 2 blocks away from the Empire State Building. I ride the subway. I pass underneath Times Square — the devil’s headquarters for followers of Bin Laden and presumably Ground Zero for a future attack. Recklessly, I took my visitors today to the rooftop restaurant at the Marriott in Times Square but had the creeps looking out the window for stray airplanes. We left after 5 minutes. I have no idea if I will get there or come back when I go to work tomorrow. This is no way to live. So, tell me, do I want to move to Switzerland or Australia?

Our planet is a once-in-a-universe phenomenon as far as we know, and yet it is fragile. It enables us to live due to a delicate balance. Our society has, after thousands of years, moved forward at hyper-speed. And yet, some primative people using modern and open society’s facilities would have it all end tomorrow. Is this God’s plan? It is meant to force all of the civilized world together against the radicals? Is it the coming of the Messiah when we realize our political and religious differences are petty against real threats to our common existence? I do not see a silver lining in these clouds but I hope there is one;  we are clearly entering a dimension we never before encountered — a situation in which humankind is threatened by a Frankenstein it created and against which it cannot ultimately protect itself.

hd seks filmleri hd hd film izle online film izle