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9/11 Thoughts

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Driving home from the golf curse (I mean course) today, I was listening to one of the tongue jockeys on a Chicago talk station by the name of Roe Conn. He’s conservative, but not really pushy about it like some Hannitys I could mention.

This being 9/11, he was talking about how on the day five years ago, after the towers had fallen, he drove to work at the station in downtown Chicago and looking at the Sears Tower, wondered if that was the last time he would ever see that landmark.

I was living in the suburbs of Chicago then and could in fact see the Sears Tower from near my home. I heard people speculating about whether the Tower was a target but my gut told me that it was not or at least that it would not be successfully attacked in the near future. I mention this not to brag about my superior analytical and predictive powers (though they are formidable) but to raise questions about how people in the U.S. reacted to the 9/11 attacks.

The reason I thought the Tower was safe at the time was that I did not think that those who had attacked the WTC would be able to duplicate that feat without a considerable period of preparation. I had no special knowledge about terrorists or fourth generation warfare, but my commonsense told me that there would be no further attacks for awhile.

Bill Maher posits that they have not attacked again because they are reloading. He was playing for laughs when he said that but with most satirists and some comedians, there is truth in their jesting.

I also remember people talking about how afraid they were, a fear which Bush and Rove have shamelessly exploited. For reasons not clear even to myself, I simply could not talk myself into being afraid.

The President and many, many others are, I assume, correct when they say there will be another attack. But I and, along with I assume almost everybody else, have no idea where, when or how the next attack will take place. So I don’t lose any sleep over it, because I have no such specific knowledge and because this coming catastrophe is completely beyond my control.

Furthermore, even if thousands of innocents are once again murdered, there is a very low probability that I or you or you or you or any particular individual will be a victim of the attack. Which seems to me to be an argument in favour of not overreacting to the possibility of a future attack.

I am not here discussing strategies for countering terrorism. I mean that civilian Americans and others who might be targeted should consider the likelihood of a future terrorist attack as an opportunity for risk management. Of course we should do all we can to neutralize and avoid the risk, but in the end we are wise to accept that something bad could happen at some point in the future and carry on. Like Londoners in the blitz, except that things are not nearly as dire for us today as they were back then.

But Bush and his posse continue to try and frighten us into voting Republican.

Senator McCain was on Hardball today talking about the many wars we are now engaged in. When Chris Matthews stopped yapping to take a breath, McCain said he thought that in a democracy everybody should contribute to the war effort (I am paraphrasing, faithfully I hope). He was specifically talking about how with a volunteer army, very few Americans actually serve in uniform.

I said to myself, “Well, that’s a fine idea, everyone contributing, but to what would we be contributing?” The theory was that everyone (all males of a certain age anyway) were supposed to contribute to the effort in Vietnam. You may have heard that one way or anther many refused.

If we are to continue to fight Imperial wars, like In Iraq, then count me out. If we decide to use military force only as a last resort, and if it becomes a national goal to commit to ending the institution of war the same way slavery was ended, and if there is a non-military service option, then let there be democratic contributions to the effort from all.

Written by slothropia

September 11th, 2006 at 11:08 pm

Posted in 9/11,Terrorism