Like December 7th, 1941, this is another day which will live in infamy.
Let us examine the lessons we can learn from the day's bitter, bitter events.  We learned:
that nothing in our country is "too hardened a target",
not even The Pentagon.
The management of WTC has spent over the past several years
more than $50 million to make the buildings terrorist-proof.
That money is now a layer of dust,
in some places two feet thick,
on the streets of New York City.
that all the fuss we have been subjected to at airports across the country for the past 20-some-odd years amounts to nothing.  It's all bullshit.  You and your friends can hijack four transcontinental flights on the same morning...  probably within the same hour...  if you're willing to die for it.
There were no federal marshalls on any of those four flights,
Nor were any employees of the 37 federal agencies
(including HUD, FDA, and EPA)
who are permitted to retain their firearms aboard;
or they weren't carrying;
or they were too scared to face someone who might hurt them.
Those of us who would stand up to terrorists
are prevented from doing so...
and it's going to get worse (if that's indeed possible).
That is: the
bullshit is going to get deeper.
that the only response our government can make,
like slamming the barn door, is to vow retaliation.
As if those who did this care...
Besides, we're much more likely to bomb the wrong people
thus getting one more group pissed off at us.
Maybe we'll get them so pissed off that
they're willing to die
so our newspapers can put out another EXTRA.
There is only one way to protect yourself from terrorists: don't invite attacks.
Over two hundred years ago George Washington warned us in his Farewell Address to avoid entangling alliances.  Instead, we
support repressive regimes (like the Shah of Iran) because they're "friendly to our interests" (whatever that means);
train foreign military units (like the Nicaraguans) in the best methods of beating confessions out of suspects;
spray Mexican and Colombian croplands with Round-Up because there's marijuana growing among the corn;
bomb Serb radio stations because they're not protected by the 1st Amendment;
embargo food and medicine to those awful Iraqis.
Then we wonder why someone would like to see the WTC and the Pentagon, the two most prominent symbols of our money and power, in rubble!  Go figure!
And don't think for an instant that it's not all a matter of money and power.  The government collects your taxes and uses it to implement its 'foreign policy'.  If you think that money is going to the wrong place, that's tough because you don't determine foreign policy.
Tuesday was less an "act of war" than a retaliatory strike.  The image of the bully swaggering down the street punching kids at random...  that's us.  We meddle in everybody's business, but it's OK because we're the strongest nation on Earth.
No.... it's not OK.
Foreign Aid is an excellent method for transferring money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
Foreign aid, if it comes directly from you to, say, Bosnian War Relief brings no influence-benefit to the U.S. government, but when the government collects taxes from you and then gives it to the Bosnian government for transfer to BWR (wink-wink, nudge-nudge), that's a different story.  And if you didn't want to contribute to BWR or the Bosnians for whatever reason, that's too damn bad -- get your checkbook out.  And it will be a bigger check because the bureaucrats in the U.S. and Bosnian governments are salaried.
And if you see the South Vietnamese peoples' stuggle as one worthy of your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor you might buy a ticket to Saigon (c. 1965) and sign up to help them in their struggle.  Of course ever since about 1913 doing so will forfeit your American citizenship...  because when Americans are going to die for some foreign dictator the U.S. gov't should get some benefit from it, don't you agree?  Well, it doesn't actually matter whether you agree or not.
Yes, there was once a time when "foreign aid" meant jars full of pennies, nickels and dimes arriving in Armenia and "military assistance" was the Lafayette Escadrille, but Washington DC got very little in the way of power as a return for American largesse or American courage, so they put a stop to it.  Now you don't get to choose what's worth sending money to or what's worth dying for.
Which is too bad, when you consider it deeply, because it's next-to-impossible to justify (to anyone's satisfaction) a terrorist bombing of another country for the actions of some of its citizens.
And that's why Tuesday was such a bad day.
The Heroes of Flight 93
Courage is not the absence of fear;  it is a decision that something else is more important than fear.
© Frank Clarke, 2001
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