11 September 2008

9/11 the next!

There’s enough maudlin, teary-eyed, chest-beating, posturing, hair-rending and teeth gnashing going on today over the events of September 11, 2001 without my adding to it. It was a horrible day which triggered devastatingly catastrophic changes in America from which we may never fully recover.

But, I’ve just got to tell you, I was not as surprised by it as some. McVeigh’s attack on sanity in Oklahoma City should have been sufficient for people to understand our vulnerability. News videos of IRA car bombs in London should have been sufficient for people to understand our vulnerability. Americans returning from tips abroad with tales of posters warning against unaccompanied packages in London subway stations should have been sufficient for people to understand our vulnerability.

Five days before the Iranian hostage crises I flew out of New York Kennedy on an El Al flight to Israel. I and the others were shepherded by Israeli officials to an isolated holding area at the airport and were questioned and scanned before being herded aboard a bus and driven far out on the fringe of the airport tarmac to board our plane. No jet way, no friendly flight attendants or nodding pilots greeted us as we boarded. Instead, unsmiling armed guards with Uzis oversaw our embarkation.

That was sufficient for me to understand our vulnerability.

So, of all the emotions coming from that day; and there are many; anger, fear, frustration, outrage, empathy and sympathy, pride at the courage of the police and fire, and ordinary people who stepped up, and a great sadness. But, I had no surprise or dismay. It had been coming. And it had been coming for a very long while. No. No one should have been surprised.

When you have a group of religious fanatics telling you that they wish you dead, you really ought to heed them—especially when they have repeatedly demonstrated the ability to fulfill their wishes throughout the world. When you have experts on global terrorism tell you over-and-over, year-in-and-year-out that those homicidal lunatics are looking for ways to bring it home to you, you really ought to heed them. And, when you see the rest of the world taking prudent precautions to alert and protect citizens and innocent people from these fanatics, well, you really, really ought to pay heed.

Now, I caution you not to be surprised when the next “hit” happens. It is only a matter of time, a matter of when and not of if. And, when it comes, once again it will be due to our ability to ignore the obvious and whistle our way through the graveyard. But, don’t take my word for it, go to the bi-partisan Partnership for A Secure America and see why they’ve given a grade of “C” to our government’s efforts since September 11, 2001 to protect us from Nuclear, Biological and Chemical weapons (WMD) in the hands of terrorists.

Now, a gentlemanly “C” might be sufficient to get you a credit for Western Civilization since 1920, but it hardly suffices for the government of a country already savaged and still targeted by religious psychopaths. We deserve better than this!

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