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January 20, 2006

The Fire Next Time...

My family and I live in New York City, home to the first Islamist bombing of the (late) World Trade Center as well as the site of "Ground Zero" of 9/11 fame. As such, I should be the last person on earth to want Al Queda to launch another (and hopefully limited) strike against "The Great Satan." Why should I wish for such a perverse thing? Because we Americans are too stupid and self-absorbed to comprehend that there are serious people out there in the world who want to kill us all.

It's too late and I am too tired to enumerate all the reasons for this pessimistic turn of mind, but allow me to quote from a fellow traveler (whom I have never met, but much admire) Gerard Van der Leun, who first posted this on the web in October 2003:

Playing for Time is Playing to Lose

Our enemies (many of whom have studied and lived or now live among us) know us better than we are prepared to know either them or ourselves. In order to reform, rearm and launch future attacks they depend upon our belief that we are effectively managing the "war on terror." At the same time they know that, absent any large attacks, we will grow weary with small but constant losses tallied daily by our "caring and sensitive" media. They depend upon us being lulled back into the state of slumber we enjoyed on September 10th. And we grant their wishes.

If they are as wise as they are ruthless, our enemies will continue with their strategies of constant attrition and small, distant attacks. They will, for the present, avoid large shocks to the nation in hopes that the ambitions of our political factions and the intellectual lassitude of our major media will result in the defeat of the present administration in the coming elections. The goal of this strategy is the expectation of a more somnambulant administration less invested in war and more inclined towards the failed policies of appeasement, negotiation and payoff.

Should that happen our present "war on terror" will become even softer. It will be supplanted by something resembling "a diplomatic initiative to ameliorate terrorism." In effect we shall find ourselves, as we have so often in the past under liberal guidance, trying to buy out way out of the "war on terror." Our error will be believing that we are dealing with extortionists rather than enemies. And the measure of our leaders’ cowardice will be how deeply they promote this belief and the false hope it engenders.

I urge you to read the rest of Mr. Van der Leun's essay as well as some other works along the same lines.

For the record, Gerard was a photographer living and working in NYC on 9/11. He was radicalized by the tragic carnage of that day and became a citizen journalist -- and principal author of the American Digest. He now lives and works in Seattle.

Finally, in the words of David Byrne:

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco,
this ain't no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey,
I ain't got time for that now

January 20, 2006 at 11:05 PM | Permalink


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