Conceding the enemy's argument - shame

ermadog at freenet.edmonton.ab.ca ermadog at freenet.edmonton.ab.ca
Fri Sep 14 00:04:43 MDT 2001



This whole "Bush was a target, too" scenario came about in response to
criticism of the fact that Bush "went into hiding" for several hours on
Tuesday, as his handlers flew him aimlessly about the country. This was
interpreted as an act of cowardice on his part by some pundits during this
period. In Canada, this behaviour was contrasted with Pierre Trudeau
standing up to rock throwers and to Jean Chretien choking a protester.

I'm not too sure about your entire "conspiracy", except to agree that it
is plausible. Late Tuesday, I reported on the coverage I'd been watching.
The BBC commentary was pretty unanimous in suggesting that the US must
have known about the attack beforehand, because the scale of the
opperation could not have gone undetected by US intelligence. The
speculation at that time was that the US was going to go to war against
"all who harbour terrorists", in other words the entire US hit list of
Arab countries. Today, the focus is on Afghanistan by way of Pakistan.
There are several referrences to the fact that Afghanistan defeated the
British Empire in the 19th C and the Soviet Union in the 20th C. The
prediction is that the war will be long and protracted, primarily because
this will be a land war in a mountainous and landlocked country. These two
points are being repeated on the Charlie Rose programme on pbs.

CBC has continued interviewing Peter St. John, the Canadian airline
security expert who stated Tuesday that this operation could not have been
carried out without co-operation from high levels of state - it's not just
lax security. He also stated that warnings had been issued in Europe on
Friday.

Today, a few American voices in the airline security business have been
asking questions about this massive failure on the part of the US
intelligence community.

Scott Taylor, from Esprit de Corp, has said that Tuesday's events would
have required 1,000 men and taken 5 years to plan. He points out that the
planners needed lots of detailed knowledge - flight schedules, fuel
amounts on board, structural knowledge of the buildings, how to fly in to
the Pentagon without being detected - and doubts that Mr. Bin Laden could
have gone undetected long enough to have planned this. My question is: how
could they have been sure that the deviations from the registered flight
plan would not take them into the paths of other planes? Also, how did
these deviations go unnoticed after the first plane hit?

Regardless of whodunnit, it was obvious to me right from the start that
the American representatives of state were beating the drums of war for a
reason. The referrences to Pearl Harbour were not accidental. That attack
was also not unexpected and it, too, led to American participation in a
major, world war.

The war hyperbole was pretty nauseating to watch - "unprecedented",
"unimaginable", "unthinkable" - give me a break! I've seen buildings blow
up before. Sept. 11 is the anniversary of the coup in Chile in 1973, which
provided us with coverage of the Chilean presidential palace being blown
up by US supplied planes. In the first few days of that event, 30,000
people disappeared.

The Dresden firestorm was unprecedented, the bombing of Hiroshima/Nagasaki
was unprecedented, the carpet bombing of South Vietnam was unprecedented.
The only thing unprecedented in the WTC attack was the amount of masonry
that collapsed - oh, yes, and the fact that the war had finally come home
to the US.

The coverage on Tuesday followed a classic war atrocity pattern. The first
coverage was as dramatic as possible, and it is first impressions that
count. My brother had been under the impression that 150,000 people had
(possibly) been killed. By the time I tuned in, it was being stated that
the buildings usually contained 50,000. As soon as I realized that the
buildings had remained standing for 90 minutes before collapse, I realized
that many people must have evacuated in that time. That fact was not even
addressed until late in the afternoon, and then some expert claimed it
would take three hours to evacuate a building that size. Eventually, late
at night, it was suggested that the death toll might be 10,000. Today,
three days later, a tentative missing list is suggested to be 5,000.

Yesterday, the Ryan Clark interview showed that he had time to walk all
the way down from the 84th floor, taking time to rescue someone, reassure
an injured person, break into a law office and phone both home and the
authorities, and argue with others about whether to go up or down. This
was all after he had stayed working at his desk for some time because his
company told him not to worry. During his descent, he met no one and had
the impression that the lower floors had all been evacuated by then.

The most significant thing to come out of this, in my opinion, is the
re-unification of Europe around the NATO alliance. That, and the fact that
Bush is receiving war powers from Congress, means Bush can do whatever he
wants, whenever, he wants, to whomever he wants. For the past two years,
Europeans have been making noises about raising their own armed forces as
a counter to NATO. Since the bombing of Yugoslavia, some Europeans had
begun to recognize that Bush could send his bully-boys *anywhere* in
Europe, not just the Balkans. Now this mild dissension is at an end.

As one BBC commentator has said, this will be a war of the haves against
the have-nots.

Joan Cameron

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