Wall Street warmonger
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Sep 23 12:41:43 MDT 2002
(James J. Cramer was with Goldman-Sachs in the 1990s and eventually
launched his own firm. He became an icon of the now deflated bull market
and still urges people to buy stocks on his website www.street.com and on
his Bloomberg Radio show every night.)
New York Magazine, Sept. 23, 2002
Wall Street hasn't gotten over last year's attacks the way some uptown
editorial writers have, which explains market jitters about war in Iraq --
traders worry there won't be one.
By James J. Cramer
If, on September 11, the New York Times had been located where the Wall
Street Journal was, instead of safely ensconced in Times Square, the world
would be a safer place today. If some of those editors had been downtown
with us, wondering where the Air Force was, fearing that tons of falling
steel would catch a gust of wind and crush us, or sloshing through four
inches of what we thought was gray slush, then maybe they wouldn't be so
timid about avenging those who perished, nor as worried as we are about the
future of civilization.
Don't for a minute think that the terrible stock market we're having is a
reflection of war fears. Just the opposite. Wall Street wants to know when
our nation will take firm action against our enemies, and until it happens,
we want to be sellers, not buyers, because we fear the appeasers may give
terror the edge. We take the government at face value, we think that there
will be another attack, and we want action before it occurs. They have
struck down here twice already, in 1993 and 2001, and they will be back
unless we kill them first.
Downtown, we implicitly trust our leaders these days; we like their
strength and their determination. We don't look upon the generals as a
bunch of kooky Sterling Haydens shooting up Coke machines in Dr.
Strangelove. We think they get the job done. The Army, Navy, Air Force, and
Marines have a rigor and an ethic that puts Wall Street to shame.
Most of all, though, we recognize that the enemy's goal isn't to convert us
or better their own people or see the caliphate restored: They just want us
dead. We don't get what the Times' editorial writers are thinking. Did they
skip that chapter about Churchill and German rearmament? Did they miss the
class titled "Peace in Our Time?" Do they need a sports section to know
that the Devil now has a home team, and it's 10?
If we wimp out now against Iraq, you can expect this anemic market to keep
trending down. The traders don't want things to stop with Baghdad. We don't
know why Saudi Arabia is still treated as a friend, or why we don't just
take over the oil fields as punishment for what their people did. With no
Soviet Union to back them up, some down here wonder, what the heck we are
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