Thursday, September 11, 2003

What Happened?: Certainly the morning of 9/11/01 was one of those "Where were you when...?" incidents, a la JFK/MLK/RFK being shot; Challenger exploding; Berlin Wall tumbling. I was listening to Howard Stern in a waiting car, on the way to a deposition. The partner from my firm was dropping off something inside. Stern mentioned that a plane had hit one of the towers. "Huh.." I thought "how strange. How could you just run into it?" At the time I figured it was a small plane and the pilot had a heart attack or something. Then the partner came back to the car (he is a two-star admiral in the Navy Reserve, by the way). "Another plane just hit. It's war."

Thinking back, it sure felt like war that day - or what I supposed war to be in the macro sense (since I was hardly on the front lines and I've never been a soldier). I also know the partner didn't mean "war" in the Western Front sense, but war as we've come to understand it these past decades - concentrated, forceful attacks; not sustained campaigns.

But since it all happened, and through the prism of time, I've come to conclude that what happened that day was really more of a police action - or the failure of one. It was about security, not war. I know the two are often intertwined, but think about it. We invaded a country, Afghanistan, over what was done mostly by a tiny group of (mostly) Saudis. This small group of individuals took over some planes and crashed them. It wasn't war. It was massive, horrible and completely unjustified, but it wasn't war. If our security forces (i.e. customs, FBI, CIA, police, etc.) had done their job, these guys wouldn't have probably gotten on board.

Now I'm pleased as punch, tickled pink, that Saddam and Al Qaeda are on the run. I'll shed no tears for their deaths, and I don't think anyone lied to me in order for me to support the battles that have been fought. However when viewed from a historical/intellectual perspective, the actions which we took based on what occurred, are unprecedented. Said another way, when Oklahoma City happened, we put two men on trial. We didn't raid "separatist" camps; we didn't round up all white males who were disgruntled. Their actions were as "political" as those scum bags on the planes. You don't think there were thousands of people in this country who were happy, maybe even supportive of the carnage; how two men "got back at" the Federal Government?

Nothing I'm saying denigrates the memories of those who fell. What I'm proposing is that while we all felt good over what W did in response, it should not be our response any time a crime is committed against our people by someone foreign. Stated another way, calling a crime "terrorism" is not justification enough. Okay, let the beatings begin...

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