Aquarian Weekly 9/19/01 REALITY CHECK


The gaping wound smoldering from the southern tip of Manhattan, that was once the center of international commerce, a symbol for the influence of free market capitalism and the global power of democracy, is a testament to the transparent safety of this nation. America, as a verbal and metaphoric target of Arab nations and rogue Islamic factions, has now truly become a bloody reality amid the carnage and death, where once stood two of the word’s largest edifices in its greatest city.

Pearl Harbor?

Far worse. For the first time since 1812, there was a foreign attack on the mainland of the United States. This time it was an invisible enemy infiltrating airports, federal institutions, hijacking airplanes and confusing covert intelligence, air traffic control, law enforcement and the entirety of the US government.

In its wake is the fear of vulnerability. Something we have always believed was the worry of those poor people “over there”; Russia, China, Korea, Israel, Kuwait, Serbia, et al.

It was a fear I experienced minutes after both towers of the World Trade Center toppled into the streets of lower New York, while tooling up Route 17 to the apex of a hill in Ramsey, NJ; the skyline of Manhattan covered in an ominous billow of creeping soot. Right across the river, in the city I grew up in, mere blocks from where I was born. Not across the globe, but across the street. Friends, acquaintances and family in ground zero of a war zone.

Pearl Harbor was a military installation in the Far East, breathing down the neck of an Axis Power. The World Trade Center is downtown, where I was a few days before, having a drink on McDougal Street, as I’d done hundreds of times; taking in the hypnotizing lights of the mighty buildings.

They are now gone, and with them, thousands of innocent lives. American lives. New Yorkers. Not Libyans, Palestinians, Serbians or Vietnamese, but people very much like myself, saying good-bye to their spouses and children that fateful morning. Before long they were reduced to suicidal jumpers or a gruesome part of the charred ruin.

Before the counting is done, the horrific numbers will dwarf Pearl Harbor, the Titanic, and even the most soldiers lost in the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

Two hundred and twenty-five years of this republic cannot offer a tragedy to equal one of this magnitude.

It is abundantly clear the United States was not prepared for it. Despite video threats and Internet notes from the underground al-Jihad, Hizballah, Abu Sayyaf etc., and a decade of attacks on embassies, battle ships and spy planes bankrolled by billionaire terrorist point-man, Usama Bin Laden to the contrary.

Two hundred and twenty-five years of this republic cannot offer a tragedy to equal one of this magnitude.

Car bombs, loons with submachine guns, maybe. But a highly strategic, sophisticated attack on the nation’s largest city and its military epicenter on domestic, commercial airlines with plastic box-cutters and US pilot licenses?

How could this happen here?

The Central Intelligence Agency has not been the same for the past thirty years plus. For whatever economic, political or legal reasons you subscribe, the manpower has been woefully low and the tools, although modern and state-of-the-art, has failed time and again to avoid dangers previously thwarted. Certainly the continued presence of a Saddam Hussien in the Middle East speaks volumes on this sad fact.

Airport security, despite being annoying to many travelers, has been deemed lax by recent media investigations and FBI reports over the past few years. Understaffed? Pressured to cutback to keep prices competitive? Either way, they remain a gateway to danger and a key suspect in this momentous war crime.

A myriad of reasons from police presence to security surveillance to military awareness have been and will be dissected for hours, days and years. But the main reason our lives have been thrown in sunder and threatened within our borders may well be simple apathy.

The signs have been there. The hatred of America abroad is palpable, especially in the Middle East, where the fanatical religious fervor is off the charts. Perhaps the fat and happy among us chose to think this country too big and bold, untouchable in every sense of the word.

There is plenty of blame, but it doesn’t tell the full story.

When the bodies have been counted, the rubble swept away, and the memorials echo into history, much of the backbone of this penultimate terrorist attack will bare out.

We will shudder when we find out that many American insiders and Fundamentalist Muslim sympathizers were on Bin Laden’s payroll; trained pilots, crew members, employees, even citizens boarding those planes. We will marvel at the planning, money, government spies and US intelligence leaks over years of compilation that lent itself to this atrocity on our land.

And we will see hour after hour of footage of those airplanes crashing through those buildings. We will see and hear more terrifying stories of an American city turned into the set of some outlandish Godzilla movie. Beirut in the summertime, Judgment Day ten times over. Chelsea Piers turned into a morgue, St. Vincent’s hospital a veritable triage.

Throughout this difficult time there will be a great deal of macho loon-speak about bombing innocents on every continent available, nuclear holocaust and wiping out the towel-heads. Thankfully, they have nothing to do with whispering to the president, who as of this writing has come off as a man doing a great deal of listening.

George W. Bush’s robotic speech to a nation, wondering where the hell he’d been for nearly ten hours of the crisis, is a strong clue that many educated, level-headed types know exactly what balls have been dropped in these months of national slumber.

The right people know where and who and why and how. And now perhaps in the shadow of this incredulous doom they will be allowed to go where they need to go and pay whom they have to pay and grease all the right dupes who need to be protected from the anger of this nation. And you can bet they will sing like the proverbial canary, and the number of names and their affiliating states will be stupefying.

Already we hear from them, condemning these acts, giving blood, sending resources, and begging to be on board against the evil menace called terrorism. Their protests are just a little too loud. Their press conferences a tad too staged. And it will be all in the name of self-preservation, because they will all be guilty and they certainly will all pay in one way or the other.

If this country wants its people to continue to give billions of its earnings to rebuilding and aiding and protecting everyone everywhere, we must demand restitution now. Everything on this globe worth a shit outside of Russia and China has the smell of American money, technology, science and know-how on it.

It is time we get some interest back and get these countries, all of these countries, to start handing over every known terrorist suspect for the past thirty years, their affiliates and their money sources.

Bombing cities and showing off military power might be comforting to angry emotions, but pales in the face of true, methodical eradication of the disease that threatens the free world. But, alas, the greatest threat is hatred. And hatred will never cease.

But freedom must not be curtailed as a result. So we will all be a potential victim, because freedom is worth it.

There is, and never will be, a completely safe haven from hatred when you stroll the streets of gold in the best example of collective humanity any nation or philosophy has imagined.

At nearly 9 am on a sunny Tuesday morning we were finally awakened to that fact.

Now, what do we do about it?

Next Week Part II – Enemies of Reason or The God Bullshit Must Cease

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