Unorganized thoughts regarding the events in New York:
(1) We lost. Our moral posturing about our degradation is merely embarrassing. We have been made fools of, expertly and calculatedly, in the greatest military defeat the country has suffered since we fled from Viet Nam. The Moslem world is laughing and dancing in the streets. The rest of the earth, while often sympathetic, sees us as the weak and helpless nation that we are.
The casualty figures aren't in, but 10,000 dead seems reasonable, and we wring our hands and speak of grief therapy.
(2) We cannot stop it from happening again. Thousands of aircraft constantly use O'Hare, a few minutes flying time from the Sears Tower.
(3) Our politicians and talking heads speak of "a cowardly act of terrorism." It was neither cowardly nor, I think, terrorism. Hijacking an aircraft and driving it into a building isn't cowardly. Would you do it? It requires great courage and dedication -- which our enemies have, and we do not. One may mince words, but to me the attack looked like an act of war. Not having bombing craft of their own, they used ours. When we bombed Hanoi and Hamburg, was that terrorism?
(4) The attack was beautifully conceived and executed. These guys are good. They were clearly looking to inflict the maximum humiliation on the United States, in the most visible way possible, and they did. The sight of those two towers collapsing will leave nobody's mind. If we do nothing of importance in return, and it is my guess that we won't, the entire earth will see that we are a nation of epicenes. Silly cruise-missile attacks on Afghanistan will just heighten the indignity.
(5) In watching the coverage, I was struck by the tone of passive acquiescence. Not once, in hours of listening, did I hear anyone express anger. No one said, coldly but in deadly seriousness, "People are going to die for this, a whole lot of people." There was talk of tracking down bin Laden and bringing him to justice. "Terrorism experts" spoke of months of investigation to find who was responsible, which means we will do nothing. Blonde bimbos babbled of coping strategies and counseling and how our children needed support. There was no talk of retaliation.
(6) The Israelis, when hit, hit back. They hit back hard. But Israel is run by men. We are run by women. Perhaps two-thirds of the newscasters were blonde drones who spoke of the attack over and over as a tragedy, as though it had been an unusually bad storm -- unfortunate, but inevitable, and now we must get on with our lives. The experts and politicians, nominally male, were effeminate and soft little things. When a feminized society runs up against male enemies -- and bin Laden, whatever else he is, is a man -- it loses. We have.
(7) We haven't conceded that the Moslem world is our enemy, nor that we are at war. We see each defeat and humiliation in isolation, as a unique incident unrelated to anything else. The 241 Marines killed by the truck bomb in Beirut, the extended humiliation of the hostages taken by Iran, the war with Iraq, the bombing of the Cole, the destruction of the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the devastation of the Starke, the Saudi barracks, the dropping of airliner after airliner -- these we see as anecdotes, like pileups of cars on a snowy road. They see these things as war.
We face an enemy more intelligent than we are.
(8) We think we are a superpower. Actually we are not, except in the useless sense of having nuclear weapons. We could win an air war with almost anyone, yes, or a naval war in mid-Pacific. Few Americans realize how small our forces are today, how demoralized and weakened by social experimentation. If we had to fight a ground war in terrain with cover, a war in which we would take casualties, we would lose.
(9) I have heard some grrr-woofwoofery about how we should invade Afghanistan and teach those ragheads a lesson. Has anyone noticed where Afghanistan is? How would we get there? Across Pakistan, a Moslem country? Or through India? Do we suppose Iran would give us overflight rights to bomb another Moslem country? Or will our supply lines go across Russia through Turkmenistan? Do we imagine that we have the airlift or sealift? What effect do we think bombing might have on Afghanistan, a country that is essentially rubble to begin with?
We backed out of Somalia, a Moslem country, when a couple of GIs got killed and dragged through the streets on TV. Afghans are not pansies. They whipped the Russians. Our sensitive and socially-conscious troops would curl up in balls.
(10) To win against a more powerful enemy, one forces him to fight a kind of war for which he isn't prepared. Iraq lost the Gulf War because it fought exactly the kind of war in which American forces are unbeatable: Hussein played to his weaknesses and our strengths. The Vietnamese did the opposite. They defeated us by fighting a guerrilla war that didn't give us anything to hit. They understood us. We didn't understand them.
The Moslem world is doing the same thing. Because their troops, or terrorists as we call them, are not sponsored by a country, we don't know who to hit. Note that Yasser Arafat, bin Laden, and the Taliban are all denying any part in the destruction of New York. At best, we might, with our creaky intelligence apparatus, find Laden and kill him. It's not worth doing: Not only would he have defeated America as nobody ever has, but he would then be a martyr. Face it: The Arabs are smarter than we are.
(11) We are militarily weak because we have done what we usually do: If no enemy is immediately in sight, we cut our forces to the bone, stop most R&D, and focus chiefly on sensitivity training about homosexuals. When we need a military, we don't have one. Then we are inutterably surprised.
(12) The only way we could save any dignity and respect in the world be to hit back so hard as to make teeth rattle around the world. A good approach would be to have NSA fabricate intercepts proving that Libya was responsible, mobilize nationally, invade, and make Libya permanently a US colony. Most Arab countries are militarily helpless, and that is the only kind our forces could defeat. Doing this, doing anything other than whimpering, would require that ancient military virtue known as "balls." Does Katie Couric have them?
©Fred Reed 2001. All rights reserved.
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