[This entry was originally written just one month after 911. I include it here as further illustration of how badly we can screw up a problem just by not defining it correctly, yet insisting on trying to 'solve' it anyway. No one had yet whispered any lie about 'weapons of mass destruction]
Allow me to present a different perspective on the horrible events of this September 11 (call it 9-11, or 911). Though the national perception seems to be that this is where the Problem began, we know this must be far from accurate. How far? Not even close. And at best, we're not near the end. Take your vitamins.
It is understandable that most of us have no idea what's been going on in the Mideast since 1900; why would we? If one is not a historian or a petroleum geologist, what reason would one have for knowing anything about Jordan, or Iraq or Saudi Arabia or any of these exotic desert lands? It's none of our business, right? Not exactly none of our business.
There are two distinct modes of American involvement in the Mideast: Mode 1 of the 'normal' uninvolved citizen sees it as mostly none of our business. This is only proper and just, being in accordance with the American revolutionary principle that everyone has the Right to tend to their own knitting without outside interference. Mode 2 of the petroleum geologists, engineers, drillers, refiners, executives, lobbyists, politicians, and accountants sees the Mideast as most definitely our business. Mode 2 is the single major factor, the prime salient fact of life in the Mideast and is largely responsible for 911. Please keep this in mind, remember I said it.
Certainly Mode 1 bears some responsibility for its ravenous hunger for petroleum. Yet, ignorant of the reality 'on the ground' in Arabia for the last 100 years, Mode 1 has been sleepwalking along half-conscious, thinking everything is 'normal.' Most unfortunately for us all, this half-witted concept of 'normal' has allowed Mode 2 to install the current tenant in the White House. If you think Geo. W. Bush was duly elected President of the United States, think again. While it may be understandable that Joe Citizen has no idea of the causes and likelihood of 911, this understanding cannot extend to Desert Storm, Jr., and his mentors. In fact, it is impossible that they would not comprehend the causes and likelihood of 911 since they and their predecessors have been intimately involved from day one in creating this ongoing catastrophe; it's the way they do business.
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The Pentagon is widely recognized as the center of the planet's greatest military power; the place is swarming with highly paid Experts in readiness and defense. They meticulously cover every military subject, from the most mundane and pedestrian to the most arcane and exotic, under multiple layers of generals.
The Pentagon's office of Plans and Operations was the nucleus of this vast and most powerful institution, the brains of the outfit. On the morning of September 11, the paint was still drying from a multimillion dollar renovation of Plans and Operations when a highjacked airliner wiped it out with a direct hit.
Instead of the surviving Readiness Experts being relieved of their duties, or even investigated, they were promptly assigned to solving the Problem.
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Almost anywhere in the world you can pass as a patriot for simply believing what you're told and waving whatever flag is handy; we Americans need a better idea: Get yourself a large color image of the Trade Towers exploding in flame with glass and paper and bodies showering down, smoke raging to the sky. Inscribe in large, neat letters across the bottom: "YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK"