Still Off Course (September 18, 2006)

Osama bin Laden is a creative genius.  He should be in prison or off the stage by now rather than gallivanting around freely as a free-lance film maker regularly mocking America and the West.  However, there seems to be no way to dispatch him without also vesting him with martyrdom.  When he is dispatched or disappears, another Osama will arise.  Our collective effort to provide security does not present any easy or rational choices.  The United States must avoid making bad choices. 

Someone observed that invading Iraq after 9/11 was akin to invading Belize after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  In the movie “Animal House,” John Belushi rallied his troops by asking rhetorically whether the Americans gave up after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.  The Americans just will not give up bombing.  A brave military is mired down because of the incompetent civilian policy makers.  Very few Americans could tell the difference between McNamara and McRummy even if their 8 by 10 glossies were placed side-by-side on the tv screen.  Rummy and his gang are making analogies to World War II rather than more apt references to Vietnam.  The sages suggest that when you are in a hole, quit digging.  However, the chicken hawks keep digging.  The troops are digging in and becoming easy targets.  Black Hawk Down writ large is on the radar.      

More of the world hates America now than it did five years ago.  Many of those who hate America will act on their hatred.  We as a country are so much more vulnerable and far less prepared than we were five years ago.

Sign in the window of a bungalow in middle America:

Our troops are sitting ducks!

Do not listen to a lame duck!!

Bring our troops home!!! 

[Consider reading the essay “An Alternate 9/11 History” by Jonathan Alter in the September 18 issue of “Newsweek” for a discussion of what could have been.] 

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