Weekly Editorials Page
9/6 to 9/12, 2001


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9-11-2001:    Today's destruction of Manhatten's World Trade Center and injuries to the Pentagon have, in my opinion, done incalculable harm to Arab and Palestinian causes. Whoever masterminded these attacks is, I believe, the Arab World's worst enemy... someone with the political savvy of a preschooler. If you wish to make war upon the lion, you had better kill him, because one of the two of you will surely die. Today's depredations had no effect upon the lion except to pull out two of his hairs, and to arouse him. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, it achieved the profound military objective of demolishing the existing U. S. military presence in the Pacific. It then backed its opening gambit with all-out war, with the military resources of a major power behind it. It didn't attack the Empire State building or the Golden Gate Bridge. Today's mindless attack upon civilian targets couldn't have been better calculated to strengthen the hands of the hardliners in the U. S. These are acts that still the voices of reason and restraint. If I were Yasser Arafat, I would probably be claiming that these attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center were a CIA plot designed to frame the Arab World. It's that bad for Arabs. For me, it's hard to imagine someone who's sufficiently smart to pull off such a stunt being sufficiently unwise to actually do so. If, instead of being directed toward the World Trade Center, this had been aimed at a key Islamic landmark, with "evidence" of CIA involvement, the whole world would have sided with Islam, including, particularly, influential elements within the media and the U. S. government. That would have helped the Arab cause.
    We can probably be grateful that we were given today's wakeup call. The fellow sitting next to me this morning explained how the terrorists could have killed millions instead of thousands. This also reveals how limited a missile shield would be in protecting us from harm, assuming that a leakproof missile shield could even be built.
    In Word War II, there was the Maginot Line....
   Talk of strategies and political objectives doesn't seclude me from the horrors of the day. The thousands of casualties who died are people just like us. The people who jumped to their deaths this morning from the 80th story of the World Trade Center were people just like us.
    I'm proud of the talk of restraint and of making sure who did this that I've been hearing today from U. S. diplomats and generals. These are responsible adult words and attitudes.