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Archive for September, 2002

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year.

We have not caught Osama bin Laden.  We have not caught Mullah Omar.  We have not caught any of the Muslim Brotherhood advisors to al Qaeda.  We did not engage al Qaeda at Tora Bora for three days, and then only by proxy army.  Neither Tommy Franks nor the commander of the Tenth Mountain Division was courtmartialled for cowardice.

We never publicly courtmartialled the commander of Hanscomb AFB for negligence.  Or Atlantic City Air National Guard.  Or Andrews AFB.  Or any of the pilots and groundstaff on duty that morning who were not able to cover 230 miles in forty minutes in aircraft that can go over Mach 2.2 (1,400+ mph).

We never asked our commander in chief and secretary of defense why the air force was not deployed over Washington when two planes hit two buildings in New York and there were many planes unaccounted for.  We never asked anyone why the Pentagon did not have surface-to-air missiles.

We do not have a mechanism to ensure the inspection of every piece of luggage on any flight, nor do we have a plan to do so, nor do we even guarantee that luggage travels on the same flight as a particular passenger.  We do not have effective mechanisms of keeping passengers with weapons off of planes.  Despite being wealthier than Israel or any major Western European country we have not surpassed their level of scrutiny
of passengers.

We have not eliminated religious schools in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan.  We have not convinced government controlled media in Egypt and the Gulf to adopt a pro-American tone.  We have not imposed a solution to the Israeli-Palestinan fight, or in any way distanced ourselves from Israel.  We have not barred citizens of Arab states from the United States.

We have not raised fuel economy standards for vehicles.  We have not taken any steps to ensure future energy needs do not increase our need for
petroleum products.  We do not seem to realize that what stops us from washing our hands of Iraq and Iran and Saudi and the Gulf is the need for oil from the region, and that if we didn’t need oil we could let the Gulf states restart all the tribal battles they seem eager to have.

We do not have a plan for the sixteen acres of lower Manhattan that are the graves of three thousand people.  We still do not have a full and open
international competition to design the space.  The government has not taken the public position that three thousand bodies void any ownership rights that might have been claimed on September 10.

In short, it doesn’t seem that much has happened over the past year, other than a wonderful demonstration of the importance of friends.  Of who it is that you think about when you are 3,500 miles away from the unknown and the phones are down and all you can do is pray.

It has been a hell of a year.  Thank God you are safe.

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