[9/11/00 5:36 PM]
The attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center are the most important event in world history since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The disappearance of the USSR ended a half century in which two powers dominated the world. The casualties in New York, Washington, and in the skies made an end to the belief that the United States could continue waging wars costing us no blood, whether in no-fly zones over Iraq, in Kosovo, or anywhere else on any continent.
For fifty-six years Washington has successfully conducted mass murders of noncombatant civilians from the air with no fear of retaliation. In 1945, when Japan could no longer strike back, there was Hiroshima, 75,000 killed. Then Nagasaki, 40,000 killed. The Korean War cost that country, with no possible means of harming the United States, 4,000,000 dead [Encyclopedia Brittanica] versus 34,000
Americans, or more than 100 Koreans per American. Most of the Korean deaths were caused by American carpet bombing (white phosphorus, napalm, explosives)to break the will to resist, and therefore were predominantly civilian.
The numbers in the Vietnam War were of the same orders of magnitude. "Desert Storm" has slaughtered Iraqi children in immense numbers since the end of the fighting, due to the embargo against necessities.
Until now the vast majority of Americans have clucked their tongues over these things and gone about their business. No more. The deaths in the collapsed New York towers may approach the number in Nagasaki, as the people normally employed and visiting has been given as 50,000. The super-expensive, space and information age espionage technology of the National Security Agency, as well as the more conventional activities of the CIA and FBI are now the laughing stock of the world. As to the Defense Intelligence Agency in the Pentagon, I wonder if it was accidental that the plane striking that building hit exactly the section where that agency was housed.
There is simply nothing Washington can do to restore the situation existing before this morning. Even if it decides to blame Saddam Hussein, and nukes Baghdad off the fact of the earth, it will accomplish nothing in a world of suicide bombers and underground organizations capable of working in complete secrecy and with perfect coordination.
The astonishing secrecy and coordination of the attacks make the National Security Agency, the CIA, the FBI, and American military intelligence the laughing stock of the world. Undoubtedly U.S."intelligence"(?!)operations will be multiplied. That guarantees absolutely nothing.
The Korean War was accompanied by the rise of McCarthyism. It is possible that today's events may bring similar hysteria and suppression of civil liberties. Not only would that further diminish the civil liberties that are one of this country's proudest achievements, but by so doing it would reduce the ability of the citizenry to ask the necessary questions about the policies responsible for the hatred of the United States expressed in this catastrophe.
The time has come to realize that the motivation that brought about our Revolutionary War in 1776 is the strongest single force active in the world today. Peoples will be independent, no matter what Washington, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley want to do with and in their countries. The United States must either adapt to that or suffer the fate of ancient Rome.
William Mandel, Oakland, California
(37 years [1958-1995] on Pacifica Radio stations