What happens if…?

Doing some serious thinking this morning. For once I got eight hours of sleep and then had three cups of coffee.

The Report on the 9-11 Hijackings has been (for the most part) made public, and there are plenty of pundits chewing on it. It appears from what I have been hearing that large chunks of it have been redacted and that the whole thing was held up for six months so that the Administration could CTA.

In the meantime, I have been mulling over the true impact of the war that was waged in the name of ‘”protecting our freedom.” I have been conducting a random poll of jingos and boosters of the war. It’s far from scientific and mostly just me using this question like sonar to figure out what people are thinking: “Do you feel safer now?” What I mean to divine by asking this is whether or not this tremendous projection of force halfway around the globe has in any way *seemed* to increase certain folk’s sense of their own immunity to terrorist attack.

Never mind that probably some of the least safe world citizens right now are our own troops in the ground in Iraq. Never mind that the war we left behind in Afghanistan is starting to swirl like a sandstorm behind us. Never mind that you’d have to be an idiot not to see that one of the unintended consequences of our invasion of Iraq has undoubtedly been the largest and most successful recruiting drive in Al-Qaeda’s history.

When I ask most people this question, they invariably answer “Yes.”

Let me throw this thought at you:

We have fired just about everything we had (militarily) at Iraq and Afghanistan, we have rolled back civil liberties in our country, endured a campaign of disinformation and obfuscation from the White House, isolated ourselves from our closest allies, spent ourselves $455 billion into the hole… In large part to “defend” ourselves and to try and restore our sense of safety and invulnerability to random terrorist attack.

The country has become frighteningly intolerant of dissent, brutally arbitrary in our treatment of Arabic immigrants (who we indefinitely detain on suspicion of being suspicious), gleeful in our use of deadly force and (in the words of Robert E. Lee) “too fond” of war.

What happens when the next 9/11 mindbomb goes off?

It’s going to happen. Al Qaeda is a decentralized, fluid, cellular network with no fixed address, no officials per se, no headquarters. Bush’s declaration that “We will not negotiate with terroroists” is as pointless as it is facile. Hey Sparky, they never asked to negotiate.

Despite our best efforts, including the saturation bombing of Afghanistan and our occupation of Iraq, Al Qaeda splinters and flows to Indonesia, the Phillipines, the Suban, back to Afghanistan and, perhaps, Detroit?

And eventually, inevitably, they are going to hit us again.

Then what? Who gets rounded up in the next wave? Who gets saturation bombed? Who is going to pay (financially and punitively) for the next Bush war?

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