My humble opinion on
September 11, 2001
Imagine you are a passenger on one of
the hijacked Boeings that crashed into the World Trade Center and
Pentagon. The pilots have been subdued or killed, and armed maniacs
control the plane. The maniacs speak in a language you do not
understand, though they occasionally bark orders in heavily-accented
English. If you try to fight back or resist, you'll die. So you wait and
hope for the best.
In the meantime, you notice the plane
is starting to turn. You look out the window and see the dramatic
skyline of Manhattan. This isn't right. You're headed to the West Coast
from Boston. You look toward the cockpit. The maniacs have opened the
door, and you can see out the window. The plane is headed straight
toward the World Trade Center, and the maniac behind the controls is
accelerating. Too late, you realize what is about to happen, and your
whole world explodes into oblivion.
Imagine you are working in the World
Trade Center. You've just arrived at the office, pouring that first cup
of coffee, booting up the computer and reviewing your schedule. You hear
excited and alarmed voices. You look up to see colleagues pointing out
the window, mouths agape in shock and horror. You follow their stare,
just in time to watch the massive airliner slam into the building below
you, rocking and shaking the gigantic tower.
Black, acrid smoke billows around you.
The lights flash and go dark. Sheets and balls of yellow and red flame
engulf the building, blocking out the sky. Coughing, unable to breathe,
you stagger to the nearest window. The flames recede, and you force open
the window, leaning out, gulping in air, but even out here it is tinged
with fumes and smoke.
You glance behind you. Your friends
and colleagues rush around blindly. Some head for the elevator, others
for the stairs, others like you to open windows. Below is a solid wall
of smoke and flames. You realize with a sinking feeling that there is no
You stay at the window and watch as
businesspeople in pressed suits and silk blouses leap to their deaths,
encased in fire. You wonder if you should do the same. But no. Help will
come. It always does. Perhaps they'll send a helicopter, land on the
roof, and come get you.
Hardly an hour later, you're still
waiting as the tower collapses in a torrent of steel and concrete. Too
Despite my vain attempt, such a horror
cannot be imagined. The attack at the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon today is horrifying precisely because it is impossible to
imagine how anyone could be capable of such an act. Who could be so
inhumane, so utterly cruel, to force innocents to become unwilling tools
in the murder of further innocents?
As of today, we don't know, but the
common suspect is Osama bin Laden, the master terrorist widely suspected
of the African embassy bombings in 1998. The Taliban has already
condemned the attack and denied bin Laden's involvement, but that means
President Bush has vowed to hunt down
and punish whoever is responsible, but such an outcome is not
guaranteed. Many terrorist acts - the 1983 bombing of Marine barracks in
Lebanon, the recent attack on the USS Cole - remain unsolved. Every
American, though, should support the government's attempt to find the
cretin who committed this crime. All Americans should do what they can
to aid in the search.
The Palestinians who cheer and applaud
such carnage are vile, evil, uncivilized barbarians.
The person responsible for this
atrocity deserves to die. If it is an organization, it should be
destroyed. If it is an individual, he should be killed, along with all
accomplices. If it is a head of state, we should ground his government
into dust. Simple justice demands it.