Thursday, August 10, 2006

Today was (or at least should have been) a wake up call for anyone who might have lost their sense of outrage at the terrorist attacks that hit this country on 9/11/2001. Today, US and British authorities announced they had foiled a terrorist plot to blow up as many as 10 airliners in flight between Great Britain and the United States. So, what is Reuters' approach to this? Tell the terrorists more about how to build the bombs. No doubt the real bad guys don't need Reuters to tell them that such is possible, but is the public served by an article like this? I don't think so. I don't think the public would be served by any news outlet publishing details on how to produce weapons grade uranium or how to improve missile guidance, either.

But maybe that's just me.

A Washington Post poll conducted July 21-24 indicated that 30% of those surveyed didn't even remember the year that the 9/11 attack occurred. At first hearing, that news really bothered me. So I asked my lovely bride what year the attacks occurred. She wasn't sure, but figured about 4 years ago. Okay, so not everyone remembers dates. A better question might have been to ask what event they remember that occurred on September 11 and, assuming they associate that date with the terrorist attacks, what do they remember of the day or how did it affect them? But back on topic...

Suppose the terrorist attacks hadn't been detected and foiled today? Would 8/10 have been burned in our minds with the same passion as 9/11, 12/7, and 7/7? (Maybe I need to instead say WTC, Pearl Harbor, and the London subway bombings...) Or, more critically, should we be more alert of our surroundings as we travel on those days plus 10/12, 11/13, and 12/14? After all, our enemies appear to be big fans of date symbolism and anniversaries.

Of course, it could be just my limited and distinctly American perspective. Yes, we are focus of their hatred and attacks. But Israel has been putting up with this sort of terrorist attack and have lost a much larger percentage of their population to these attacks. Did they lose 3000 in one attack? No, but that's not the point, or at least it shouldn't be. We all have our own triggers.

For my wife, it was the third airplane that really got her attention...the one that hit the Pentagon. She didn't know anyone in New York and had never been to the World Trade Center. It was a tragedy, and it was awful, but it wasn't personal. On the other hand, I had worked in the Pentagon for over three years, and she knew people who still worked there. For me, both places were very emotional. I had stayed at the Marriott World Trade Center Hotel twice only two years before the attack, and that hotel was destroyed by the debris from the WTC. Some of the people I'd worked with and met worked within walking distance of that facility. I had eaten dinner in the mall under the WTC towers and walked around the buildings.

Let the thwarted attacks be a warning and a reminder. Keep them in mind as you vote in the upcoming elections, particularly if your elected representatives are running against winning the war against radical Islamist terrorists.

And, above all, never forget...

Update Okay, so now they're telling us it wouldn't have happened on this day, so the 8/10 would have been 8/16. Which, following pattern, might make some folk think twice about traveling on Christmas Eve...

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