Monday, August 21, 2006

...wherein I climb the Empire State Building...


This is me, climbing the Empire State Building. Ok, technically I'm just climbing a bookend made to look sort of like the Empire State Building, and technically it's not really me. But I did buy the bookends in Manhattan when I was there for a trade show back in the summer of 2000. And I have been to the top of the building in real life. I have photos of myself, standing on the south side of the observation deck, with the Twin Towers clearly visible over my shoulder. My coworkers and I were going to catch a cab down to the financial district and visit the WTC observation deck on the same day, but we decided to have a bite to eat first, and wandered down to Little Italy, and whiled away the hours over a delicious lunch, and a few bottles of wine, and a bit of grappa, and dessert -- please recall this was during the dot-com era, and we were on an expense account -- and we just didn't get around to it. So I figured, ok, I'll just go see the WTC next time I'm here...

I have a close friend who had reservations at the hotel inside the WTC for the first week of October '01, but only because the business trip had been delayed a couple of weeks by silly bizdev concerns. An aunt and uncle were in New York and visited the WTC a week before 9/11. A coworker of mine lost a childhood friend on 9/11. Of the people I've mentioned, none of them believes Saddam, or Iraq generally, had anything to do with the attacks. And why would they? All the arguments for believing so have turned out to have been fabricated, cynically and deliberately. Fabricated by people who desperately wanted a war with Iraq, and shamelessly exploited the memory of a few thousand good, innocent people in order to get the war they wanted. Even if it meant neglecting the hunt for Bin Laden and his allies, the people who really did attack us.

We're coming up on the 5 year anniversary of 9/11 in just a few weeks, and I have a feeling we're in for a bunch of wingnutty lets-bomb-Iran rhetoric between now and then, and between then and whenever we actually bomb Iran. Bill Kristol & Co. are convinced we'll be greeted as liberators this time around, and Cheney just plain loves killing people, whatever the excuse happens to be, and none of these people are very big on consulting public opinion or basic common sense, so I'm afraid this is probably a done deal. And probably they'll wait until after the election, so they can use the fear issue yet again. Plus, even now, I'm still idealistic enough to believe that the voters would not look favorably on a party whose president had just committed an unprovoked nuclear attack and killed millions of innocent people. I have to believe that. I cling to that. Karl Rove probably believes that too, and therefore the attack will come after the election, just like with Iraq.

Naturally, we'll be an international pariah afterwards. Nobody will want to have anything to do with us. The neocons will be all bewildered about how even nuclear war didn't create Utopia, and didn't make everyone want to be just like us, but they'll shrug it off; like Iraq, it's just an inconsequential speedbump on the way to a thrilling new war, maybe with China, or possibly Russia, or France, or Mexico, or all of the above, or who knows? Whatever happens, Dubya and friends won't bat an eye about the global condemnation. The international reaction will play right into the ridiculous siege mentality they've cultivated so carefully over the last few years. It won't bother them at all. Hell, they'll take it as a mark of pride. And then they'll nuke someone else on a whim. It's so much easier the second time around. And throughout all this, the Democrats in Congress will do just as they did with Iraq, desperately chasing the warmobile, barking "Me too! Me too!". In 2008 we'll get the usual sad spectacle of Democrats again trying to steer to the right of Republicans in foreign policy (regardless of how the general public feels about the whole debacle), demanding to know why we didn't just nuke a bunch of unrelated "bad" countries while we were at it. Hillary, or one of the Joes (Biden or Lieberman) will be on TV demanding to know why we didn't nuke North Korea and/or Zimbabwe and/or Belarus and/or Venezuela while we were at it.

Our grandchildren will think us savages, and madmen.

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