Our retaliation had a big problem, we told them we were coming for 4 weeks, and told the Pakistanis, 30% of whose military are fundamentalist fools, before we attacked. Since we were crossing their air space, this may have been necessary, but you can guarantee we killed no one we wanted to. Mullah Omar (who married BLís daughter) escaped by 20-30 minutes, which would coincide with a Pakistani leak. There is some advantage to the concept of blitzkrieg, had we sent planes out within hours of the WTC bombings, we could have at least nailed the Taliban leaders and impressed the world with our scorpion speed and resolution and avoided these contemptible demonstrations against us. These disaffected masses do respect raw power- which is how virtually every Muslim dictator stays in power, including Musharraf, who cancelled a Clinton plan to kill Bin Laden with Pakistani intelligence agents, when he seized power. We might have to be willing to assassinate any leader calling for holy war against the US. It's easy to put out a wastebasket fire; once the house is consumed it's too late. Though the enraged masses look poor and powerless, so did the bedraggled uneducated fanatic army of Islamic Arabs when they crushed the Persians and took the fabulously wealthy Ctesiphon (near Baghdad) in 637, and half of the known world within a century. Despite their undeniably vast cultural and scientific contribution, the talk of Islamís peacefulness may be largely wishful thinking- it remains the only major religion initially spread exclusively by conquest. Defeated pagans were given the choice: convert or die. What good is it if we manage to wipe out Al Qaeda, but the 2 hundred madrasas Ďreligiousí schools (funded by our pals- the Saudis) are turning out zombie-like kids by the thousands, rocking like Bill Gates and inculcated with nothing but the Koran- missiles waiting for guidance. And, although this is a dangerous sentiment for a newsy, should we allow BL to broadcast his video threats worldwide? Did Britain allow Hitler's translated ravings on their radio during the Blitz? Perhaps this Al Jazeera TV network needs to suffer a catastrophic satellite failure. At the very least, we must get our message out on that channel. I fear Pres. Bush is strictly adhering to his father's war game plan- reportedly there are almost no commando units on station to hunt BL and crew.

I think bin Laden should be more considered a schoolyard or workplace shooter, a somewhat despised maladjusted sibling with a massive chip on his shoulder, than any great mastermind. Heís seized on this self-styled Islamic slayer of dragons image to show his family just how big he can be- it took him years to settle on attacking America (his former patron)- if we didnít exist he would have found someone else to attack. Itís unfair to blame the US for supplying the Afghan mujahadeen- the Soviets were slaughtering them. They didnít fight the Soviets for us- they did it for themselves, and it wasnít necessarily our responsibility to step into the vicious internecine wars that immediately erupted afterward.


Actor James Woods, claims on ETthat he reported suspicious behavior (whispering + not eating) by 3-5 Arabs in first class to attendants on a Boston-LA flight a month before 911, which presumably were the terrorists making their many test flights, but nothing was done. He said he thought they were about to hijack the plane, with which attendants concurred. I myself think I saw 1 or 2 of these bastards in the main Ft. Lauderdale library in May (motel was 2 blocks away + they were there then- when I checked the addresses of my matches they were local), where they sent their untraceable Hotmail messages.

BUGS: We would be tempted to joke that the Nat. Enquirer (or Globe or Star- Iíve heard all 3) dosed themselves with Anthrax as a publicity stunt, but the bastards were too close to Boca Raton. Still I'd more suspect a disaffected employee or a victim of their articles, than BL. A lot of nuts will come out of the woodwork and use this crisis as cover for their grievances, and it doesnít help that the media is whipping up a frenzy with every revelation. Even Ashcroft seems to like the spotlight too much, with his useless warnings. The Japanese created an Oak Ridge-size biological weapon facility in Manchuria, where they did extensive tests on Chinese civilians (in a recent History show). Their greatest success was with bubonic plague, with which they wiped out 80% of a Chinese town of 1000.A plan to drop glass jars of plague by sub-launched plane on San Diego was only thwarted when the sub was sunk in the closing days of WW2, which puts the horrific bombing raids on Japan in a different light. The Homeland Security Agency that Sens. Gary Hart and Rudman recommended last Jan. in their 2 year report is coming to pass, but we must confess to qualms- in 2 or 3 sci-fi books I read as a kid, the identically named HSA was a repressive neofacist police agency.


The Russians, under Putin, have rallied to Americaís assistance with remarkable intensity, though they obviously expect to gain a blank check in any actions in Chechnya (they suffered a strange series of aptmt bombings, blamed on the Chechens). Putin seems to have made a real pal with Bush, which may be one good thing to come of this messÖ but of course the Russians started it all with their í79 invasion, creating these pan-Arabic international jihadists. The Chinese hope to crush their restive western Muslims as brutally as they have the poor people of Tibet, and must be thrilled by the departure of the carriers protecting Taiwan (George Will warns of a Chinese attack on Taiwan). One report from Truthout claims the Chinese are sending thousands of troops to help the Taliban, though we donít vouch for its accuracy.Meanwhile Pakistanís first condition for cooperation was that we accept none from India, casting aside the billion people who have a natural interest in stopping Muslim terrorism. The much vaunted Northern Alliance has some ugly episodes in itís past, when they held power from 92-5? 25,000 people died in fighting and they supposedly executed 3000 captured Taliban in í97. They expect, and probably will, take control again, but that will probably reignite the largely ethnic clan fighting with the majority Pashtun faction.

MIXED SIGNALS - sept 23†††††††††††††††††††††

While the need for a strong response to the monstrous outrage of the WTC/Pentagon attack is obvious, even overdue, President Bush has been promising things that canít be accomplished in the most hopeful estimation, worse- his moves and statements have been directly contradictory. On one hand he needs and has solicited cooperation from Pakistan, Iran, and other states; on the other he has promised to attack any country that supports, defends, or shelters terrorists. Pakistan, Iran, and Syria have, did, and probably will do all those things- in fact Pakistan is probably a greater source of terrorism than Afghanistan itself, with 120 training camps for mujahadin (most for the conflict with India), a huge and uncontrolled criminal element, an unstable government of limited support, a definite radical + Afghani element, and most terrifyingly- nuclear weapons. Recently assassinated Ahmed Massoud claimed Pakistan sent thousands of Army troops to help the Taliban attack his Northern Alliance. Iran, meanwhile, via Hezbollah, has supported multiple bombings against the US over the decades- from the Beirut Marine barracks to perhaps this latest horror- witness the FBIís call for Farsi speakers. Iranís tiny rich corrupt ruling Muslim clergy (only 2% of total) has waged a fierce war against the liberal President and vast majority of the exhausted and restive young population (the population exploded since the í79 revolution to provide soldiers for Islam). With any luck and the correct application of force, the murderous mullahs of Iran can be consigned to the dustbin of failed ideologies, or whatever Bushís great phase was.

Still, there is an essential disconnect- once you obtain a nationís assistance, you canít willy-nilly attack them: President Bush, even in his superb recent speech, has been casting out John Wayne phrases like Mardi Gras necklaces- implying total victory, clear rights and wrongs, and obvious and total enemies. This has smacked up into Americaís PC, ultra-sensitive, modern sensibilities- we are going to stomp bin Laden and his backers, but we must rename our military operation because it offends Muslim clericís sensibilities. How will they feel when we start killing the corrupt clerics that have promoted a religious bloodbath, without which the hatred couldnít spread? And if we donít do that, where is the justice?

In another breath, Mr. Bush has talked of bringing him to justice, which implies a trial, and may be an easy way out- yet is inappropriate talk for a war, and far far short of the lofty goal of "eliminating evil from the world". The cheap and easy solution of only killing or capturing bin Laden would convince the world that we are shallow, unwilling to stay the course or pay the price of a wide and murky war. P.S. [Pres. Bush has astutely released a target list of terrorists, inc. guys we should have terminated 16 years ago.]

Make no mistake about it: bin Laden and his entire crew need to die, as well the other American directed killers of the Hezbollah, Hamas?, and maybe the overlooked Eveready bunny Saadam (Atta supposedly met with an Iraqui ambassador in Switzerland!). The Taliban too deserve a dark fate, if for nothing else than blowing up the millennium old Buddha statues. They convinced a battered and bruised populace that they would bring law and order- they brought religious fanaticism and brutally mandated orthodoxy to perhaps the most freedom loving people in the world. Afghanistan, though, is the graveyard of great powers, where the peopleís toughness and ability too outlast all comers is legendary. The Soviets, in a decade of genocidal attacks, killed 1Ĺ million and crippled 4 million- to no avail. One tactic would be to return to our magnanimous roots, and promise to rebuild Afghanistan as a carrot for cooperation against the Taliban. [The air-dropped food aid is excellent, but the Soviets dropped hundreds of thousands of little mines, dummied up to look like childrenís toys, so the Afghans are reluctant to touch anything dropped from planes.]

Still, what seems to be in the offing: a concerted air war against Afghanistan, will be seen by much the world as piling on- pounding the most abused, poor, and damaged people in the world. Attacking the negligible Afghani infrastructure in lieu of bin Laden might do more harm than good. Only ground troops, or lightning strikes with accurate intelligence by Rangers and Delta forces against the actual leadership will achieve our ends and make the guilty pay. To do this we have to be willing to take casualties, be incredibly mobile, and steadfastly patient. Whether this can survive the peaceniks, who have started the clarion call for turning the other cheek (so Osama can bash that one too), is another question. To ignore the monsters that turned our TVís into a real life Schwartznegger movie and scarred the NY skyline, is to invite their next act: a cargo ship or fast speedboat with a nuke into an American port or a smallpox/Marburg* release into a domed ball game; or simply 500 15 oz pressure-activated bombs sent coast to coast by the mail. One more blow against our airline system and American hyperspeed drops to a crawl.- sept 23

*One of the nightmare concoctions of the Russians 3 decade secret biological warfare program.


We just flew cross-country (started 9/15) and while we would like to advise you to damn the torpedoes and flap your wings, it's really not worth it. We had major hassles both ways. Firstly there are the incredible security measures, most of them foolish and misdirected. The problem wasn't that the terrorists got weapons on board- weapons can be made out of anything (a luggage cart, a cord to strangle, a pen); the problem was that there was no security on the plane to stop them. Nevertheless in an obsessive search for anything, people are being subjected to ridiculous regulations- a pilot bitterly complained in Cincinnati that they had run him through the same nonsense and taken away his fingernail scissors- he's the pilot; they should give him a bowie knife (or a stun gun, at the very least). Iím all in favor of guns for pilots (although maybe not for Egypt Air)- these monsters might have been stopped with tear gas. Nat. Guards, who don't know what or whom to look for, don't reassure me- just the opposite.

As a former travel agent, one of the well known facts is that ľ of airline agents are a-holes: abusive, unprincipled, petty people who enjoy torturing people. Normally they are constrained by the threat of complaints to customer relations, but now they have carte blanche to do anything to anyone with the instant backing of armed security. After I saw the lines on the way out, I didn't even want to fly- I wanted to get bumped, but the girl said, "no they didn't need volunteers", while I heard them asking for volunteers in the back of the huge lines. Then she said, "and I can see that bag is overweight", and weighed my admittedly largest suitcase in the world (which I'd carefully weighed at 65 pounds before I left). 76 pounds, which I knew was wrong, so I dragged it to another scale- now 71 lbs.; so for a lousy wrong 1 extra pound, they made me pull stuff out and transfer it to another backpack in front of a line of 200 people. Getting in an hour late, they were searching all cars, vans, etc. coming into the airport in Seattle ; and though I called 10 minutes before the rental car co. closed at midnight, they said there were 45 min. delays and they wouldnít wait. So I had to pop for a motel because my Paki pal was terrified to come to the airport, and another friend was too asleep (Seattlites are early setters). The motel car made it in only 8 minutes, though.

On the way back, I was insanely delayed returning from Mt. St. Helens. Searching every car coming into SeaTac made people wait 40 minutes to go the last 1000 ft., though car bombs wouldn't target undense airports. I actually checked in 40 minutes before departure (though I was prepared and expected to take the next flight) and incredibly got on, but at the gate, after one guy had taken my ticket, another twit yapped that I had too many carry-ons: a medium carry-on, a smallish still camera case, and a tiny handicam. He also said my luggage cart was a carry-on (never been considered that before and not now either) and forced me to check it. But the handicam could be partially wedged and considered part of the carry-on. Or the still and video cameras together were smaller than a regular carry-on. Even a lousy plastic supermarket bag would have consolidated the 2 cameras, or if I hadn't been so exhausted and shell-shocked I could have juggled stuff between the bags. And historically cameras haven't counted, like women's pocketbooks. No matter. This jerk, just to make a power point, forced me to check an unprotected brand new video camera in a thin nylon case- which picked up a big ding in transit and got soaked. "The last guy that complained got a $25,000 fine", he smugly threatened- pointing to some sign. It was an ugly experience and left me feeling raped. Minor stuff compared to the horrors of New York, but this had nothing to do with security, and this was Delta- supposedly the best customer-service airline. We are overreacting in dozens of inappropriate ways and giving the monsters their greatest objective: to change our open way of life. The security is promiscuous, not directed against the real risks or threats like the Secret Service does. A passenger tired of the lines in Phoenix? today and ran off; so they evacuated the entire terminal and pulled 2000 people off the planes on the tarmac. BL has to be chuckling at stuff like that. Americans shouldnít, as everyone keeps advising, accept all these things without argument- we should struggle against any unnecessary constraints on our freedom, because once gone- it might not return.

The airlines instantly fired 20% of the people (instead of laying them off, or waiting to see if the passenger drop actually happened), cancelled huge numbers of flights even as they grabbed the government bailout. Now with these insane security regimens and the abusive jerks going hog-wild, airline travel is a nightmare. They will run themselves into the ground if they keep this up. Had long talks with crew on our flights about security-et al.- guy stew said anyone trying to get into cabin would be dismembered by passengersÖ and lunatic who just broke into American cockpit and had hands around the pilot's neck, was dragged out and pummeled by 10 passengers.


In a groveling bow to political correctness, West Wing aired a special show that involved the grilling of a Middle Eastern White House aide who has the same name as a terrorist. The message was that discrimination against Arabs or Muslims was the greatest danger we faced- not the crushing weight of security burdens or the vast vulnerability of our open society. Granted, criminal yahoos killed 2 or 3 (5 now) innocents (very- some were Sikhs) and dozens of Arab students were beaten in Fl. (I just heard), but as I lecture my Paki friends, if this had happened in Africa or Asia, tens of thousands would have been hacked to death in the streets. Anti-American Muslim clerics were allowed to openly spew their hatred of America in America for years in the first WTC bombing case- even now I doubt that all of these virulent characters have been deported unless they are directly connected with this case or violated other major laws. In the most retching scene, the aide admits bitterly opposing the defiling of Saudi Arabia by the stationing of infidel American troops thereóthe very issue that drives bin Laden; and the aide isnít bounced out on the sidewalk, no, the chief of staff apologizes to him for suggesting that we might teach Saudi women to drive. Sorkin did too much drugs when he wrote this one.


They are acknowledging that there was a definite percentage of asbestos in the omnipresent dust coating lower Manhattan, meaning the noble rescue/retrievalworkers (+ many others) will have another thing to worry about for the next 30 years besides post-traumatic stress from pulling shredded people out of the giant junk pile. The massive job of cleaning up the site will take ~9 months, as we computed on the 4th day; and the stench of thousands of decaying dismembered bodies has begun to soak a 2 mile radius of lower Manhattan with the latest warm weather (70ís this week). Luckily winter is imminent, but we still think they should sterilize the site and fill it all in with concrete as a memorial. We will make an expedition there in the next few days and report.


Bush has been unable to avoid using his immense martial popularity to cheap political advantage, trying to abolish the capital gains tax and ram through the Arctic Nat. Refuge drilling, which may sail through. Barbara Olson, who was killed on the Pentagon jet, won't go gracefully into that good night- her husband, to honor her memory will see to it that her last malignant diatribe is published, the book The Final Days: the Last Desperate Abuses by the Clinton White House. On Politically Incorrect, a Republican witch tried to blame the whole attack on Billy Boy, and was almost lynched by the other 3 panelists. I today heard an NPR Clinton speech on the whole thing, and the problem of the vast body of disaffected poor Muslims, and he made more sense than anyone else in the last month. I really wonder how a Pres. Gore would have done with this- it's perhaps the only issue I don't automatically think he would have eclipsed Bush's moves.

Though Pres. Bush has been relatively steadfast in this struggle, still, isn't it lucky he threw away the entire surplus on that ill-conceived tax rebate. Huge surpluses to huge deficits in 8 months- a fullblown recession, with the previous rosy 10 year forecasts a bitter joke. And Pres. Bush just relieved Gen. Hugh Shelton, a commando expert, as Joint Chief of Staff, and replaced him with the Space Command's Richard Myers- a choice made to push GB2's dubious missile defense scheme.

And apparently, listening to 3-4 hours a day of his sulfurous lies has, in a biblical rejoinder, caused Rush Limbaugh to go deaf, previously visited only on sane listeners.