July 12, 2004

Sitting in the Same Room, Inhabiting Different Universes

FOR MANY YEARS I LABORED under the impression that being a columnist for the New York Times meant, at the very least, you were somewhere north of blood simple. But I was young and blood simple myself.

Blood simple is, it would seem, part of the job description for many Times columnists. It may have something to do with the dyslexia of the Publisher or it may simply be post-mortem effects as the Times, having lost large chunks of circulation thanks to bias and bogus reporting that is woven deep into its corporate culture, strives to hang on to the true believers that are left it.

In any case, one simply cannot take on all the blood simple pap that these scribblers spew. Life is too short and lunch is too long.

Still, every so often, there's a real poser that creeps through the shields and lands on the retina with a resounding d'oh -- a hit, a palpable hit. Exhibit A from today is Bob Herbert's The Real Enemy Staring Us in the Face in which he is not referencing the mirror.

In rolling towards the end of his allotted turn upon the page, Herbert delivers himself of the oft-repeated plaint that if things are so dangerous here at home we need to get serious about Afghanistan. He posits an attack on the US timed

for the elections and then goes on to say:

If we know that bin Laden and his top leadership are somewhere along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and that they're plotting an attack against the United States, why are we not zeroing in on them with overwhelming force? Why is there not a sense of emergency in the land, with the entire country pulling together to stop another Sept. 11 from occurring?

Why are we not more serious about this?

The real question is why Mr. Herbert is not more candid about his thoughts or if Mr. Herbert missed the widely attended seminar "Terrorism 101" given at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. If he had attended and paid attention since, it would be known to him that any men and materials necessary to attack the United States in the coming months are not now on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border awaiting shipment. They are already here in the United States.

The late "Bin-Laden and his top leadership" are not at present "plotting" an attack. They have already plotted. The "plotting" has long since moved into the past tense. Events were set in train long ago. If you'd been paying attention, you'd know that September 11 was not started on September 10 but years before.

Yes, Bob, whatever men, materials and munitions are going to be used are already in place. And have been for quite some time. Where, what, when and who, we don't know, but a good place to start some investigative reporting, Bob, would be in the mosques, shops, and housing around Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, not in commanding more sweeps along the Afghan-Pak border.

That shouldn't be too difficult for you, Bob, it's only about a $10 cab ride from the Times. A resourceful institution like the Times shouldn't have too much trouble finding informed anonymous sources in the Muslim community of New York City. You might even talk to a who who knows what, when and where. You might even actually talk to a Islamic fascist who has already decided to kill you and a hundred thousand New Yorkers and has the means to do it in a van parked in a garage somewhere in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn.

That would be the smart thing to do. The blood simple thing is to call obliquely for a massive US invasion of Pakistan. And even if that did happen, even if we leveled the mountainous region to a fine powder of radioactive ash, what do you think your reaction would be, and that of your once admirable but now disgraced newspaper? Shock, horror, and a call for an investigation of the "lies" that led us to incinerate parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. You and yours would hold it was all done "to influence the election!"

I hope, Bob, that you'll keep all this in mind in those last nanoseconds before the nuclear blast blows in the windows of the Times Building and brings down the walls on all those inside just before it sets the whole place on fire.

You'll have time. Remember those words of William Burroughs: "The blast doesn't travel at the speed of light, but the light from the blast does."

Who knows, maybe you'll have time to file one last column: "Why Me?"

Posted by Vanderleun at July 12, 2004 10:49 AM
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