Wednesday Night #1019

Written by  //  September 12, 2001  //  Terrorism, Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

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9-11 WTC

Prologue

This is not a time to be clever. We all share in the horror of the tragedy of the attack on the United States during what is being called the Tuesday of Terror. At this stage no one has answers, however the issues we invoked last week are, if possible, even more pertinent. Warren Allmand, just returned from Durban, has interesting insights into the events of the last three weeks and their possible influence on the terrorist highjackings.
A star cast will be with us to discuss these issues and their impact on the social fabric of North America as well as the economy

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It was foreseeable that the principal topic of discussion of this Wednesday night salon would be the earth-shattering events of Tuesday, September 11th in the United States. The quotes of the evening appear to be the best means of describing that discussion. However, what has become most evident is the precise, highly-planned nature of the attacks, the difficulty in the identification of the specific enemy who willingly faces certain death in the pursuit of a cause. The perpetrators appear to eliminate any personal guilt in the firm belief that both they and their victims will achieve immortality in the successful achievement of their mission.

The exquisite planning of the attacks is evident from the details that have and continue to emerge.

A very heavily orchestrated operation: The military-type precision was evident, making use of airline schedules and the use of aircraft with almost full fuel loads as deadly weapons without the need for sneaking bombs and explosives aboard.

Taking advantage of the freedom of movement within North America.

The choice of time of year: September following Labor Day favours reasonable good weather and a maximum number of potential victims inside the buildings following their return from their summer vacation.

The choice of day of week: The terrorists apparently were aware of well-established airline patterns during days of the week. A low passenger list is usually accompanied by a relaxed crew with subsequent relaxed security as well as greater probability of respecting departure times.

Meticulous training: The success of this mission required the training of pilots trained to fly large commercial aircraft and willing to face certain death in the pursuit of a cause, however misguided. This could not be accomplished in small countries, but had to be done in several large countries making use of large aircraft, perhaps Syria, Iraq, Iran or possibly North Korea. (Editor’s Note: In yet one more instance of the terrorists turning America’s technology against itself, it has subsequently been established that the pilots were trained in U.S. flying schools)

Knowledge of points of weak security: A significant percentage of security failures have been reported in a test by false terrorists at Logan Airport, Boston.

Choice of targets: Buildings constructed with a steel backbone such as the World Trade building, are much more vulnerable than masonry buildings such as the Empire State Building. In addition to being an obvious target symbolic of American economic power the choice of the World Trade towers favoured success of the operation. At 900Ec., steel has one-tenth the strength it has at room temperature. When hit, the steel backbone is unable to support the floors, and the lower floors are unable to support the upper floors as they fall. Whether this will influence the height and structure of future commercial buildings is open to conjecture.

QUOTES of the EVENING:

  • “We have to think and act globally.”
  • “We need more than world structure. We need a change in values.”
  • “I hope they don’t respond with an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth until they have no eyes or teeth left.”
  • “A person who is prepared to die and take other people with him is very hard to deal with. Neither is it probable that anything else will work.”
  • “I don’t think it’s right to enter ethical considerations into the business of murder.”
  • “Pearl Harbor looms large in the mind of every American.”
  • “Even if they don’t find out who did it, someone will have to be retaliated against.”
  • “This is a conflict of values … they also believe that martyrdom is conferred on the people that died with them. “
  • “Bush has to maintain and increase (his) popularity.”
  • “Some strong measures must be taken … if not appropriate, could exacerbate the situation in the Middle East.”
  • “The Americans don’t understand the enemy.”
  • “The symbolism of the World Trade Center is the perceived money and corruption of the U.S., money, guns, drugs, violence.”
  • “It is not government’s role to exact revenge. For this reason, I am against capital punishment. It is the role of government to make us safe.”
  • “A lot of these terrorists are stateless … They go where they want to go, so how can the American armed forces attack …?”
  • “It is interesting that we are all waiting for the Americans to do something stupid. One of the advantage of the television age is that they have to fill the air with opinions on something they know little about, (but President) Bush’s advisors are not stupid.”
  • “We have isolated the Islamic world … now we are surprised when they react: hitting one or two spots won’t work.”
  • “We did it because we chose the price and we are paying the price. In the ‘93 bombardment of Belgrade, the U.S. (NATO) bombed the highest building in Belgrade, top and bottom. Imagine the number of people around the world who are now jumping with joy.”

Notes by Herb Bercovitz Edited by Diana Thébaud Nicholson

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