Brit military chief warns of

Brit military chief warns of a four-year war: ìIím not suggesting this war will go on for 50 years but weíre fighting a concept, not a state . . . and weíre having to rewrite the rulebook (to deal with it). The al-Qaeda organisation is not tangible. Youíre fighting against this thing called terrorism.î

Thanks to Matt Welch for a great plug for the Warlog Store (read about it under the tote bag below and buy the Former Pacifist or Rudy Kicks… or Osama Kiss My… T-shirts)…. And I’m glad that Matt and his cohort Ken Layne are back and blogging.

If you want a barometer of what America is really thinking — if not saying — listen to Howard Stern. Today, Howard wondered what Bush is up to trying to wage the politically correct war, telling our kids to send dollars for kids in Afghanistan and now to find Muslim pen pals. Howard says that’s not how we waged WWII; the countries we bombed were our enemies. Right. Now it’s true that in this war, Bush has to work hard to distinguish the enemy — terrorists — from the civilians around them and their fellow Muslims, since we are relying on them as at least temporary allies. Still, what Howard’s really saying is that we want decisiveness. Instead, we’re starting to hear that we may not ever get Osama and that the war is already tougher than we figured. On the homefront, it’s worse: We witnessed a fumbled, mumbled, and bumbled response to the worsening anthrax attacks; we got vague reassurances when we should have been getting swift action and information. It also does not inspire confidence that the government is asking Hollywood and now us for ideas to fight terrorism (apply here). Our support for the war and Bush is not faltering. We just want something more to support.

– Anthrax survivor: “I was near death.”

– Fun Florida.

– Bin Laden link to Argentine terror attacks.

The post-9/11 T-shirts I’m seeing

The post-9/11 T-shirts I’m seeing on the streets of New York are mostly mawkish, hawkish, tacky, or even offensive. We need to improve the level of T-shirt discourse. And here is my humble contribution: The Warlog Store (all profits to charity). So far, three products:

– The Former Pacifist line (inspired by my confession, below). For you NPR/PBS fans who may not be caught dead or alive in T-shirts, we offer the Former Pacifist tote bag (above). Buy here.

– The Rudy For… t-shirt. On the front, suggestions for Rudy’s next job: Attorney General (my crusade), FBI Director, Senator, Governor, any of the above. On the back, “Rudy Kicks…” with an arrow pointing you-know-where. Buy here.

– And to show off my new hawkish tendancies: A T-shirt that says “Osama: Kiss My…” with an arrow pointing down; the same message on front and back. Buy here.

Suggestions welcome.

Through others’ eyes: In the current issue of der Spiegel, there’s one story about the love-hate relationship Germans have with America right now — with many against supporting our war. And only a few pages away there’s a story (neither of them online) remembering the day exactly 40 years ago when our tanks confronted Soviet tanks across the Berlin Wall, risking nuclear war, a historian now believes, for the sake of German freedom. Ungrateful? Disloyal? At the same time, we’re hearing more about the planning for terror that occurred in Germany. Spiegel has a story about Atta plotting in Hamburg. And there’s an amazing story (if I’m translating correctly) about the double life of a soccer star turned terrorist. There are terrorists in their midst, too.

– The future of mail: Wall Street Journal asks whether this is the end of snail mail. I was telling friends the business to be in is sanitizing and opening mail for important or self-important people; too late, for the NY Times reports that Hazmail is offering just that. Will we be required to seal our mail in plastic bags? Will our mail be delayed while it’s nuked? Will the mail cost more? You bet. Will that affect every business that sells and communicates via the mail? Absolutely. Will they try to find alternatives in email? They’re trying.

– The United We Stand postage stamp released today. Let’s hope it’s the no-lick variety.

– Do NOT microwave your mail.

Uncle Bin’s Instant Anthrax (picture on Der Spiegel).

Blair: No Court TV for bin Laden. Rumsfeld: Ditto. Rumsfeld: On the other hand.

– Bild via CBS: Atta got anthrax from Iraq

– Criticism on the homefront: NY TimesWashington Post

Yesterday afternoon, I went down

Yesterday afternoon, I went down to the Here Is New York gallery — where hundreds and hundreds of photos of Sept. 11 are displayed on the walls and now there are so many they even hang from the ceiling. You’ve probably seen the story on TV: These volunteers are collecting photos from any photographers and then selling them for $25 each with net proceeds going to a WTC fund of the Children’s Aid Society. I bought five. No, I don’t intend to hang them in my living room; I intend just to hang onto them to remember. I don’t know why, but I find myself staring at photos like these. Even though I was there, I don’t think I’ve yet calculated the enormity of this; maybe that’s why I need to stare. These photos do not have the newsy urgency and bluntness of the amazing collection of photojournalism at Digital Journalist. These are mostly photos taking by the photographers who happened to be there. If you’re in New York, I recommend going to the gallery at 116 Prince St. (11a-6p); they’re open until Nov. 4 and they’re looking for donations to help build a web site to bring the photos online. Volunteers?

Life changing in every American city: Christian Science Monitor.

– Arrrgh: “Post Office chief suggests wash hands after opening letters…”

Maureen Dowd: “The federal government is starting to remind me of the Amity town council in ‘Jaws.’ Afraid panic will spread and business will suffer, they keep telling us to go back into the ocean before they’ve figured out how to fight the shark. And people keep dying.”

American Muslims meet; set up Muslim defense fund. Maybe they should think about excommunicating a few of their own.

Six weeks after…. I grew

Six weeks after…. I grew up watching the Vietnam War over dinner — when we were allowed to see the blood and the fear, not just green blobs on a nightvision screen — and that’s one reason I declared myself a pacifist at an early age. It was easy then. It was a cause. Vietnam was an unjust and just stupid war; I hadn’t seen a just war in my lifetime. Back then, when I announced my pacifism as only a dogmatic kid can, adults would, of course, challenge me with Hitler and I’d blather my way around it. But now we post-World-War-II children are facing our Hitler in Bin Laden and his cult of killers. We are facing the urgent need to end an evil before it attacks anew. We are in a just war that I know we must win not for justice or even revenge but for protection. We have not seen war on our land before and we have not seen war like this, a war without even the rules of war and certainly without the rules God or Allah, take your pick. This is a war of hate and there is no rational way to fight that. We have only one response: to protect our children, to fight and win. So I look up today, after the mass murder at the World Trade Center, after the start of biowar on our shores, after the start of an epoch of fear, and I realize that I am a former pacifist.

I hope the item above amounts to something more than this, but still I note this line from Andrew Sullivan today: “A reader points out that it is now a commonplace notion that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. Well, America has been mugged.

– Netzeitung — the very cool online-only newspaper in Berlin, does a story on this the warlog trend: this one, Matt Welch’s and others.

– Why the stars are meaningless: Shannon Elizabeth on Access Hollywood just now: She has gas masks. She’s looking for gas masks for her dog! She has an escape plan to Wyoming. Osoma doesn’t give a damn if he hits you, honey.

– None of the Post Office’s hints to find poison pen letters would have caught the anthrax letters actually sent.

– Fatwa defending despots.

– Just what the world needs: Al Sharpton on a mission to Israel.

– NY Times on new anthrax deaths: “Prompt Response for Politicians, a Slower One for Postal Workers.” Washington Post: “Workers Question Response; CDC Says Policy Evolving“. More.

– Times of London on Osama and nukes. Islamic fatwa on nukes: “…in case these nuclear weapons are used against Muslims, it becomes permissible for Muslims to defend themselves using the same weapon.”

Debka: “America Faces a Long, Harsh Winter in Afghanistan”

– The anthrax letters.

– Watch for gigantic increases in postal costs, end of Saturday delivery, delayed mail…. fax machines look good.

– A spectacular photo site

– A spectacular photo site with the best World Trade Center images from top photographers.

– Future jobs for Rudy. Nobody’s picking up my cause — Rudy for Attorney General! I’m making the T-shirts now.

Andrew Sullivan on crossing the biowar rubicon. Good piece.

– Why I gave up hard news and became a critic a columnist, tv critic, and overall fluff monger years ago: “Thirty journalists reported to be held hostage by Afghans