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

New name — Warlog: World

New name — Warlog: World War IIICheney on this war: “It may never end — at least, not in our lifetime.”

– Another appropriately edgy Maureen Dowd column: “Many government officials here do not yet have a grip on an enemy etched in disappearing ink. Washington is rife with contradictory signals. The White House urges us to go out while Dick Cheney is under wraps. Congress urges us to stay calm and go about our business while the entire House takes a powder at the first sign of powder. We are supposed to shop till we drop, literally, as the F.B.I. and C.I.A. warn of major attacks at any moment. The capital is the heart of confusion.”

– Interview with Clash of Civilizations‘ Huntington: “Instead of the West versus the rest, could the clash become Islam versus the rest?”

– Britain’s plans for biowar.

– Rousing Julie Burchell rant

– Rousing Julie Burchell rant on Islamofascists … Booker Prize winner Peter Carey’s letter from New York.

NY Post victim: “ANTHRAX THIS!” … The National Enquirer: “Evacuated, medicated, dedicated!” … Anthrax in Rio … in Argentina … in Kenya

– Striking Spiegel cover: The wounded city.

– Well-done Al-Ahram on the squeeze on Sharon and Arafat.

– Islam Online finds anti-bin-Laden sites.

– The Egyptian view of Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations (below). More against Clash. Moderates say there is no clash. That’s not what Bin Laden and the Ayatollah say. Yes, there is a clash of civilizations; the only question is whether we are civilized enough to get past it.

– Sell Creamora stock.

It’s time to start calling

It’s time to start calling this….


By any definition, the fight against terrorism is turning into a world war.

First factor: The major powers are engaged — the U.S. and Britain now; soon, Germany, France, and other NATO countries will be be sending troops. Russia and China are taking part, in their ways. Many other countries are involved: Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey….

Second factor: This is a war being fought on many fronts. It’s not just about hunting down one war criminal and his cult. Every Muslin/nonMuslim battleline is now drawn: The Arab world hopes that now is the time for the creation of a Palestinian state; Israel — under pressure from us — was reluctantly getting ready to go along; then terrorists met their agenda of agitating and avoiding peace with an assassination this week; now Sharon decrees that the Arafat era is over and he’s ready to fight. This is war. Meanwhile, India fears that we’re going to ally so closely with with Pakistan that it will affect its endless skirmish with Pakisatn Kashmir and so they launch attacks; this comes after terrorists launch their own attacks in India. This, too, is war. Indonesia threatens to flair up. Sri Lanka and the Philippines are not far behind. At the same time, Russia wants to mop up Chechnya and China is dueling with its Muslim minority. There are ever-present terrorist threats in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. And in the background, Iraq and Iran are dying to pick a fight with the West.

This is a world war.

But, of course, this will be nothing like the other world wars. This will be fought not in trenches or — in the longrun — from the air. This will be fought from inside countries. For the first time, the enemy is not apparent; it hides in caves and cheap New Jersey apartments and practices a strategy of silence. The enemy is among us. We are living in the battlefield. And that, by the way, is why the FBI’s performance during the anthrax attack is so disturbing, for we are depending on law enforcement (and, God forbid, the Post Office), not armed forces, to defend us at home and they are not prepared.

The President is right when he warns us that this will take time. This is a world war.

Trenton’s day in infamy.