Not all readers liked my attack on the liberal/left tendency to "rationalize" the aggression of September 11, or my use of the term "fascism with an Islamic face," and I’ll select a representative example of the sort of "thinking" that I continue to receive on my screen, even now. This jewel comes from Sam Husseini, who runs the Institute for Public Accuracy in Washington, DC:
The fascists like Bid-Laden could not get volunteers to stuff envelopes if Israel had withdrawn from Jerusalem like it was supposed to–and the US stopped the sanctions and the bombing on Iraq.
You’ve heard this "thought" expressed in one way or another, dear reader, have you not? I don’t think I took enough time in my last column to point out just what is so utterly rotten at the very core of it. So, just to clean up a corner or two: (1) If Husseini knows what was in the minds of the murderers, it is his solemn responsibility to inform us of the source of his information, and also to share it with the authorities. (2) If he does not know what was in their minds–as seems enormously more probable–then why does he rush to appoint himself the ventriloquist’s dummy for such a faction? Who volunteers for such a task at such a time?
Not only is it indecent to act as self-appointed interpreter for the killers, but it is rash in the highest degree. The death squads have not favored us with a posthumous manifesto of their grievances, or a statement of claim about Palestine or Iraq, but we are nonetheless able to surmise or deduce or induct a fair amount about the ideological or theological "root" of their act (Husseini doesn’t seem to demand "proof" of bin Laden’s involvement any more than the Bush Administration is willing to supply it) and if we are correct in this, then we have considerable knowledge of two things: their ideas and their actions.
First the actions. The central plan was to maximize civilian casualties in a very dense area of downtown Manhattan. We know that the killers had studied the physics and ecology of the buildings and the neighborhood, and we know that they were limited only by the flight schedules and bookings of civil aviation. They must therefore have been quite prepared to convert fully loaded planes into missiles, instead of the mercifully unpopulated aircraft that were actually commandeered, and they could have hoped by a combination of luck and tactics to have at least doubled the kill-rate on the ground. They spent some time in the company of the families they had kidnapped for the purpose of mass homicide. It was clearly meant to be much, much worse than it was. And it was designed and incubated long before the mutual-masturbation of the Clinton-Arafat-Barak "process." The Talibanis have in any case not distinguished themselves very much by an interest in the Palestinian plight. They have been busier trying to bring their own societies under the reign of the most inflexible and pitiless declension of shari’a law. This is known to anyone with the least acquaintance with the subject.
The ancillary plan was to hit the Department of Defense and (on the best evidence we have available) either the Capitol Dome or the White House. The Pentagon, for all its symbolism, is actually more the civil-service bit of the American "war-machine," and is set in a crowded Virginia neighborhood. You could certainly call it a military target if you were that way inclined, though the bin Ladenists did not attempt anything against a guarded airbase or a nuclear power station in Pennsylvania (and even if they had, we would now doubtless be reading that the glow from Three Mile Island was a revenge for globalization). The Capitol is where the voters send their elected representatives–poor things, to be sure, but our own. The White House is where the elected President and his family and staff are to be found. It survived the attempt of British imperialism to burn it down, and the attempt of the Confederacy to take Washington DC, and this has hallowed even its most mediocre occupants. I might, from where I am sitting, be a short walk from a gutted Capitol or a shattered White House. I am quite certain that in such a case Husseini and his rabble of sympathizers would still be telling me that my chickens were coming home to roost. (The image of bin Laden’s men "stuffing envelopes" is the perfected essence of such brainless verbiage.) Only the stoicism of men like Jeremy Glick and Thomas Burnett prevented some such outcome; only those who chose who die fighting rather than allow such a profanity, and such a further toll in lives, stood between us and the fourth death squad. One iota of such innate fortitude is worth all the writings of Noam Chomsky, who coldly compared the plan of September 11 to a stupid and cruel and cynical raid by Bill Clinton on Khartoum in August 1998.