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Waiting... Teil 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : 6 : 7 : 8

Waiting, today, for whatever is going to happen next. It does seem as if considerable thought is going into whatever the response will be. Reports from Indian & Pakistani newspapers are saying that the special force units (Rangers, SEALS, Green Berets, several other groups including one we have never heard of before, "Night Stalkers." -- this goes into my phrasebook of new terms, along with "Frozen Zone") are already moving into place. I suspect something along the lines of the following will happen, whenever it happens:
     1. Ground forces at this stage will consist solely of those guys, or some of those guys. More are preparing to go over, it's said, but I can't help but think that the US is keeping in mind what happened to the USSR during their ten-year war. (It would be absolute madness to send a large number of soldiers into Afghanistan, but that doesn't mean it won't happen, sooner or later.)
     2. Bombing from the air will occur prior to the guys going in; I have a suspicion that for appearance's sake if nothing else, this will be Dresden/Tokyo-size bombing although there isn't much left to bomb. From today's Times: "When we looked at Afghanistan before, the sense was we were going to bomb them up to the stone age," said one former Clinton administration official familiar with the planning of past military strikes against Mr. bin Laden's terrorist network.
      The FBI is now saying that not long prior to the event, the pilot of the plane that first struck the Towers met with an Iraqi intelligence agent. Iraq is vigorously denying this and evidently claiming this story came from the UK.
     If they're in the process of ascertaining that Hussein was in any way connected (it's hard not to suspect that he is, if only because the opportunity to get back at Bush Sr. by way of Bush Jr. would I think be pretty hard to pass up) they're keeping it *way* under wraps. Because—
     3. If Hussein was even minimally involved, it's a pretty safe bet Baghdad will also get the Dresden/Tokyo treatment, and totally without warning. After that, it's anyone's guess -- anything from ongoing small operations for the next five, ten, twenty years, to World War III.
     One view in the Russian papers is that if this were to be handled in the traditional Central Asian way, the Taliban themselves would kill bin Laden, and then turn over his body claiming that Western intelligence forces did it.
     Ah, the Russian mind... being capable of Russian-level cynicism, and possessed of the ability to endlessly extrapolate negative transactions, it's easy for me to imagine one scenario being the US setting off a nuclear bomb in northern Afghanistan in the midst of ground assaults, air bombing, etc.; thereafter claiming that the bomb belonged to the terrorists, that we found out about this just in time, clearly they were going to use it, and that therefore we have ample cause to do whatever the hell we want, beginning with taking out the capitals of Iraq, Iran... It is, of course, fortunate that I am not President.
     Enough punditizing, and back to the home front: the windows of the stores on Fifth & 57th filled with flags, or memorial bunting, or black curtains. Police cadets (having not yet been graduated) keeping an eye on traffic in midtown, and regular police as ever, everywhere. Military humvees heading down Fifth Avenue along with delivery trucks and stretch limos.
     I saw my therapist yesterday for the first time in two weeks (I see her on Tuesdays, but had no Sept. 11 session), and talked to her about depression, anxiety, the new numbness of being which I am beginning to think may have a certain permanence about it, now; about my stepmother's death the week prior to last, forgotten in the rush of events; about anger, and rage.
     (A minor interruption just now as a workman came into my office. "Just checking your electric outlet," he said. "The plates." Then, as he leaves, stated from over his shoulder, "Don't want you to get blown up.")
     I've always been an *extremely* angry person. For most of my life I automatically turned this inward, with the result being (as noted yesterday, I think) fairly deep and ongoing depression (which is also, at least partially, hereditary/chemical) With four years of therapy, beginning after I came out of the hospital back in 1997, I have managed to be able to get a lot of what was in, out; and feel much better for it. For the past year I've been doing much better at getting anger out before it becomes internalized rage.
     Unfortunately, if anger has no ready focus; or if anger rises toward a number of situations, or people, or whatever, very suddenly, it can't help but be turned inward, at least initially. And it grows, and it grows, and it grows; and it either stays inside, and becomes depression (which is what has been happening, I'm sure not only to me) or comes out in -- well, random acts of senseless violence. And on a national scale...
     But I am only going to speak now of what has made me angry, this past week.
     I am furious at the perpetrators of this horror. At the hijackers and at all who consciously helped them.
     I am furious at the US, for having let intelligence slip to such a level that this could have happened.
     I am furious at airlines that cut corners on security and hired guards at six dollars an hour.
     I am furious at pundits, who are presently coming at us from all directions; whether they be Jerry Falwell saying that liberals and gays brought about these events, causing God to turn Its back; or Susan Sontag saying in this week's New Yorker that courage is "a morally neutral virtue," and that the hijackers were, in context, courageous; or Howard Fineman in Newsweek writing about how baby boomers, such as himself, have always been too prone to self-loathing, prior to his saying immediately thereafter that the rest of our lives are going to be miserable and we deserve it for having been miserable selfish bastards; or the local idiot newscaster on Channel 2 (a notorious idiot, who has bounced from station to station for the past twenty years, always landing on his feet) who said "we've got a heartwarming story coming up," immediately prior to going to the burn unit at Cornell Hospital; or that coke-addled reprobate Taki in the NY Press saying that we wouldn't have this trouble with the Arabs if it wasn't for, well you know, the Jews.
     I am furious at God, if God there be.
     I believe there is God, in some form. God leaves us to our own devices. And I believe there is good and evil. That most of the time, things are a mixture of both, to one degree or another; but that some people, some actions, some events, contain nothing but evil, in the truest and classical sense.
     I believe that what happened last Tuesday was an evil act, unjustified and in no way the moral equivalent of anything the US government has done in the past or is doing now.
     Valeria and I had an extremely long discussion last night that often became an argument, lasting until one AM.
     "What about Hiroshima? or Nagasaki? or slavery, or what happened to Native Americans?"
     Yes, the US has done terrible things in the past. Some have arisen from arrogance, some from ignorance, some from both. Some, such as slavery, or giving smallpox-laced blankets to the Cherokees,should not have been justified in the past and cannot be justified now. Some, such as dropping the bombs on Japan, seemed to be the only thing to do at the time. Perhaps it was, perhaps not; strong arguments can be made on both sides, and will be made from now for the next hundred years. Some, such as rounding up Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor, was a dreadful action that even at the time some (though not enough) felt to be wrong.
     "They [meaning the hijackers, specifically] believed we're evil," Valeria said. "It's the way they see things. We have to understand that." To which, really, I could only say the easiest of responses: "Hitler believed Jews are evil. It's the way he saw things." Point being that yes, you could say the hijackers believed themselves to be justified. You could say Hitler believed himself to be justified, or Lenin and Stalin believed themselves to be justified. And in historical context, their rise to prominence can be understood; the reasons why they did what they did can be comprehended, at least in basic outline; their actions demonstrate intelligence, and purpose, and rationale. You could call them all geniuses, in their own particular ways, and not be technically incorrect.
     But the premises from which they began were horribly, horribly wrong; and at some point, through their actions, they crossed the line that separates all of Civilization, however small or advanced the civilization -- whether it be Western, Eastern, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Asian, African, Australian -- from the monstrous. From the inhuman.
     By inhuman, meaning making a conscious decision, at some point, to stop seeing people as people (whether they be enemy or not) to seeing people as disposable tools, or vermin; or to seeing them not at all -- not simply for the duration of an emergency, or a war, but forever.
Seeing light, yet choosing dark, thereafter actively working to switch off light wherever it may be found.
     Because that's where these actions differ from others. That once the choice is made, that's the end of discussion. The US has at least tried to correct the wrongs it has done in the past, however belatedly, however ineptly, however badly; or however well, or however thoroughly. (As have many if not most other countries as well, some of course doing so far more effectively than others.)
     In other words, we realized we were wrong, and did awful things believing they were right, *and then began trying to make amends for what, many times, was unforgivable.* And thereafter at least tried to do better, the next time.
     Were we not to have at least partially learned from some of our mistakes, for example, the government would today be issuing edicts to round up all Arab-Americans, to be resettled in the deserts in the West. *All.*
     But that isn't happening, neither will it happen under present circumstances. And were it to be tried, even in what has become wartime, the protests would be enormous, and effective.
We are, slightly, more civilized than we were; and considering human history, this is progress.
     By 12:30 AM V & I finally began to understand each other again, and went to sleep at peace. We are married, and happily married, yet the discussion of these things is hard, painfully hard; and angry, at times. It is remarkable, I think, that the discourse thus far has been as restrained as it has been, imbecile NY Post editorials and certain pundits notwithstanding. I hope I've not come across as either an imbecile or a pundit, writing this.
     By having written this, I am feeling much less angry.

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