Justice will take time.–Ed

I was in a bar last night. It’s owned by a fireman who worked twelve hours last night, in all likelihood knowing that a few hundred of his buddies were buried under a hundred stories worth of rubble. Imagine getting up knowing that was your job for the day.

I watched President Bush’s speech and a young lady reacting to it last night. The look on her face was, “I missed Friends for this?” Not that she thought Friends was so good, but because she thought Bush was so bad.

She didn’t say it, but it was clear she wanted to hear Bush say, “We have wiped the bad guys off the face of the earth” in time to catch Frasier.

Some others living in the vicinity (not the bar) wanted action, too. They were planning a little intercultural dialogue with the Islamic merchants in the neighborhood using the two “B”s.

Not benevolence and brotherhood, mind you. Bricks and bats. Fortunately, a company of cops were stationed outside to ensure at least outward attitude adjustment. If you want to find a NYC cop today, go to your nearest Islamic center.

And this hasn’t even really hit us New Yorkers yet, even with the smoke and the ash and for many, the memories.

Delivering Payback Is Going To Be a MoFo

Forget instant gratification, folks. Not going to happen, and if you demand it, you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

It’s not the fault of the folks in charge. To do this right, it’s going to take them time. If you want it done badly, that’s just what you’ll get.

First we want to make real, real sure we got the right guy. The world is watching, it will want proof, and we want it behind us.


Pretend for a minute that was a terrorist organization, with Joe and I heading it and all our Forum Seniors as members. This is an international group. Sure, you could knock Joe and me off and feel better right away. Until the head grows back and we get the next time.

Just trust me, we’ll get a lot further a lot faster if we get cooperation from those who probably can do the job better than we can. Especially from those countries most likely to have these folks. Those countries where the guy on the street thinks Mr. Bin Laden is the greatest guy in the world and would lynch anybody they knew was turning him in.

This is the real world. Not Busch Gardens, not Disneyworld.

On top of that, it’s not like your typical FBI or CIA agent can walk up to a member of the Bin Laden group and say, “Hi, I want to be an international terrorist just like you!”

In case you’ve forgotten, Mr. Bin Laden hasn’t exactly been on America’s Christmas card list lately, and he isn’t saying, “Take me,” either.

In all likelihood, he’s someplace in a country ideal for hiding that really doesn’t like foreigners mucking about in their country. Ask the Russians. Ask the British (they had the equivalent of Custer’s Last Stand there in 1839). Ask Alexander the Great, for that matter.

The New York Times reported today that U.S. intelligence has a fairly good idea where he is, and special forces groups have trained for such a mission, but action up to now hasn’t been taken because American public opinion would find the likely number of casualties unacceptable.

Don’t get mad at those folks. They just did what most Americans wanted: fight all you want, just don’t get killed.

Well, the fruits of that wish are ripening in a lot of body bags in New York today.

Under the best of circumstances, this is a rough mission. Most countries in the region are decidedly unfriendly to us, and even those who might be persuadable would want things from us it would be foolish for us to give.

If we do it alone, we have to fly hundreds of miles through what must be presumed to be hostile territory to try to get to people who’ll likely be given plenty of warning time to scatter. Or our intelligence information may be incorrect. Or outdated.

Once we get to wherever we think they are, odds are “there” will have plenty of plausibly innocent people all around. Not like terrorists conveniently have a “T” branded on their foreheads. “Kill them all” doesn’t play well in the world press.

Absolutely nothing I’ve said means we can’t do anything about this. Absolutely everything I’ve said means this isn’t going to be a “slam, bam, thank you Laden” operation.

It will get done. But at best, if the job is done right, it will take weeks, probably months. If that’s what it takes, that’s fine by me. Even if your attitude is “to hell with anybody else in the vicinity,” do you really want to see a lot more young American soldiers get unnecessarily just because you couldn’t wait?

Nor may it be dramatic. It would be better if it weren’t.

Let’s just say that years ago, I got the chance to hear some fascinating stories from someone in this line of work.

One night, after much planning and preparation, they decided to persuade a whole spy network that they really didn’t want to work for a certain Arab leader any more. It’s amazing how persuasive you can be when you have the listener hanging from the edge of a cliff. 🙂

So let’s not commit terrorism on ourselves due to impatience. Don’t get mad, get even.

This Is Not A Bob Vela Job Either

This is not a do-it-yourselfer. Nor is it an excuse to act out your resentments. What I heard last night in the bar was the white trash version of the Rodney King riots, nothing more, nothing less.

That immigrant fellow came here because he hated living in his own country, maybe due to politics, more likely due to money. Far more likely than not, he wanted to get away from all that crap. With few exceptions, he came here to live like a man, not die a crispy critter.

Sure there are a few who came here to become crispy critters. Obviously not too many, otherwise this would be happening every day.

Some Americans are murderers, too. Does that mean they should all be on Death Row?

If you think you’re entitled to do whatever because of someone’s skin color or nationality, so did Mr. Laden. We’re better than that, even if you’re not.

Email Ed

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