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9/11: Twenty Years On…

This morning one of my walking buddies asked me where I was and what I was doing at the time of the 9/11 attack.

Well: I was on the phone to my son in Oakland, trying to convince him not to go to work in San Francisco via the Bay Bridge. He was having none o’that from his muther, but mercifully his employers called every worker and told them to stay home, stay out of downtown SF, stay put.

Having lived for ten long years in Saudi Arabia, I think I can share a little insight into those terroristic events. Like this:

The Saudis supply a large portion of the gas and oil this country requires to keep on operating as a “First-World” country. You may be sure we wouldn’t want to hurt their dainty feelings. Would we? Even though most of them deeply hate us, as infidels and as Westerners.

Seriously, I’m convinced that the sole reason for continued diplomatic and business relations with the Saudis is to facilitate pumping and export of their oil to Western countries.

Our friends and our enemies, in the world of RealPolitik, are those who are of some use to us at any given time.

Y’know, after all these years I remain puzzled over one question:

Why did the 9/11 plotters do such a damn half-assed job of it?

Think about that.

They swiped three airplanes and flew them toward targets that were, yes, significant. But despite the mayhem they caused, they inflicted nothing even faintly like crippling damage to this country. And they could’ve. It would have been easy.

Like this:

Yes, engage Plan A: hijack a couple of large planes full of jet fuel and ram them into key targets. But…at the same time:

Develop Plan B to include federal sites in at least two or three other major cities, such as Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas/Ft Worth…whatever. In these cities, use trucks or automobiles carrying explosives to bomb key sites. Attack them all at the same moment.

For example…

  • In San Francisco, blow up the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the San Mateo Bridge. This would bring the city to a dead stop; at the time it could have been accomplished easily.
  • Also in the Bay Area, take out Treasure Island, which hosts a key naval base.
  • In Seattle, blow up the metro train/bridge network, or set off a bomb just about anywhere in the airport.
  • In L.A. set off bombs at LAX, John Wayne Airport, and the Ontario Airport. These would not have to be taken into a terminal; any explosion in any location at one of these sites would bring the facility to a halt.
  • In Chicago, take out the Federal Complex — again, reasonably easy to do with a UPS truck bearing a load of dynamite.
  • In any major seaport, blow up the piers for freighter and tanker docking.

None of this would have been hard to accomplish, and all of those actions could have been timed to happen at once. When I say the plotters weren’t very bright, I ain’t kiddin’. Instead of wreaking serious havoc nationwide — doable at minimal expense and modest loss of Heroic Martyrs’ lives — they showboated with a spectacular event that, in view of what they could have done without much more expense and manpower, took out relatively few Americans (almost none of them military or part of the upper leadership) and did relatively little damage. A couple of NYC skyscrapers in comparison to skyscrapers in several cities plus the major thoroughfares into a key West Coast city plus anyone who happened to be at an airport in LA or Seattle at the wrong time plus chaos at a large West-Coast naval base plus destruction of government buildings in a major Midwestern regional city plus destruction of a major seaport (with concommittant loss of lives, freighters, and tankers) would really have done the job.

Our boys had relatives and friends in the higher echelons of the Saudi government. Given enough time, they could have raised all the cash they would have needed to launch a coordinated, multi-pronged attack. And they had a good shot at pulling it off.

They fu*ked it up, I’m afraid…

Luckily for us.

2 thoughts on “9/11: Twenty Years On…”

    • Their relatives on and close to the throne depended enough on revenues from the U.S. that trying to recruit many coconspirators at higher echelons — the ones who have the money and who speak English — would have been extremely risky. They might have pulled it off, but doing so would have taken a LOT of time and very careful strategizing. And luck.

      And, as in any royal court of the Middle Ages or Renaissance (which effectively is equivalent to what the Saudi court is), NO one could be trusted. They probably figured a minimalist approach would have the greatest chance at success.

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