Tags: Caution

Caution

Tuesday, 11 September 2001 12:00 AM

Sitting before a TV screen, transfixed by the sight of the majestic twin towers of the World Trade Center as they were first devastated by kamikaze attacks and then collapsing in a monstrous cloud of dust and smoke, I found myself wondering if what I was seeing was real and not a nightmare from which I might hopefully awaken.

It was real, and it was perhaps the worst thing I've seen in all the 75 years I've lived in this vale of tears. To begin with, it was personal - I am a native of that city I once loved, and a member of a family whose history was intimately entwined with the history of New York from its earliest days.

Moreover, those two towers stood on the site of the Singer Building, which was built by my children's great-great grandfather, Frederick G. Bourne, who was then president of the Singer Sewing Machine Co. and whose top floors were known as the Bourne Tower.

As my initial shock wore off, my first confused impressions were replaced by a couple of certainties. First, that the most important reaction to the tragedy must be caution. Within minutes, rumors were already spreading - rumors that were quickly disproved. There was a rush on food markets in New York City as residents feared that food staples might be scarce - a report quickly disputed by the mayor. If ever there was a time when all of our abilities must be focused on getting the aftermath right, this is it. We are about to find out what we're made of.

Fingers, for example, were instantly pointed at Osama bin Laden as the culprit behind the attack. While he may well have been, there is enough evidence already available to suggest that he may not have had the resources to mount such a sophisticated military-style operation.

He has been for some time the designated villain allegedly behind a series of terrorist attacks, but by immediately pinning the blame for this latest outrage on him, we becloud the issue and waste investigative resources that should be aimed at other possible terrorist groups.

Most important is the need for this country to be one in our determination to gather behind President Bush in the waging of what is now acknowledged to be an all-out war - different from any we've ever fought - but a war nevertheless.

And in such a war, it is of the most vital importance that such partisan attacks as those waged by a sniveling corps of Democrats and their toadies in the media on the legitimacy of George W. Bush's presidency be stopped and stopped now. I have one thing to say to them: Get over it. You tried to steal the election, and you failed. He won. He's president. And you do no service to your country to question his right to occupy the nation's highest office in such times as these.

Yet, even as I write this, NBC's Andrea Mitchell is on TV questioning President Bush's ability to lead the nation. What a wonderful thing to tell the American people and the world in the midst of one of the worst crises in our history. These people have no shame.

Moreover, you people who have got it into your muddled heads that anyone not a member of the Democrat party is automatically a presidential usurper should get down on your knees and thank God that we have in the White House in this time of crisis a tough, hard-nosed Texan, and not his indecisive, weak-kneed opponent in the 2000 election campaign.

Caution. Take it easy. We face tough times in the immediate future - current problems with the economy may well be worsened - the flow of oil could be disrupted - but we've lived through worse and we've come out on top.

This has been compared to Pearl Harbor. I remember those times, and I remember how my fellow Americans reacted. Most of our Pacific fleet was lying at the bottom of Pearl Harbor; we were woefully unprepared to fight a two-front war; the Japanese, practically unopposed, were swarming all over the Pacific - and we hadn't a doubt in our minds that given a little time and a lot of effort we would win. So we simply rolled up our sleeves and went to work and we prevailed in the greatest conflict in world history.

There was a slogan and a song popular at the time: "We did it before and we can do it again." Let's see if we can this time as well.

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Sitting before a TV screen, transfixed by the sight of the majestic twin towers of the World Trade Center as they were first devastated by kamikaze attacks and then collapsing in a monstrous cloud of dust and smoke, I found myself wondering if what I was seeing was real and...
Caution
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2001-00-11
Tuesday, 11 September 2001 12:00 AM
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