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10
Sep 02
Tue

Hypotheticals

As the world settles down tomorrow to watch a round of memorials and tv documentaries on the world-shaking event last year which received the most media coverage in history, I cannot help but wonder what another terrorist attack on September 11 this year would mean. Security has been ramped up, emergency services on alert, and America has vowed countless times in the last 365 days to “never let something like this happen again”. For an attack to slip under the net of American vigilance would be, in symbolic terms, crippling.

Such an attack now would not have to be something exotic, either. They don’t need a nuke, or a dirty bomb, or a biological agent. A few extreme-minded Muslim shaheed will do, placed strategically throughout crowded areas in the country. Or perhaps a fleet of trucks laden with explosives ram raiding into buildings. Although the death toll would not be as high as the three thousand who perished last year, nor the destructive effects be as horrifyingly spectacular as three million pounds of masonry collapsing, the message would be just as resounding: You cannot stop us.

And what then? Ban trucks? Body friskers at every corner? Would American freedom, touted by the so-called “leader of the free world” to be the envy of all, still maintain its (shaky) solidarity? Would America still be able to claim with a straight face that it still offered its citizens unparalleled amounts of freedom, in an age where you cannot board a plane without taking off your shoes first?

Just how much freedom can you take away, in exchange for security, in an effort to preserve freedom?

Of course, it can be argued that another attack would not be in the best interests of the offending parties. American retribution, whoever it was directed at, would be brutal. Bush would no doubt twist it into an excuse to commence Operation Desert Storm II. Also, with al-Queda in ruins and Osama no where to be seen, who would be left to blame? But who said people always act according to “best interests”? Afterall, all you need are a few loonies. Loonies who believe that their actions are a sure ticket to bang 72 virgins. Who, because they’ve died in their misguided mission, don’t have to face the repercussions… from the Arab getting persecuted while walking down the street (though hopefully we are all educated enough to avoid that), to the growing tensions between the West and Middle-east, to the kid who has to come home and find she has one less parent.

It’s a scenario where everyone loses. So let’s hope it never eventuates and that September 11 remains as a day of memory for 2001, and 2001 alone.