Day by Day

Friday, November 16, 2001

Caucasian Octogenarian Female Suicide Bombers?

Editor

Regarding Mr. Schwab’s comments (ICO, 11/9/01) concerning the dialogue which has developed over my letters, I would ask readers to remember that two suicide Arab bombers attacked the Cole just about a year ago, and that suicide bombers ply their trade almost daily in Israel. Why then would we not expect Arab suicide bombers to attack us? Apparently, many others share my view. In Time, Nov. 8 edition, concerning anthrax and the Sept. 11 attack, Time reports that “…the Federal Government was roundly criticized for its failure to imagine the worst.” I am sure that the “worst” was imagined, but nothing effective was done about it because of Arab sensitivities. Terrorist profiling would of course have included examining young Arab-looking males for possible weapons. Why else would we single them out?

I feel certain that Arab suicide bombing was anticipated because, for eight of my 21 years of Air Force service, I and thousands of others were involved in “war gaming,” basically anticipating an opponents courses of action and devising counters to them. Mr. Schwab’s statements only point to his ignorance of threat assessment and countermeasures development. His statement that: “Changing (to a less volatile jet) fuel would have rendered jets useless as incendiary bombs” was ludicrous. First, suicide terrorists would be satisfied to crash the jet and kill the passengers on board. Secondly, even the less volatile jet fuel burns, and the fires, not explosions, brought down the twin towers.

I was pleased by Ms. Harrison’s excellent reply to Mr. Henderson’s bizarre letter, and to see that it included a paragraph concerning the terrorist attacks on us that went unanswered on Bill Clinton’s sorry watch. The ICO editor had excised similar information from one of my previous letters, and it is wonderful to see that “truth will out.” Let’s roll!

Saturday, November 10, 2001

"No Namecalling" Writer Calls Me "Hatemonger"

Alice and I just returned from over two weeks in Kaua’i, and one of the first things I did was catch up on local activities by reading through the last three weeks of the ICO. I noticed in the September 21 ICO that a Mr. Lippman commented on my September 14 letter and ended by stating that “it is important for us to respect one another, hear each other out, and avoid ‘ad hominem’ arguments.” Earlier in his letter Mr. Lippman, who I never recall meeting, correctly mentioned that in the instance of air travel security that I support racial profiling. He also correctly stated that racial profiling would not protect us from the clean-cut Anglo racists among us who bomb churches. He then noted that a highly likely source of irrational violence is our subpopulation of hatemongers, and then identified me as one of them. Mr. Lippman, I am judgmental, and conservative, and a Republican, support School Choice, and am not politically correct (although political correctness is a form of judgmentalism), but I am not a hatemonger. Mr. Lippman, you then went on to purportedly read my mind, by saying that I would applaud an attack on an Indian Sikh. Mr. Lippman, you are a hypocrite, and you would do well to heed the advice you gave us all in your letter. It is intellectually dishonest, and a personal insult to me, to be called a hatemonger by you and for you to say that I would applaud bigoted violence. Do you frequently assign such low motives and attitudes to people about whom you are totally ignorant? Do you fall back on the bigot’s nostrum, “I know what people like you think.”

Mr. Silverstein then instructs me on freedom and what it means to be an American. Mr. Silverstein, I served in the United States Air Force, first in the enlisted ranks and then as an officer, for over 21 years to protect our freedoms. One of the freedoms I took an oath to defend was the freedom from attack “from enemies both foreign and domestic.” I did not take an oath to protect the freedom of those who are not United States citizens at the price of our security. Although I was retired six years when the Gulf War started, I placed myself on a voluntary Air Force recall roster in the hopes that I would be called up instead of someone with a young family. Alice still hasn’t forgiven me for exposing myself to possible danger and a certain drastic cut in pay. However, Mr. Silverstein, I believe that turning a blind eye to the terrorist threats from individuals who are not American citizens takes freedom from those of us who are.

In the September 28 ICO, Ms. Bullamore applauded Mr. Lippman and Mr. Silverstein, and noted erroneously that I am a member of the Point Arena School Board. Ms. Bullamore, the reason you did not meet me at the October 4 board meeting which, from your implied concerns I assume you attended, is that I am not yet a board member. Actually, Alice and I were unopposed for two positions on the board, and we both will begin our service soon. I applaud Ms. Bullamore’s suggestion that more of us should be attending school board meetings, and I heartily endorse it. As a graduate of both Point Arena Elementary and High Schools (1949-1960), I am keenly interested in helping both schools because I know that improving education in our public schools is the most valuable thing we can do to improve the lives of minority children and children from poor families. It worked for me, and Alice is a volunteer tutor who has worked tirelessly and invested a substantial sum of her time and our own money to improve the reading skills of several children. So Ms. Bullamore, we welcome your concern and your participation, and I am sure that you and others equally concerned will participate actively in school board and other volunteer programs. Maybe you or someone else will even oppose us for election.