Jewish World Review Sept. 20, 2001/ 2 Tishrei, 5762

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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Consumer Reports

No tinhorn terrorists can frighten us -- ON September 10, 2001, when the EEOC filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against it, Morgan Stanley had employee trouble. On September 11, 2001, that all changed. Morgan Stanley, occupying 25 floors in the World Trade Center, had trouble finding some of its employees.

On September 10, 2001, the biggest news story was still Gary Condit. On September 11, 2001, that all changed. We forgot Mr. Condit and Connie Chung existed.

On September 10, 2001, Congress bickered with the president over surpluses and lock boxes. On September 11, 2001, that all changed. Congress hoped for black boxes and doubled the president's $20 billion request for anti-terrorism efforts.

On September 10, 2001, President Bush seemed awkward of speech and boyish in mannerisms. On September 11, 2001, that all changed. President Bush became eloquent through compassion, confident in resolve and charming with hard-hats.

On September 10, 2001, we were a nation indifferent to or irritated by religion. On September 11, 2001, that all changed. There are no atheists in foxholes or homelands under attack.

On September 10, 2001, flags in stores collected dust. On September 11, 2001, that all changed. K-Mart and Wal-Mart posted signs, "Out of flags. On Order."

On September 10, 2001, we patted Israel on the head when it warned of stealth operatives. On September 11, 2001, that all changed. We experienced what Israel has endured for far too many years with far too little empathy or help.

What a difference a day makes. Our lives and attitudes have changed, but not enough. This airport security obsession is superficial balm for a nation with flight jitters. Osama bin Laden will not be deterred by plastic bagel knife mandates on airplanes. Our enemy is whipped into a frenzy that began 21 years ago with the Ayatollah Khomeini's call for jihad. Mr. bin Laden has inspired far-flung cells of Arabs who are committed to cleansing the world of U.S. evil, soldiers and civilians alike.

The Al Qaeda will not disappear without war. War means targeting the enemy, which means diversity platitudes go. A statement of the obvious: The next time folks named Mohamed, Abdul or Fayez, as three of the hijackers were, show up at Boston's Logan and try to purchase one-way tickets for cross-country flights, the answer is, "No!"

This is an act of profiling. It is not, however, an act of discrimination. It is logical conduct based on this information: 100% of the time, when hijacked domestic airliners have crashed into buildings in the United States, Arabs have been responsible. Not employing the laws of probability in fighting an enemy of singular heritage is insanity. Questioning Inga in her leder hosen at the airport does not prevent hijacking by Arab men.

Our kamikaze enemies capitalized on our "enlightened" nonjudgmentalism. They made no effort to disguise their identities. Messrs. Al-Shehhi, Alomari, Alshehri, Atta, et al. trained, bragged and boarded planes right under our noses and those of the FBI and CIA.

This bright and determined enemy plotted, planned, and studied for nearly five years to give up their lives for felt swoop mass destruction. Their Palestinian comrades then cheered in the streets as they watched 5,000 Americans die.

So long as these amoral factions exist, they will pierce new security measures. Should we close airport loopholes, they'll switch to nuclear plants and sports facilities.

With the harsh reality of a two-decade-strong army of hidden zealots, is it hopeless? Never! Those September 11, 2001 stories of fate and irrational results from a new day of infamy temporarily frighten us. A flight missed. A flight postponed. A son taken to his first day of school and a late arrival at work. There is no rhyme or reason as to why some escaped the wrath and havoc of terrorism and others met an unimaginable fate. Life has its unknowns. Tragedies are not always divinely foreclosed.

But that realization is our hope. We are perplexed, but not in despair. Cast down, but not destroyed. Living in fear of evil is a miserable existence. Those who cower succumb. Victory comes through defiance of evil, not the pitiful actions of mitigation. President Bush, after being squirreled around the country for half a day because of nervous Secret Service agents, eventually put down his boot and said, "No tinhorn terrorist is going to keep the president out of Washington."

Never send to know for whom the bell tolls. Just keep the tinhorn terrorists from having access to the bells. Then find the tinhorns and eliminate them for the sake of tomorrow. Righteous indignation coupled with a judgmental intolerance for evil forces are our hope. Don't go wobbly with diversity and fear- September 11, 2001 should have changed all of that.

JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


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07/30/01: When principle hits too close to home
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07/06/01: Patient's rights and the Valley of Death
06/29/01: There is no excuse
06/21/01: I want an eternal soulmate, but the marriage thing is another issue
06/14/01: Which way maverick McCain? An Arizonan's perspective
06/07/01: No stroke of genius
05/30/01: The lesson of the Mr. Green Jeans senator: 'Moderate' is a classy term for wishy-washy
05/25/01: Baseball has not been so good to me
05/18/01: Clothes make the woman
05/11/01: Selective precaution
05/04/01: Grades: Equality of students, by students, for the students
04/27/01: The Horowitz revelations as seen by a college professor
04/20/01: First, let's kill all the tests
04/13/01: The continuing mistake of underpricing electricity
04/06/01: That pill, Julia Roberts
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03/23/01: The melt down of the academy
03/15/01: Columbine redux: Moral infants
03/09/01: The lessons of Tom and Nicole
03/01/01: Pardon the temporary outrage
02/23/01: In defense of homework
02/20/01: A Message for faith-based organizations: Don't take the money, just run
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01/26/01: The challenge to be better than we have been
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12/06/00: The company we keep: Lawyers and elections
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04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
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10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
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06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2000, Marianne M. Jennings