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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 8, 2007 / 24 Menachem-Av, 5767

Lack of imagination clouds Sept. 10 minds

By Jonathan Gurwitz


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Travel back six years in time. It's the summer of 2001. Lance Armstrong has just won his third consecutive Tour de France. President Bush signed an extension of the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act, reiterating that cooperation with other nations "is essential to pursuing the most effective approaches to solving the problems of proliferation and terrorism."


Anchorman Dan Rather is in hot water with the NAACP for saying on the Don Imus show that CBS news executives "got the Buckwheats" and were frightened into reporting on the smoldering scandal involving Rep. Gary Condit and missing intern Chandra Levy. The scandal itself is the most important story coming out of Washington as the Capitol empties for August recess.


Now imagine an alternate history that goes along with these events. Imagine that law enforcement officials catch a lucky break or that a particularly dogged FBI agent prevails over the inertia of her superiors.


Imagine that the news in early August 2001 also contains this blurb: "FBI agents made several arrests today in a plot to hijack U.S. airliners using box cutters. Some of the alleged conspirators reportedly received rudimentary flight training. Terrorism experts say they were in an early stage of planning and dismiss the plot as the work of amateurs."


Had history unfolded this way, had the 9-11 conspirators been discovered and deported, would anyone believe that they could have commandeered four aircraft, piloting three of them into U.S. landmarks and killing 3,000 people?


The world allegedly changed on Sept. 11, 2001. Watching people leap to their deaths and the twin towers come crashing down was supposed to be an effective antidote to what the 9-11 commission called "a failure of imagination."


But today, as a National Intelligence Estimate warns that the United States faces a heightened threat environment for terrorist attack, 9-11 is increasingly viewed as a one-off that's unlikely to be replicated. The inconveniences caused by heightened security — no curbside parking at airports, only 3 ounces of liquids or gels on planes — simply aren't commensurate with the risk of mass murder.


Neither are the many "freedoms" that the Bush administration, Congress and the courts have compromised — including the freedom for individuals in the United States to participate in international conference calls with foreign jihadists without fear of surveillance.


Those are the ranks of the incredulous, who suffer not only from a failure of imagination, but also from a failure of recognition. When the FBI charged six radical Muslims, foreign nationals, in a plot to kill soldiers at Fort Dix, N.J., U.S. News & World Report carried the story under the headline, "Targeting Soldiers in an Amateur Plot."


In June, federal authorities busted an alleged plot by a retired airport worker and fellow Islamic extremists to inflict massive casualties by blowing up fuel pipelines at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Conspirators were recorded boasting of an operation more stunning than 9-11, one that would leave "the whole country in mourning."


The JFK plot wasn't even front-page news in the New York Times. Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt defended the decision to play the story inside the paper because "the accused men were a long way from action and that despite the apocalyptic comments of the U.S. attorney, their ability to carry out an attack on the airport was very much open to question."


Worse than those who suffer from failures of imagination and recognition are the cynics who reject the threat of terrorism as a mere tool to manipulate the masses. John Edwards summed it up nicely in a Time magazine interview in which he rejected the war on terror as political language "used to justify a whole series of things that are not justifiable, ranging from the war in Iraq, to torture, to violation of the civil liberties of Americans, to illegal spying."


The imaginatively challenged live in a Sept. 10 world of bliss. The cynics live in a Sept. 12 world of conspiracies. The plotters and victims of Sept. 11 are facts of history. And history has an uncanny way of repeating.

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JWR contributor Jonathan Gurwitz, a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, is a co-founder and twice served as Director General of the Future Leaders of the Alliance program at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. In 1986 he was placed on the Foreign Service Register of the U.S. State Department.

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© 2007, Jonathan Gurwitz

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