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Jewish World Review June 30, 2003 / 30 Sivan, 5763

Julia Gorin

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Maybe all the rain was saving our lives | We've had the first full week of sun in longer than most people on the east coast care to remember. In New York, whining about the 100-degree weather has been muted, for fear of a rainy reprisal.

The constant downpour may have been depressing, but recall the week leading up to Memorial Day Weekend, the week starting Monday, May 19th. The country was put on the most serious of the past year's four orange alerts for the reason that, among other significant chatter, a cable was intercepted advising Muslims to leave all major cities starting that Thursday.

This was also the week my cousin Yossi would be visiting from Israel, which had just endured a spate of five genocide bombings in a single weekend. His visit meant I would be hitting all of New York's major landmarks that very week. How poetically cruel, I thought, for an Israeli to escape the Middle East war zone awhile, only to come here and get blown up with his American cousin in Rockefeller Center.

But we couldn't not do the NBC Studio Tour. I was resigned to my imminent demise. He arrived Tuesday. That was the day the rain started.

It didn't stop the entire time he was here or after he left. Since that harrowing week, 30 non-citizens whose visas were revoked after 9/11 were confirmed unaccounted for within our borders; a Boeing 727 jet went missing in Angola; we found out that truck driver Iyman Faris pled guilty to plotting to collapse the Brooklyn Bridge; and a new CIA report announced that al Qaeda and other groups were ready to use chemical, biological and limited nuclear weapons.

There is the mundane fact that people generally change their plans when it rains, and terrorists may not be any different in that regard. (What if it had rained on 9/11?) There is also the following fact from Eric Croddy, author of Chemical and Biological Warfare:

Water is a very good dilutant and will help lessen the effect of most CBW [chemical and biological weapons] agents, even those CW agents that do not hydrolyze very quickly. Once BW agents have fallen to the ground, these are not likely to cause harm in humans, unless through secondary ingestion of contaminated materials. These too can also be washed away and rendered harmless.

One might argue that we did have the occasional, sporadic sunny day; however, it couldn't be planned for, and only once was it followed by a second sunny day. Then back to the rain. We couldn't understand why.

"It's almost biblical in proportion," my friend Heather remarked as she contemplated the torrent. Heather has always liked the rain, but she was finally getting fed up. "Where can all this water be coming from?"

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It is said that G-d helps those who help themselves. Our current leaders are doing all they can in their war against terrorism. It is quite possible that the weather has been buying us time to track down the dangerous individuals that officials seek. (New York Taxi driver Sayed Abdul Malike, who sought information about bridge infrastructure and making bombs, was arrested the day Cousin Yossi arrived.) It is also quite possible that we wouldn't be seeing all this rain if the attacks on our country happened under a different administration's watch, an administration which might be doing far less to battle America's enemies, which never would have had the gall to conceive of The Patriot Act, and which would risk ruffling far fewer feathers politically.

Like one Al Gore supporter in my apartment building, who had called Bush tyrannical, admitted to my husband soon after 9/11: "You were right, Man. If Gore had won, Osama would be dining at Le Cirque right now." Even top Gore campaign aides were wiping their brows after the attacks, in relief that their candidate wasn't in the White House.

According to a Newsweek account, a possible al-Qaeda agent being tracked, called "Sakr," indicated in an Internet chat room that an attack long planned for early July by terrorists here is just waiting for the go-ahead— intelligence that analysts are loath to dismiss, since the same individual had spoken of "good news" coming from Morocco just before the attacks there.

So if the rain comes back this July 4th week, and we think of getting depressed again, let's consider the alternative— and be grateful instead.

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JWR contributor Julia Gorin's newly released first book, "The Buddy Chronicles," is available through Send your comments by clicking here.

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© 2003, Julia Gorin