Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Imagine That

On September 10th 2001, if someone had come up to you and told you that the following day terrorists from a relatively unknown (to the general public) terrorist group would successfully hijack, not one but four airplanes simultaneously using only pocket knives, then pilot the planes themselves into the sides of two of the world's largest skyscrapers and the most powerful nation's central command of national security, you would have laughed and dismissed said person as ridiculous. And if they told you that not only would they do these things, they would bring the two skyscrapers down along with several other buildings nearby, thus inflicting the damage a small nuclear weapon would have in the same area as well as take a very sizable chunk out of the Pentagon, you would have dismissed the person as not only ridiculous but the product of fanciful imagination.

Had you forgotten that the same group a few years prior would take a small boat and blow a house sized hole in a United States naval destroyer you would have dismissed the possibility of such an attack as action movie fantasy.

Had history not informed you otherwise, you might have thought the idea of “peasant” fighters of the same breed (and some future members of such a terrorist group) would essentially be able to drive one of two of the world's largest nuclear capable superpowers out of a country, you would likely laugh at such an idea as well.

Then imagine that our man on the street who told you about the idea of such an attack happening would then go on and tell you that the same group or affiliates of said group, over the next few years, would launch successful attacks of varying intensity on Spain, England, India, Bali, Russia, China, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and numerous other nations, you would have scoffed brazenly.

Now after all of the previous had materialized before your naive eyes would you have agreed with the following statement from the 9-11 Commission?

"The most important failure was one of imagination...We do not believe leaders understood the gravity of the threat."

And yet we continue to dismiss ideas of nuclear, biological, or chemical attacks on our military and civilian populous as laughable.

Imagine that.