Saturday, January 22, 2005


FREEDOM!!! (or bureacracy, or just office buildings?)

According to NPR, W said the word "freedom" 27 times in his 21-minute inaugural speech yesterday — an excellent example of misleading framing.

Even worse, he spoke again of the 9/11 attack as being an attack on "freedom." This is utterly absurd.

What was attacked were two of the world's largest office buildings, both, incidentally, built by government, not "free" enterprise. (The Pentagon is obvious, and the WTC was built by the NY Port Authority.) We are usually told the fourth plane was to be aimed at the White House or the Capitol, but for all I know one of the huge office buildings in Washington could have been the target --or maybe another side of the Pentagon was. The previous major al Qaeda attacks were also on government office buildings, at the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
The other attacks were on US military targets.

I don't know why bin Laden has it in for office buildings, but since he cut his teeth in the guerilla war against the soviets in Afghanistan, and since he has made it clear he believes he brought down the USSR through that, it's quite clear he has now focussed on the remaining "western" superpower. Would Bush say bin Laden attacked the USSR because of opposition to freedom? As for the office-building fetish, possibly bin Laden and his group did attack Soviet office buildings in Kabul or elsewhere in Afghanistan; maybe that even stuck in his mind as a source of success.

Of course 9/11 was heinous, but it was an evil attack on office buildings, not freedom. Let's reclaim that important fact.

( I have previously speculated that al Qaeda was interested in attacking the World Trade Center because they were confused by the name, and thought that, rather than being rented out with difficulty mainly as back offices for Wall Street, it was, indeed, the center of world trade. If so, this again shows that we should be careful what we name things.)

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