Reprinted from Antiwar
I had arrived in New York a few hours earlier on a plane from California, on the first leg of a trip to Serbia. I was slated to travel with a delegation of writers who had been invited to that recently-bombed country by the government of President Vojislav Kostunica, the liberal nationalist successor to the malevolent Slobodan Milosevic. As virtually the only visible opposition to Bill Clinton's "humanitarian" crusade to establish the state of Kosovo -- today the heroin and human trafficking capital of Europe -- Antiwar.com was well known in Serbia, and I was looking forward to visiting the crime scene. But as I watched the drama of 9/11 unfold, I knew I wouldn't be going anywhere.
As news of the attack on the Pentagon was broadcast by a clearly panicked newscaster, a shock of pure fear ran up and down my spine. I recalled that the Indian Point nuclear power plant wasn't all that far away: my father had worked there at some point in his career. I imagined that it probably wasn't all that closely guarded -- and the hair on my neck stood straight up.
Day One of the Long War was dawning.
In the days and months to come, a pall fell over the nation as the smoke emanating from the isle of Manhattan spread out and seemed to cover the whole country. People forget the atmosphere of those dark days: the war hysteria welling up in a collective spasm of fearful vituperation, seeking the closest target. Since Osama bin Laden and the hijackers weren't available, this hate campaign was directed at anyone who dared question the narrative of a blameless and simon-pure America ambushed by demons.