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Was 9/11 really that bad? (I KNEW IT WOULD COME TO THIS)
Los Angeles Times ^ | 1/28/07 | David A. Bell

Posted on 01/28/2007 10:29:05 AM PST by paulat

Was 9/11 really that bad?
The attacks were a horrible act of mass murder, but history says we're overreacting.
By David A. Bell
January 28, 2007

IMAGINE THAT on 9/11, six hours after the assault on the twin towers and the Pentagon, terrorists had carried out a second wave of attacks on the United States, taking an additional 3,000 lives. Imagine that six hours after that, there had been yet another wave. Now imagine that the attacks had continued, every six hours, for another four years, until nearly 20 million Americans were dead. This is roughly what the Soviet Union suffered during World War II, and contemplating these numbers may help put in perspective what the United States has so far experienced during the war against terrorism.

[snip]

Has the American reaction to the attacks in fact been a massive overreaction? Is the widespread belief that 9/11 plunged us into one of the deadliest struggles of our time simply wrong? If we did overreact, why did we do so? Does history provide any insight?

[snip]

The people who attacked us in 2001 are indeed hate-filled fanatics who would like nothing better than to destroy this country. But desire is not the same thing as capacity, and although Islamist extremists can certainly do huge amounts of harm around the world, it is quite different to suggest that they can threaten the existence of the United States.

[snip]

Even if one counts our dead in Iraq and Afghanistan as casualties of the war against terrorism, which brings us to about 6,500, we should remember that roughly the same number of Americans die every two months in automobile accidents.

[snip]

So why has there been such an overreaction?

(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alqaeda; democrats; elections; terrorism; wot
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1 posted on 01/28/2007 10:29:07 AM PST by paulat
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To: paulat
It's because the Bush Administration has kept us safe, you moron!!!
2 posted on 01/28/2007 10:30:06 AM PST by paulat
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To: paulat
If you need to ask that question,pal,you'll never understand the answer.
3 posted on 01/28/2007 10:32:35 AM PST by Gay State Conservative ("The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism."-Karl Marx)
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To: paulat

What a gross distortion of the truth. Liberals are very good at that. What a strange way of looking at things. It doesnt effect them it doesnt matter too much. Sick cookies.


4 posted on 01/28/2007 10:33:29 AM PST by Lady GOP
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To: paulat

Hmmm.... Let's see. A terrorist act designed to take out as much of our government as possible is carried out. The same act is designed to disable aspects of our financial system. At the same time, 3,000 people are murdered in the attack--and for all we know they were actually trying to murder 10,000 or so--they just attacked too early in the day.
Hmmm...nope, no overreaction that I notice.


5 posted on 01/28/2007 10:34:21 AM PST by Clara Lou (John Kerry is scum. Feingold isn't much better. I guess I don't respect Democorats.)
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To: paulat

"history says we're overreacting."

We should have waited until the terrorists unleashed some WMD -- nukes or bioterror -- killing millions of people, before reacting. (/sarc)

If Clinton had reacted more strongly after the WTC bombing in 1993, maybe we wouldn't have had 9-11. THe terrorists will keep escalating, if we let them. I can see they are already promoting the new Dem policy -- the pre-9-11 let's keep ignoring terrorism one.


6 posted on 01/28/2007 10:34:29 AM PST by FairOpinion (STOP HILLARY! http://www.TheVanguard.org)
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To: paulat
Even if one counts our dead in Iraq and Afghanistan as casualties of the war against terrorism, which brings us to about 6,500, we should remember that roughly the same number of Americans die every two months in automobile accidents.

Interesting... It was the LA Times and their liberal leftist media sisters hammering every casualty number in our heads, to show how bad we are losing the war... BLAM ...and now it fits their politcal agenda to tell us, it isn't so bad at all... HYPOCRITES!

7 posted on 01/28/2007 10:34:30 AM PST by SolidWood (Sadr lives. Kill him.)
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David A. Bell, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University


8 posted on 01/28/2007 10:36:54 AM PST by CTSeditor
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: paulat
Yeah, Bell, now that you mention it, I guess we did, as well, kinda fly off the handle a bit after Pearl Harbor...(/sarc)
10 posted on 01/28/2007 10:37:17 AM PST by GoldCountryRedneck ("Idiocy - Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers" - despair.com)
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To: paulat

We are at war because war has been declared on America
twice by Muslims:

Aug 23, 1996 – formal declaration of war by Muslims against American military.

Feb 23, 1998 – formal declaration of war by Muslims against American population both military and civilian.

Then we were attacked by them on 911.

This is a war between the United States and Muslims.

Why do some people have such a hard time understanding this?


11 posted on 01/28/2007 10:37:53 AM PST by mjp
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To: GoldCountryRedneck
Yeah, Bell, now that you mention it, I guess we did, as well, kinda fly off the handle a bit after Pearl Harbor...(/sarc)

LOLOL!!! Isn't this guy incredible??

I'm sad to say, though, there are many people who think like him....

12 posted on 01/28/2007 10:39:40 AM PST by paulat
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To: paulat

So now the freak left thinks 3,000 souls killed by terrorists on 9/11 isn't so bad, but 3,000 soldiers killed in Iraq constitutes the worst war in history.


13 posted on 01/28/2007 10:40:14 AM PST by Proudcongal
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To: CTSeditor

And he also specializes in French history:

david.avrom.bell@gmail.com


14 posted on 01/28/2007 10:41:36 AM PST by jimbo123
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To: GoldCountryRedneck

Sure, its overblown. That's why everyone in the ME is scared of Iran and why we have to bring carriers into the gulf. Pay attention la la land.


15 posted on 01/28/2007 10:41:50 AM PST by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: paulat
97 Reasons Democrats Are Weak On Defense And Can't Be Trusted To Govern In Wartime

We're in a war. Something always goes wrong in a war, and our military leaders have made mistakes in Iraq. But quitting and leaving would amount to defeat for the U.S. in the global war on terrorism and create chaos. Quitters never win.

16 posted on 01/28/2007 10:42:00 AM PST by FairOpinion (STOP HILLARY! http://www.TheVanguard.org)
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To: paulat
OVERREACTION?

Damn all liberals!

17 posted on 01/28/2007 10:43:22 AM PST by LibKill (ENOUGH! Take the warning labels off everything and let Saint Darwin do his job.)
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To: paulat

Thank God Bush "overreacted" or those hypotheticals the author cites may have indeed happened.


18 posted on 01/28/2007 10:43:38 AM PST by Proudcongal
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To: paulat

Overreaction ?
I thought we were rather restrained.


19 posted on 01/28/2007 10:43:50 AM PST by 1066AD
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To: CTSeditor

Mr. Bell has clearly spent way too much time isolated in his educational surroundings. He's been thinking to much and not experiencing the real world enough.


20 posted on 01/28/2007 10:44:11 AM PST by Clara Lou (John Kerry is scum. Feingold isn't much better. I guess I don't respect Democorats.)
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To: paulat

LOLOL!!! Isn't this guy incredible??

I'm sad to say, though, there are many people who think like him...

It is sad and I wish those people would wise up and face the facts . ~~Pandora~~


21 posted on 01/28/2007 10:44:47 AM PST by pandoraou812 ( zero tolerance to the will of Allah ......efg and dilligaf?)
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To: paulat; Knitting A Conundrum; do the dhue; Hydroshock; the lastbestlady; westmichman; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic Ping List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to all note-worthy threads on Pro-Life or Catholic threads.

22 posted on 01/28/2007 10:45:02 AM PST by narses (St Thomas says "lex injusta non obligat.")
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To: paulat

"By David A. Bell, David A. Bell, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University and a contributing editor for the New Republic, "


I pity his students. No wonder people are so screwed up with professors like this one teaching them.


23 posted on 01/28/2007 10:45:07 AM PST by FairOpinion (STOP HILLARY! http://www.TheVanguard.org)
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To: paulat

I'm simply astonished at the kinds of articles that appearing in the papers this week. "9/11 wasn't all that bad" and "the aftermath of pulling out of Iraq prematurely won't be that bad" and on and on. Not to mention John Kerry's comments that Iran has the "right" to nukes.

I feel like I'm in some kind of strange, through the looking glass world where instead of white rabbits and mad queens, we have Dr. Strangelove and his apprentices holding forth. I just don't recognize this country, or much of the rest of the world, either.


24 posted on 01/28/2007 10:45:13 AM PST by MizSterious (Anonymous sources often means "the voices in my head told me.")
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: paulat
Morons like this feel emboldened thanks to the results of the 2006 Election.

Terrorists and Liberals alike are reveling in a power-trip brought to us all by so-called conservatives who stayed home in November.
26 posted on 01/28/2007 10:46:00 AM PST by new yorker 77 (Speaker Pelosi - Three cheers for Amnesty!)
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To: MizSterious

But is we will be attacked as a result, it will be "all Bush' fault".

Liberals are worse enemies of the US than the terrorists because they are destroying us from the inside.


27 posted on 01/28/2007 10:46:43 AM PST by FairOpinion (STOP HILLARY! http://www.TheVanguard.org)
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To: CTSeditor
You forgot to post his email addy:

david.avrom.bell@gmail.com

He is a francophone, which might explain some of his philosophy.

Intelligentsia
28 posted on 01/28/2007 10:47:23 AM PST by ARA
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To: paulat
Way to go, LA Times.

Pure crap.

29 posted on 01/28/2007 10:48:08 AM PST by SIDENET (Everybody was kung-fu fighting)
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To: paulat
"Was 9/11 really that bad?" To which I reply, "Is David Bell really a tenured professor of history?" What a maroon.

Congressman Billybob

Latest article: "Announcement: I'm Not Running for President"

30 posted on 01/28/2007 10:50:00 AM PST by Congressman Billybob (Please get involved: www.ArmorforCongress.com)
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To: paulat
"... we should remember that roughly the same number of Americans die every two months in automobile accidents."

So, either America itself is a quagmire, or Iraq isn't. Which is it, Prof and Slimes?

31 posted on 01/28/2007 10:50:30 AM PST by hollywood (Stay on topic, please.)
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To: hollywood
So, either America itself is a quagmire, or Iraq isn't. Which is it, Prof and Slimes?

Excellent point!

32 posted on 01/28/2007 10:51:49 AM PST by paulat
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To: paulat
His last paragraph ...

Yet as the comparison with the Soviet experience should remind us, the war against terrorism has not yet been much of a war at all, let alone a war to end all wars. It is a messy, difficult, long-term struggle against exceptionally dangerous criminals who actually like nothing better than being put on the same level of historical importance as Hitler — can you imagine a better recruiting tool? To fight them effectively, we need coolness, resolve and stamina. But we also need to overcome long habit and remind ourselves that not every enemy is in fact a threat to our existence.

... seems like the sane version of what I think he was trying to say. He would still be wrong, because global caliphate would absolutely threaten our existence, but he wouldn't sound like the worst mix of Ward Churchill and Neville Chamberlain.

33 posted on 01/28/2007 10:52:34 AM PST by Generic_Login_1787
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To: paulat

Don't confuse Bell's arguments with those he himself criticizes as "tired, predictably ideological". Among these he includes, as an example of their invalidity, John Mueller's book "Overblown" and its assertion that the US "overreacted" to Pearl Harbor.

Which doesn't make Bell's point anymore sensible, of course.


34 posted on 01/28/2007 10:52:39 AM PST by VietVet (I am old enough to know who I am and what I believe, and I 'm not inclined to apologize for any of)
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To: paulat
Down With Stability 03/24/06 | Mark Steyn

-snip-

And, in place of congratulations for their brilliant "containment" of Saddam, Washington was blamed for UN sanctions and systematically starving to death a million Iraqi kids - or two million, according to which "humanitarian" agency you believe.

Continuing this policy would not have come cheap for America. It would also have cost more real lives of real Iraqis: There's a net gain oF 100,000'S civilians alive today who would have been shoveled into unmarked graves had Ba'athist rule continued. Meanwhile, the dictator would have continued gaming the international system through the Oil-for-Food program, subverting Jordan, and supporting terrorism as far afield as the Philippines.

Yeah yeah, you sneer, what about the only WMD? Sorry. Don't care. Never did. My argument for whacking Saddam was always that the price of leaving him unwhacked was too high. He was the preeminent symbol of the September 10th world; his continuation in office testified to America's lack of will, and was seen as such by, among others, Osama bin Laden: In Donald Rumsfeld's words, weakness is a provocation. So the immediate objective was to show neighboring thugs that the price of catching America's eye was too high. The long term strategic goal was to begin the difficult but necessary transformation of the region that the British funked when they cobbled together the modern Middle East in 1922.

The jury will be out on that for a decade or three yet. But in Iraq today the glass is seven-ninths full. That's to say, in 14 out of 18 provinces life is better than it's been in living memory.

Diplomats use "stability" as a fancy term to dignify inertia and complacency as geopolitical sophistication, but the lesson of 9/11 is that "stability" is profoundly unstable. The unreal realpolitik of the previous 40 years had given the region a stability unique in the non-democratic world, and in return they exported their toxins, both as manpower (on 9/11) and as ideology. Instability was as good a strategic objective as any. As Sam Goldwyn used to tell his screenwriters, I'm sick of the old cliches, bring me some new cliches. When the old cliches are Ba'athism, Islamism and Arafatism, the new ones can hardly be worse, and one or two of them might even buck the region's dismal history. http://steynonline.com

35 posted on 01/28/2007 10:54:03 AM PST by anglian
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To: paulat
Actually if you read the entire article the Professor has some perfectly valid points, and the "overreacting" thesis is only one of the two poles of his consideration of the topic although regrettably it is the one he comes to advance. I think, though, that to consider the matter purely in terms of body count is to miss the entire point of terrorism - it is the expression of the potential of violence, and not necessarily the violence itself, that is terrorism's objective.

For example, a suicide bomber attacking a school may succeed in killing "only" a half-dozen children. To parallel the Professor's argument, what's a half-dozen children compared to the thousands killed by, say, drunk driving? Well, that isn't an argument that is likely to appeal very much to their parents, for one thing, but the objective wasn't to kill the kids, it was to place the fear of a similar activity into every parent's heart. It was to destabilize the existing society by proving that it cannot protect its constituents.

Now, a true believer in "proportionality" would respond by saying that assigning surveillance and SWAT teams and locking down schools is a disproportionate expenditure of resources in response to "only" a half-dozen dead children, and that a proportionate response to such a "low" number of casualties might properly be no response at all.

And that is where the argument from body count breaks down entirely. It implies that an aggressor who proclaims his intention to attack but who can only kill a few people must be tolerated. That is the nexus of the Professor's argument here, and it is the grand swindle of the entire "proportionality" approach - it means that a terrorist who tunes his attacks to take place under a specific threshold will be safe to continue them indefinitely. That isn't an academic argument, it's the way it actually has been for decades now.

Modern terrorism counts on this. In order to combat this evil game the response must be disproportionate. Two buildings down, two governments taken down. And Iran's frothing at the mouth despite, nobody wants to take the third building down at the cost of being the third government. And that's one reason nobody has. Disproportionality is absolutely the answer against terror and it demeans the value in human life of its victims to imply that they're only worth so much in the grand scheme of things.

36 posted on 01/28/2007 10:55:18 AM PST by Billthedrill
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To: paulat
Even if one counts our dead in Iraq and Afghanistan as casualties of the war against terrorism, which brings us to about 6,500, we should remember that roughly the same number of Americans die every two months in automobile accidents. [snip] So why has there been such an overreaction?

I agree there has been an overreaction to the casualties in Iraq compared to past conflicts that make some want to "cut and run" because they view it to be a "meat grinder". But our reaction to losing two massive buldings in NYC and 3000 people in a few hours to islamofascists was measured and restrained. We did not nuke Mecca. We carefully assembled an army to go after the perpetuators. We invaded Iraq after 10 years or so of patient diplomacy.

If there was another attack of this magnitude I doubt Bush would react in such a measured and patient way.

37 posted on 01/28/2007 10:55:30 AM PST by plain talk
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To: paulat

This, from the people who brought you -
"No Justice, no peace!"...


38 posted on 01/28/2007 10:55:30 AM PST by 4Liberty ( forced charity = theft)
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To: ARA
Being a francophone, the professor should be aware of the threat by Chirac to use nukes against any country that perpetrated a terrorist act on French soil.
39 posted on 01/28/2007 10:57:03 AM PST by Eagles6 (Dig deeper, more ammo.)
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To: paulat

Some people really need an extreme defenestration to bring some perspective back into their lives.


40 posted on 01/28/2007 10:57:34 AM PST by LexBaird (98% satisfaction guaranteed. There's just no pleasing some people.)
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To: paulat
Growing up on Long Island seeing the World Trade Towers going into the city was a permanent fixture of my environment. I could only imagine this is the same thoughts for many New Yorkers. Now that its longer a part of the landscape when I drive down to NYC from New England where I live now my blood still boils thinking about my fellow Americans killed that day.

So much for "Was 9/11 really that bad?"

41 posted on 01/28/2007 10:57:43 AM PST by april15Bendovr
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To: paulat

I suppose that David Bell also believes that the US should no longer protect the LA metropolitan area from terrorist attacks.

So, let's have the city and county of LA return any money they've received from the Department of Homeland Security, since we've overreacted so badly.

Mark


42 posted on 01/28/2007 10:58:07 AM PST by MarkL (When Kaylee says "No power in the `verse can stop me," it's cute. When River says it, it's scary!)
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To: paulat
The full capacity of the Twin Towers was 50,000 people.

Yeah, Bin-Laden was just trying to make a statement and only knock down the buildings by planning the attack around 9:30 A.M. on a work day, when everyone would be inside. Nah, wasn't that bad. /ultra-sarc/

43 posted on 01/28/2007 10:58:21 AM PST by muleskinner
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To: paulat; YCTHouston

The communist vision of revising history alive and well...


44 posted on 01/28/2007 10:58:30 AM PST by BUSHdude2000 (President Bush, STAND UP TO THE LEFT AND PROTECT OUR TROOPS)
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To: Billthedrill
Disproportionality is absolutely the answer against terror and it demeans the value in human life of its victims to imply that they're only worth so much in the grand scheme of things.

You are COMPLETELY missing the point. Flight 93 was aimed, either at the Capitol or the White House. Think about THAT, pal.

Also...the Bush Administration has kept us SAFE all these years. Who knows what the "capacity" would have been???

45 posted on 01/28/2007 10:58:51 AM PST by paulat
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To: paulat

David, I come over to your house and slap you in the face as hard as I can. You do nothing (but cry). The next day, I do it again, and each day following that. Why? Because I have a grudge with you and you do nothing to prevent me from coming over and slapping you.


46 posted on 01/28/2007 10:59:51 AM PST by Greystoke
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To: Generic_Login_1787
... seems like the sane version of what I think he was trying to say.

Okay...tell me what is the practical application of: "To fight them effectively, we need coolness, resolve and stamina."

47 posted on 01/28/2007 11:00:33 AM PST by paulat
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To: FairOpinion
97 Reasons Democrats Are Weak On Defense And Can't Be Trusted To Govern In Wartime

Dead link

48 posted on 01/28/2007 11:00:42 AM PST by LexBaird (98% satisfaction guaranteed. There's just no pleasing some people.)
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To: paulat

On one hand, he claims that the total homeland casualties are relatively small--like those caused by traffic accidents. On the other hand, he claims we're now involved in one of the "deadliest struggles of our time," despite the fact that our military casualties are also near or below the "traffic accident" level.

While he argues that Islamists pose no real threat to the existance of the United States, he hides the fact that our losses at Pearl Harbor were also very small and that Hitler posed virtually no threat at all to mainland America.

This man is a disloyal fool, a terrorist fellow traveler. His e-mail box should be filled with messages to that effect.


49 posted on 01/28/2007 11:00:46 AM PST by zook (America going insane - "Do you read Sutter Caine?)
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To: Congressman Billybob

This guy is a complete fool. I heard yesterday from the College Republicans that the goofy prof from Wisconsin who was teaching that 9/11 was a inside job got the hook and will never teach there again.


50 posted on 01/28/2007 11:02:57 AM PST by DarthVader (Conservatives aren't always right , but Liberals are almost always wrong.)
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