So now we're bombing "military targets" in Afghanistan and lobbing cruise missiles in there. S'funny how little attention was paid to this here: no baseball games were cancelled, and TV schedules were only disrupted for about two hours at most. There's a sense of divine retribution here, and so the inevitability of it meant there was no sense of outrage or shock. And after all, any casualties aren't American, so who cares?
It also was a damn sight less photogenic; the coverage of the attacks seemed largely to consist of green blobs moving about a screen, like a particularly retro computer game, rather than footage from ever-more explicit camera angles, shot by a myriad of amateur cameramen. There's only so much you can say about fuzzy lights that might be anything from a truck to a cruise missile, before going back to your regular diet of ex-soldiers, former directors of the CIA and all the other pundits who were having a field day during this all-you-can-eat buffet of talking heads.
Perhaps the most disturbing events, however, were the pulmonary anthrax cases in Florida. They were the first reported cases in America for over twenty years, and even more bizarrely, took place in the buildings where most of America's scuzziest supermarket tabloids (such as The National Enquirer) were published. They have effectively become one of their own stories, but it's hard to see why any terrorist would attack a bunch of newspapers possessing not an ounce of credibility. Well, not with anyone whose brain-cell count surpasses three. In idle moments, I speculate that the contamination was maybe actually carried out by an unholy cabal of Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey and Prince William.
Whoever is responsible, it has hardly been a major disaster. That form of anthrax, though hardy as hell [there's an island off the coast of Scotland - Gruinard - which was out of bounds for decades after germ warfare tests], isn't actually contagious, and there have only been three people so far confirmed as exposed. However, there is a grim precedent here. Nine months before their attack on the Tokyo subway, the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan had a "trial run" for their Tokyo subway attack, releasing sarin near the dormitory of three judges presiding over a case involving Aum.
Incidentally, they also dabbled in bioweapons, such as Ebola, and in June 1993, attempted to release anthrax spores from their office building in Tokyo... What this means in the current context, I don't know. But it helps make more explicable the reports I've heard of people "holding" tap water for a couple of days before drinking it, in case it's been contaminated - effectively, using the rest of the population as canaries. On the plus side, we must acknowledge that even an extremely well-funded and organised group such as Aum had only very limited success with chemical and biological warfare. Hopefully this means that Florida marks the end and not the beginning.
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