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Why We Should Expect Another 9/11
Article #23 –
America is not a land of linguists. We are probably the only country on the planet where our high school students can study a foreign language (usually Spanish) for four years but upon graduation cannot put together a coherent sentence in that language. If the truth be told, we ‘graduate’ a bunch of kids who are functionally illiterate in English.
As we know, language is power. If there are some doubting Thomas’s out there, I will cite two cases in point, both of which occurred during World War II.
At the outbreak of WWII, in a period of panic and paranoia, we round-eye, white guys rounded up our fellow Japanese-American countrymen, forced them to prematurely sell their homes and businesses at a loss and then moved them into concentration camps. Ignoring this ignorant and arrogant action, our fellow countrymen rose to the occasion. Despite the certain knowledge, as declared by Imperial decree from Tokyo, that if captured they would be tortured and killed, our Japanese-Americans worked as translators in the Pacific, breaking the Japanese military codes and saving thousands and thousands of lives.
Similarly, our German-speaking American countrymen responded to the call, intercepting Nazi military communications and misdirecting Panzer tank units into American traps.
Fast forwarding to 9/11, the National Security Agency, also known as the “No Such Agency”, confirmed on 19 June 2002 that they had intercepted Al-Qaeda communications, referencing the “big match” and “zero hour” but did not have the intercepts translated until 9/12. As I see it, a day late and a dollar short.
As President Bush rightly declared; we are in a “War on Terror”. War is not an issue of who has the biggest gun or the fastest boat. War is a function of information and fuel. If you know where your enemy is and have the fuel to maneuver your forces, odds are that you will win.
On the surface, one would be required to conclude that America is linguistically impaired, or certainly challenged. Unlike the Netherlands, we do not consistently graduate quadra-lingual kids from high school. However, when you look a bit deeper, we’re much better off than appearances would suggest.
If someone says that they are a Japanese citizen, you know instantly where they live and what they look like. However, if someone says that they’re an American citizen, the only thing you know for certain is that they carry a blue passport. An American can be black, brown, yellow, red, white or blue (if they come from Boston).
Unless your family just got off the boat, the odds are that you are a mongrel of mixed heritage. With the possible exceptions of San Marino and Monaco, every country on this planet has sent us their people to become Americans. Accordingly, there is not a language spoken on this planet which is not used in the United States.
We lost 9/11 because we did not have the linguistic abilities to instantly translate our enemy’s communications. We did have the communications, just not in usable English.
Therefore, Chris’ cure is relatively simple. We establish a national translation agency, which I call the “Beltway Bureau of Babel,” named after God’s sending of 70 angels to Nimrod which at that time caused mankind to speak in 70 different tongues rather than the previous one common tongue. As you will recall, construction stopped immediately.
I can already hear the moans and groans from D.C. How can we possibly protect our national security if we pass out our intercepts to non-vetted folk of dubious origin?
Simple: find 5 willing, Arabic or Pashtu or Farsi speaking citizens from around the country, who do not know one another. Give them each the same intercept and ask them to translate from home (they don’t need an office). Then take all five translations and compare them. If four out of five are basically the same, and one is out of sync, then it makes sense to look more closely at the particular translator.
The BBB would be a stand-alone entity, not subject to anyone’s empire-building aspirations – a neutral, national linguistic repository. Since we’re into colour codes already, the intercepts can be so tagged according to importance. We should be able to have translations in hours rather than days.
We have the assets; we have the capabilities; so why aren’t we using them? We got major support from our Japanese-American, German-American and Italian-American (including the Mafia) citizens during World War II; why should we expect anything less from our Muslim citizens? Have we even given them the opportunity? Lord, knows, we have the need.
Thanks for your comments, please keep them coming –
Please visit my new blog, www.terrorlog.com
P.S. For those of you who want more than a snappy synopsis of the whys and wherefores of 9/11, I refer you to www.intelwire.com. It is managed by a good friend, John Berger. He is a certified terrorist consultant, who documents his colons and commas. If it's there, you can take it to the bank.
Copyright 2010 Cook Communication