Tuesday, December 23, 2008

that anthrax attack

it is strange that everyone who makes that point that bush should be credited because "[o]ur homeland has not suffered another terrorist attack since September 11, 2001" has completely forgotten about the anthrax attacks. i don't understand why those attacks have been purged from our memory. i think part of it is because a lot of americans don't consider terrorist attacks from a domestic source to be real terrorism. while the athrax attacks were initially blamed on al qaeda and/or iraq (not that the bush administration was making much of a distinction between the two), most people have since concluded an american was behind the mailings, which means that it's not labeled as a terrorist attack in a lot of people's minds.

but i gotta disagree with atrios that it was the anthrax attacks, rather than 9/11, that drove this country batshit crazy. memory is a faulty instrument. it's really hard to judge such an emotionally charged time in retrospect relying on your own recollection, especially a time period that has been so thoroughly used and abused for various political purposes ever since. if not for one fact, i probably would believe that atrios was right on this point.

that one thing was that on october 4, 2001, i left the country for mali. october 4th is the date that the first case got diagnosed as anthrax. i heard it on the radio as i was zipping up my backpack before leaving for the airport. i don't remember the reporter linking it to anything coming through the mail. just after i heard this report, i left. i never heard any reaction from the news before flying to a country where i was almost completely cut off from the news for two weeks.

i kept a journal during my mali trip and i started it on the plane ride on the day i left. my first entry is all about how batshit crazy the country had gone since 9/11. i didn't mention that anthrax thing at all. at that point, i probably didn't think the initial reports of anthrax case would amount much more than those initial reports of car bombings, radioactive materials being smuggled in on shipping containers, other hijacked planes or any of those other crazy stories i had heard in the weeks following 9/11. but even without the anthrax attacks, i had definitely concluded that the country had flipped its gasket. in retrospect atrios probably sees the anthrax thing as the defining incident. but my october 4, 2001 journal entry suggests otherwise.