Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Opening shots 15 years ago

Fifteen years ago today, Solomonia reminds us, Islamic terorists made their first attempt to blow up the World Trade Center. Andrew McCarthy at National Review Online has the story of the opening of the War on Terror:

It had been the intention of the World Trade Center bombers to annihilate tens of thousands of Americans, in addition to rendering the world’s most significant financial district uninhabitable. Detonation was consciously timed for maximum carnage: high noon on a Friday, when as many as 120,000 business professionals, laborers, diners, tourists, and area residents typically swarmed the Twin Towers and their immediate Wall Street environs.

More diabolically, not content with their sophisticated, powerfully combustible urea-nitrate mixture, the jihadists laced the compound with deadly sodium cyanide and attempted to boost the explosion with hydrogen tanks. The aim was a horror virtually unimaginable back then (though it is, today, an omnipresent fear): wide dispersal of a lethal, aerated chemical, killing the thousands too distant to be obliterated by the sheer force of the blast.

The battalion, however, miscalculated. They’d hoped to place the bomb close enough to primary support structures that one tower, in its decimation, might topple into the second. The van, though, had been parked many yards away from the ideal location. Added to this good fortune, the hydrogen tanks had been destroyed upon detonation, adding nothing but shards to the impact. And another break: The cyanide failed to vaporize — simply burning away like the rest of the bomb components.
When they ask the two most significant events that occurred in my lifetime, the answer is the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11. But we should remember that 9/11 really began on this day in 1993.