Rebuild the Towers, But Only If...
Jude Wanniski
September 11, 2002


Memo To: NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: An American Empire

A year ago, Mr. Mayor, I sat in my family room in Morristown, N.J., watching the twin towers come down, the first one on tape, the second in real time. I immediately knew it was the Muslim terrorists who had returned to finish the job their compatriots began with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. As far as I know, I am the only person who predicted this would happen, in two separate memos on this website, in January 1998, and in ,December 1998. I was prompted to do so in reading the statement of the 1993 ringleader as he was being sentenced to life in prison in New York. I wrote to Sen. Jesse Helms, who was then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urging him to hold hearings into why these men did what they did. He responded that he would think about it, but never did. As a student of political philosophy for half a century, from my teenage years in Boro Park, Brooklyn, through the Political Science department at UCLA in the 1950s, I could see that this was an act of political terrorism, not criminal terrorism.

In short, the Islamic world in so many ways had been trying to get the attention of the only superpower left on earth, seeking what it considers to be justice for members of its family. Because we are a Judeo-Christian nation, it has been difficult for our political leaders to grasp the sense of outrage that had been building in the Islamic world for many years, the Cold War years, when America had no time for minor grievances as its total focus was on defeating the Soviet Union. The three grievances expressed repeatedly by Osama bin Laden on behalf of Al Qaeda were: the U.S. army presence in Islam's home in Saudi Arabia, at Mecca and Medina; Israel's sovereignty over the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem; and the plight of the Iraqi people under an economic embargo that even the United Nations said had caused the deaths of 1.5 million civilians. It was because these men believed only something as violent and wrenching as the destruction of the towers would get America's attention that it happened that way.

"Giving in" to criminal terrorists means you give them the money they want in exchange for what they have to threaten you with. "Giving in" to political terrorists only means you give them your attention, hear their grievances seriously, and attempt to resolve them through dialog and discussion in a diplomatic way. As long as America manages the world with this kind of judiciousness, there will never be another terrorist attack of the kind that shocked the world a year ago. You may not realize it, Mr. Mayor, but the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations is not permitted to speak to the Iraqi ambassador. When communication is so totally broken within the family of nations, terrorism of course will take root among those disenfranchised. If you would take up this matter, Mayor Bloomberg, you will find it much easier to consider the rebuilding of the towers perhaps with one extra floor as a sign that America can see just a little further than it did on 9-11-2001.

If you go to the website of my colleague at Polyconomics, Stephen Anderson, you will find the best arguments for the rebuilding of the towers that I have seen anywhere, and a 1970 photo of the tower when it was still under construction. I first saw it when it fully opened on April 4, 1973, as I had joined The Wall Street Journal in 1972, when the WTC was under construction just down the street. It took only seven years to complete. If construction begins soon, I'd be only 73 or so when it is opened again. And you would have my personal guarantee that if our nation learns better how to manage and communicate with the entire family of nations, no hand will again be lifted against the towers.