Saturday, November 17, 2001

Noble: U.S.-aided conquerors of Kabul.None of the armchair generals expected them to get there not this week, not ever. After all, they were a rag-tag army without weapons, communications and, in many cases, even shoes. They wouldn’t conquer the capital of Afghanistan without a massive intervention of U.S. ground troops, massive casualties or a massive quagmire or so some thought.
The Barcalounger brass got busted back to privates this week, thanks to massive use of U.S. airpower, heroic front-line fighting by the soldiers of the Northern Alliance and stealthy actions by members of U.S. and British special forces.
They pasted the Taliban. They put such a skedaddle into Taliban soldiers that their Mullah Mohammed Omar urged them to stop running around like chickens with their heads cut off. And behind them, the people of Kabul are celebrating by indulging in the banal enjoying the everyday delights of the newly liberated.
Sure, the beatings of Taliban soldiers by the Northern Alliance haven’t been pretty. Sure, it’s uncertain how long the alliance against terrorism will last. There will undoubtedly be more action, and hopefully, the Taliban will continue to pay a bloody price for their recalcitrance. But the Northern Alliance has shamed the easy-rest generalissimos and helped the United States put “paid” on the first installment of the considerable debt still owed for the atrocities of September 11.
Knaves: The United Way-aided defenders of terrorism at home.
The open-handed individuals who gave an astonishing $337 million to the September 11 Fund probably imagined that their money would buy crayons for a pre-schooler whose mom will never color with her again; they hoped it would buy a backpack for a high school student whose dad will never see him graduate.
They almost certainly never thought that their money would go to defend individuals suspected of being involved with the September 11 attacks. Yet, that is where some of their money is going. According to reports, the September 11 Fund, which was created by the United Way and the New York Community Trust, recently gave a $171,000 grant to the Legal Aid Society for the “emergency civil legal assistance” of several Arabs who have been detained for questioning in connection with the September 11 attacks.
While those individuals have not been charged with anything, they are considered security risks. As such, they are being held in isolation at the Special Housing Unit of the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
It’s enough that New Yorkers are paying for their food and water. Neither they, nor the generous individuals who gave so much to the September 11 Fund, should have their donations funding the defense of detainees suspected of having anything to do with September 11.

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