- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 18, 2001

Before the whirlwind
"The public mood is still one of the deepest shock imaginable. But there is, among the public, a unity that does not seem as if it will evaporate soon. Everywhere you go, you see American flags. They are draped on roofs, hung on fences, crammed into cracks in walls, stuck on lamp-posts.
"Along with this, there is a sense of solidarity that is hard to convey.
"America has been bloodied as it has never been bloodied before.
"The middle part of the country — the great red zone that voted for Bush — is clearly ready for war. The decadent left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead — and may well mount what amounts to a fifth column.
"But by striking at the heart of New York City, the terrorists ensured that at least one deep segment of the country ill-disposed toward a new president is now the most passionate in his defense. Anyone who has ever tried to get one over on a New Yorker knows what I mean. The demons who started this have no idea about the kind of people they have taken on.
"When you take a step back, it is hard not to believe that we are now in the quiet moment before the whirlwind. Americans will recover their dead, and they will mourn them, and then they will get down to business. Their sadness will be mingled with an anger that will make the hatred of these evil fanatics seem mild."
—Andrew Sullivan, writing on "Why Did It Have To Be A Perfect Morning?" in the Sunday Times of London

Cinema swordplay
"In a universe where entire planets can be decimated with the flick of a switch, hand-to-hand combat would seem to have been rendered obsolete. Why, then, are the 'Star Wars' movies packed with light-saber battles?
"Because sword fighting is so cool, of course. George Lucas knew that there's nothing more rakish and romantic than a bout of clashing swords, and when he conceived the glowing weapons, he was perpetuating a venerable Hollywood tradition: the swashbuckling feats of derring-do originated by the likes of Douglas Fairbanks and Tyrone Power in their respective 'Zorro' movies, not to mention Errol Flynn in such adventure classics as 'Captain Blood.'
"After all, what could be more valiant and exciting than two dexterous opponents clanging rapiers and swapping insults, preferably on a torch-lit castle's twisting stone stairway, the way Flynn and Basil Rathbone dueled so memorably in 'The Adventures of Robin Hood'?"
—Stephen Rebello, writing on "Duels in the Sun," in the October issue of Movieline

Monica and Osama
"Bill Clinton was also here in New York. He just couldn't stay away when this city was the center of international attention. You remember the old saying, 'the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral'? That's our Clinton.
"And, of course, he will never go away. Not ever. As a journalist friend of mine said, after Hillary was elected senator, 'We will never be rid of them. Not ever.'
"So true. And one reason is — besides their own egos and characters — that Americans seem to love them. Go figure.
"When a reporter questioned Clinton about Osama bin Laden, he answered that, in the 1998 raid, the military had missed him 'by a couple of hours, maybe less than one hour.' Was Clinton supposed to say that? Was he supposed to admit that the government, on his orders, had tried to 'assassinate' a foreign 'leader'? And if bin Laden was such an obvious threat to the United States, why didn't Clinton pursue him? Apart from that one, anemic, Monica-diverting raid?"
—Jay Nordlinger, writing on "The Ever-Present Clinton," Sunday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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