PEGGY NOONAN WRITES ABOUT 9/11 ...IN 1998
Noted Conservative Columnist Saw the Signs of the Times
Below is an eerie passage from a piece written by columnist Peggy Noonan on Nov. 30, 1998.
It was republished on Sept. 18, 2001 at the Wall Street Journal web site opinionjournal.com, where the entire piece can be read:
There Is No Time, There Will Be Time
up. And deep down, where the body meets the soul, we are fearful. We
fear, down so deep it hasn't even risen to the point of articulation,
that with all our comforts and amusements, with all our toys and bells
and whistles . . . we wonder if what we really have is . . . a
first-class stateroom on the Titanic. Everything's wonderful, but a
world is ending and we sense it.
I don't mean: "Uh-oh,
there's a depression coming," I mean: We live in a world of three
billion men and hundreds of thousands of nuclear bombs, missiles,
warheads. It's a world of extraordinary germs that can be harnessed and
used to kill whole populations, a world of extraordinary chemicals that
can be harnessed and used to do the same.
Three billion men, and it takes only half a dozen bright and evil ones to harness and deploy.
What are the odds it will happen? Put it another way: What are the odds it will not? Low. Nonexistent, I think.
you consider who is gifted and crazed with rage . . . when you think of
the terrorist places and the terrorist countries . . . who do they hate
most? The Great Satan, the United States. What is its most important
place? Some would say Washington. I would say the great city of the
United States is the great city of the world, the dense 10-mile-long
island called Manhattan, where the economic and media power of the
nation resides, the city that is the psychological center of our
modernity, our hedonism, our creativity, our hard-shouldered hipness,
our unthinking arrogance.
If someone does the big,
terrible thing to New York or Washington, there will be a lot of chaos
and a lot of lines going down, a lot of damage, and a lot of things
won't be working so well anymore. And thus a lot more . . . time.
Something tells me we won't be teleconferencing and faxing about the
Ford account for a while.
The psychic blow--and that
is what it will be as people absorb it, a blow, an insult that reorders
and changes--will shift our perspective and priorities, dramatically,
and for longer than a while. Something tells me more of us will be
praying, and hard, one side benefit of which is that there is sometimes a
quality of stopped time when you pray. You get outside time.
of course, I'm wrong. But I think of the friend who lives on Park
Avenue who turned to me once and said, out of nowhere, "If ever
something bad is going to happen to the city, I pray each day that God
will give me a sign. That He will let me see a rat stand up on the
sidewalk. So I'll know to gather the kids and go." I absorbed this and,
two years later, just a month ago, poured out my fears to a former high
official of the United States government. His face turned grim. I
apologized for being morbid. He said no, he thinks the same thing. He
thinks it will happen in the next year and a half. I was surprised, and
more surprised when he said that an acquaintance, a former arms expert
for another country, thinks it will happen in a matter of months....
--by Peggy Noonan, originally published in Forbes ASAP magazine, 11/30/1998