Friday, February 21, 2003

There's a fire at an oil refinery in Staten Island. I'm telling you this not because I have any idea what's going on -- I'm telling you this just to give you a snapshot of one guy's brain at this moment in history: My first thought was terrorism; my second thought was an attempt to fake terrorism in order to get us pumped up for a war. Or maybe it was the other way around. That's a horribly irresponsible statement for me to make, but there you go.

No injuries are reported so far, and the fire isn't expected to spread to residential areas of Staten Island.

I do think this is precisely the sort of target terrorists might attack. And forty years ago, at least, allegedly rational men who worked in the U.S. government actually contemplated phony attacks on the U.S. that could be blamed on an enemy (in that case Cuba).

But, of course, refinery fires happen all the time. Malicious intent is not a prerequisite.

Sorry if I'm going over the top with conspiratorial thinking. I don't like it. I think virtually everything the Bush adminisration has done in the run-up to this war has been in bad faith, but I think even the Bushies have limits. As for terrorists, I certainly wouldn't put this past them (though I'll be deeply suspicious if Saddam gets the blame). And, of course, accidents happen.

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