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September 11th, 2001

     At this time five years ago, Hunter had just finished a column for ESPN about Football and Jack Nicholson.  It was a fun column which he was happy with, went to bed at dawn while I stayed up to transcribe his pages, and email them to ESPN and would join him  shortly — As usual. 

     Hunter had been writing very little about Politics for the previous month since his dear friend at ESPN John called him and pleaded with him to “Please tone it down on the politics, Hunter.  The lawyers are going crazy.  They have a team of Disney lawyers who are terrified about what you’re going to write after your tyrade about Lisl Auman and your constant hammering on Bush."   Please Hunter, just for now…. do it for me…”  Since Hunter was a reasonable man and loved his friend, he vaguely complied.     

     Then, the towers were hit.  I ran to the bedroom, crawled into bed and asked him if he knew what the hell was happening to our country.  He sat up, looked at the TV for a while and just said “somebody sure didn’t like those towers."  He was silent for a long time, which made me nervous and afraid that this was indeed really bad news for the future, because he was not surprised. He didn’t even flinch.  
     ESPN had already posted the football/Nicholson column.  But after the towers were hit, and the nation was swept into panic mode, the editors from ESPN called  and asked me to PLEASE ask Hunter to write about what was happening, and yes, politics.  People needed answers, and ESPN was proud to have someone like Hunter give his insight. 

     The following is a passage from that column he wrote the same day and into the morning of Sept. 12.  It’s one of his most quoted columns because of the ominous simplicity and prescient words. No, it’s not feel-good wisdom, but it is pure HST wisdom nonetheless.

 …The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: We are At War now — with somebody — and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives. It will be a Religious War, a sort of Christian Jihad, fueled by religious hatred and led by merciless fanatics on both sides. It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy.

… We are going to punish somebody for this attack, but just who or what will be blown to smithereens for it is hard to say. Maybe Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan or Iraq, or possibly all three at once. Who knows? Not even the Generals in what remains of the Pentagon or the New York papers calling for WAR seem to know who did it or where to look for them. This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed — for anyone, and certainly not for anyone as baffled as George W. Bush. All he knows is that his father started the war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy child-President, has been chosen by Fate and the global Oil industry to finish it Now. He will declare a National Security Emergency and clamp down Hard on Everybody, no matter where they live or why. If the guilty won’t hold up their hands and confess, he and the Generals will ferret them out by force. Good luck. He is in for a profoundly difficult job — armed as he is with no credible Military Intelligence, no witnesses and only the ghost of Bin Laden to blame for the tragedy.


OK. It is 24 hours later now, and we are not getting much information about the Five Ws of this thing. The numbers out of the Pentagon are baffling, as if Military Censorship has already been imposed on the media. It is ominous. The only news on TV comes from weeping victims and ignorant speculators. The lid is on. Loose Lips Sink Ships. Don’t say anything that might give aid to The Enemy.

  –Hunter S. Thompson,  Hey Rube


When I come home from class, I’ll post the interview he did with an Australian broadcasting system with Walter Cronkite a year later. But I’m late I gotta run.


Your friend,

Anita Thompson

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