The first reaction to the airborne destruction of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC is awe. These terrorists must be sophisticated, intelligent and well-organized. There’s no way a bunch of two-bit idiots could have pulled this off. The US is dealing with an intelligent and cold enemy.

“Cold” is the only description that fits these madmen. The rest of their sophistication, intelligence and organization is a denial of the abject weakness of capitalism: selling equipment and information to anyone with money.

While there are some things that are too widespread and commoditized, like computers, to engage in regulated selling, one has to wonder why anyone can and should buy a commercial airline simulator with “force feedback” controls to replicate reality from their PC.

State sponsorship of this kind of equipment is far cheaper and much more useful than buying an actual 757 from Boeing Corp. With a computer program and controls designed to replicate the experience of flying a multi-engine aircraft, these terrorists could have trained for anything from the 727 to the 787 models. If necessary, the program would probably also cover European Airbus models.

The aspiring terrorist wouldn’t need to know much about flying commercial aircraft beyond steering and aiming. Training would take care of basic stuff like reading an instrument panel and setting courses. The original pilot would take care of takeoff and the terrorist would have no intention of landing so two-thirds of commercial aircraft knowledge would be irrelevant.

After money, a terrorist would need information. Specific pieces like finding nonstop flights from East to West with excellent on-time records is easily discovered on Internet services like AOSmell. Nonstop coast to coast is important because they will be loaded with fuel. There aren’t many in a given day when compared to the rest of air traffic. Nonstop flights are given priority and a terrorist would have time on his side. A group of terrorists boarding different flights would have synchronization as another weapon to increase the chances of a visceral spectacle.

Judging by history and Hollywood, each plane would require more than two terrorist operatives. The total operation would need 12 to 16 suicidal basketcases with at least one on each plane as a semi-competent pilot.

Tickets, weapons and departure are taken care of without saying. Any terrorist would have an edge over 99% of the population because of insanity on the inside and surprise on the outside.

To carry out this act of terrorism requires neither sophistication or above-average intelligence. Organization is required insofar as finding nearly a dozen suicidal friends and training for the event but, after everything, all it takes to wage any terror is balls.

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