by Jerome a Paris
Sun Jun 17th, 2007 at 11:15:16 AM EST
The text below was sent to me by a regular reader, who is unable to post himself for professional reasons. I am not endorsing it (see my reaction as the first comment below) but i found it an interesting an enlighening story.
At his request, a few real names have been redacted.
(Everything below by private).
I was never someone you could label and certainly never one to hold to a party line if I felt the party was wrong. Always a registered Democrat I vote based on conscience and not always Democrat. But I did vote for Bill Clinton twice and never regretted those votes - at least not until September 11. That day changed me irreversibly and had a profound impact on how I view politics.
September 11 was a beautiful sunny day right after our end-of-summer Labor Day holiday. I had a neighborhood reunion 2 weeks prior which we have every five years. I renewed old ties with people including [childhood friend] who remembered that I taught him to swim the butterfly stroke. My office was on 57th Street and Third Avenue and across the hall from a major public relation firm. My son had just started his senior year at Duke University in economics and was looking forward to the litany of investment banking firm interviews in the Fall. Just before the holiday weekend I had to cancel a west coast trip because of a sudden meeting I had in New York that was more important. I was supposed to be on the American Airlines 9:00 AM flight out of JFK to Los Angeles.
The first notice I got was from my wife who said that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center but the initial news report seemed to indicate that it was a private jet. I walked across the hall to the P.R. firm because they had a television in their conference room.
When I walked in the entire firm was in front of the TV and crying. It was not a small plane and the reason for their crying was that they were the public relations firm for Cantor Fitzgerald whose offices were at the top of the World Trade Center north tower. They knew their clients were probably dead. Then came the second jet into the South tower. After that everything else seemed to happen in flash.
My wife had already been on the phone with the wives of two of my friends who worked in the South tower. The last their wives heard was that they were leaving which was before the plane hit the south tower and they wanted me to meet them and make sure they were okay. Then came the plane crashing into the Pentagon, and then another somewhere in Pennsylvania.
Before I could leave my office both towers came crashing down and Arab Muslims were literally celebrating and dancing in the streets of Paterson, New Jersey when the towers collapsed. There was a report about some Arab looking passengers escaping from grounded aircraft that had been set to depart New York including the American Airlines flight I was originally booked on. So we knew that there were more intended flights to be used by these terrorists.
The streets of Manhattan were empty of all vehicles except emergency and military vehicles. Guiliani had shut down all means of transportation in and out of Manhattan and had directed people to evacuate certain landmark skyscrapers. He also made sure that all bridges and tunnels were evacuated. He also directed Governor Pataki to have armed military personnel at every corner and in every major building. People were wandering in stunned silence. Guiliani had forewarned of maybe up to 10,000 dead.
As I was rushing downtown to meet my two friends who I had hoped got out of the World Trade Center I kept muttering (referring to Bill Clinton), "You SOB, you really did it now" over and over again. I was also thankful that my son was not a year older, because he could have been working for one of the investment banking firms in the WTC and would have been incinerated with others.
I got down to about 14th Street and got cellphone calls that both Tim and Dave were okay. We made up a meeting point and did meet up. Both were covered in soot and were in shock. When the first plane hit the WTC north tower, Tim heard an explosion and falling debris. As he looked out his window that faced that North tower he actually saw people making the decision to jump from higher floors rather than probably be incinerated. He left before the second jet hit his tower, as did Dave.
We waited in an ad agency I knew down ther until the danger had subsided and we got on the Long Island Railroad.
In my neighborhood there were seven 4 year old children at Miss Sue's Nursery School who came home that day to find that they no longer had a daddy and in one case a daddy and mommy.
The following day I got a call from one of my friends that [childhood friend], who I had met at the reunion, was killed on the jet that was crashed into the Pentagon. His crime? He went to visit his daughter who had just started college in Washington DC before going off on his business trip to Los Angeles. I was to find out that one of my son's best friends in college lost his father that day.
About a month later I got a strange call from a woman in Massachusetts who called my phone inadvertently because she had gotten a call that informed her that they recovered the driver license of her 25 year old son who was killed that day in the WTC. She just started to pour everything out to me even when she knew it was the wrong number about how her son graduated Boston College and had a great career in finance with a new apartment in Manhattan.
These are indelible images and memories which is why I said that September 11 changed everything for me and for so many people.
I am one of those people who are naturally curious and are always thirsting for more knowledge and for answers.
My initial reaction ended up being right as I learned more and more information over time. The key learning came about a year ago as we were coming to the five year anniversary of 9/11 and I was on the Editorial Board of an old public policy magazine. We agreed to cover 9/11 differently and look to see if we are winning or losing which required having in-depth understanding of the development of these radical Islam groups, their intentions, and whether they are or are not achieving them.
Wars are fought for political and ideological power and superiority. Wars are also defined by a series of battles that you would hope you lose some but win most as long as you achieve your desired objective.
We have been engaged in a war with a fascist form of Islam for decades. The "we" includes all forms of civilization other than this radical fundamentalist form of Islam. So it includes the USA, Europe (East and West), as well as all of Asia and the Pacific.
The enemy are all groups that have branched off the old Muslim Brotherhood from the 1920's which includes Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah. Some are Shia based and others are Sunni based. While they may hate each other, what they have in common is hatred for a common enemy which is us. Other than Iran, none are nation states and operate cross boundaries outside the bounds of conventional warfare and treaties. They use terror as their primary tactic to breakdown the will of the people and therefore the governments.
If you saw the movie Syriana it was a glimpse into the recruiting and indoctrination methods these groups have used for decades within the educational systems they created in all the Arab countries with the help of their host governments in exchange for the promise of allowing the host governments to continue their power.
Their goals are absolute rule in all Muslim countries and then the elimination of all modern western society. They are far more focused and committed to their cause than communists ever were. They are very smart, very resourceful, very well financed, and very, very patient. But they do believe their time is now.
It is a mistake for any political leader not to believe in what they write and preach. We have already learned that lesson.
The U.S. has made more mistakes regarding these people than any other country going back to the 1950's. We turned a blind eye to these groups and their beliefs and teachings. Carter became obsessed with human rights violations by the Shah which opened the flood gates for the return of the Ayatollah Khomeini and the fundamentalist revolution in Iran. Reagan turned his back on the threat when the Marines barracks was blown up by Hezbollah in Lebanon. Bush Sr. let Hussein maintain his power to sponsor terrorists. Clinton treated the first WTC attack as a police action and all the other attacks on U.S. personnel abroad as crimes and not as acts of war. Throughout this time we did not recognize the threat of radical Islam and were unprepared for what we were to confront. When Clinton finally did recognize it our intelligence capabilities were in a state of chaos, we had zero border and airline security, and he failed to take out bin Laden on multiple occasions for fear of political consequences. During the Clinton administration they even had the opportunity to rectify airport and airline security with measures recommended from a Commission, but were all dismissed by the Clinton administration and Republicans under pressure from the airline industry. They were measures that would have prevented those 19 hijackers from hijacking any jets, or even boarding those jets.
What should not been in doubt since 9/11 are that there is a war between all radical Muslim groups and us. It has been called a clash of cultures, but that dismisses the political aspects of this. As did the various fascists groups in the 1930's these Islamic fascist groups also want ultimate power and are fanatical enough to stop at nothing to achieve their goals. As with Hitler, they cannot be negotiated with or appeased. They actually view appeasement as a sign of weakness and will use it against their enemies. And as in the lead up to World War II the blame for everything centered in Jews.
When it comes to this War, President Bush's moves and adjustments were necessary, proper, and lawful. The U.S. had (and may still have) Al Qaeda and Hezbollah sleeper cells within our boundaries. They were cells that were still being financed through international means. And there were countries and leaders that harboring them, training them, and supporting them. Bush was dealing with a dismantled CIA and FBI as well as a greatly reduced military because we thought the war (Cold War) was over and were in a false sense of security.
The Patriot Act was necessary in order to infiltrate all of the Muslims groups in this country and determine who were threats. In spite of all the protests there is not a single shred of evidence of someone's civil right being violated with the Patriot Act. The NSA program of listening in on overseas telephone conversations from known terror suspects was also necessary. Again, in spite of charges being made there is not a single shred of evidence that this program was abused and violated anyone's civil rights. The Swift program was necessary to track down the money trail leading to these terror groups. And again, in spite of charges of invading people's bank records there is not a shred of evidence that anyone's rights were violated. The net result was the U.S. was able to rapidly round up terror suspects in the U.S. (and hopefully those bastards that were dancing in celebration in Paterson) and ship them down to Gitmo. There has also been successful worldwide coordination of intelligence to break other potential attacks, particularly after Madrid and London.
Was it a mistake to invade Iraq? As I said the Middle East was the nest for this fascist Islam and its propagation. It was a self-feeding system that had to be broken. I agreed, as did nearly everyone in this country, that the invasion to take out Hussein was correct. But the war was fought on a shoe-string and accomplished nothing more than deposing Hussein. There should have been forces to immediately close off the borders to Syria and Iran and through saber rattling threatened to go further if they interfered. That was not done. In addition, they disbanded Hussein's military and police rather than give them the chance to switch sides and thereby secure the country immediately. Those were two enormous mistakes that have cost thousands of American lives.
For those that criticize the Bush administration for usurping the Constitution and our laws with their efforts to secure this country I would say, "Prove it" because other than hyperbole and insinuations thee has been no credible evidence of so-called "lying."
For those, like Hillary Clinton, that have conveniently switched sides on the Iraq issue by revealing, "If I knew then what I know now," they should understand that a President does not get do-overs. A President must have the clarity to make a decision, the conviction of that decision, and the courage to see that decision through. That disqualifies Hillary Clinton as a qualified candidate for President.
Edwards idiot pronouncement that "the war on terror is just a bumper sticker slogan" is further proof of his superficial used-car sales mentality when it comes to politics. Obama is just not qualified enough yet.
When you listen to the Republican debates your heard a number of their candidates clearly define this war against radical Islam, while not a single Democrat could (or would) define it.
Frankly the only qualified candidate the Democrats have is not running and that would be former Senator Bob Kerrey who is a highly decorated former Navy Seal and was on the 9/11 Commission.
When the founding fathers finally created the form of federal government we have now, they envisioned the primarily role of the President as the commander-in-chief to lead the army against outside enemies. In that role Bill Clinton was a failure and G.W. Bush has done his job. And that is why whenever the American people choose a President during a time of war they never elect an anti-war candidate.
September 11 was a wake-up call. While some Americans have fallen back to sleep into some sort of state of denial, fortunately most Americans do understand that we are in danger and at war beyond Iraq.
I think that will give you a perspective of what really happened that day and what most Americans truly believe.