T Nation

Let's Remember, An Act of War

Absolutely. Let’s not forget that 9/11 wasn’t a “crime”. It was indeed another act of war on America by radical Islamists.


We must always remember

Terror attacks were an act of war, not simply a tragedy to be mourned

Six years ago, I turned on my television and saw the sickening image of an airplane flying directly into the south tower of the World Trade Center. I did not know that at precisely that moment, somewhere in the skies over the Ohio-Kentucky border, my brother was fighting for his life in the cockpit of his commercial airliner. It would be another 35 minutes before his plane crashed into the Pentagon’s west side.

Though the term “9/11 family member” had not yet become part of the Sept. 11 lexicon, my first thought upon seeing the plane turn and slam into the World Trade Center was of the pilots in the flight deck and the added sorrow that their families would have to live with for the rest of their lives, seeing this video.

Until I was notified of my brother’s fate, I was no different from everyone else that morning, horrified and overwhelmed by the shocking scene unfolding in lower Manhattan. After learning that people were jumping from the towers, I believe I began to depersonalize what I was seeing.

The human psyche can absorb only so much. Anyone who had been inside the World Trade Center towers or seen them upclose knew that jumping from that height was like leaping from the clouds. The day was only beginning.

A recent newspaper article suggested that the 9/11 commemoration “decibel level” should be “scaled back.” Mourning the dead too loud and too long impinges on the living, the article said. Life goes on. I wouldn’t disagree. But it is extremely important to distinguish between public mourning and public remembering; otherwise, the phrase that was as ubiquitous as the American flag six years ago, “Never Forget,” and invoked with tearful or angry rectitude, is rendered hollow. We all meant it, whether the cause was revenge, retribution or simple recognition of our common humanity.

None of us wants this to happen again, but as time goes by, why can’t we all agree, as we did then, about what took place that day?

There is a disturbing phenomenon creeping into the public debate about all things 9/11. Increasingly, Sept. 11 is compared to hurricanes, bridge collapses and other mechanical disasters or criminal acts that result in loss of life, with “body count” being the primary factor that keeps it in the top spot of “worst in the nation’s history.”

Misremembering is as dangerous as forgetting. If we must know one thing, it is that the Sept. 11 attacks were neither a natural disaster, nor the unfortunate result of human error. 9/11 wasn’t the catastrophic equivalent of a 3,000-car pileup.

The attacks were not a random actof violence or insanity. They were a deliberate and brutal act ofwar committed by religious fanatics engaged in Islamic jihad against the United States, all non-Muslim people and any Muslim who wishes to live in a secular society. [u]Worse, the people who perpetrated the attacks have explicitly told us that they are not done.[/u]

Sept. 11 is a date that comes and goes once a year, but “9/11” is with us every day. The body count keeps rising - Bali, Riyadh, Istanbul, Madrid, Beslan, London, Amman.

We now clearly know that the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was part of the holy war against America. When we previously dismissed this as a random attack by crazy men and declared ourselves lucky that “only six lives were lost,” we effectively disarmed ourselves. Eight years later, six became 3,000. While the comparison to other “tragedies” may help us cope with what has befallen us, we must resist being glib and intellectually careless.

Our fellow human beings were not “lost” in 1993 or on 9/11. They were torn to pieces. We must not give the enemy any quarter. We must confront the reality of their acts.

We must refuse to be fooled by their propaganda, which is meant to appeal to our own moral vanity - the belief that we can appease them by responding to their outrageous demands for accommodation, their open threats and their hateful rhetoric with even more forbearance.

Several months after the Sept. 11 attacks, I was asked to look through a thick, three-ring binder put together by the FBI, a catalogue of objects - photographed and numbered - that were the unclaimed personal effects of the 184 victims who perished at the Pentagon. They included things such as buttons, uniform insignia, house and car keys, wedding rings, shoes, personalized coffee mugs and, saddest of all, a miniature, hot-pink luggage tag with a flowery design meant for a little girl’s travel bag.

These mundane objects, the commonplace detritus of lives cut short, were deeply moving to see, perhaps because they were not some grand eulogy or noble tribute, but simple reminders of the fact that people like you and me went to work or boarded those planes on that lovely Tuesday morning, never dreaming that this was the last clear blue sky they would ever see.

Perhaps it is human instinct to turn away from suffering that goes on too long. We should celebrate life rather than wallow in grief. But we should vigilantly guard against self-delusion and denial as a means of coping with the terrible reality that we all lived through six years ago. There was a reason that we felt unified then.

The horror of what we experienced, individually and together, stripped away all the things that divide us today. We clung to each other, forgave each other, and were kind to each other, knowing that, in the end, we would only persevere together. Today of all days, that is something we should never forget.

Burlingame is the sister of Capt. Charles F. (Chic) Burlingame 3rd, pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11.

And so was the U.S.S. Cole, and the Emabassy bombings in Nairobi and Kenya, and so was the first WTC bombing. If Clinton had bothered to get off her ass and do something about it, then. We’d have been in a much better situation now.

It was an atrocity, not a tragedy.

Never forget.

[quote]pat36 wrote:
And so was the U.S.S. Cole, and the Emabassy bombings in Nairobi and Kenya, and so was the first WTC bombing. If Clinton had bothered to get off her ass and do something about it, then. We’d have been in a much better situation now.[/quote]

Amen to that. If Boy Clinton had treated those attacks as something other than “terrible criminal acts”, then maybe we would be farther ahead in the war on terror.

It was an act of war alright. Financed and perpetrated by Saudis.

Now let’s see you do something about that for a change.

[quote]lixy wrote:
It was an act of war alright. Financed and perpetrated by Saudis.

Now let’s see you do something about that for a change.[/quote]

Unfortunately if we act to remove the current government whatever comes next would likely be worse.

No. It was a criminal act of violence carried out by 19 individuals–15 of which were Saudi.

Calling it a war does not make it a war.

Leave the war mentality for drugs and poverty.

Get over it. New York is not the only city in America.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
No. It was a criminal act of violence carried out by 19 individuals–15 of which were Saudi.

Calling it a war does not make it a war.

Leave the war mentality for drugs and poverty.

Get over it. New York is not the only city in America.[/quote]

Just curious:

What does the sentence “New York is not the only city in America” mean?

“Get over it”? Hmm. I’m guessing you never get loose with that sentiment when the subject of Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse is raised?

And remember Porter Goss and Senator Lindsey Graham were having breakfast on 9/11 with the Pakistani General who had $100,000 wired to lead hijacker Mohammed Atta…

"On the morning of Sept. 11, Goss and Graham were having breakfast with a Pakistani general named Mahmud Ahmed – the soon-to-be-sacked head of Pakistan’s intelligence service. Ahmed ran a spy agency notoriously close to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban…

“Top sources confirmed here on Tuesday, that the general lost his job because of the “evidence” India produced to show his links to one of the suicide bombers that wrecked the World Trade Centre. The US authorities sought his removal after confirming the fact that $100,000 were wired to WTC hijacker Mohammed Atta from Pakistan by Ahmad Umar Sheikh at the instance of Gen Mahumd.”
http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=95001298

[/i]“The US authorities sought his removal after confirming the fact that $100,000 were wired to WTC hijacker Mohammed Atta from Pakistan by Ahmad Umar Sheikh at the instance of Gen Mahumd.”[/i]

Hello, is anybody home?!

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
No. It was a criminal act of violence carried out by 19 individuals–15 of which were Saudi.

Calling it a war does not make it a war.

Leave the war mentality for drugs and poverty.

Get over it. New York is not the only city in America.[/quote]

Which were obviously acting alone and now that they’re dead, there is clearly nothing to be done, threat over.

P.S. Washington D.C. is also a city in America.

[quote]Tokoya wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
No. It was a criminal act of violence carried out by 19 individuals–15 of which were Saudi.

Calling it a war does not make it a war.

Leave the war mentality for drugs and poverty.

Get over it. New York is not the only city in America.

Just curious:

What does the sentence “New York is not the only city in America” mean?

“Get over it”? Hmm. I’m guessing you never get loose with that sentiment when the subject of Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse is raised? [/quote]

Not when it is still going on, no.

  [quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

No. It was a criminal act of violence carried out by 19 individuals–15 of which were Saudi.

Calling it a war does not make it a war.[/quote]

Yes it does, if it is actually persued in such a manner

Well, seeing how Bubba had such luck with his “criminal” mentality, I think we should hold a war mentality. Seriously, how did the “criminal” mentality work out in the past for the US?

Fuck you. I don’t want to “get over it”. I don’t want the US to “get over it”. Go tell the author to “get over it”. Go tell family members who lost loved ones to “get over it”. Walk into a NY firehouse and tell the fireman in that house who lost brother fireman to “get over it”. Why don’t you watch what the fuck you say and not be such an assbag.

What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

[quote]Tokoya wrote:
What does the sentence “New York is not the only city in America” mean?
[/quote]
We have an entire country to think about that is larger than New York and 9/11. I don’t care about the 3000 people who died on 9/11 any more than I care about the millions who die every year because of violence.

This day only serves the State in all the propaganda that has been generated and all the freedoms that we stand to lose at the State’s behest.

[quote]
“Get over it”? Hmm. I’m guessing you never get loose with that sentiment when the subject of Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse is raised?[/quote]

Wrong. I hope people do get over it. It was a handful of individuals (who also committed criminal acts of violence) that don’t represent the entire military’s behavior–they are being punished for it.

[quote]lixy wrote:
It was an act of war alright. Financed and perpetrated by Saudis.[/quote]

Links to back this up?

[quote]pat36 wrote:
Which were obviously acting alone and now that they’re dead, there is clearly nothing to be done, threat over.

P.S. Washington D.C. is also a city in America.[/quote]

So what? There are always going to be threats to your life and safety. Every morning that you wake up and breath the air you are taking a risk. The amount of fear you have should be proportional to the probability of that threat manifesting itself. Dying in a terrorist plot has low probability–unless you live in Baghdad.

You should worry more about wearing your seatbelt.

Why are people so afraid of terrorists?

[quote]bigflamer wrote:
pat36 wrote:
And so was the U.S.S. Cole, and the Emabassy bombings in Nairobi and Kenya, and so was the first WTC bombing. If Clinton had bothered to get off her ass and do something about it, then. We’d have been in a much better situation now.

Amen to that. If Boy Clinton had treated those attacks as something other than “terrible criminal acts”, then maybe we would be farther ahead in the war on terror.
[/quote]

And please watch your step to avoid tripping on the red carpet…

9/11 Commission: FAA Chiefs Had 52 Warnings in 6 Months Before Attacks About Bin Laden, al-Qaida
http://abcnews.go.com/US/print?id=486644

The easy path to the United States for three of the 9/11 hijackers
US News & World Report
12/12/01
Three of the hijackers in the September 11 terrorist attacks obtained visas in Saudi Arabia through a brand-new program designed to make it easier for qualified visa applicants to visit the United States, an American government official said tonight.

The Visa Express program, put in place just four months before the attacks, allowed the three hijackers to arrange their visas through a State Department-designated travel agency, the official says. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers obtained their U.S. travel visas in Saudi Arabia.

None of the three men, the American government official says, was ever questioned by U.S. consular officers in Saudi Arabia. Each took his travel papers and passport to a commercial travel agency, which submitted the applications to the State Department…
http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/terror/articles/visa011212.htm

[i]The Visa Express program was a U.S. State Department program that allowed residents of Saudi Arabia to enter the U.S. without proving their identities. It became controversial when some of the 9/11 hijackers used this program to gain entry into the country, and the program was eventually shut down.

In the Spring and Summer of 2001, the terror level in the U.S. was reportedly “off the charts”. The U.S. had recently concluded that Saudi Arabia was one of four top nationalities of al-Qaeda members.

Despite all this, the U.S. introduced the Visa Express program in May of 2001. This program allowed Saudi Arabian residents, including non-citizens, to get valid visas through a travel agency using a much less restrictive standard than would have otherwise been required. They did not have to submit a proof of identity, but only had to provide a photograph and fill out a short form. A senior State Department official described the program as “an open-door policy for terrorists.” No other country had this system to facilitate easy entry into the country.[/i]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_Express

[quote]bigflamer wrote:
Links to back this up? [/quote]

Get a clue.

[quote]lixy wrote:
bigflamer wrote:
Links to back this up?

Get a clue.[/quote]

That’s what I thought.

[quote]lixy wrote:
bigflamer wrote:
Links to back this up?

Get a clue.[/quote]

In terorrist-ese: “I don’t need to back anything up”.

Conspiracy theories rest on the premise that the government is super-competent, and some number of higher ups managed to be competent enough to go across agencies and parties to coordinate something of this magnitude – and then have kept it all under wraps, with not one credible person coming forward and claiming to have been part of the whole cover up, which would necessarily have had to involve many people at various levels of government.

How likely is that? What is the cumulative probability function of all of that occurring?

Or is it more likely that the government was incompetent on many levels, didn’t communicate well internally and dropped a huge number of balls – you know, governmental status quo?

At any rate, here is a great book on how structural flaws in our intelligence/counter-terror systems – which have not bee fixed – led to our not stopping the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The top 5 depressing findings about 9/11 from Amy Zegart’s book – all confirmed by unclassified government documents or at least two government sources, according to Zegart.

  1. The FBI failed to find 9/11 hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi 19 days before 9/11 even though they were hiding in plain sight. On the night of 9/11, an FBI search of public records found al-Mihdhar’s correct San Diego address within hours. Unbeknownst to the Bureau, both terrorists had lived with an FBI informant in San Diego, made contact with several targets of FBI counterterrorism investigations, and used their real names on everything from credit cards to telephone listings.

  2. Just weeks before 9/11, the FBI’s own highly classified counterterrorism review gave failing grades to every single one of the Bureau’s 56 U.S. field offices. (The report was considered so embarrassing, only a handful of copies were ever made).

  3. A January 2002 internal FBI review found that 66% of the FBI’s 1,200 analysts (the people who “connect the dots”) were unqualified to do their jobs.

  4. Twenty months before 9/11, the CIA got wind that al Qaeda operatives might be gathering in Malaysia for a planning meeting – what one intelligence official described to me as “the al Qaeda convention.” Two of the participants turned out to be 9/11 hijackers. The CIA established surveillance, but lost track of them as soon as the meeting disbanded. Management was so hosed up that one CIA official believed, and kept telling his bosses, that the terrorists were being monitored 5 days after they had disappeared into the Streets of Bangkok.

  5. The CIA and FBI missed a total of 23 opportunities to potentially disrupt the 9/11 plot.

From the book jacket:

[i] Zegart shows how and why the intelligence system itself left us vulnerable [to 9/11].

Zegart argues that after the Cold War ended, the CIA and FBI failed to adapt to the rise of terrorism. She makes the case by conducting painstaking analysis of more than three hundred intelligence reform recommendations and tracing the history of CIA and FBI counterterrorism efforts from 1991 to 2001, drawing extensively from declassified government documents and interviews with more than seventy high-ranking government officials. She finds that political leaders were well aware of the emerging terrorist danger and the urgent need for intelligence reform, but failed to achieve the changes they sought.

The same forces that have stymied intelligence reform for decades are to blame: resistance inside U.S. intelligence agencies, the rational interests of politicians and career bureaucrats, and core aspects of our democracy such as the fragmented structure of the federal government. Ultimately failures of adaptation led to failures of performance. 

Zegart reveals how longstanding organizational weaknesses left unaddressed during the 1990s prevented the CIA and FBI from capitalizing on twenty-three opportunities to disrupt the September 11 plot. Spying Blind is a sobering account of why two of America’s most important intelligence agencies failed to adjust to new threats after the Cold War, and why they are unlikely to adapt in the future.[/i]