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Seventh anniversary of 9-11 should focus on both memorializing and asking the hard questions

LatinaLista — On this seventh anniversary of the most horrific act of terrorism perpetuated on American soil in modern history, words have been exhausted as to how this country will avenge the murders of almost 3,000 people whose only guilt was being in the right place at the wrong time.
After seven years, we should be farther along in this quest than we are. Why aren’t we?

For reasons only known behind the doors of the Oval Office, our soldiers have been sent in the midst of a turf battle between factions in a country that didn’t even have anything directly to do with the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
It is only now, as our President leaves office that more troops are being sent into the one place where they should have been concentrated from the beginning — Afghanistan.
Yet after seven years and millions of military and civilian lives lost in Iraq, the legacy of this Administration is a troop count of 138,000 in Iraq and 34,000 in Afghanistan.
As we mark this somber anniversary, it’s time to ask the questions that have irritated this Administration:

  • Is the world a safer place because of our presence in Iraq?
  • Have we made a significant difference in the strength of Al-Qaeda?
  • Have we repaired our global image with our allies?
  • Have we fostered a positive working relationship with countries in the Mideast?

The Pentagon Memorial is oriented along the path of Flight 77 and is about 200 feet from where it crashed. It will never be closed to visitors.
(Source: LA Times)

Can it be promised that another 9-11 won’t happen again on U.S. soil?



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  • yave begnet
    September 11, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Those are good questions, but I have my doubts about the CW that Afghanistan is the “right war” and that we need to start focusing our efforts there instead of Iraq. Incidents like this are the main cause of my doubts. It looks a lot like the U.S. military recently killed 90 civilians in Afghanistan in an attack based on faulty intelligence. This is bound to happen so long as we–the invading power–are unaccountable to the Afghan people and are in that country pursuing our own limited national interest. The one follows inevitably from the other. So far, instead of trying to make sure “accidents” like this don’t happen again, or even discussing why we are still in Afghanistan after 6 years of war (and when we might think about leaving), the military has focused its efforts on denying the reports that so many were killed.
    That doesn’t sound like a just or justified war to me. Strangely, I didn’t see much discussion of the 90 deaths in the mainstream left blogosphere, perhaps because the Democrats and mainstream left are fully invested in the war in Afghanistan. I encourage everyone to read Michael Scheuer’s “Imperial Hubris” for a CIA insider’s account of why the war in Afghanistan is a bad idea and likely to end badly for us and the Afghans. It was published in 2004 and its arguments have only been confirmed in the ensuing years.

  • laura
    September 13, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Dear Marisa, this is very painful to even think about.
    I would like to ask you to consider:
    What did any single person in Iraq have to do with the attacks of 9/11?
    The answer is: absolutely nothing. Nothing whatsoever. Saddam Hussein was a non-religious dictator who detested Al Qaida types and their brand of fundamentalism.
    How could a sadistic dictator like Saddam Hussein stay in power for so long?
    The answer is: because he was supported by the United States throughout the 1970s and 1980s – until he invaded Kuwait. While he was gassing Kurdish villages, President Reagan’s people cut deals with him. There is a famous photo of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with him in the mid-80s, while he was committing the atrocities for which he was put on “trial” and executed after the US invasion.
    Why are there factions now fighting in Iraq?
    Because the United States devastated and destroyed the country. I remember my horror and disbelief in the spring of 2003, after the US Army entered and occupied Baghdad, how they permitted looting and destruction of everything – hospitals, universities, the national museum that contained irreplaceable treasures of ancient history. Do you know what the only building was that was guarded by American soldiers after they occupied Baghdad? The oil ministry.
    Then Paul Bremer, the ruler of Iraq installed by President Bush, dissolved the Iraqi police (called de-Baathification) and dissolved the Iraqi army. No units for public security were put in place instead. The weapons of the Iraqi army were left to float around. Huge caches of weapons were left unguarded. Guess who has them now?
    Iraq had one of the most educated and cultured populations in the Arab world. Now it is devastated, first by American governments’ installation and support of Saddam Hussein, then by the war against him and the occupation that followed.
    Because American oil companies want to control Iraq’s oil, and because they found eager allies in the Bush administration.
    And underlying all of this is the deep contempt for human beings and human life – the lives of American soldiers, the lives of Iraqi children and their grandmothers, the lives of American soldiers’ families – from which these people operate.
    9/11? You know, Marisa, that in August of 2001, Condoleezza Rice and President Bush were given a CIA memo saying that Al Qaida is ready to attack in the United States, and that they ignored it?
    Do you think they are paying closer attention now? Have you seen them protect any brides, seaports, chemical factories, nuclear plants? Do you think the lives of average American people are any more precious to them now than they were then?
    Personally I am afraid of another terrorist attack, and I know we are no better prepared now than on 9/10/2001. In addition, President Bush’s war with its torture camps and bombing of civilians has motivated tens of thousands more terrorists. Yes, I am afraid, because more people want to hurt us, and nothing has been done to protect us.
    I don’t understand why Democrats are not making this an election issue – the defenselessness of our country against terrorists, while President Bush and Alberto Gonzales and John McCain are claiming they are protecting us by torturing prisoners. Why are the Democrats not making implementation of the 9/11 commission’s recommendations an election issue? How can they let the abject failure of the Bush administration to implement protective measures for us simply slide out of view?

  • laura
    September 14, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    The Bush administration has left us more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. In its edition of Thursday, 9/11/2008, the Boston Globe ran an article describing how placement of radiation sensors around cities have not been funded (missing $10 million, while Bush spends $10 billion every month in Iraq), and how lax security is around radioactive material that could be stolen and used by terrorists.
    They write “Just five blocks from the site of the 2001 attacks, a congressionally-appointed Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism panel heard sobering testimony from law enforcement officials and national security specialists who believe the country is now more vulnerable to a catastrophic terrorist attack than it was seven years ago – in part because the government has dragged its feet in defending against the threat.”
    Read the whole article here:
    I don’t much go in for conspiracy theories. But could the whole mindset of the Bush administration and its Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff be motivated by their sense that terror attacks are good for Republicans?
    Only two months ago, John McCain’s foreign policy adviser Charles Black told Fortune magazine that a terror attack would “certainly be a big advantage to” to Mr McCain.
    Why are the Democrats not making this an election issue? Why did 9/11 go by without a big statement from Senator Obama on the fact that Republicans are leaving us open to more terror attacks, and are saying an attack would be a big advantage to Senator McCain?

  • Evelyn
    September 14, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    The following link is to a list of more than 300 Engineers form the U.S. and around the world who agree the buildings that collapsed on 9/11 were brought down by explosives.
    Maybe this administration will do a repeat of 9/11, and then attack Iran so McBush can get elected, while many Americans are busy demonizing anything they consider Mexican with lies instead of blaming their government for forcing the Mexicans and others to come here so they can feed their families!

  • Evelyn
    September 14, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Laura your article also shows how we destroy other countries and dont want to take responsibility for our actions.
    U.S. Will Speed Entry Of Refugees From Iraq
    Officials Say New Measures Will Allow 12,000 to Be Admitted in the Next Year
    By Paul LewisWashington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, September 22, 2007; Page A10
    About 12,000 Iraqi refugees will be admitted into the United States over the next year as measures to speed up the process begin to take effect, government officials said yesterday.
    The new target represents an increase in the number and pace of Iraqi refugees entering the country and means that 17 percent of the 70,000 refugees expected to be admitted next year will come from Iraq, officials from the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security told reporters.
    An estimated 4 million Iraqis have been displaced and about 2.2 million have fled the country, mainly to Syria and Jordan, since the March 2003 U.S. invasion. Tens of thousands of those are believed to have left after they were targeted because of their work for U.S. or coalition authorities.
    In February, State Department officials promised to expand their commitment to Iraqi refugees, but long delays in reviewing applications have drawn sharp criticism from lawmakers, refugee groups and senior diplomats.
    Officials said that of the 11,000 refugee applicants referred to the United States by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, only 1,135 have been admitted. More are scheduled to enter before the end of the month, but officials acknowledged that they will probably fall short of the State Department’s target of 2,000 arrivals this fiscal year
    read more
    Iraqis who worked for Army denied U.S. entry
    Laura Kasinof, Chronicle Foreign Service
    Sunday, July 27, 2008
    Kareem Ali Hussein was stunned when he read the Department of Homeland Security letter that branded him ineligible for refugee status in the United States: “It has been determined that you ordered, incited, assisted or otherwise participated in the persecution of others,” the letter stated.
    Hussein, who had worked as a translator for the U.S. army in Iraq for 2 1/2 years, fled to Egypt with his wife and seven children in 2005 after their 13-year-old son was held hostage for 11 days because of his father’s ties to the United States. A militant Shiite group released him after Hussein paid a ransom of $14,000.
    Now, almost three years after leaving Baghdad, the Hussein family lives in a Cairo suburb with no means of support. They are among an estimated 150,000 Iraqi refugees in Egypt, who are not allowed to work or send their children to public schools. They are also among the estimated 4.2 million Iraqis who have fled the country or moved to safer areas inside Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
    For the time being, Hussein gets by on family savings, and manages to send his children to private schools. But he figures the funds will be exhausted by 2009.
    Many other families are in the same state of limbo.
    The Bush administration has come under criticism from lawmakers and advocacy groups over how it has dealt with Iraqi employees who have been targeted by insurgents seeking to derail U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq. Iraqis who have worked for American entities are entitled to an expedited resettlement to the United States through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program’s Direct Access Program. Instead, they often languish in a third country due to a rigid screening and background check and required recommendations from a senior U.S. supervisor.
    “Iraqis can be disadvantaged (by red tape) when they actually should be eligible for resettlement,” said Michael Kagan, a senior fellow in human rights law at the American University in Cairo.
    Kagan says the U.S. government does not judge Iraqis on a case-by-case basis. Instead, he claims, they make broad generalizations about an applicant’s involvement with the Iraqi government before the 2003 invasion. Any association with Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party or the Iraqi army can result in an automatic exclusion from resettlement in the United States, he says.
    “It’s very much guilt by association because of this overly broad exclusion in U.S. immigration law,” Kagan said.
    read more
    This is why some Euro ethnocentrics call me an American hater and a hater of white people, because I refuse to sweep the U.S. gov. failures on foreign policy under the rug and in fact choose to expose them.
    We are to blame for electing these people! We dont care about educating ourselves and electing people who will work for us, instead of those who promise to fill their pockets with money, because we dont focus on the bigger picture.
    Maybe I should have stated we would rather focus on American Idol and fool ourselves into thinking we are winning the war in Iraq, when all evidence points contrary.
    How can we be winning when we are spending 10 billion dollars a month and are considering a person to run this country who believes we can sustain this for 100 years!
    Like I have stated before, get ready to accept thousands of Iraqis to the U.S. now that Bush has destroyed their country with your blessing! Just like the U.S. has destroyed many countries below our southern border!
    Thank You for these two very enlightening posts that open a can of worms the republicans want shut Laura.
    Which brings us back to Obama and his view on Bush’s decision to attack Iraq. It is as if his intuition told him Bush was lying.
    Obama on the Iraq war.
    I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars,” he said. “What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.”
    “He’s a bad guy,” Obama said, referring to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. “The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him. But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.”
    “I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U. S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences,” Obama continued. “I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.”

  • laura
    September 15, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Personally I can’t believe any US government would intentionally commit a terror attack on US soil. I just don’t believe it.
    But incredible negligence that leaves us vulnerable: they have done it and they continue to do it. It is difficult to understand, but their behavior during Katrina was also unbelievable to understand, and yet it happened.

  • Evelyn
    September 20, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    I agree with you Laura. The only problem is then we must believe more than 300 architects and engineers around the world are liars. I checked out more than 20 of these people and they do exist, and they do stand behind what they state.
    I thought maybe the list was bogus. It’s not!

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