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What we should never forget on 9/11

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Shared with permission from Siva Vaidhyanathan, this is what I’ve been wanting to write all day, but couldn’t do so quite so eloquently:

Many people are posting versions of “never forget.”

So let’s review, shall we?

1) The 9/11 hijackers were funded by rich people in Saudi Arabia, none of whom have been punished for it.

2) President Bush had ample and direct warnings that Al Queda was a threat yet failed to take them seriously.

3) One security technology could have prevented the hijackings — secure and solid cockpit doors. The airlines fought FAA proposals for them for decades.

4) Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks but more than 10 years later more than half of Republicans still believed it did.

5) For one brief moment almost the whole world was united in horror about the slaughter. Yet our government dissolved that unity within 18 months.

6) The mania that gripped the White House in the wake of 9/11 generated massive violations of US and international law, significant violations of human rights, and a squandering of the moral high ground.

7) If the Supreme Court had allowed the voters to choose the president in the 2000 election we would have had sober, moderate, law-abiding, knowledgeable adults running the country and things would be a lot better now.

8) President Bush not only failed to defend us against Al Queda before 9/11, he let Bin Laden escape from Tora Bora and ceased serious efforts to capture or kill him while he shifted U.S. resources to a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

Yeah, I am still angry.

You should be, too.

Never forget.

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  • I’d add another: the media manipulated public opinion at every turn in favor of MORE AND BIGGER PATRIOTISM.

    This included burying that Bush’s “megaphone moment” cost the rescue workers about four hours of effort at a time when it was still believed that there might be survivors in the rubble, that Rudy Guiliani’s pride and stupidity put the city’s Office of Emergency management in WTC7, that Christie Whitman lied through her teeth about the toxicity of the dust that coated everything on site, that rescue and recovery workers were issued inadequate dust masks for the first three days when the dust was at its worst, and so on.

    • Pat

      Let’s not forget the Patriot Act either, which repeatedly violated the 4th Amendment and which needs to be repealed.

      • so-in-so

        The GOP’s tribute to Orwell, in all it’s glory!

    • GoDeep

      Is there such a thing as ‘too much’ patriotism?

      I don’t think so.

      I’m not saying you can’t criticize your country, nor that you can’t criticize it vigorously. I’m questioning this ambivalence about celebrating America that so many left wing ppl have.

      • GoDeep

        Let me just add: The kind of bullshit politicization of 9/11 that SEK links to is high asshatery. You can despise Bush/Cheney for their exploitation of 9/11 for the crassest political and economic reasons without pissing all over the graves of the 2,977 ppl who died that day yourself.

        Srsly, What the Fuck does Bush v. Gore‘s outcome have to do with memorializing the fallen that day?

        • Bill Murray

          Srsly, What the Fuck does Bush v. Gore‘s outcome have to do with memorializing the fallen that day?

          President Gore would have actually paid attention to the warnings and stopped the possibility of the attacks, so there would have been no abnormal loss of life on 9-11-2001. Try and think a little, it’s a wonderful way to live.

          • GoDeep

            That’s nothing more than the rankest speculation. You couldn’t be more indifferent to their deaths, or to the pathetic partisanship displayed in this post.

            • Malaclypse

              You couldn’t be more indifferent to their deaths,

              Go fuck yourself.

              • Origami Isopod

                Let me add a +1 to that, Mal.

                • GoDeep

                  Two commies, wouldn’t expect you to know much abt patriotism. At least to America.

                  Pathetic, tho, that’s something commies know all abt.

            • BruceJ

              Actually, since all of Clinton’s national security team were running around with their hair on fire over the known threats (see 9/11 Commission hearings) it’s unlikely in the extreme that a president Gore, WHO HAD BEEN PART OF THAT TEAM would have dismissed the CIA briefers with ‘Well, you’ve covered your assess. You can go now’

              This isn’t “partisanship” this is WHY THE FUCK IT HAPPENED: we got a dumbfuck halfwit elected as president, with a greedhead self-appointed vice president with a hard on for war in Iraq, and the cadre of neocon shitheels that he dragged along with him and their dreams of other people dying to cover them in glory.

              Go DIAF, asshole.

              • GoDeep

                No one’s saying Clinton wasn’t more concerned abt AQ than was Bush…There is no evidence to suggest that Gore would’ve magically stopped 9/11 tho. The complete set of policy tools to enable such a stop didn’t really exist. You didn’t have No Fly lists, you didn’t have hardened cockpit doors, you didn’t know who the plotters were, much less where they were, & you didn’t have the Patriot Act to enable the type of broad-scale inspection of security risks that our security apparatus has now.

                So go buy a box of Cracker Jacks and maybe you’ll find the magic Green Lantern ring you so desperately believe in.

                • brad

                  Actually, they, umm, did know about several of the plotters.
                  But when you’re citing the Patriot Act as an improvement over… anything, ever, you’re showing not just your hand but where you bought the deck.

      • Malaclypse

        Is there such a thing as ‘too much’ patriotism?

        I don’t think so.

        Some statements just Godwin themselves.

      • Is there such a thing as ‘too much’ patriotism?

        I don’t think so.

        Really? You can’t mean this literally.

        Let me just add: The kind of bullshit politicization of 9/11 that SEK links to is high asshatery. You can despise Bush/Cheney for their exploitation of 9/11 for the crassest political and economic reasons without pissing all over the graves of the 2,977 ppl who died that day yourself.

        How it what was quoted pissing on their graves?

        Srsly, What the Fuck does Bush v. Gore‘s outcome have to do with memorializing the fallen that day?

        I think item 7 is a bit of a stretch, but it’s not wholly unrelated in that in involved similar disregard for doing the right thing in the right way and led to the particular situation we found ourselves in. I do think Gore would have handled things better but that’s just generally true.

        I would have liked to see more about how people directly affected were treated badly (e.g., funding for health care for first responders was touch and go several times which was reprehensible).

        • GoDeep

          There’s a simple test to see if someone is politicizing a tragedy: Are they being victim centered? After Sandy Hook gun control groups proposed an array of gun control measures. In focusing on how to prevent future such tragedies they were being victim centered.

          This bill-of-pariculars, would-be indictment couldn’t be less concerned about the 9/11 victims. That’s why its pissing on their graves. This goes well beyond just #7. What does #4 (voter stupidity) have to with those that died? What does #5 (world wide unity) have to do with those that died? How does #6 (violations of int’l law) seek to prevent more such victims? And while #1 is victim centered, how many liberals do you hear clamoring for drone strikes against Saudi sheikhs and financiers? Hell a lot of liberals hate drone strikes against certified terrorists like Anwar al-Awlaki, and many others wring their hands, so what right do they have to complain? Of the 8 ‘charges’ against the Bush Administration, just 3 are victim centered.

          SEK and whoever this buttwipe he links to couldn’t be less concerned with the dead, 9/11 is just another foil to advance their brand of politics.

          • There’s a simple test to see if someone is politicizing a tragedy:

            Even if this were a good test (and it’s not, fwiw), politicising a tragedy isn’t necessarily wrong.

            This bill-of-pariculars, would-be indictment couldn’t be less concerned about the 9/11 victims.

            Sure it could even in your own terms, it could lack 1.

            But you can have a broader view. For me, part of the tragedy of 9/11 is the destruction of Iraq. When else do we acknowledge those victims?

            1,2,3,8 are unambiguously about the people who died in the attacks. (2, 3 are about how such a tragedy might have been prevented while 8 is about a failure to focus on justice for the victims).

            5 is at least tangentially related in that the misuse of the tragedy violated a duty toward the victims.

            4, 6 are in part about the subsequent victims. The people we tortured are victims of our response to 9/11. Some were entirely innocent.

            7 is less related except to apportion some of the blame.

            I think it’s ok to be more narrowly focused. Everyone deals with these things in their own way. If I were formulating such a list, I would focus a few items on the poor treatment of survivors and first responders. I would include some aspects of the mess in Afghanistan. I would have mentioned the people killed (on both sides) or displaced by the Iraq war. So my list would have been somewhat different. But this one doesn’t seem so bad to me.

      • UserGoogol

        To be patriotic is to be biased. A certain degree of bias is justifiable, especially when given from a “there are lots of good countries but I’ve grown fond of this one” perspective. But it is not merely when patriotism is perverted into other things that it can be bad, it’s a little problematic to begin with.

        • GoDeep

          Thnx for being honest. That view is what drives the ambivalence. While I admire the bonhomie that drives your sentiment I disagree.

          I think everyone should be wildly patriotic abt their country. If you’re from Brazil, you should think Brazil the greatest country ever. If you’re from Nigeria, you should think all of humankind owes you a giant debt of gratitude. If you’re from Greece you should think you’re the cradle of civilization. If you’re from China you should think no one has a brighter future than you. And if you’re from America you should think that there’s no greater country ever in the history of countries, notwithstanding what the Brazilians, and Nigerians, and Greeks, and Chinese say.

          Patriotism, when it crosses over into xenophobia and racism, can be taken too far, of course, but I don’t think there’s a justifiable reason to be ambivalent abt your homeland. I’ve seen my share of racism & sexism but I still think there’s no greater country than the USA.

          • brad

            Yes, nationalism has a sterling reputation throughout history and has only ever been a force for good.

            But your faith in no fly lists and general concern trolling crying think of the victims probably don’t even fool you. It’s no longer in question whether you’re sincere or trolling, after this crap.

            • GoDeep

              I didn’t say ‘nationalism’ I said ‘patriotism’. Its a distinction with a difference. C’mon liberals are good at nuance…Sure ‘patriotism’ has been a weapon wrongly used (Bush, Cheney, Palin, Nixon, etc) but FDR used patriotism to rally the country during the Depression & WW2.

              No fly lists have been very helpful. They have ensnared innocent ppl (eg, Ted Kennedy), but I hear abt far fewer such mistakes these days. What do you have against No Fly Lists?

              • brad

                No, it isn’t any distinction at all.

                I think no fly lists are part of the security theater performance and do no actual good. And those “liberals are” cracks only serve to weaken any argument you’re pretending to make.

          • Malaclypse

            I still think there’s no greater country than the USA.

            Have you ever actually been outside the US?

            • GoDeep

              Yes, I’ve spent a great deal of time outside the US.

              Do you think there’s a better country than the US? If so, which ones?

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                are you eight years old? This is a ridiculous attitude for an adult

          • I think everyone should be wildly patriotic abt their country. If you’re from Brazil, you should think Brazil the greatest country ever. If you’re from Nigeria, you should think all of humankind owes you a giant debt of gratitude. If you’re from Greece you should think you’re the cradle of civilization. If you’re from China you should think no one has a brighter future than you. And if you’re from America you should think that there’s no greater country ever in the history of countries, notwithstanding what the Brazilians, and Nigerians, and Greeks, and Chinese say.

            This is a silly thing to want of people. Not only is there no such obligation, but I think you can have many sorts of relationship to your country of birth, or adoption, or just of interest. If you want to cultivate the above attitude, go ahead, though I don’t find it particularly interesting or amiable. Plus, you can love your country (or countries) without thinking false things about them. And you can love many counties.

            This is all before we get to the virtues of cosmopolitism.

            • the virtues of cosmopolitism.

              Who doesn’t love pink stuff in martini glasses?

              • Lee Rudolph

                But never stir it with a carrot stick! True cosmopolitans are rootless.

      • Bloix

        When patriotism means “We’re sending the army to a country that didn’t attack us, where our soldiers will be blown up by roadside bombs and killed or maimed for life, and when they’re not getting blown up they will be made to kill innocent people and destroy their homes and cities, all to support the corrupt and brutal government we installed, and if you have the nerve to disagree you’re a fucking traitor, so watch out” then yes, maybe there’s a thing as too much patriotism.

  • Mike G

    Every year I like to revisit this website

    http://www.privilogic.com/wordsfail/

    and contemplate how we had the support of the entire world after 9/11, and Bush/Cheney with the active collaboration of a supine Corporate Media pissed it away with their arrogance and stupidity, greed and criminality.

  • Fighting Words

    You know, regarding no. 7, I remember when the Republicans were eventually declared the winners of the 2000 presidential election, they had said something along the lines of “the adults are back in charge.” It’s sad THAT at one point in time, people actually thought (unironically) that President Bush was a serious leader because he wore a jacket that said “PRESIDENT.”

    • David Lloyd-Jones

      There is a rather odd bit of the US Code which makes strong suggestions, not rules or laws, about the uses of the flag. One of these is that if the flag is worn on the sleeves of uniforms, which it recommends against, the “pole” side, with the stars, should be toward the front. On the left sleeve the flag would be flapping to the right, and vice versa, or perhaps dextri-sinistrum.

      President Bush never managed to get this right. Whenever he had a flag on his right sleeve, it was one of the ones designed for the left. This meant it flapped disconcertingly into the wind, unless, I suppose, he always walked backwards.

      -dlj.

  • FlipYrWhig

    7) If the Supreme Court had allowed the voters to choose the president in the 2000 election we would have had sober, moderate, law-abiding, knowledgeable adults running the country and things would be a lot better now.

    If Gore had prevailed, he would have faced a torrent of blame and outrage and been impeached for not preventing the attacks, or been barraged into resigning. Then we’d have had President Lieberman running things. Thus I have a low opinion of how much better things would be now.

    • Steppanhammer

      This assumes the attack is still carried out (successfully) with Gore in charge. The implication in the post is that Gore, unlike Bush, doesn’t ignore the very good intel they had on it, and we get a different outcome that day.

      • FlipYrWhig

        Point taken, but even taking the threat seriously (as the outgoing Clinton folks urged Team Bush to do), a catastrophic attack still could have happened.

        I’m confident that Gore would have been instantly rendered persona non grata and that Democrats would have lost the White House for the next 20 years at least.

        • xq

          You are greatly underestimating the power of the Democrats. The senate was evenly split. No way enough Democrats go for impeachment to get a conviction.

          • FlipYrWhig

            I don’t have your confidence. After a coin-flip of an election, I think Democrats would have started making noises about how they’d never much liked that Gore and his inept administration, and Gore himself would have decided it would be best to resign — because he’d feel tremendous guilt that the attacks happened. The story would be that a divisive election had left wounds, the terrorist attack needed national unity, and that Gore couldn’t provide that. I can hear the NYT and WaPo saying all these things and making them conventional wisdom, and I can imagine Team Gore hearing them and wanting to do The Right Thing. I’m totally convinced of this. It’s clear as day in my mind.

            • SamInMpls

              I agree with this in part.

              This is a party that had just been through Clinton’s impeachment in 1998-9. Not a single Democrat in the Senate voted guilty on either charge. In the House, only Goode, Hall, McHale, Stenholm and Taylor voted to impeach. McHale was a lame duck. Goode flipped to the GOP in 2002, Hall flipped in 2004, Taylor flipped in 2014 after being defeated in 2010. There just aren’t the votes there in the Senate to convict Gore and force him from office but there would have been defectors and it would have been worse than Clinton.

              My guess:

              Yes, there would have been some calls for Gore to resign but they would have been presented that Lieberman was better suited to be a war president. Perhaps there are some suggestions that with Gore gone, President Lieberman can bring in McCain as his VP. Lots of talk by David Brooks types of the need for a unity government during this crisis. Lots of endless bullshit about Churchill and 1940.

              Rather than tear itself apart, the party makes it clear to Gore (and also SecDef Sam Nunn and SecState Richard Holbrooke) that he has to pursue much more mindlessly aggressive and militant policies or he must agree not to run for reelection. They give him until Spring of 2003 to turn his poll numbers around or announce he won’t run for a second term.

              • xq

                I know party unity wasn’t quite as strong in 2001 as it is today, but this still reads absurd to me. The Democratic party is partisan. It would not support a Republican VP. This just isn’t how politics works in the modern US. Absent Nixon-level scandal (and probably even then, in today’s world) the party supports the president.

                Also worth keeping in mind that Gore would be fighting a very popular war.

                • Just_Dropping_By

                  In SamInMpls’ scenario the possibility of a Republican VP for a Democratic president is plausible because, under the 25th Amendment, a replacement VP has to be approved by a majority of both houses of Congress. During the 2001-02 period, the House of Representatives was controlled by Republicans and the Senate was basically evenly split (and presumably the Senate still would have moved to full Republican control after the 2002 elections).

                • xq

                  Yeah but Gore has to resign first for that to be relevant. There are two steps required here. You are pointing out that the second step is plausible conditional on the first occurring, but the first isn’t plausible.

      • I’m willing to stipulate that had Gore been President Iraq wouldn’t have happened. But, in my opinion, 9/11 involved too many variables to say that it wouldn’t have happened.

        .

        • scott_theotherone

          I see where you’re coming from, but I reach the opposite conclusion: there were so many missed opportunities to stop the attacks, and just paying attention to one or two extra warning signs might have prevented at least one, if not more of the hijackings. And I see no reason not to believe a Gore administration would have heeded at least one if not more of those warnings.

          • GoDeep

            Even had a Pres. Gore heeded the CIA briefings on Al Qaeda, I srsly doubt that the FBI was then equipped to find the plotters. We didn’t even have a No Fly list back then…much less a ban on taking on box cutters.

            • Bill Murray

              yeah the FBI never found any criminals until there was a no-fly list

    • dckolb

      To expand on what Steppanhammer said – I also am 100% confident that if a President Gore had been presented with a CIA memo entitled “Bin Laden determined to attack within the United States” his response would not have been “Well, now you’ve covered your ass”.

      • divadab

        Also whoever was Atty-Genl might have had “terrorism” somewhere on his priorities list – unlike that genius Ashcroft whose main priority appears to have been locking up Tommy CHong for selling a bong.

        • joe from Lowell

          They decreased manpower devoted to international terrorism, and beefed up the obscenity unit. They made a splash with some prosecutions of pornographic movie producers for a little while.

          • postmodulator

            Yeah, they sent Max Hardcore up. Which as tragedies go wasn’t one, but…

            • wjts

              He also made those slutty statues cover their shame, so that’s something, too, I guess.

              (As 33lp says below, I belatedly notice.)

        • 33lp

          And covering up nekkid statues.

      • Brad Nailer

        I think he’d have paid attention to Richard Clark and let him do his fucking job.

    • Lee Rudolph

      If Gore had prevailed, he would have faced a torrent of blame and outrage and been impeached for not preventing the attacks, or been barraged into resigning.

      I have always just assumed a coup, but I guess your scenario is more likely.

      And of course, as already noted, Gore might even have prevented the attacks.

      • Davis X. Machina

        It is an article of faith in True Progressive circles that Gore would also have invaded Iraq — some action against Afghanistan seems presumed regardless of President —
        so it doesn’t matter that Bush was president.

        • tsam

          This is among the True Progressives? I’ve never heard of anyone claiming Gore would be dumb enough to invade Iraq–even if half the country was fucking drooling ass stupid enough to believe any of that shit they were saying.

          • FlipYrWhig

            The claim has to do with Gulf War I, IIRC. In some circles Gore was as suspect for hawkery as Hillary Clinton is now.

            • joe from Lowell

              I know what you’re talking about – the people who explain why certain people being against the Iraq War from the beginning didn’t count because they didn’t hold certain offices at the moment.

            • tsam

              Well Obama is even a bit suspect for hawkery, even if he didn’t support the Iraq war and had the guts to say it and stick with it. They’re all a bit suspect on hawkishness because there’s a hawkish machine right down the street from the Capitol and White House that spends all day looking for an excuse to play with their toys made out of education and health care money.

            • CrunchyFrog

              A lot of people were in favor of Gulf War 1 who later turned against Gulf War 2. Gulf War 1 was a very, very different context. Iraq did invade and occupy Kuwait. Almost all of the world united in agreeing that Iraq needed to reverse that and most of the world supported military action to force that – although a lot of the nations who supported that were pissed that GHWB launched the invasion the second the deadline passes.

              Gulf War 2, on the other hand, was a blatant land/resource grab as part of PNAC’s strategy to address the “Arc of Instability” – first Iraq, then Syria, then Iran. It was dressed up as being about WMDs and a bad dictator, but few outside the US and parts of the rest of the English-speaking world (read: part of the world influenced by Murdoch media) bought that shit.

              Gulf War 1 had a number of questionable actions – as all wars do. But generally the US did its best to follow the Geneva Conventions. At the end of the war well over 100 thousand Iraqi conscripts voluntarily surrendered to the invading ground troops, trusting that their treatment by the US would be better than their treatment as occupying soldiers in bombed-out Kuwait. In Gulf War 2 the Cheney/Rumsfeld approach involved lots of torture and extreme treatment of those captured, first in Afghanistan, then Iraq. While this was pretty well hidden from the US population until Abu Ghirab, the rest of the world was aware of them starting in late 2001.

          • Davis X. Machina

            The Iraqi Liberation Act, which made regime change in Iraq a foreign policy objective of the Clinton administration suggests that that’s the case, for starters.

            Not saying I buy it, but the argument is made, and not infrequently…

            • tsam

              I’m glad I’ve never stumbled across one of them. That would have provoked a “U WOT M8??”

              I don’t remember Gore saying much about Iraq during the Clinton admin, but maybe he did. Pretty sure ousting Saddam was a policy objective around the time he invaded Kuwait. By some miracle, cooler heads prevailed in that conflict, but then went batshit crazy under junior’s watch.

              Shorter: I seriously doubt Gore would have gone after Iraq. Bush’s stupid ass knew Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and probably was even prescient enough to know that strong arm dictators fucking HATE religious fanatics because they have the power to unite and motivate the population. (Ok, not shorter, but whatever, I MAD)

            • wjts

              I strongly suspect the Gore Administration Iraq policy would have been pretty similar to Clinton’s: some noise about regime change a la the Iraq Liberation Act, sanctions, maybe something like the Desert Fox bombings. Nothing particularly praiseworthy, but I very much doubt we would have seen anything even close to the Iraq War debacle.

              • Eli Rabett

                It’s not that Gore did not explain he was against invading Iraq and why

                http://www.gwu.edu/~action/2004/gore/gore092302sp.html

              • joe from Lowell

                And the assistance to the Kurds was largely built on the Iraq Liberation Act.

                Which is to say, no, supporting the Iraq Liberation Act and a policy of regime change was not equivalent to supporting an invasion. There were a lot of other policy direction that meant under a Democratic administration.

        • GoDeep

          some action against Afghanistan seems presumed regardless of President

          Let’s see terrorists harbored by the radical Taliban government of Afghanistan kill some 3K ppl and ppl think “some action” against Afghanistan might be warranted. You damn skippy some action is warranted!

    • UserGoogol

      I really don’t think this is true at all. The rally-around-the-flag effect is pretty bipartisan, and in our world was pretty damned strong. (From 44% to 84% in one week! That wasn’t because of Republican messaging.) Maybe we would have seen the effect flatten out faster since Republicans are probably less inclined to support Democrats in a time of crisis than the other way around, but the idea that Republicans could have swung things around so fast as to remove Gore from office is just ascribing magical powers to them.

      • xq

        And even if the rally effect was nonexistent for Republicans, Gore won the election–Gore voters and Democratic politicians would still rally around him.

        • FlipYrWhig

          Democratic politicians would rally around a Democratic president who had presided over the worst terrorist attack in history months after a disputed election? No chance. No chance at all. They’d be rushing to distance themselves.

          In any event, I think Gore, being the kind of guy he showed himself during the recount fight, would (a) feel guilty (b) want to do the honorable thing (c) be paralyzed by the opinions of centrist pundits who never liked him as a person and who would’ve been listening to a tidal wave of Republican rage.

          To me that’s the big difference: if 9/11 had happened under a Democratic president, the Republicans would have immediately blamed him for it; and if 9/11 had happened under a Democratic president that Big Media had scorned for 15 years, Big Media would not call for unity or call out Republican blamers and haters.

          • xq

            You are taking moderate ways in which the parties are different and massively amplifying these differences.

            I mean, Obama just got an Iran deal that only 20% of Americans support! A bunch of senators supported PPACA despite great political costs to themselves. The Democrats are not as weak as you imply; they do care about supporting the Democratic president even at some cost to themselves; they do care to some degree about issues; they are not so afraid of the media to overwhelm all other concerns. And 9/11 did not in our world and would not in this alternative universe completely reshape the nature of politics; all the forces that allow the Democrats to be competitive in national elections would work to back Gore up.

            The media isn’t as unbalanced as you imply either.

    • petesh

      Huh? Like FDR was after Pearl Harbor? I know Gore wasn’t all that good at the politics thing but even he could have orchestrated a rally-round-the-flag.

      • FlipYrWhig

        FDR wasn’t president after a hair’s-breadth election. I’m positive that Republicans would have pilloried Gore and the media would have been frenzied about how the need for national unity made Gore the wrong man for the job. No, that’s not at all what happened in this universe, but that’s the difference between a terrorist act with the Strong Daddy party in charge and one with the Weak Mommy party in charge (labels according to Beltway standards, of course, not my own).

  • rea

    One security technology could have prevented the hijackings — secure and solid cockpit doors. The airlines fought FAA proposals for them for decades.

    Except of course, there have been several hijackings since 9/11, including the famous one earlier this year (Germanwings Flight 9525), that were greatly facilitated by secure and solid cockpit doors.

    • Aaron Morrow

      Germanwings Flight 9525 was the result of no one hijacking the plane; the crash was caused by one of the pilots.

      • divadab

        Ya – who was protected form any interference by the secure cockpit doors. Yes it wasn’t a “hijacking” but this is just a quibble.

        • so-in-so

          “The solution is not perfect, no reason to do anything…”

          It would presumably be harder to get a jihadist hired as an airline pilot, and get him experienced to the point that other crew members leave him alone in the cockpit, than to get a few men with box cutters on the flight and into the un-armored cabin.

          • Porlock Junior

            For one thing, very few airlines would hire him when he didn’t know how to land a plane.
            (Does everyone remember the abbreaviated flight training that at least one of th e 9/11 guys asked for?)

        • royko

          A person with authorized access to the controls of the plane going mad and crashing it is a different problem than preventing unauthorized access to the controls to the plane, and will need a different solution. If you want to protect against an unstable pilot, there are better ways than keeping the cockpit unsecured.

      • Thirtyish

        Exactly (responding to Aaron Morrow). Something akin to the Germanwings incident would most likely not be possible under our FAA laws, for reasons discussed here.

    • Prior to 9/11 our hijacking procedures assumed that the hijackers wanted something. The philosophy was: cooperate with them and eventually we’ll get everyone home.

      After 9/11, the philosophy became: protect the cockpit at all costs.

      They will not get to use my jet as a weapon.

  • Karen24

    Yeah, our great big buddies Saudi Arabia. Saudi money is the reason Salafi Islam is the predominant strain now. We gave great heaping sacks of money to corrupt autocrats who paid the Muslim version of Opus Dei and the Westboro Baptist Church so that the Westboro Dei crowd would leave the autocrats alone. Now, the Saudis have cozied up to Netanyahu in the most repulsive detante since the Molotov pact. If we found out today that petroleum could cure cancer and regenerate Sumatran rhinos I’d still favor solar power just to spite Saudi Arabia.

    • joe from Lowell

      You know what American tradition could stand a revival?

      Anti-royalism.

      • tsam

        Mixed with some anti-capitalism. IMO, that’s the driving force behind the cozy relationships with those autocratic shitheads in S.A.

        • joe from Lowell

          I figure we bring back anti-royalism, and then we start calling the plutocrats royalists.

          • Hogan

            Economic royalists. It’s a thing.

            An old English judge once said: “Necessitous men are not free men.” Liberty requires opportunity to make a living – a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.

            For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor – other people’s lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.

            Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people’s mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended.

            The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody’s business. They granted that the government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.

            Today we stand committed to the proposition that freedom is no half-and-half affair. If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place.

            These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for. Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.

            FDR at the 1936 Democratic National Convention

      • Karen24

        With an exemption for the LARPers in Europe, i endorse this idea.

      • Malaclypse

        Say what you will about the tenets of Bolshevism, but at least they knew the place for royalty.

    • DrDick

      This is the truly insane part of our Middle East policy (along with largely unquestioning support of Likud). The Saudis, not Iran, are demonstrably the biggest threat to peace and stability in the region.

      • GoDeep

        You paint with two broad a brush. Which Saudis would you like Obama to drone? The Royal Family, so that the liberal moderate secularist middle class can rule? Or the Saudi upper class, who undermine the Royal Family by financing those, like AQ and ISIS, who would like nothing more than to behead them? Or the Saudi clerics, whose acquiescence enables the Royals to sustain their power? There are no ‘good guys’ in Saudi Arabia. Like in Syria where Obama has had to choose Evil Assad over Eviler ISIS, the US can only hope to partner with the least bad actors…About the best outcome practicable is that its another Egypt.

  • divadab

    The House of Saud and the Bush dynasty are allies and friends and partners. Why else would GW Bush take out the Saudis’ biggest secular rival, and take their oil offline, resulting in the Oil Companies making the largest profits ever made by any company in the history of the world?

    I still consider the recession of 2008 to be directly caused by the oil oligarchy – it’s curious how they have avoided any blame, which rather falls on the financial industry alone. ALso consider that when GW Bush took office gasoline was about $1.30 a gallon and when he left office it was $4.50 a gallon. Mission Accomplished!

    • catclub

      By december 2008 and jan 2009, gas had collapsed back to $2/gal, but it was
      $4.50/gal in summer of 2008. That summer oil bubble was big.

    • GoDeep

      Like conspiracy theories much?

  • MAJeff

    We really became a worse nation–more terrified, more jingoistic, more militaristic, and more belligerent–after 9/11.

    • tsam

      Take the Cold War mentality, aim it at brown people, and you got the current climate. Even more vicious hatred than against the Soviets.

      • FlipYrWhig

        Far more. We have one whole political party with the ethos “Those People are coming… or are they already here?”

        • GoDeep

          You’re right. No one ever believed Joseph McCarthy when he accused the Reds of infiltrating gov’t & industry.

    • Yes indeed. By now I expect that most people have nearly forgotten that the U.S. first invaded Afghanistan in response to the events of this date in 2001; and that the Cheney administration then used the same events as the foundation for a campaign of lies leading to the illegal war of aggression against Iraq. So, of course, Americans spend the day wallowing in their own victimization but nobody has anything to say about the millions who have died or been driven from their homes as a result of U.S. actions — people who had nothing to do with it.

      The refugee crisis in Europe right now is trivial compared to what is happening in Lebanon, Jordan, Kurdistan, and the suburbs of Baghdad, where millions of displaced people live in desperate circumstances even as the UN is running out of funds to feed them. But we don’t hear a word about that because those countries aren’t in Europe. They aren’t complaining, however, and they are doing their best to take care of people who have no other refuge, even though they are relatively poor countries and have many other problems of their own.

      This is not a day for Americans to pity themselves, wallow in fear or swell with militant bluster. Remember how the events 14 years ago were used to strip us of liberties — which we have not regained — militarize our local police, create a network of dungeons and torture chambers all over the world, destroy an entire country, and squander trillions of dollars even as we pretend we can’t afford to educate our children or keep our bridges from falling down. There’s a lot we need to remember on this day, but it’s not what people are talking about.

      • tsam

        This is not a day for Americans to pity themselves, wallow in fear or swell with militant bluster.

        But that’s exactly what we’re doing. EVERY fucking year, at least one of the news channels replays the entire broadcast from that day. WTF? So let’s trigger as much PTSD as we can, wallow in self pity and paranoia, and rile up the assholes with “terrorist hunting permits” stuck to their piece of shit trucks.

      • JR in WV

        This is a day to work towards holding the monsters responsible for the multiple tragedies beginning on this day 14 years ago. In other words International War Crimes Tribunal indictments of the Bush administration from top to bottom.

        At the top of the Bush Administration for initiating war crimes and illegal torture, in the middle for aiding and abetting those crimes, and at the bottom for failing to reveal the crimes and urge the punishment of those responsible for initiating the criminal conspiracies leading to the vast pattern of criminal activity.

        There is no punishment adequate for G.W. Bush, R. Cheney, John Yoo, D Rumsfeld, and all of their minions for what they have done to America and the people they caused America to attack. People, I will add, who had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack.

        I was amazed to see on Network News G W Bush kissing and holding hands with the Saudi Prince who visited his “ranch” near Crawford TX. If I had not seen it with my own eyes I would not believe it could have happened.

        For the Saudis were the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. Yet they continue to be our “allies” in the middle ease!!?

      • GoDeep

        Shorter Cervantes: Fuck those 3K ppl who were murdered.

    • Mike G

      This. When 9/11 happened, I thought “These are exactly the worst people to have running the government at a time like this,” because I knew they would amp the jingoism, militarism and authoritarianism strain in American culture and crank it up to 11 for their own purposes.

      • CrunchyFrog

        When I turned on the TV and saw the towers down – I was on the west coast then – I knew immediately that the Bush administration had carte blanche to do everything that they wanted to do. And that’s exactly what they did. And most of my left-center friends dutifully marched in line supporting Bush. They might as well have been saying “Heil Bush”.

        I learned a tremendous amount about human nature in the 12 months from November 2000 to November 2001. Very little of it good.

        I really would like for people to have to read through the headlines from September 12 through December 1 of 2001. Not the whole news stories – just the headlines. Who remembers, for example, that there was a huge negative bet on American and United Airlines stock in the day before 9/11 – but the investigation results were never published? Who remembers that Colin Powell prominently promised to deliver “proof” that Afghanistan was behind 9/11 – only to drop that promise two days later? Who remembers that the Taliban offered to deliver Osama bin Laden to a neutral third party for judgement, such as the Hague? Or offered to extradite him if given proof of his complicity?

        • wjts

          Who remembers that the Taliban offered to deliver Osama bin Laden to a neutral third party for judgement, such as the Hague? Or offered to extradite him if given proof of his complicity?

          I remember both of those things, but (and call me a paranoid tin-foil-hatted lunatic if you must) there’s an ever-so-tiny part of me that suspects – based, I confess, on nothing but the Taliban’s actions and statements prior to 9/11 – that they weren’t actually 100% sincere when they made those particular offers.

          • The Temporary Name

            That was probably crap, but hey: creative way to keep the local power in Afghan hands.

        • GoDeep

          Who needed the fucking Hague? Why should we let the Taliban deliver OBL to the Hague as opposed to having Seal Team 6 slaughter his ass and dump his remains in the ocean?

  • tsam

    What makes me the angriest is how fucking cowardly we’ve become.
    We shrug our shoulders at the idea that the government is collecting ALL of our emails, phone connections, recording, listening, spying on American citizens.
    We allowed an illegal, unprovoked war to happen, killing who the fuck knows how many people.
    We submit to humiliating theater at airports that we call security.
    We tolerate and rationalize racial/ethnic profiling of people who don’t “look” American, even if they’re Hindu, Sikh, or some other religion.
    We allow xenophobic, racist moonbats in the discussions on national security and geopolitics.

    We reelected the slimebag sockpuppet moron that started all of the above.

    And finally, we have one political party who appears poised to nominate a dimwitted, loud mouthed, unqualified, misogynist piece of shit for president, and one political party playing along with all of the above because they don’t have the goddamn guts to stand up for what’s right and fight off the attacks from neocon scumbags.

    I still love my country, but fuck it’s getting on my goddamn nerves in the last 14 years.

    • Linnaeus

      From the Facebook page of an acquaintance of mine:

      Any legislator in favor of the Iran deal should be willing to add one additional provision: “In the event that Iran or its agents use or attempt to use a nuclear weapon against a civilian or military target, any legislator voting in favor of this legislation and the president signing it into law waive all immunities, shall be subject to a military tribunal, and shall be deemed guilty of high treason.” After all, if Israel has nothing to fear, neither do they, right?

      It’s amazing. The guy who wrote this is not an idiot; he’s a well-educated fellow who is capable of having a perfectly reasonable conversation on any number of topics, but when it comes to politics, he’s pretty much impossible to talk to.

      • tsam

        But I’ll bet he REALLY supports the Constitution, right?

      • FlipYrWhig

        Can we have the same provision in place in case Israel uses or attempts to use a nuclear weapon against a civilian or military target?

      • Yankee

        Nobody is voting in favor of this legislation. It isn’t legislation, and if they had a vote, which they’re not, it would be against. The point being, your friend isn’t even actually paying attention.

        Everybody should have one of these among their fb friends, help with perspective. Mine is bitching that Obama is importing 10,000 MAM (military age males) from Syria. ISIS infiltrators, obviously. Accent on “trators”.

    • jon98101

      they don’t have the goddamn guts to stand up for what’s right and fight off the attacks from neocon scumbags

      This is what kills me. I mean why is anyone still listening to guys like Kristol. The neocons lied about WMDs and ties to terrorism. And they did so to get us into a war that is one of the biggest foreign policy mistakes (at least of my lifetime). Yet, I turn on the TV or go online, and there they are being taken seriously for their sage advice.

    • GoDeep

      I love my relatives too, but sometimes they do bat ass crazy shit…but what the hell do you mean Obama isn’t fighting off neo-con scumbags? He kicked their ass all over greater DC this week.

  • royko

    The whole #neverforget meme has been annoying me all day, as it does every Nine-Eleven Day.

    Sure, there are some good reasons to remember the event. It altered the course of our history and led to what I think is a particularly dark period. But so did Bush v Gore, and I doubt we’ll see any hashtags on December 12. We can remember it to help prevent future attacks, but honestly, I don’t think we do an especially good job of this, and sooner or later we’re bound to get lax about the security precautions we do have. I think there are events that had a bigger impact, and I think there are events whose lessons would lead to better preparations for the future. So what’s so special about 9/11?

    It’s an emotional attachment to the trauma of that day. And I don’t have a problem if 9/11 was an important personal experience to a lot of people — heck, it was to me — but the idea that this experience has to be defended so aggressively is bizarre. If it was important to you, you won’t forget. If you forget, it probably wasn’t all that important. I don’t know exactly what people are supposed to do with or take away from this holiday, but I’d much rather see people share their feelings and memories than engage in some nationalistic sloganeering.

    I suppose it bothers me that it’s not just right-wingers trying to appropriate the memory. Everybody plays along. Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger, and it’s just sad that this is something people have latched onto.

    And maybe it’s a bit of a cheap shot, but for all the invocations of Christianity whenever gay marriage comes up, doesn’t #neverforget kind of run up against directly against #offertheothercheek?

    Feh.

    • postmodulator

      Like eighty percent or so of human interaction, #neverforget is just tribal signaling.

    • Thirtyish

      I think that it indicates a very human desire to make meaning out of trauma and, in this instance especially, collectively. I know that #neverforget can and has been appropriated and used as a more patriotic-than-thou marker by some, but for others it’s a way to experience connection over the loss. Overall, I can’t get too worked up about it.

    • CP

      This sounds like a dick thing to say to a lot of people (especially for someone who was living in DC at the time), but 9/11 was not a “the world changed/everything’s different/we can never go back” moment for me. I was an early teenager at the time, but between having been a history/current events nerd for years already and having a parent in the State Department who’d deployed to war zones in the past (hello Yugoslavia, an actual bona fide genocide)… I was already quite aware that tragedies like 9/11 happen all the time, and I never assumed that America was exempt. Just that it would happen a lot less often in America than in many other parts of the world (something that was still true after 9/11). It took me years to realize just how completely the grown-us had lost their shit.

      • Joe_JP

        I’m not sure about the “9/11 tragedies happen all the time” bit — planes driving into skyscrapers are a certain level of special — but appreciate the the sanity.

        What was completely different on 9/12? Want to talk being dick, the main difference seemed to be suddenly we had to be on the side of Bush. He was “our President” etc. I wasn’t a teenager, but that didn’t go over well with me.

        No reason to diminish what happened but overdoing it is not the right way to do it. Something changed from when we could seriously worry about Clinton’s sex problems for years as the national concern. But, everything etc? No. Truly honoring people involves perspective.

    • GoDeep

      And maybe it’s a bit of a cheap shot, but for all the invocations of Christianity whenever gay marriage comes up, doesn’t #neverforget kind of run up against directly against #offertheothercheek?

      OBL took 3K cheeks that day. I’d say we done turned ’em.

      I suppose it bothers me that it’s not just right-wingers trying to appropriate the memory.

      No one’s appropriating the memory. There’s over 300M Americans and we each collectively own it. That other ppl choose to remember it in a way that you dislike is your problem, not theirs. If you hate how we commemorate the day go raise money for poor Afghanis or something.

  • Joe_JP

    I find it hard to think that 9/11 will be “forgotten” particularly by those of us who directly lived thru it as adults or even somewhat mature minors. I also reject the idea that “everything changed,” to cite another trope, since a lot of things did not change. Even the mentality behind the “national security state” that worsened was already in place and the Cheney vision of executive power was there as well, 9/11 just provided an excuse to use old ideas.

    This is also not exactly akin to the Holocaust, which to my knowledge is the other general thing we are not supposed to “forget.” Other nations had horribles, one at least on the very day! (Chile/1973), that overall — other than perhaps for the erasure of a certain assurance we were above it all, safe from such a fatal attack (a type of end of innocence) — is quite arguable much more horrible. Something we should “not forget.”

    A coup, e.g., could be more horrible to our basic existence as a country and our liberty than the death toll on 9/11. This is so especially if it is the opening to years of tyranny along with a death toll that by some accounts is in the thousands. It might be crude to note this, for example, but apparently thousands of very preventable deaths is acceptable in this country as seen by the current state of our health system or gun deaths.

    Anyway, as to #7, realistically, even if Bush v. Gore was not taken the second time, there was a good chance Bush would have won. A formal recount might have went Gore’s way — after the fact determinations suggested various possibilities — but then to my understanding it would have went to Congress. Congress was split; but under current rules, both houses would have to agree with the new count. If not, the old count very well might have been official. This would have put the responsibility the right place but the end result might not have been to our liking.

  • Pseudonym

    People say 9/11 changed everything, but maybe the world would have been better off if we just pretended it didn’t.

    • azzizello

      Let us not forget that, despite the pentagon being the most watched military installation on the planet, there is not a single definitive photograph or video of a plane actually hitting the pentagon. It should easy to forget something for which there is no visible proof

      • sonamib

        JET FUEL CAN’T MELT STEEL BEAMS
        NINE ELEVEN WAS A HAND JOB

  • Karen24

    I made one 9/11 post on FB today. It was this. Apparently Shelly Fabares “Johnny Angel” was a threat to our sovereignty, as was “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.”

    • Jordan

      bullet with butterfly wings? BULLET WITH BUTTERFLY WINGS???

      I also find it hard to believe that they didn’t put “5 million ways to kill a ceo” on that list. The freaking album cover had boots and pam blowing up the twin towers! I have to think clear channel had some hip-hop stations.

      • Hogan

        See also B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad), released in 2000.

        • Jordan

          Wait, that wasn’t on the list? huh.

          My residential college/dorm played beer pong on March 19th to bombs over baghdad.

    • Lee Rudolph

      “Obla Di, Obla Da”? Say what?

  • keta

    I couldn’t help but think of the 2007/08 Financial Fucktacular while reading the list and the similarities to the first four points are…eerie.

    1) real perpetrators not punished…check
    2) ample warnings unheeded…check
    3) industry had fought against needed security measures in the name of profits…double-fucking check
    4) real cause of clusterfuck still not acknowledged by majority of right-wingers…check

    It’s almost like there was this pattern of willful stupidity from one of the two political parties in the United States. You know, the one that held executive power at the time and should never be allowed that particular privilege again.

    (And a pox on the other guys for not, subsequently, addressing point one.)

  • Rob in CT

    Goddamned right.

    Two things really piss me off.

    The first, and obviously most important, is that Bush & Co. fucked everything up, resulting in a staggering number of unnecessary deaths.

    The second one is, of course, the ridiculous way in which he and his wrecking crew were exempt from criticism that would absofuckinglutely have been savagely thrown at any Democrat in the same situation. And hell, I wasn’t even a Dem at the time!

    Those fuckers – the whole crew of them – were criminally incompetent, dishonest, destructive assholes.

    When I used to be accused of “Bush Derangement Syndrome” my response was “why yes, I do hate Bush the Lesser. He earned that hate.”

    I also have FOND memories of being accused of being an BlameAmericaFirstLibrulTraitor etc, etc, for having the unmitigated gall to notice that the Casus Belli for Iraq!, The Sequel was bullshit.

    NEVER FORGET, indeed.

    edit: oh, was that three things? Well hell. I could make it four or five. But fuck it, I think I’ll have another drink instead.

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  • shah8
  • Thanks to the White House’s WAAAAH MUSLIMS (just not our personal friends) response, American citizens were harassed, harmed and killed for being not-white in a way that was alarming to loose-sphinctered Americans.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      Oh, bullshit. I am second to none in my criticism of the Bush administration’s actions post-9/11, but one of the few relatively decent things the administration did was refrain from outright Muslim bashing: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/08/us/on-religion-six-days-after-9-11-another-anniversary-worth-honoring.html?_r=0 The Bush administration was even being attacked from the right barely a month after the attacks for being too chummy with Muslims: http://www.wnd.com/2001/10/11296/

      • Jordan

        There are many Americans citizens who harassed, harmed and killed (?) by american citizens for being not-white in a way that was alarming to loose-sphinctered Americans. And some of this was absolutely because of the WAAAAH MUSLIMS actions of the administration, their (more than notional) claims otherwise.

        • CP

          I’ve been trying to find it, but I just can’t seem to; I read a very good blog post earlier this year from an American Muslim summarizing the Muslim community’s flip from Republican to Democrat over the course of the Bush years. In short; while things like Bush’s repeated pronouncements that “we are not at war with Islam” and his visit to the Islamic Center just two days after 9/11 were welcome… the massive increase in scrutinizing, profiling, misplacing people on the terrorist watch list et al that the agencies under his administration got into after 9/11 pretty much put the lie to his claims that he wasn’t targeting Muslims as far as they were concerned.

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  • Another thing to remember about September 11: It’s the day in 1973 when Augusto Pinochet overthrew Salvador Allende in a fascist coup in Chile.

  • Mike G

    Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks but more than 10 years later more than half of Republicans still believed it did.

    More than half of Republicans believe Obama was born in Kenya, climate change isn’t happening, that the Earth is 6000 years old and Adam and Eve rode a dinosaur to church.
    We’re not talking about critical thinkers here. To be a Republican today is to be so pants-wetting scared of reality than they retreat into a self-referential bubble world of echo-chamber propaganda outlets and infantile, solipsistic spoon-fed fantasies.

    • CP

      The story I always tell about this: I had a Republican acquaintance in college who, when I knew her in the late 2000s, was still blissfully unaware that we’d never found WMDs in Iraq.

      Now for the remarkable thing; this was a person who, like me, spent four years majoring in an international relations program, and specifically focusing on military/intelligence/national security stuff. In other words, this is somebody who has no excuse for not knowing such an elementary fact. And she’s now employed as an analyst somewhere or other in the defense industry.

      (Her reaction upon learning that we’d never found any of Saddam’s WMDs; “Oh. Well he must have moved them to Syria!”)

  • mch

    When my mother (aged 83) died in 2003 and my brother and I spent a summer tending our father and preparing for sale the house they’d lived in for over 50 years, my father pointed out to me that, in what I still thought of as my brother’s bedroom but what had become my father’s study and retreat, the calendar on the wall still stood at September 2001, and that calendar happened to feature a glorious picture of the Trade Towers. He had not replaced that calendar or the month it was opened to. A part of my father’s life stopped even before my mother died. (My father, after a youth in Montana and some years in Minnesota, had devoted most of his life to NYC.)

    I think I threw that calendar away in the frenzy of house-sale prep. I wish I hadn’t.

    I dunno…. I guess I am just saying that for many of us September 11 is still about the loss of life, the fear, the amazing courage of so many people, especially the fire fighters, the solidarity, the greatness of NYC (or Pennsylvania or Virginia). That day created 17 orphans in the NJ suburb of NY I grew up in…. Those children remember, even if the eager young frosh I taught today were not among them.

    Through which somehow I link to Syrian refugees .

    • Lee Rudolph

      Through which somehow I link to Syrian refugees .

      2.5 million of whom the Saudi government has announced that it has taken in, just so far.

      If I were a nice person I would not be wondering how many of them are now effectively domestic slaves in the Kingdom.

      • Barry Freed

        If I were a nice person I would not be wondering how many of them are now effectively domestic slaves in the Kingdom.

        Probably not many or even any. That distinction is usually reserved for those coming from Southeast Asia, usually the Philippines or Malaysia and thereabouts.

        (I’m now living in a GCC country which has been criticized for not taking in Syrian refugees but there are actually a lot of them here, they just have to be on work visas or be close family of those on work visas. They don’t have a separate refugee status.)

  • rmhitchens

    Blame Bush for a lot, but not for ignoring the vague, scattershot warning of al-Qaeda attacking the US provided by CIA — the same CIA that knew of two al-Q terrorists, one of whom had a multiple-entry US visa, coming to the US in early 2000. Did they notify the FBI, who could have tracked them, traced their calls to most of the other 17 terrorists, and wrapped up the whole thing before they had a chance to carry out that attack? Of course not! “Need to know” was the guiding rule in CIA, and thanks to this unwillingness to share information, nearly 3,000 Americans died on 9/11. Bush & Co. went on to screw up the first decade of this century, but the Agency allowed this first great disaster to happen.

    • Hogan

      Bush gets August 8 briefing, calls DCI, says “Turn over everything you have on al Qaeda attacks in the US to the FBI, and do it yesterday.” Problem solved.

  • Richard Gadsden

    Anyone who complains about America’s allies: we activated Article Five of the North Atlantic Treaty. For the only time in the entire history of NATO, we declared that an attack on one was an attack on us all.

    That’s not just the countries that ended up in your “coalition of the willing”. That’s all of us. Including France, so you can imagine how insulted they were about the way they were treated over Iraq.

    Hell, Germany signed up to the Article Five; that’s why German forces appeared in combat for the first time since WWII in Afghanistan.

    And the US just threw all of that back in our faces when we refused to invade a country that had nothing to do with it.

    I don’t think the US appreciates how huge a diplomatic disaster that turned out to be. How deep a hole the USA’s reputation was in and how much work Obama, Clinton and Kerry have had to do to restore it so that anyone was even listening when they proposed trying to reach a settlement with Iran.

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