The view from BrooklynRowHouse HQ tonight

Posted by Steve on Thu, 09/11/2008 - 12:37am

I shot this from my office window a few minutes ago.

Tomorrow, of course, is the seventh anniversary of the Sept 11 attacks. Seven years ago tonight, I saw two tall, bright buildings standing there. They were my night light.

Tomorrow, the TV will be full of somber ceremonies and remembrances of the 2,998 people killed and the 6,291 injured by sick fanatics. Barack Obama and John McCain are both scheduled to be here for the ceremonies. Flag pins will be worn, anthems will be sung and much patriotic hay will be made. It will continue over the next couple of months.

I was here that day and it didn't strike me then, or now, as a patriotic moment in American history but a day when something terrible happened to a lot of innocent people. It's a bit presumptive to apply "patriotism" to this tragedy when, if nothing else, the victims represented over 30 nations, including Iran, Egypt and Yemen.

After seven years of investigations and congressional hearings, one thing is abundantly clear to me. This tragedy very possibly wouldn't have happened if those who were constitutionally charged with making sure it didn't happen hadn't utterly failed in their jobs -- before, during and since. Regardless, some of them have cynically leveraged that tragedy for political self-promotion and used every cheap, sentimental device in the book to misdirect the public away from their delinquency of duty in the days leading up to Sept 11.

One of those failures was made by a former NYC mayor who has practically trademarked "9/11" for his personal glorification. Fact is, if he hadn't overruled his security experts and ordered NYC's Emergency Management Center moved to the #1 terrorist target in the world he wouldn't have been wandering the rubble-strewn streets of lower Manhattan with his staff looking for something to do while firefighters, EMS and police couldn't communicate under a central command.

Don't let 9/11 become a shallow marketing opportunity for politicians to wrap themselves in patriotism and shill themselves as national security experts. 9/11 was the systematic failure of politicians to heed the many early warnings of Sept 11, and their neglect of taking action to try to prevent it, and for making the wrong decisions for the wrong reasons, and for committing us to a pointless war under knowingly false pretenses, and for their failure to even bring the criminals responsible for this tragedy to justice.

All I want to hear from them now is an apology. The first one who does it is the first one I'll consider (possibly) unlikely to make the same mistakes again.


Posted by Andrea (not verified) on

As I got ready for work this morning, I realized that I was profoundly grateful to not have to see any of the media blathering about 9/11 since we cut our cable subscription a month or two ago ... but that doesn't make me immune.

Frankly, I forgot all about it until I had to write a check this morning. As I wrote the date, I wondered when it would stop making me think of something awful and how long it would take to not feel an almost automatic sense of disgust at the senselessness of it and the path it has taken us down.

And then, it was time to start gearing up for the day. Through various online communities, I had several messages asking me (and everyone) to observe a moment of silence. I had one chain e-mail talking about the tragedy and how we must now never surrender in Iraq (a particularly infuriating piece of ignorance).

Worst of all, I had a "Never Forget" mail from a local cattle ranch offering 11% off of New York Strips.

Posted by Jesse (not verified) on

As far as I know, only one person in the government ever actually apologized for failures leading up to 9/11: Richard Clarke

Government ‘failed you,’ Clarke testifies
Ex-counterterror chief apologizes to victims
at 9/11 hearing, says Bush didn’t consider terrorism an urgent issue

WASHINGTON - The former counterterrorism chief in the Bush and Clinton White Houses apologized Wednesday to the families of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, saying, “Your government failed you.” But he placed the bulk of the blame on President Bush, accusing his administration of not making terrorism “an urgent issue.”

Posted by Steve on

It was a good start which I'd hoped would be followed by similar mea culpas from others in an administration which had deliberately ignored credible evidence of what was coming and, instead, manufactured false evidence to suit its purposes. I could (almost) excuse such national security incompetence from an administration which had only been in office for a few months, but not the shallow "who would have thought..?" and "If we'd only known..." alibis from Rice, Rumsfeld, Tenet, et al in that Senate hearing. They knew. They chose not to act on it. I mean, come on, I was flying my Cessa 172 into the WTC in MS Flight Simulator back in the 80s. "Who would have thought..."?

We should all remember 9/11, especially this upcoming election day. We should also remember which presidential candidate has steadfastly stood beside this administration's seemingly endless series of inept, devious and costly mistakes, both at home and abroad, and has kept his mouth shut about them. That's not leadership in my book.