I shot the above 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.