September 10, 2007
September 11, 2001 was the defining day between THEN and NOW . Then, we existed in a naive unconscious realm where the thought of our country suffering an attack of any kind on our own soil was remote. Then, we collectively assumed that our government, all its agencies and resources were functioning vigilantly to keep us safe. Then, we went about our business largely unconcerned about issues beyond the immediacy of our own lives. The pre- 9 11 world was remarkably different from the world since in its unremarkability. The rest of the world with all its complexity and turmoil was 'out there' somewhere; America existed in a world, an attitude, a mind set of its own construct. Actually, our world seemed pretty good. The economy was roaring along and credit made everything possible. We appeared to sit atop the global stage as the lone super power, respected by all, envied by most, feared by some. We gave little if any thought to those who might hate us. If we conceded such mindless zealots existed, we gave no credence to them as a threat. What could such primitives do? How could they hurt us? Looking back it feels odd that we had ever thought that way. But, we did. Then we learned. And, we have paid the price.
As citizens we can be forgiven our ignorance and naivety. We cannot be faulted for the assumptions any one of us had taken to be the truth. We lived in our secure realm believing our government to be on watch in all its myriad ways. Our safety was virtually assured. Those that cannot be forgiven, those who should be held accountable, those who actually knew better have yet to learn the lessons of our most recent past. They have yet to grasp the need to focus on the issues that define our Now. We have grown accustomed to the petty political bickering that has come to define Washington DC. We tolerate the partisan battles over a variety of social, economic and legislative issues. What is intolerable is playing those same self serving games with issues pertaining to the fundamentals of what our government should provide: NATIONAL SECURITY. Those two words , all they encompass and imply comprise that which must be immune to politics. How many more lives must be lost before our Congress will meet the challenges, rise to the occasion and act in the best interest of our nation, of US ALL.
There is a brilliant beauty in the structure of our government. The framers of the Constitution were truly inspired. The elegant simplicity of the roles and interactions of the three branches of government, federal, legislative and judicial as well as the bicameral composition of the congress provides a sturdy framework on which to build our democracy. Money, special interest and an ever decreasing moral character of members have eroded and bastardized most of that which the framers intended. If the events of September 11, 2001 have not initiated change in Washington, what will ?
The last six years have exposed the long existing and un-addressed vulnerabilities in our national security, critical infrastructure, transportation systems as well as the abysmally poor quality of our legislators. We have learned of the legion of experts and academics who had been warning for years of the impending threat of terrorism. We have heard interviews by some of those who had asked congress to act, to thoughtfully correct the inadequacies glaringly present at ALL levels of government and most especially in those agencies charged with our safety and security. History will look back on these blunders as well as those yet revealed and be left to wonder "what were they thinking?" Our prosperity had made us soft, obscured clear and present dangers while our arrogance allowed priorities to crumble.
The empirical data regarding the astonishing intelligence failures, the dysfunctional, self-serving nature of career oriented bureaucrats merely protecting a pension, the total lack of congressional oversight and the shameful ignorance, incompetence and ineptitude of George W. Bush and his hapless administration, is substantial and damning. Since 9 11 01 they have repeatedly, shamelessly lied to us and attempted to soothe our doubting minds with pabulum and imbecilic phrases and slogans such as “slam dunk’, “cake walk”, “piece of cake” and “mushroom cloud”. They have stoked fears with lies, sent our children to die for lies smugly claiming we would be “greeted as liberators”. W have long since passed that May evening when W., pathetically dressed in a flight suit declared our mission in Iraq “accomplished”. How many limbs and lives have been lost since? Yes, into Iraq George W. led us, brazenly atop his ego and messianic complex, surrounded by isolated, insulated neo-cons too impressed with their own ideas, theories and axes to grind to pay heed to history and the myriad warnings from those in the know. Sadly, they were in positions to influence decisions, decisions we now know to be so horribly wrong. The cast of the arrogant, misguided fools who will forever have trouble washing blood off their hands include not only our deranged commander in chief but also our shadow president, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Doug Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Tommy Franks, Richard Perle, George Tenet, Karl Rove, Louis Libby, Condi Rice and many others.
We have witnessed this administration ignoring sound advice from the 9 11 Commission, the Baker-Hamilton report and a host of congressionally appointed as well as privately funded groups and commissions. Reality, objective assessments, reasoned analysis have no place in this White House, Pentagon or grossly inept intelligence apparatus.
We have not yet “captured or killed’ Osama bin Laden “dead or alive”. We departed Afghanistan without completing the mission; actually our president out sourced the battle of Tora Bora in November 2001 and moved our military resources from that righteous mission to invade Iraq. The list of failures from the last six years is almost mind boggling in its length, breadth and depth. History will look back at these years in awe and wonder over the depth of our errors and the atrocious quality of our elected leaders. Yet, we tolerate this, we tolerate elected representatives who are as craven, callous and incapable as this administration.
This putrid administration has had the audacity to conjure the images of 9 11 01 and use it rhetorically when it was politically necessary, thereby actually despoiling the sanctity of those who lost their lives that day, yet have done nothing to truly avenge those who perpetrated those acts of war and have squandered untold limbs, lives and over a trillion tax dollars in a war of their own construct. Let our memories be not so short that we forget what has gotten us to this point, this predicament.
The actual day and all its dramatic horror, images none among us will never forget. It is as vital as it is healthy to remember. It is appropriate to ask questions and questions are in abundance. Is our country safer today than it was on September 11, 2001? Does every level of the intelligence and law enforcement community possess the authority, methods and means to effectively execute their mandates? Has our government become wiser and more attentive to that which should have been top priorities all along? Is it now more difficult for a similar event to that of 9 11 01 to take place today ? The sad harsh reality is that each of those questions can be answered "NO." This is not opinion: it is well documented and substantiated fact.
It is with great sadness, frustration and anger that we report these facts. But, it is a sense of duty that motivates us to shed light on them. Perhaps if more of us paid closer attention to the issues and performance of our legislators we would not be languishing in this state of haphazard security and half-assed readiness while our overburdened military continues to erode in the nightmare of Iraq.
We have lost our innocence, we have lost confidence and faith, we have lost many lives. Our politicians have lost years. The last six years have arguably seen the least productive congresses in American history. we have seen the predominance of the career politician whose only concern is reelection, self-promotion and financial security. we watch in dismay as they work less and less, become increasingly partisan, and ignore the public will and public good. perhaps if a plane had crashed into the capitol on that day six years ago, we would be better served, more secure and not bleeding in Iraq. Maybe we would have secure national borders, ports and infrastructure. Possibly we would have an effective, efficient, capable FEMA, DHS, FBI and CIA. But, alas, we have no such things and won’t for the foreseeable future.
What more do we have to loose?
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