Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Eleventh Day

S. Paul note:  I have posted this Forward from the book "The Eleventh Day", not as another cry for empty vengeance or want of another soulless round of applause for the actions which our government took and are continuing to take post 9/11:  I have not done so to condone the ongoing Wars in he Middle East or to drum up more false patriotism and empty cries of Christian revivalism against Muslims but rather, I have done so to remind you all how the actions our government following 9/11 and the present propagation of these actions in the spread of War across the Middle East and into Africa, are not patriotic. These actions instead, border on treason. 

The calls for revenge from our government and their puppet dictators were sinister by nature and were meant to make us all believe the soon to come war initiatives were to protect our mutual freedoms when in fact, they were used to slowly begin to take them away through such oppressive laws like that of the Patriot Act.  These people, like those in the Roosevelt and later, Truman administration who used the attack on Pearl Harbor as a call to enter a terrible War even when they had prior notice and did not act to prevent the attacks, used 9/11 to begin a new Era of injustice, ultimately scarring the image and future security of our Nation.  The saddest part of it all is how these crimes of deception will forever stand as the moment that represented the beginning moments in the collapse of our Republic.  

The following is the Forward  from The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan...

Ten years on; memory and loss.

Where two wonders of the modern world once soared high over the city, two great cascades feed reflecting pools of shimmering water. The abyss into which it flows is now a hallowed place of remembrance. Pilgrims about to descend to the underworld, the underworld of what once was the World Trade Center, will pass a ribbon of names etched into parapets of bronze. They identify those killed in New York City on September 11, 2001: the 206 passengers and crew aboard the three planes that were used as missiles that day; the forty who died when a fourth airliner fell from the sky in Pennsylvania; the 2,605 office workers and visitors and would-be rescuers known to have died in and around the Trade Center; and the 125 men and women who died at the Pentagon in Washington. Included, too, are the names of the six people killed eight years earlier, in 1993, in the first attempt to bring down the towers with a truck bomb. The memorial names 2,982 men, women, and children as of the spring of 2011.

The true tally of 9/11 fatalities, however, is incomplete. Some of those who labored in the rubble of the fallen towers have died since, agonizingly slowly, from respiratory disease contracted in the fire and poisoned dust of the place they called Ground Zero. Some nineteen thousand others are reported to be sick and receiving treatment. By one prediction, disease will eventually cripple and kill as many again—more perhaps—as died on the day of the attacks. We do not know, shall never know, how many have died in the far-off wars that followed the onslaught launched that September day.

Fighting men aside, the vast majority of the dead have been civilians: unknown thousands—conservatively, many tens of thousands—of men, women, and children killed in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Of the three thousand who died on 9/11 itself, fewer than half have graves. Some bodies were consumed by fire, others reduced to minute fragments of mortality, morsels of burned bone, decaying flesh, a single tooth with a silver filling. To this day, forensic pathologists are confronted by a monstrous human jigsaw, one they know they will never complete.

Consider five of the names that are etched, lettered in bronze, above the curtain of water at the 9/11 memorial. Jimmy Riches, a New York fire fighter, died in the lobby of the North Tower. His father, James, himself a Fire Department battalion chief, recovered his son’s mangled body months later. Donald McIntyre, a Port Authority police officer, also died at the Trade Center. His handcuffs, recovered at the scene, were given by his widow to a colleague assigned to hunt down terrorists in Afghanistan. 

No identifiable remains were ever found for Eddie Dillard, an American Airlines passenger who died at the Pentagon. His widow, by odd happenstance, had been American’s base manager in Washington, D.C., when his plane took off that day. Ronald Breitweiser, a money manager, died in the South Tower of the Trade Center. Only his arms and hands were recovered; identified by fingerprints—and by his wedding ring, which his widow now wears.  Only part of a leg and one foot were found—six years later—to account for Karen Martin, chief flight attendant on the plane that plunged into the North Tower. Attendant Martin was probably the first person harmed by the hijackers on 9/11.
Something else was lost that day, something precious that touches on the stories of all the thousands who have died. The Greek tragic dramatist Aeschylus, twenty-five centuries earlier, understood well what it was. “In war,” he wrote, “the first casualty is truth.” James Riches worked in the rubble for months, motivated in part by the hope of recovering his own son’s dead body. He labored, like thousands of others, buoyed by the assurance of the Environmental Protection Agency that the air in Lower Manhattan was safe to breathe. Today, no longer a fire chief, Riches Sr.’s health is irreparably damaged, his lung capacity reduced by 30 percent. Like so many others, meanwhile, Riches wants vengeance against those who killed his son.

The Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, said to have ordered the 9/11 attacks, became—in the West—a constant demon, a symbol of the dark forces of terror. President George W. Bush at first, promised to get him “dead or alive,” only to backtrack months later and say, “I don’t know where bin Laden is . . . and really don’t care.  It’s not that important.” 

In 2009, at the White House, Riches and others met Bush’s successor, Barack Obama. “I pulled out Jimmy’s bracelet and funeral mass card and gave them to him,” the former fire chief said later. “I told him that I’m frustrated that I haven’t seen justice for my son Jimmy. . . .Please capture Osama bin Laden.” Obama promised “swift and certain justice.”

Police officer McIntyre’s handcuffs, engraved “Mac,” were later snapped on to the wrists of a fugitive named Abu Zubaydah—a native of Saudi Arabia like bin Laden.  Imprisoned ever since, Zubaydah re-mains today the subject of serious controversy. For U.S. interrogators treated him with extreme brutality, using duress that has been defined by the International Committee of the Red Cross, and many others, as torture. Eddie Dillard’s widow, Rosemary, for all her grief, was one of a number of bereaved family members incensed by the ill treatment of prisoners and by plans to try them before military tribunals. “The secret and unconstitutional nature of these proceedings,” they said, “deprives us of the right to know the full truth about what happened on 9/11.”
Ronald Breitweiser’s widow, Kristen, for her part, has been one of the most articulate of those whose lives were devastated. She testified to a joint House-Senate inquiry and fought for a further, full, independent investigation. When that aspiration was realized—in the shape of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States—Breitweiser excoriated its failings. She believes that much is still hidden, and wants convincing explanations.

The CIA, she points out, identified two of the hijackers as terrorists more than eighteen months before 9/11, learned they had visas to enter the United States, yet kept the information from U.S. law enforcement. Why? Though the final chapter of the congressional report into 9/11 is said to discuss Saudi financial links to the hijackers, all but one page of the chapter was kept secret on the orders of President Bush. Why? At a 2009 meeting with bereaved families, Breitweiser says, President Obama said he was willing to declassify the suppressed material. As of this writing, two years later, the chapter remains classified. Why? Though less than complete, and though it left some questions open, the Final Report of the National Commission—known as the9/11 Commission Report—was overwhelmingly well received by an uncritical media.

It went to the top of The New York Times best-seller list, and was nominated for a National Book Award. The CIA obstructed the Commission’s work, as its chairmen—former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean and former congressman Lee Hamilton—later acknowledged. Senator Bob Kerrey, who served on the Commission, shared their concerns. Alleging a Bush White House cover-up,Senator Max Cleland had resigned from the Commission early on.It was, he said, a “national scandal.” The final Report was in fact, not final Hamilton said, merely “a first draft of history.” 

A 2006 New York Times CBS poll found that only 16 percent of those responding thought Bush administration members had told the truth about 9/11. Fifty-three percent of responders thought they were “mostly telling the truth but hiding something.” Twenty-eight per-cent thought Bush’s people were “mostly lying.” A year later, a Scripps Howard poll found that 32 percent thought it “very likely” that the government had chosen to ignore specific warnings of the 9/11 at-tacks. A further 30 percent thought that “somewhat likely.” A Zogby poll found that 51 percent of Americans wanted a congressional investigation of President Bush’s and Vice President Dick Cheney’s performance in the context of the attacks that the Saudi government and various representatives of Saudi interests supported some of the hijackers and might have supported all of them.” President Bush, he said, “engaged in a cover-up.”

 Ten years on, there is a lingering sense that the nation and the world have been let down, deprived of the right to know—deceived, even—on a matter of greater universal concern than any event in living memory. It need not have been that way. The release in the past two years of some 300,000 pages of 9/11Commission documents, a plethora of other material, and new interviews make it possible to lay some of the perceived mysteries to rest. With access to the new information, we strive in this book to blow away unnecessary controversy, to make up for omissions in the record, and to throw light into the shadows of deception: In a time of anxiety, to tell the story as honestly as it can be told.

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