Like many Americans, I was at work when the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. When the first plane hit, I thought that it was another plane that malfunctioned and accidentally hit the World Trade Center. Never in my wildest imagination would I have thought that the United States of America was under a terrorist attack. I telephoned my wife at home and she was also trying to make sense of this whole situation. During those brief moments, I experienced fear, sadness and anger. Fear because I didn’t know what was coming; sadness because I started to think about the folks who were injured or maybe even died, and angry because this kind of terrorism had never been experience in this country and our government should immediately retaliate, except I didn’t know who to retaliate against. Then the questions started to pop up in my mind: How could this happen? Why did this happen? Who let this happen? Of course, my main question was “Where was the President?” It turned out that President Bush was at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, an event that had been in the planning stages for some time.
About 8:48AM on the morning of September 11th, the first pictures of the burning World Trade Center were being broadcast on television. What was puzzling to me, however, is that at about 9:03AM, fifteen (15) minutes after it was clear that the United States was under a terrorist attack, President Bush sit down with a classroom of second-graders to begin his 20-minute visit? It seemed to me that President Bush’s actions during the attack were a bit “strange” for a President.
In a Town Hall meeting aired by CNN on December 4, 2001, in response to a question, President Bush gave this statement: “Well, Jordan (ph), you’re not going to believe what state I was in when I heard about the terrorist attack. I was in Florida. And my chief of staff, Andy Card — actually I was in a classroom talking about a reading program that works. And I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower (emphasis added) — the TV was obviously on, and I use to fly myself, and I said, “There’s one terrible pilot.” And I said, “It must have been a horrible accident.” But I was whisked off there — I didn’t have much time to think about it, and I was sitting in the classroom, and Andy Card, my chief who was sitting over here walked in and said, “A second plane has hit the tower. America’s under attack.” The only problem with the statement is that there was no live video coverage of the first plane hitting the tower because video of the first plane hitting the tower did not surface until AFTER the second plane had hit World Trade Center 2. According to Booker Elementary School Principal Gwen Rigell, there was no television set in the room where President Bush was waiting.
This is a quote from Steve Lemke, Digital Olive Productions, Sarasota:
“I am a sound engineer in Sarasota, Florida. Last night I was working an event for a program called "Let's Roll into Reading", put on by students at a local school to honor the heroes (firemen, police, etc.) who had been reading to school kids over the last few months. After the program, I had the opportunity to talk with Principal Gwen Rigell of Booker Elementary school for about twenty minutes. It was quite an interesting conversation. Iasked her if in fact the President had been watching the events of 9-11 unfold on TV before he went into that classroom and she told me "Absolutely not." There was no TV in the corridor or anywhere near that classroom (not to mention that the footage he allegedly saw didn't even exist at the time).She said that he knew from his people that the first plane had hit and was told by Andy Card during his time in the classroom about the second plane. After he left the classroom, he was whisked into another classroom (their green room if you will) where they had a TV. However, this was the first opportunity he had to see any footage.
Why would he go to such great lengths to make up a story, complete with details about what he was feeling while watching this TV, not once but twice? And why did he sit there as long as he did, knowing that not one but two planes had just struck?
It's sad that the picture that was plastered all over the programs and banners last night was of our Commander in Chief sitting on his ass reading children's books while our country suffered as it did. That is the picture I will always remember.”
It turned out that the attacks were carried out by Al Queda under the authority of Osama Bin Laden. Although Al Queda claimed the attacks were religious, we eventually learned that they were more political based primarily on Bin Laden’s hatred for the West especially the United States of America and the US partnership with Israel. The overall US response was swift and a remarkable time when most Americans came together. People turned to their faith to help them make sense of the attacks, Americans tried to reinforce rescue efforts in any way that they could, firefighters and emergency personnel were dispatched throughout the country, people stood in lines to donate blood at the Red Cross and other blood banks, charities raised money for the victims and rescue workers, and overall the country united (Democrats, Republicans and Independents) behind President Bush. Of course, grief caused some things to get out of hand and the “blame game” started.
Reverend Jerry Falwell said on his television program that, “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way–all of them who have tried to secularize America–I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.'” Anger also erupted into attacks on people of Arab and Muslim descent with incidents in Chicago, Texas, and Arizona to name a few. FBI Director Robert Mueller said over and over again that “vigilante attacks and threats against Arab-Americans will not be tolerated,” but harassment and violence at mosques and in Arab-American neighborhoods continued for months.
On September 20, 2001, in response to the attacks, President Bush delivered an ultimatum to the Taliban government of Afghanistan to turn over Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda leaders operating in the country or face attack. The Taliban demanded evidence of bin Laden’s link to the September 11 attacks and, if such evidence warranted a trial, they offered to handle such a trial in an Islamic Court. The US refused to provide any evidence.
On October 7, 2001, the official invasion of Afghanistan began with British and US forces conducting airstrikes over enemy targets. In March 2002, the United States and other forces launched Operation Anaconda anticipating that they would be able to destroy any remaining al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in certain parts of Afghanistan. The Taliban regrouped in western Pakistan and began to unleash an insurgent-style offensive against Coalition forces in late 2002. (We all know that it took the Obama Administration to get Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the September 11th attacks.]
Also in October 2002, a large bipartisan majority in the Congress authorized the president to use force if necessary to disarm Iraq in order to “prosecute the war on terrorism.” After failing to overcome opposition from France, Russia and China against a UNSC resolution that would sanction the use of force against Iraq, and before the UN weapons inspectors had completed their inspections (which were claimed to be fruitless by the US because of Iraq’s alleged deception), the United States assembled a “Coalition of the Willing” composed of nations who pledged support for its policy of regime change in Iraq. Following so called “evidence” that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction; the Iraq Was began in March 2003 with an air campaign that was immediately followed by a U. S. led ground invasion. The Bush administration stated that the invasion was the “serious consequences” spoken of in the UNSC Resolution 1441. It is estimated that during the Bush Presidency, between 800,000 and 1.3 million Americans, Coalition Forces, as Iraqis died as the result of an unnecessary ward.
The facts used to justify the Iraqi invasion have been thoroughly discredited. President Saddam Hussein had no links with 9/11. There were doubts at the highest government level about whether he really was developing a nuclear capability let alone rebuilding stocks of chemical and biological weapons. But that didn’t matter to the Bush-Cheney Administration. I still don’t understand why Bush and Cheney pressured some Congressional leaders into delaying the 911 investigation for months. In fact, according to news reports, the Bush administration even fought against the creation of an independent investigation for more than a year. Did someone have something to hide?
For example, on September 10, 2001, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld announced a “war on waste” after an internal audit found that the Pentagon was “missing” 2.3 trillion dollars in unaccounted assets. On September 11th, there was no further mention of the missing assets.
And did anyone benefit from the destruction of the Securities and Exchange Commission offices at the WTC resulting in the crippling of hundreds of fraud investigations? In fact, the files for approximately 3,000 to 4,000 SEC cases were destroyed.
Another question that was raised was why was the WTC privatized before its destruction on September 11th? Specifically, on April 26 of 2001, the Board of Commissioners for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey awarded Silverstein Properties and mall-owner Westfield America a 99-year-lease on the following assets: The Twin Towers, World Trade Center Buildings 4 and 5, two 9-story office buildings, and 400,000 square feet of retail space. The partners’ winning bid was $3.2 billion for holdings estimated to be worth more than $8 billion. The lease deal didn’t close until July 24th, just 6 weeks before the attack. In July 2001, Silverstein Properties insured World Trade Center buildings 1, 2, 4 and 5 for $3.55 billion and in February, 2002, Silverstein Properties won $861 million from Industrial Risk Insurers to rebuild on the site of WTC 7. Silverstein Properties’ estimated investment in WTC 7 was $386 million. So: This building’s collapse resulted in a profit of about $500 million.
After the September 11th attack, Silverstein Properties commenced litigation against its insurers, claiming that it was entitled to twice the insurance policies’ value because, according to a spokesman for Mr. Silverstein, “the two hijacked airliners that struck the 110-story twin towers Sept. 11 were separate ‘occurrences’ for insurance purposes, entitling him to collect twice on $3.6 billion of policies.” This was reported in the Bloomberg News less than one month after the attack. In December 2004, a jury ruled in favor of the insurance holders’ double claim. Check out this link for further information entitled, “Who Destroyed the WTC?”
Although there have been a number of “conspirator theories” that surfaced, the most significant conclusion for me is that 3,497 people died in the attacks on September 11, 2001, and we pay tribute on this occasion to those unsung heroes. That’s just my take.
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