Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Reflections of 9/11 - 5 years later

Reflections of 9/11 – 5 years later
by Jack C. Lee
Yorktown Hts. NY
Aug. 29, 2006


The 5th year anniversary of 9/11 is fast approaching. It made me think back to that fateful day. It was just like any other day. I was at work in my Westchester office, 40 miles north of Manhattan. When the news of the first attack on the WTC reached us, we all thought it was an accident. As we watched the news on TV, seeing the smoke and fire, we saw the second plane crash into the 2nd tower. That’s when it hit me. This was no accident. We are under attack. I was in shock and speechless for quite awhile. I called my wife and she was frantic and I tried to calm her. We tried to call our family members in the area and cannot get through. It was panic and confusion all around. When the news of the first tower collapsing reached me, I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a mistake. I could not believe such a massive structure could be brought down in such a short time. It was only when I saw the images on TV that it sunk in. Thousands of innocent people were snuffed out in just a few seconds. I was sad for them and their families. I said a silent prayer.
The emotions were hard to describe but I do remember it.

Now, five years later, I still remember that day as if it was yesterday. It’s funny how our mind works. I couldn’t remember what happened last week and yet I could remember an event that happened 5 years ago. I remember being angry and wanting justice. I also remember feeling vulnerable. I felt unsure about the future and wondered whether we will be hit again. In fact, if you were to make me a bet that we would not be hit again in 5 years, I would have taken that bet. And, I would have lost that bet.

We are safer today than prior to that fateful day. We are engaged and by the grace of God, we are stopping them. When you think about it, it is almost like a miracle. But I truly believe miracles do happen.

Heroes and Villains:

We should take the time now to thank all those who are working day and night to protect us. They are our heroes.

1. The Bush Administration – for being vigilant and steadfast.
2. The men and women of our armed forces – for fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.
3. The FBI, CIA and various local police, fire and emergency response units and the TSA and homeland security team – for doing their job.
4. Finally, Thank God for blessing us.

When someone ask me how do you know we are safer today and my answer is simple. The proof is right in front of us. WE HAVE NOT BEEN HIT IN 5 YEARS.
I’m not saying we are totally safe. We can never make that claim. We may be hit again.
That is why we must be vigilant and continue to work to stop them using all the tools at our disposal.

I will name some names that have not been with us in this fight.
1. the ACLU
2. France and Germany and the UN
3. President Jimmy Carter
4. George Soros and MoveOn.org
5. Michael Moore and the elite Hollywood crowd
6. The Liberal Democratic party and Howard Dean
7. The New York Times and other main stream media
8. Congressman John Murtha
9. The few soldiers involved with Abu Ghraib and the prisoner abuse and illegal acts on the battle field.
10. Finally, the unnamed leakers in our government who have leaked our national security information to the media and undermining our efforts. They are misguided “traitors” in my opinion.


The recent London plot that was uncovered and aborted by British Intelligence is a prime example that we are still in jeopardy. Can you imagine if they had succeeded? The devastation of 10 US cities and the blow to our economy and air transportation system would be incalculable.
Don’t these groups and individuals understand that they are after all of us; not just Republicans and Jews? They are against our whole western culture and religion. They are willing to sacrifice their lives and their children’s lives and kill innocent people to achieve their misguided goal.

The Iraq War

The Iraq war controversy has been a sticking point and it has divided our country.
Let’s revisit this problem and put it all in context. I was watching the recent news conference of President Bush on the war in Iraq and I was disgusted by the line of questioning.
So let me explain it for those that haven’t got it.

I will do this by citing some of the Democratic “talking points” against President Bush with regard to the Iraq war.

1. Bush lied, there was no WMD found in Iraq
2. 9/11 was not connected to Iraq
3. Where is OBL?
4. We went to war alone – without the blessing of the UN, rush to war
5. we wanted their oil
6. no plan and no strategy in Iraq
7. Abu Ghraib atrocities and Gitmo Bay incarceration
8. We are creating new terrorists…
9. Valerie Plame leakgate
10. Patriot Act abuse of our rights
11. NSA surveillance questionable and un-Constitutional
12. The neoCon is responsible for this war since day one.

My responses point by point:

1. Bush did not lie about Iraq’s WMDs. He was given the same faulty intelligence by the CIA. Saddam was the deceiver and he created the situation that made it necessary for us to act and we acted in good faith.
2. No one claimed 9/11 was orchestrated by Saddam or that they played any role. However, after 9/11, the Bush Administration adopted the 1% doctrine which in effect said that if there was a 1% chance that Saddam could pass off his WMD to some terrorist groups, we must act and preempt to stop him.
3. OBL is hiding in some cave. He is a figure head for Al Queda. He has no power to execute more attacks. He will be caught and brought to justice.
4. There was no rush to war with Saddam. It was after 12 years of ineffective sanctions, UN oil for food scandals, defying the no-fly zone, and 17 UN resolutions that we acted along with many coalition forces.
5. We did not touch one drop of Iraq’s oil. They are reserved for the Iraqi people.
6. There is a strategy to win in Iraq. See: Iraq Strategy
The tactics are being adapted to changes on the ground constantly.
7. Abu Ghraib atrocities was not torture. It was inappropriate behavior on the part of some soldiers who have been charged, prosecuted and punished.
8. We are fighting the Islamic Fascists on their turf. We may be creating new terrorists but they are being created with or without our actions in Iraq. Did we create any more or less prior to 9/11?
9. Valerie Plame was not a secret agent. She did not qualify to be covered by this law. This incident was the creation of a press bent on attacking Karl Rove. There was no leak and there was no law broken.
10. No one I know has lost any rights because of the Patriot Act.
11. NSA surveillance is necessary and part of an array of tools being used by our intelligence community to protect us.
12. President Bush has put his legacy on the line for this war. He did what he thinks is “right” and he stands by it even when no WMD was found.

Here is the reality check. The Iraq war is part of the global effort to stop Islamic Fascist movement. Saddam was a threat and have been for 12 years. The Bush Administration adopted the 1% Doctrine in dealing with Saddam.

Suppose, they did not go into Iraq, if we were to be hit again, (if traced to Saddam),
the same people who are criticizing the Bush Administration now would be calling for his impeachment for not doing anything about Saddam. Do you see the dilemma?

If you were in charge, what would you do?

Here is what I believe are the 3 objectives in Iraq:
1. Remove a tyrant that has oppressed his own people and has the potential to cause more harm to the rest of the world with his WMD stockpile.
2. Change the status quo in the Middle East so that the people have a chance at democracy and self rule.
3. Keep the Al Queda elements occupied in that arena so that we don’t have to deal with them here.

In the daily reports 24/7 coverage of the Iraq war, I often wonder if this was going on during WWII 60 years ago, will we have won that war? In any war, there are tragedies and mistakes and even abuses. If the media chooses to focus on those elements and not report on the “big picture,” are they doing their job? I’m not saying they can’t question the Administration on policy. We have a democratic government and freedom of the press. They should act responsibly and not undermine our war efforts.

Where do we go now and what should we do with Iraq?

Success in Iraq would be the establishment of a democratic type of government that is responsive to its people and wants to live in harmony with their neighbors and the World.

Recently, I have heard two proposals that warrant some consideration.
One by Bill O’Reilly and one by Congressmen Chris Shays.
Bill O’Reilly - Bill O'Reilly Commentary on August 24, 2006.
Basically, to summarize, he believes that Iraq should be divided into 3 parts, Kurds, Sunnis and Shites. That will stop the sectarian violence currently in progress.

Congressman Shays proposes a scheduled withdraw of our troops out of Iraq.
Congressman Shays plan.
As the Iraqi forces become trained and enabled, we will draw down our troops over the next year or so. That will force the Iraqi government to take over the heavy lifting that they are avoiding right now.

Both are viable solutions going forward and should be debated. Where is the Democratic proposal? I like to know. Don’t tell me we have to be “smarter”. I want specific policy and actionable items. I do believe whether you are for or against this war, right now, we should all agree that losing in Iraq is a bad thing, and that we need to pull together and do what ever it takes to win. That is the best we can do for the 2600 soldiers and their families who have sacrificed their lives in the name of World peace.

The Bush scorecard so far in less than 6 years in power:

1. Appointed two excellent Conservative justices to the Supreme Court.
2. Freed and liberated 25 million people in Afghanistan.
3. Removed a tyrant leader Saddam Hussein and killed his two sons.
4. Freed and liberated 25 Million people in Iraq.
5. Put an end to the UN “oil for food” scandal.
6. Convinced, indirectly, Libya’s leader Gaddafi to stop acquiring WMDs.
7. Enacted tax cuts to stimulate our economy and recovered after recession and the adverse effects of 9/11.
8. Enacted the Pension reform bill.
9. Enacted the prescription drug assistance bill.
10. Helped with the Tsunami rescue and recovery efforts in 2004.
11. Appointed qualified leaders to the UN, the Cabinets and various high ranking government positions.
12. Have the most diverse Administration in history including (Gonzales as AG, Rice as Secretary of State, Elaine Chao as Secretary of Labor, Bolton to the UN)
13. Put Al Queda on the run, and killed al-Zarqawi.
14. Presided over the economic boom we are currently experiencing including:
• Highest home ownership and low mortgage rates
• Low unemployment rate of 4.8%
• Dow at near high of 11300
• GDP growth
• Inflation in check despite high oil prices
• Record Corp. earnings report
• Construction boom both commercial and residential


1. Failure of our intelligence community (CIA,FBI) in the run up to the Iraq war.
2. Failure to reform Social Security.
3. Failure to control our borders and dealing with the growing illegal immigration crisis.
4. Failing top propose and adopt a long term energy policy to free us from imported oil.
5. Failure to hold down deficit spending by Congress.
6. Failure to reform the UN.
7. Response to Katrina.

To be fair, in this one year anniversary of the Katrina natural disaster, we should acknowledge that that was a storm of the century and no amount of preparation was going to be sufficient to deal with the aftermath. Yes, we could have done more at the time but I doubt any human efforts will be able to satisfy any outside critic.
The lesson of Katrina should be – Don’t put your family’s security solely at the door of your government. There are times when they cannot help and you must rely on your own preparations and use some common sense. Don’t ignore Mother Nature.

Final Scores (my assessment):

Bush Team: B+
Congress: C- (House of Rep.: C, Senate: D)
Supreme Court: B-

Democratic Team (DNC): F
United Nations: F
Homeland Security: B

The reason I gave the Democratic team a failing grade is that they have not offered any solutions to our current problems. They have been engaged in name calling and criticism but offer very little substance. I guess I see them as small kids throwing a temper tantrum. When they don’t get their way, they try to scream and yell and acting irresponsibly.
The Administration, whether you agree with them or not, at least are acting as adults and doing what they perceived as the “right” and “necessary” thing however unpopular. Another word, they are not governing by polls. That is the true sign of leadership as demonstrated by Ronald Reagan back in the 1980s. He succeeded in bringing down the Soviet Empire and ended the cold war without firing a shot. It was unpopular at the time but he triumphed on basic principle.


The bottom line is - who do you trust to be in control at the White House?
For me, the answer is clear as night and day.
I trust the Bush Administration to do the “right” thing.

If you think we are on the wrong track and the world is against us, ask yourself this. Why are millions of people around the world trying to get here legally and illegally?
Could it be that the media is doing some wishful thinking?

My personal response to 9/11 has been, in recent months, trying to help the WTC memorial foundation achieve their goals.
I have been in communications with them and trying to get them to step up the pace.
The delay associated with this project has been enormous and political in nature.
I hope the controversy has ended and the construction begun.
Please help in anyway you can and visit the site:
WTC Memorial Foundation.
They need our financial support. We need the memorial to help us heal.

As I look back these 5 years, I see tragedy and I see heroism. I see sadness and I see hope.
I see a bright future for our country after surviving such a devastating attack and coming back stronger and better.
We must never forget.
I am a student of History. I’m reminded of the quote by
George Santayana. “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
We should all get engaged, get informed, get involved and become part of the solution and not part of the problem.
May God continue to bless the USA.

Final prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
Courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference.



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