Sunday Roast: 9/11, Fifteen Years On

wtc-wreckage-exterior_shell_of_south_tower

It’s been fifteen years since that terrible day, September 11, 2001.  Almost 3000 people died, over 6000 people were injured, and untold trauma to millions of people worldwide, who were glued to their televisions, radios, computers — trying to comprehend what it was we were seeing and hearing.  Anyone over 20 years of age probably holds vivid memories of the heinous events of the day, what they were doing, and the feelings of shock, horror, grief, fear, anger…I know I do.

A chance for unity in this country — and possibly worldwide — was squandered by a President with an agenda of his own, resulting in the death and injury of hundreds of thousands of service members and innocent civilians in the countries he attacked in our name, and under false pretenses.  Lives that are being lost and ruined even today.

Could we ever have imagined on that horrendous day, fifteen years ago, that today, September 11, 2016, we would be enduring a hotly contested presidential election wherein the GOP nominee is a narcissistic, race baiting, hypocritical, misogynist, fear-mongering, Islam-hating, bigoted liar, with delusions of grandeur?  Who talks non-stop while saying precisely nothing, absolutely does not care about the damage he’s causing?  Personally, I am gobsmacked at the very thought.

If such a thing is possible, Osama bin Laden is smiling from his watery grave.

I’m sorry.

This is our daily open thread.

The Watering Hole; (Friday) September Eleventh (2015); WAR

One wearies of incessant Voice of War.
Across full breadth of time each nom de guerre
Inflicts upon the Human soul a scar
Which screams in mockery of hallowed prayer.
How many millions must we finally kill
Before is learned this simple quirk of fate:
That murdered dead, in valley or on hill,
Do NOT portend a Greatness in The State?
Upon this Earth of monuments and tombs
Which weep for fallen souls, it’s fair to shout
NO MORE! to darkness that forever looms
In constant threat. And let there be no doubt
Of this–War’s victims hang upon the Cross
Of senseless death as silent, wretched, loss.

Fourteen years ago today was THAT day, September 11, 2001, yet one more “date which shall live in inf . . . ” etc. It was clearly devastating for so many — victims, families of victims, friends, co-workers — each and all now become “Collateral Damage” as they’re often called by politicians, by militarists. I’m not at all sure there is, anywhere, an accurate count of all the ‘collateral damage’ since 9-11, the event which spawned wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and today in Syria and Iraq. The fact remains, however, that in war — ANY war — each and every ‘Senseless death,’ represents a silent, wretched, loss.’

Below are a couple of photos that I received via email in the aftermath. They (sort of) tell at least a small part of the 9-11 story.

mdf51247tragedy-greatpictureThe 9-11 attacks were, indeed, horrible and devastating acts of war. What seems even worse than the actual 9-11 incident, however, is the collective impact of events which followed,  including those two wars — one still underway nearly fourteen years later, the other now formally ended, but stll a tragic mistake from day one — which have collectively led to such disasters as ISIL’s Phoenix-like rise from the ashes (and the resultant refugee “crisis” in Europe), and perhaps also an acceleration of Iran’s nuclear quest.

And what benefit has either side gained from their brutal conflict? The answer is a simple one: Beyond mutual horror and destruction, NOTHING.

But still we must grieve, and rightly so, over the impact on the true victims, the innocent people who are caught in the maelstrom. Rarely, in fact, are the tyrants — those foolish mental fossils who initiate each casus belli — among the victims. More commonly, the victims are those who either volunteer or are conscripted to become fighters, and always in the company of tens or hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children killed by bombs, or gunfire, or inferno: those innocent dead called “collateral damage — or, in the Julian Assange/Wikileaks Iraq war vernacular, Collateral Murder. .

As someone once pointed out, the rules of war are quite simple. Rule Number One is that in war, innocent people die. Rule Number Two is that no one can do anything to change Rule Number One. I imagine if someone could somehow concoct a ‘no more war’ option . . . nah, not possible. War is cool. Lots of money in it. And kingdom! And power! And glory!! Forever and ever!!! . . . etc.

We cannot stop war, nor can we prevent the next one. But we can, at least, remember the innocent victims of each and every war. It is to them and to their families, friends, and loved ones, that I offer the following:

IN MEMORIAM
of those who died before their time
unforgotten

One wonders if they ever heard the cry.
The sound, the summons, which to faithful says:
Your God has called, your time is come to die
And travel on – conclusion of your days
On earth, the end of all familiar things –
Your Lives, your Loves, interred now, sans the pain
Inflicted by ungodly bands of kings
Who find their purpose in despotic shame.

So now all living walk upon a cache –
Abysmal graveyards – globally extant,
Concealing flesh and bone returned to ash
From which it came. Tears want to flow, but can’t
As souls of murdered dead now roam – set free –
And living close their eyes: Afraid to see.

May we never forget their sacrifice.

OPEN THREAD

Sunday Roast: Flag Day

US_Flag_Day_poster_1917

The U.S. flag was adopted on this date in 1777, and the day became an official “thing” in 1916, by order of President Woodrow Wilson.

I learned all about flag etiquette in Girl Scouts, but I don’t remember ever actually owning a flag.  Not that I was opposed to it, but I just never bought one.  It grates on me that the American flag is manufactured anywhere other than the United States.  Too picky?  My step-mother has the flag that was presented to the family at my dad’s memorial service, so I suppose it might come to me one day.

After September 11, 2001, with all the flag pins on politicians, ragged Made in China flags waving from sticks on car windows, and so-called “patriots” virtually dry-humping the Stars and Stripes — I acquired what I call “flag fatigue.”  As it turns out, it’s a fairly chronic condition.

“Uber-patriots” have wrung out any real symbolism our flag held, while completely forgetting (if they ever knew) what the flag, patriotism, the Constitution, and being an American actually mean.

Anyway, Happy Flag Day, everyone.  Lawdy, I’m such an old crank.

This is our daily open thread — S.N.A.F.U.

The Watering Hole, Hump Day, January 8, 2014: The Continuing Relevancy of the Amendments to the United States Constitution.

Nine One One changed everything, so we’re told. Even noted liberal Bill Maher supports the surveillance state, because of suitcase nukes. Ever hear of a terrorist detonating a suitcase nuke – outside of the movies? Me neither. But they could, so we must give up certain safeguards instituted to limit the powers of government.

What follows are some of the changes we have implemented over the past dozen years – plus those changes a sizable portion of the populace would like to change.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

We are a Christian Nation. Sharia Law is not allowed. Mosques are banned. The laws of Leviticus applies, but only as to homosexuality, we’re ok with men shaving their beards and 7-11s being open on Sunday.

Freedom of the press? Ok, so long as you’re not someone who blows the whistle on the evils our government is doing at home and abroad.

Peaceful assembly? yes, for armed Tea Party members. No to unarmed Occupy sit-ins.

Petition the government for redress of grievances? The White House set up a petition website. How many of those petitions actually resulted in the government doing something different?

——————————————————————————–

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Guns don’t kill people, but people should be allowed to own military-grade weapons – just in case we need to revolt against our democratically elected government.

——————————————————————————–

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

This one’s like the human appendix. Sure, it’s there, but it’s useless unless it gets inflamed.

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Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

This one’s in its death throes. I say that only because a judge tossed out New York’s ‘stop and frisk’ policy – but only because it disproportionately targets minoritys. Already we’re being told that without stop and frisk, people will die. The solution is obvious – stop and frisk whites more.

But if you’re plugged into the internet, Big Brother is watching your every keystroke.

OPEN THREAD

Sunday Roast: The Twin Towers in the movies

The World Trade Center was a favorite in films even before it was completed.  It seems film makers went out of their way to include the towers in New York shots, which is understandable, since they were friggin’ awesome looking!

Now, whenever I see them on an old movie or television program, I always feel a little twinge of grief.  If they only knew what was ahead of them…and if only we could warn them somehow…

In the next week, we will see many pictures and film clips of the burning and destroyed WTC, and we should remember that terrible day, but I think we need to remember it when it was whole and awesome.

The tunes aren’t bad either, if you don’t mind a flashback or two.  😉

This is our daily open thread — what’s on your mind?

Sunday Roast: Do you believe in the Constitution, or don’t you?

Cenk Uygur filled in for Ed Schultz last week, and he had a few things to say about religious freedom in America.  Conservatives claim to value religious freedom and hold dear our Constitution more than anyone else in this country — while at the same time claiming that the Islamic community and prayer center a few blocks from Ground Zero should not be allowed BECAUSE THEY’RE MUSLIMS.

It’s not merely that they’re inconsistent, or that they’re hypocrites, they are simply racists and religious bigots.  In their tiny minds, Christians are more equal than everyone else because…well, they’re Christians.  Like Cenk said, Eric Rudolph and Scott Roeder are fundamentalist Christians who murdered people in the name of their religion.  We all know what that means, right?  No new Christian churches will be built in America!!  Yay!

Hardly.  Because 19 fundamental Muslims took over and crashed four airliners on that terrible day, killing almost 3000 Americans (and foreign nationals, I might add), the religious right claims that all of Islam is bad; they are all terrorists.  But when it comes to fundamentalist Christian terrorists, the fundies cry and snivel that Rudolph and Roeder don’t represent them and their views — why are we blaming THEM!?  Why, why!!?

Because, according to these conservative bible-hugging fundamentalists, these lovers of parts of the Constitution, in a land where they proudly claim everyone is equal and has equal opportunity, American Muslims just don’t rate; they are not quite as equal as the rest of us.

This is our LATE daily open thread — enjoy.

Olbermann: There is no “Ground Zero Mosque”

[T]his is America, dammit.  And in America, when somebody comes for your neighbor, or his bible, or his torah, or his Atheists’ Manifesto, or his Koran, you and I do what our fathers did, and our grandmothers did, and our founders did, you and I speak up.

Let’s make our voices heard.

The text of this Special Comment may be found here.

The Right Wing Feverishly Attempts to Re-Write History

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The newest Right Wing/Republican tactic in their quest to destroy President Obama, and further add to the divisive culture in this country, is a feverish attempt to re-write history regarding terror attacks under George W. Bush.

Republican politicians and assorted shills have hit their knees to thank the baby Jesus for the failed Underpants Bomber,Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab, who turned out to be every bit as inept as the failed Shoe Bomber, Richard Reid. Because of this attempted terror attack, Republicans, with their sick and twisted minds, have launched an all out campaign to scare the shit out of Americans.

BRIT HUME:  You know, if I were the Al Qaida people, I think Bill [Kristol]’s right. They could look at this as a success. This was — this was an attack that didn’t succeed on the scale it was expected to but did succeed.

Brit Hume, ladies and gentlemen, head cheerleader for Al Qaeda.  By the way, who are the “Al Qaida people?”

LURITA DOAN:  Everyone keeps saying how lucky we are that the “crotch” bomber on Flight 253 was unable to ignite the explosives hidden in his underwear, but I am sorry to report that the attack was a actually a huge success. The plane was not destroyed and no lives were lost, but the larger, strategic goals of al Qaeda were certainly advanced.

This from a woman forced to resign in disgrace from the Bush administration, which is known for its determination to reward failure.  Lurita is Hume’s second in command.  “Go Al Qadea!”

MONICA CROWLEY: After 9-11, President Bush and Vice President Cheney had a 100 percent perfect track record in keeping the homeland safe from an Islamic terrorist attack. So far this year, we’ve had numerous attacks.

Even a hack like Bill O’Reilly couldn’t stomach that one, and had to ask her about the Shoe Bomber…

CROWLEY: That was coming into the United States. It was not a domestic terror attack. I mean, it was meant to be, but it was stopped by the folks on the plane.

Detroit isn’t part of the United States?  When did that happen?  Srsly…

SHERMAN FREDERICK:  In his January 3 column, Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick falsely claimed that “the two cases of domestic terrorism since 9/11” happened “on Obama’s watch.”

This guy could probably look at his own newspaper to do that fact-check…or use the Google…or not.

RUDY GIULIANI:  What [Obama] should be doing is following the right things Bush did. One of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror. We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama.

Doesn’t this negate the entire existence of Mr Noun, a Verb, and 9/11?

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102 Minutes That Changed America

HT: 5thstate

This is a program put together by the History Channel about September 11, 2001.  It’s unusual in that it’s audio and video depicting personal experiences on that day, and though heartbreaking and difficult to watch, it’s how we felt on that day.

This contains graphic and disturbing material.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “102 Minutes That Changed America (1/2)“, posted with vodpod

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “102 Minutes That Changed America (2/2)“, posted with vodpod

The Watering Hole: September 10 – The Day Before

This date in 2001 is the eve one of those tragic events in US history.  Some of the first hints of what was about to happen arose on this very day 8 years ago:

In the Pink Pony strip club in Daytona Beach, Florida the night before the 9/11 attacks, three men make anti-American sentiments and talk of impending bloodshed. One says, “Wait ‘til tomorrow. America is going to see bloodshed.” These are not any of the hijackers, since they had all left Florida by this time, but it is suspected these men knew the hijackers. Mohamed Atta is said to have regularly frequented the same bar along with some of his pals while learning to fly, but not how to take off or land airplanes. According to locals in the area, that is a fact.

Meanwhile on the same day:
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The Watering Hole: September 9 – Japan Bombs US Mainland

On this day in 1942, a Japanese floatplane dropped incendiary bombs on an Oregon state forest-the first and only air attack on the U.S. mainland in the war. Up until 9/11, this was the only successful air strike on the US mainland.

America was safe from another attack for 59 years.

This is the open thread. Please feel free to comment on any subject.

Rachel Maddow lets Tom Ridge destroy himself

Rachel Maddow interviewed Tom Ridge on her show yesterday, and frankly, I was shocked at his very weak attempt to distance himself from his own book.

I wasn’t impressed by Ridge resigning after the 2004 “election,” and then waiting until Bush was no longer in office to release his “tell all” book, and make loads of money.    Lack of integrity much, Mr Ridge?

But then Ridge decided to go on Rachel’s show and tell lies.  Lies so egregious that he destroyed any remaining integrity he posessed.  Lies that are written all over his face as he speaks.  Watch…

Part 1

Part 2

As you can see, Rachel is always polite and respectful, even while she calls BS on the things Ridge is saying.

Mr Ridge finally fell back on the tired old Republican talking point of the US having gone into Iraq to bring them the great gift of “democracy.”  He literally seemed to shrink in his chair as Rachel delivered the coupe de grace:

If you can go back in time and sell the American people on the idea that 4000 Americans ought to lose their lives, and we ought to lose those trillions of dollars, for democracy in Iraq, then you have a wilder imagination than I do.

We were sold that war because of 9/11.  We were sold that war because of a threat of weapons of mass destruction from a guy who didn’t have them, and our government should have known it.  And finally, a lot of people think that our government did know it, and that it was a cynical decision.

Mr Ridge’s ears must still be ringing…

That was close..

The New York Times reports:

Top Bush administration officials in 2002 debated testing the Constitution by sending American troops into the suburbs of Buffalo to arrest a group of men suspected of plotting with Al Qaeda, according to former administration officials. (read story)

Cheney was all for it? Surprise, surprise. Some more familiar names crop up John Yoo or Alberto R. Gonzales. Condi was against it.

Your Constitution took a couple of hits during the Bush years, but this is proof how close they were to disband it altogether.

And this is what it was all about.

Former officials said the 2002 debate arose partly from Justice Department concerns that there might not be enough evidence to arrest and successfully prosecute the suspects in Lackawanna. Mr. Cheney, the officials said, had argued that the administration would need a lower threshold of evidence to declare them enemy combatants and keep them in military custody.

To think it would have been only “enemy combatants” who were the ultimate target of the “lower threshold of evidence” would be naive in the extreme. That was meant for you all.

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OPEN THREAD: Who is Ali Soufan?

Ali Soufan, FBI agent, testified today at the congressional hearing on the Bush Administration’s detention and interrogation program led by Senator Whitehouse. He testified that he had interrogated Abu Zubaydah and garnered significant information from him before enhanced interrogation and water boarding of him by the CIA began.

From Wikipedia:

The FBI Interrogation of Abu Zubaydah: Pre-CIA

Following Abu Zubaydah’s capture he was interrogated by FBI agents Ali Soufan and Steve Gaudin. The interrogation followed standard FBI protocol and involved cleaning and dressing Abu Zubaydah’s wounds. Ali Soufan stated in a Newsweek article in April, 2009 “We kept him alive… It wasn’t easy, he couldn’t drink, he had a fever. I was holding ice to his lips.”[86] The agents attempted to convince Abu Zubaydah that they knew of his activities in languages he understood; English and Arabic. Both agents believed they were making good progress in gathering intelligence from Abu Zubayda: He disclosed Khalid Sheihkh Muhamed’s alias, “Mukhtar,” as well as other details of the attacks on New York and Washington D.C. Abu Aubzaydah also revealed the identity of Jose Padilla to the FBI agents.

Why the “Who is Ali Soufan?” Because already the right wing pundits are discrediting him as a disgruntled former FBI agent.

24,000 People On Terrorist Watch List By Mistake

NewsFeed Researcher

Reuters reports it took the FBI an average of 45 days to place a suspect on the terrorism watch list. Other problems identified in the report included the FBI’s inability to efficiently delete people’s names that were found not to pose a terrorism risk. The list also audited more than 65,000 names and concluded that more than one-third were outdated. The whole list includes 1.1 million names, though aliases and variant spellings mean these represent fewer people. “That the FBI continues to fail to place subjects of terrorism investigations on the watch list is unacceptable,” said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which has oversight of the FBI. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, was critical of the FBI following release of the report Wednesday. “That the FBI continues to fail to place subjects of terrorism investigations on the watch list is unacceptable,” Leahy said. “With such a significant number of individuals in question, it is important that the FBI gets this right.”

A review of the federal government’s consolidated terrorism watch list has discovered nearly 24,000 people on the list that shouldn’t be, while individuals with real connections to terrorism were left off, according to a report from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) inspector general. As of 31 December 31 2008, 1.1 million records exist on the government”’s combined watch list, according to the Inspector General”’s report. That number, however, includes duplicate files and aliases and does not reflect the actual number of people on the terrorist watch list.

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Torture Used to Link Saddam With 9/11

by Marjorie Cohn (Posted with permission)

When I testified last year before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties about Bush interrogation policies, Congressman Trent Franks (R-Arizona) stated that former CIA Director Michael Hayden had confirmed that the Bush administration only waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashirit for one minute each. I told Franks that I didn’t believe that. Sure enough, one of the newly released torture memos reveals that Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times and Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times. One of Stephen Bradbury’s 2005 memos asserted that “enhanced techniques” on Zubaydah yielded the identification of Mohammed and an alleged radioactive bomb plot by Jose Padilla. But FBI supervisory special agent Ali Soufan, who interrogated Zubaydah from March to June 2002, wrote in The New York Times that Zubaydah produced that information under traditional interrogation methods, before the harsh techniques were ever used.

Why, then, the relentless waterboarding of these two men? It turns out that high Bush officials put heavy pressure on Pentagon interrogators to get Mohammed and Zubaydah to reveal a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 hijackers, in order to justify Bush’s illegal and unnecessary invasion of Iraq in 2003. That link was never established.

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“Tomorrow is zero hour.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell doesn’t work, but in this video Nathaniel Frank, who authored a book about exactly how big a failure DADT has been, called “Unfriendly Fire,” had this tidbit to share with Jon:

On September 10, 2001, the U.S. Governmant intercepted a cable that said, “Tomorrow is zero hour.”  It wasn’t translated until September 12, because we didn’t have enough Arab linguists.

According to Mr Frank, there have been over 12,000 servicemembers lost due to DADT.  Eight hundred of those were deemed “mission critical” by the government, and 55 were Arab linguists.

I guess we can add the victims of 9/11 onto the high cost of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  It’s time to get rid of this no good, very bad, sucks to high heaven policy.

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Remembering 9/11 and Moving Towards a Re-United States of America

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by Dennis J. Kucinich

September 11, 2008

America must move from the errant, retributive justice of 9/11 to a healing, restorative process of truth and reconciliation.

Before the Congress adjourns, I will bring forth a new proposal for the establishment of a National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation, which will have the power to compel testimony and gather official documents to reveal to the American people not only the underlying deception which has divided us, but in that process of truth seeking set our nation on a path of reconciliation.

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Olbermann: McCain would ‘rather win than catch bin Laden’

Raw Story

In a Special Comment on the eve of September 11th, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann blasted the Republican Party for its reduction of 9/11 to “a Republican campaign slogan” and Senator John McCain in particular for using terrorism to “blackmail” the American people.

“This is supposed to be a day of remembrance,” Olbermann began. “Instead, 9/11 has become a brand name — a Republican campaign slogan, propaganda of the lowest form. 9/11 has became a trademark logo.”

“911(TM) has made possible the greatest slight-of-hand in our nation’s history,” he continued. “The political party in office at the time of the attacks … and the presidential administration already through 20% of its first term … have thus far not only escaped any blame for the malfeasance and criminal neglect which allowed the attacks to occur, but … have managed to make it seem as if the other political party would be solely and irredeemably responsible for any similar catastrophe in the future.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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9/11 Plus Seven – The Video

by Andrew Bacevich (via TomDispatch)

New York Times bestselling author Andrew Bacevich examines the lessons of the disastrous Bush response to 9/11 seven years later.

Read Bacevich’s piece, “9/11 Plus Seven” at Tomdispatch.com.

Check out his new book, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism by clicking here.

From Salon: The failure of Bush policy post-9/11 by Andrew Bacevich

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A Tribute to 9/11

“It all began with Iran.”

The U.S. invaded Afghanistan to capture the man Bush said was responsible for 9/11, Osama Bin Laden.

Seven years later, the Bush White House says, “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind of 9/11.” But thousands and thousands of Afghanis are now dead, because the C student got it wrong.

“It all began with Iran.”

America invaded Iraq because Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11 (he had to be, or Bush couldn’t invade under the Authorization to Use Military Force). Yet as early as 2003: “President Bush, having repeatedly linked Saddam Hussein to the terrorist organization behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said yesterday there is no evidence that the deposed Iraqi leader had a hand in those attacks, in contrast to the belief of most Americans.” For more years have passed, and our military women and men are still in Iraq, still killing and getting killed. Hundereds of thousands of Iraqi children, women, and men have died, because the C student President got it wrong, again.

“It all began with Iran.”

McCain boasts of being 5th in his class – 5th from the bottom. His GPA was, in his words, “barely passing,” in other words, lower than Bush’s. The Republican “Tribute to 9/11” is nothing more than a call to invade Iran. Can we trust a less-than-a-C-student to get it right?

In this writer’s opinion, the best “Tribute” we could pay to the victims of 9/11 would be to fully investigate the crimes of that day and prosecute, to the fullest extent possible, all those found to be responsible.

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