Democratic Underground

Part Two
September 14, 2001
by Democratic Underground readers

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I am really outraged that he hid in a bunker instead of leading the country after the bombings. Bill Clinton would have been extremely visible and would have given us some comfort. He showed himself to be the coward he is while he hid and everyone had to fend for themselves. I live near enough to NY to see the smoke and I am really disgusted with him.

J. McNerney

Like most Americans, is numbed by the terrorist assault on our fellow citizens, resulting in injury and death beyond our comprehension. Reading the stories and columns that we have posted over the last 48 hours has been a grueling exercise, one that most Americans are experiencing by watching the television news.

We are trying to strike the right tone in our coverage - and we know that not all of our readers will be satisfied. But if is about anything, it is about recognizing that that we are one large, diverse community in this great country. Now is the time for us to join together in a sharing of grief and a recommitment to our strength as a democracy. Now is the time to reaffirm that we are interdependent upon each other.

Thousands perished in a senseless act. We can remember them best by making sure that the flame of freedom continues to glow brightly. The Statue of Liberty still stands proudly in New York Harbor, even as the dust and debris from the World Trade Center Towers crawls toward it.

In the days ahead, BuzzFlash will strive to strike a balance between the solemn, horrifying reality that we are all confronting and the continuation of honest dissent, when appropriate.

For a moment, this horrifying event has united as a nation - in our mourning and in our resolve.

Difficult challenges lie before us. The task of vigorously reaffirming democracy is an ongoing effort. It is what distinguishes as a nation and is the hallmark of our heritage. will be an active participant in that process.

— Buzzflash

The things I read at this site are making me weep with outrage as I read them. The liberal intelligentsia can pontificate on the web, on the cable news networks all they want from the ivory towers of academia. I call on anyone who tries to rationalize this event in a partisan light to go to Lower Manhatten. Stand outside while the bodies are dug out. The untold 1000s, that will in all likelyhood rot beneath the rubble. Go to the perimeter of L.M. and look up to the smoke and dust-filled sky, and imagine the hundreds of souls who jumped a thousand feet to their deaths, rather than burn to death in a jet-fuel inferno. How dare you. How dare you fiddle while New York burns. My God.....How Dare You.

— Rick Welsh

I was going to slam you for this site since I was looking for an email address for the President of the US to give him my support and instead found a hateful title of a site aimed at Bush. I read your cease-fire message and I am touched. WE ARE AMERICANS FIRST! Democrats, Republicans, Catholics, Jews, Protestants, and Muslims first. I applaud your graceful and patriotic stance. We will show the world how we are bound together by a bond that no one can break.

— Charlie Myers

The dust has barely settled in New York, and the aides of George Bush are busy putting things right. Unfortunately they're not busy finding out what happened or sending the president before the cameras to answer questions from the press. Nope, they're using the terrorist attacks on the United States to re-sell George Bush to us in the face of declining polls.

Let's call it "Operation Manhood". Yesterday morning while the country looked to Washington for hope and information, instead we got the spectacle of George Bush being ferried all over the country like a high end version of Road Rules. For twelve hours he bounced from Florida to Lousiana to Nebraska to DC like he was on a scavenger hunt for courage. Finally he showed up in Washington to deliver a typical deer-in-the-headlights string of platitudes, apparently picked up at a Nebraska Rotary prayer luncheon. Meanwhile, New York and the Pentagon burned.

When columnists such as the New York Time's Maureen Dowd and William Safire, as well as a few scattered cable talking heads delicately suggested that maybe the President should have come straight back to Washington and acted like the leader of a great country, the great Karl Rove-Karen Hughes Bush-image roadshow groaned to life.

Suddenly, we are told, the Secret Service had information that the White House and Air Force One were the next targets in a conspiracy that they no knowledge of until people started dying 45 minutes prior. Apparently bringing Air Force One into Washington DC was dangerous because those wily Middle Eastern terrorists had the advanced capability of chasing it down from behind in their lumbering hijacked jumbo jets. It would appear that all of our fighter jets at Andrews Air Force base were in the shop and couldn't provide cover. So while people died, buildings collapsed, and America looked to it's leadership for answers and assurance, George Bush went on a 12 hour aerial Home to the Heartland tour.

Operation Manhood commenced this morning when he spoke to the nation with his National Security team in full silent view, infering that he had everything under control and those other guys were just along for the ride. This afternoon, the White House started rolling out the spokepeople from Ari to Mindy to John Ashcroft to tell us that they had really, really, really good sources telling them what the terrorists were going to do next. That George Bush isn't the Coward in Chief. That, according to a now groveling and contrite William Safire, Bush wasn't going to be chased away from Washington by any "tinhorn terrorists" (Safire didn't indicate whether Bush followed this with "dad-gummit!"). But, alas, the Secret Service forced the issue. We were also told the White House wasn't safe, but Ari Fleischer couldn't answer why it was safe enough for Dick Cheney. For those who watched the press conference, Ari took a flop sweat shower in front of the whole country. Later today Bush ventured outdoors where he did a photo-op at the Pentagon, and hemmed and hawed for a few minutes about bravery and other things he's read about.

If all of this wasn't enough, now Safire's "sources" (one of whom, he admits, is Karl Rove) have indicated that the terrorists knew lots of secret stuff about Air Force One and White House procedures which can only mean one thing...a "mole" in the White House, or Secret Service, or the FBI, CIA, etc etc. This just happens to be a Bill Safire obsession that the White House is playing on. The subtext here is, of course, somehow it's Clinton's fault.

Now we understand. Apparently everyone in the whole world knows that Bush is a hero among heroes, and only he can bring us through this horrible tragedy. That's why there are spies in the White House plotting against him, and terrorists hijacking planes with full tanks of gas so they can chase him around the sky. It's all about the Bush. He is THE MAN. Without his steady hand at the helm, we are doomed to chaos.

So, while we dig through the rubble, patch the bleeding, pick up the pieces, and wonder what has become of a world that seemed so different two day ago, one thing is certain: George Bush has officially started his campaign for 2004, "tinhorn terrorists" or not...

— The Boggionis

This is by far the worst thing I have ever seen in my lifetime. Words cannot express how helpless I feel. I stood in line about 5 hours here in Corpus Christi on Tuesday to donate blood. As it turns out they actually got too much blood and they are now asking people to wait a week or so to donate. It is wonderful to see people getting together to try and help out in whatever way they can but it is also very disheartening to see all of the bigotry that seems to come out when people are scared and upset. Hearing these reports of broken windows at mosques and people yelling things at others who appear to be Muslim just digusts me. I know that some people are merely taking advantage of the situation to cause trouble and that most people in this country would never do things like that. Everyone saw how some people celebrated upon hearing the news and that was definitely wrong for them to do that but think about how we acted during and after the Gulf War.

Incidently there was a report issued a few months ago warning of this very thing. Bush chose to ignore the committee's recommendations and instead put Cheney in cahrge of studying the same thing the committee just spent 2 years studying! Not that all pf those recommendations could have been in place to prevent this; that might have taken years, but Bush and Co. definitely dropped the ball there. They should have paid attention and so should the media. Instead we were too busy talking about whether Danny Almonte was 14 or 12 and whether or not some Congressment slept with an intern. Shame on us all.

I can't help but feel that this was inevitable. Our policies in the Middle East have virtually guaranteed it. Until we develop a more balanced policy there, it will continue to happen. Israel is every bit as guilty of some horrible acts as their enemies. OF course we have supported many worse regimes that that but our stance has fostered resentment and there needs to be a little more balance in our dealings with the Middle East. I think this would probably have happened even if there were peace there.

People need to realize that for many reasons there is a lot of hatred towards us in the world. Part of it is due to our overblown sense of entitlement, our arrongance and selfishness, and part of it is simply cultural difference. So maybe we need a little less "America the Great" sort of talk and more humility.

— Amy Larimer

It is now time for us all to stand behind President Bush. I say this as an individual who in the past has strongly, even vehemently opposed all of the president's policies.

I believe that those who attacked America on September 11 perceived a weakness in our nation, but they were wrong. They perceived disagreement and dissent to be vulnerability. Since these attackers have no understanding of freedom, they had no way of knowing that peaceful, civil disagreement and even satire is a function of a strong Democracy.

The time for partisan battles will return again and the many serious questions raised over the past ten months about this administration will be answered later, for now we are affiliated not to party, but to cause. As DU beautifully wrote, "we are all Americans." And yes, the price of freedom is still constant vigilance.

— Kurt Kurowski

Within hours of the attacks, Dan Quayle and James Baker were both interviewing on live TV. They both said chilling things. The things said were also parroted by other Republican officials, including Former President George Bush on Thursday. What was said that was so chilling? In no uncertain terms, the case was made that Americans will have to give up certain civil liberties in the name of safety.

Before I go further, I should pay tribute to the conspiracy theories relatd to this, briefly. George Bush Sr. was head of the CIA, and became President. Rumor has it that he purposefully threw the 1992 election to Clinton, and we all know Dole never stood a chance of winning in 1996. Why would the Republicans let Clinton be President for 8 years? So in 2000 they could shove a bumbling idiot, the son of George Bush, ex-head of the CIA, into the White House as a pawn of their 'larger plan'. The conspiracy theorists predicted this. They predicted a massive tragedy that would be used to usurp civil liberties. With the unexplained behavior of the Republicans and the verociousness of their cause to put Dubya in office AT ALL COSTS, for no apparent reason, and with their pawn conveniently the son of the possible mastermind, I think everyone should take a long, hard, look at the events this week and how Republican officials have responded to it, and give the conspiracy theorists a little credit.

That being said, I must now address the notion of safety before freedom.

"That they can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Throughout history, brave men and women have sacrificed their lives to defend this country. Why were they fighting? What were they dying for? Freedom.

The idea that we go to war with Afghanistan or bin Laden is no different, we would do such things to defend freedom and democracy in this country. Without discussing the idea that democracy has died last year, what would be worth fighting and dying for in a war if we don't have freedom back home? If we give up our liberty in the name of safety, how can we send our citizens out to die in a war? How can we disregard the millions of Americans who have died for freedom in the past by destroying what they died for?

That also bears the question to every American right now: are YOU willing to die for your liberty, and the liberty of those who will come after you? If you are, then you must steadfastly oppose the notion of suspending civil liberties for safety. You must be willing to die by the attacks of terrorists in the name of freedom. You must be just as brave as those who came before us, who willingly laid down their lives for freedom, and you must be able to do it every day. If we suspend our freedom in the name of safety, we have already lost. The terrorists will have won. And they will be joyful, no matter how many we kill in a 'war.'


My family and I have waited patiently for the president to address the nation. After some time of diligent viewing we have come to the conclusion that neither the president or vice-president are going to keep us up-dated or calm our fears in this greatest disaster for our nation. Now I am beginning to question the targets put forth by the spinmisters to cover up for the weakness of our topmost officials. We must all come together during this time of crisis, however a great opportunity has been lost because of the failure of Bush and Cheney to keep us informed. The mayor of NY city has been on TV numerous times to update the citizens of NY. Am I off beat or do others feel the emptyness that my family and I are feeling in this time of tragedy?

— Pete Thomas

Members of a shocked world gathered round television sets yesterday, staring in disbelief as two hijacked planes crashed into New York City's World Trade Centre at 9am EST. The great monument soon collapsed; now, a day later, flames and smoke are still rising, and the estimated death toll resides in the tens of thousands. The Pentagon, centre of America's military operations, was also attacked. All major buildings in Washington D.C., New York, Chicago and London were evacuated as soon as possible.

A few thoughts:

1) This is the largest-scale terrorist attack ever. Whatever the faults of the American system of government or economics, it is simply horrific. My generation should perceive it as equivalent in significance to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor or the Cuban Missile Crisis. Those few souls not incredibly concerned about the devastation or repercussions should be ashamed of themselves -- this is a time of crisis for the Western world.

2) This morning, to see how my colleagues were coping with the event, I checked the website of Roger Ebert and made contact with my New York friend Harvey Karten.

Harvey was relieved to find that his wife, who worked in the Twin Towers, had made it out safely. He made comments that not only brought home the human disaster but also reminded me of the economic consequences; important New York businesses will have been obliterated by yesterday's terrorism, and the destruction of the WTC will plunge the US further into recession.

Ebert's wife and stepdaughter were in New York City for the Michael Jackson concert. They turned out to be safe, thank God, but "What is new and frightening is that we were all forced to think in these personal terms. This day was going to come sooner or later. The United States has fought push-button wars thousands of miles from home. Today the war is no longer far away."

3) I predict an unfairly hard time for Arab-Americans in the weeks ahead. Ignorance on the part of civilians and sound-bite coverage of fanatical Middle Eastern violence on the part of the media have built, over the past few decades, a widespread feeling that all Muslims are dangerous militants, and should be blamed whenever something is blown up.

I checked out the GOP-approved conservative website Free Republic this afternoon to find comments such as "nuke all towelheads" and "the only good Arab is a dead Arab". On its liberal equivalent Democratic Underground, the user 'Modem Butterfly' told of how she found herself forced to defend a miniscule Islamic lady at the grocery store today, when a bigger guy started screaming that she was "a murderer" and "a fucking raghead".

I have also been made aware that the career agency AlleVonTech has adopted the following policy: "Our small contribution to avenge the deaths of the many people in these attacks will be to disallow any Islamic users from our service."

In its own way, this is as depressing as the attacks themselves.

4) Opponents to the current American administration have been suspicious of how, like his father was accused of doing with Desert Storm, George W. Bush may attempt to kick off a major conflict in a cynical gung-ho attempt to bolster poll numbers. The new president has re-ignited the Cold War with his insane missile defence plans, played chicken with China and Iraq, and at the same time given friendly approval to the former country's plans to build up its nuclear arsenal. Many believe that Bush is laying the foundations for a new "us and them" mentality that will mindlessly unite the country behind him and generate business for the military industrial complex.

President Bush's statements in the past 24 hours have been irresponsible and ominous. He called the terrorist attacks "an act of war," and told the world to expect "a monumental struggle between good and evil." The crucial comment he made was "We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbour them."

The fact is, there IS a distinction. The president's implication that he will respond to the acts of an (as yet unidentified) independent terrorist organisation by declaring war on another nation is a terrifying and unwise one. I pray that the US government will behave in a sane manner, because whether it does or not, nobody will criticise it; the world is in too much of a frenzy right now to do anything but agree that what happened was terrible and unconditionally support any retaliatory action at all. NATO just agreed to certify the attack as an attack on all its members. Congress just passed a resolution giving the president carte blanche.

Revenge should not be a priority here. War should not be an option, even though an out-of-proportion show of force would probably be the most effective way of giving angry citizens immediate gratification. The burning issue right now should be the wreckage in D.C. and New York, where flames and smoke still rise, bodies have yet to be found, and the families of victims have yet to begin dealing with their loss.

— Ian Waldron-Mantagni


Those who slaughtered thousands of fathers, sisters, friends and spouses on 9/11 probably thought they were going to “teach America a lesson.” Did they succeed?

Perhaps. We must learn from tragedy, for we are homo sapiens and it is our nature to learn from challenge. But what were these monstrous criminals attempting to “teach” us, and what have we really learned? I think that they were trying to teach us the following:

America, you are hated.

Hate is enough. Hate is stronger than your armed might, than your capitalist wealth, than your Western arrogance. With hate alone we can turn the tools of your wealth and power against you and devastate you and make you realize your vulnerability.

You can't respond effectively to hate, because, although there are many of you who understand and embrace hate and will attempt to turn your hate back against us, there are also many of you who will resist that course. You will be unable to wholeheartedly join in the holocaust of hate that is our “New World Order.”

Eventually, those who understand the awesome power of hate will misuse words like “justice” and “safety” to convince the rest of you to a “calculated response.” You will unleash, they will promise, just enough violence and destruction and counter-terror to do the job. And then, you delude yourselves, you will have wiped out hate and its power and you will all be safe.

This is the lesson we want you to learn, America, and we are happy to give our lives to teach it - because if you learn this lesson we cannot help but win in the end. It is a lie. You will never be safe from hate. You can kill us by the thousands, but in the process you will unleash yet more hate, and there will always be thousands more to replace us. And we will have shown them how to use hate against you, again and again.

I also think these twisted vermin were trying to teach the rest of the world a lesson-a lesson they are counting on us to deliver for them. This lesson is:

America is an arrogant bully.

America thinks it runs the world and no one matters but America. Watch, world, as the American bullies perpetrate some Hollywood-inspired, vigilante-style retaliation for their injury, regardless of the damage it does to innocent people, regardless of the advice of other nations, regardless of the security of neighbors and friends. Have we "learned our lesson," America?

Or have we learned another lesson:

Hate and violence can kill people and demolish buildings, but they cannot destroy the soul of a people who aspire to the best of humanity-freedom, and justice, and compassion, and community.

Strength does not lie in how much violence one can unleash, how high a body count one can rack up, how much fear one can inspire. Rather, strength lies in decisions based on wisdom and forethought, and the resolve to carry those decisions through. Strength lies in enduring determination, even when it means sacrifice-a sacrifice of lives, or of renouncing short-term vengeance for the greater goal of a world unshadowed by terror.

We are not an island, we are the world's largest concentration of economic and military power. Our culture and ideals, both the noble and the selfish, permeate the world. Every American action and policy has profound effects on millions of people we do not see, people who are not consulted, people who are not a party to our decisions but who inevitably feel their consequences. We must reawaken to this grave responsibility, soberly invest it into our national consciousness, and accept its implications for our choices-both as a nation, and as individuals.

We may be hated, but we are loved as well. The bonds of friendship, as well as mutual interest were forged through challenge and cooperation, and they persist beyond economic competition or political differences or even our own careless national egotism. In that friendship-in a real, living community of nations-rests the only hope for eradicating terrorism forever, for this is a mission we cannot accomplish alone.

Since no concentration of might and wealth can protect us from the consequences of hate, we must promote a new goal-a world where communication, cooperation, and common interests rob hate of its power and banish terrorism beyond the pale of political and military tools.

If we learn the first lessons, then truly those who participated, actively or in spirit, in the atrocity of 9/11 have cause to rejoice. They can be satisfied. They have accomplished their mission.

But if we learn that other lesson, then we will triumph, and they will be confounded.

America, too, has a lesson to teach, if we will:

The love of freedom that lives in the hearts of our people cannot be extinguished by hate and terror. The ideals of justice and community that Americans have given their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors to protect are alive and well here.

We have learned from our mistakes-we will not be misled by our own frailties of racism and xenophobia, by expediency and greed, by insecurity and arrogance. The goal of a terror-free world is too important, to us and to our friends and neighbors, and our lesson was too dearly bought in the holocaust of 9/11.

— tygrbright

On to Part Three