September 14, 2001
by Democratic Underground readers
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.
Like most Americans, BuzzFlash.com 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 BuzzFlash.com 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
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. BuzzFlash.com
will be an active participant in that process.
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.
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.
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...
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
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
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
"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?
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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.
to Part Three