[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: 9/11 Plus 6 Years - What Have We Learned?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11 Plus 6 Years - What Have We Learned?

Exactly six years ago right at this moment, the United States of America was under attack from Islamic terrorists. It was the worst day in this generation's lifetime, and quite possibly in the history of this great country.

Anniversaries are always good times to look back as well as to take inventory. Where are we today? Where will we be tomorrow? As always, there are different perspectives. I'd like to start off with one published by the Miami Herald editorial board.

The Herald's conclusion: we're no safer than 6 years ago. On top of that, the real damage caused by 9/11 wasn't to the 3,000 people who perished that day, nor is it the worthy but painful war that we must wage against the Islamofascists. No. It is the supposed lack of freedom we must endure in this country post 9-11.

That's right.

Six years ago today, the United States was attacked in a cowardly and terrifying fashion by terrorists who hate America and everything it stands for. The 19 hijackers did a lot of damage, killing at least 2,974 innocent people and causing enormous destruction in lower Manhattan and at the Pentagon. Looking back from the vantage point of 2007, it may well be that the most lasting damage has been to the U.S. Constitution and the freedoms that it is intended to guarantee.

A variety of laws relating to civil liberties have been distorted, overlooked, restricted or simply denied, all in the name of improving our security. But are we really safer when the government is free to declare that some individuals -- American citizens -- can be denied the fundamental right of habeas corpus just because they are deemed ''enemy combatants''? Should we sleep better knowing that the government can eavesdrop on phone calls or cyberspace messages without judicial approval, i.e., just because it wants to?

Exploiting fears

Are we better off now that the government has decided that spy satellites whose use was once limited to the overseas monitoring of terrorists can now be used to monitor domestic activities of interest to law enforcement and intelligence agencies? Could any of this have been accomplished without stoking the fears created by 9/11?

Those fears were fully understandable. Surprise attacks have a way of arousing our deepest anxieties. But unlike the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941, which forged a sense of common purpose and national resolve, 9/11 became the catalyst for stoking partisan divisions that persist to this day because of the government's uneven response.

Herald editors, you can take it to the bank that I sleep good at night thinking that we are keeping a close eye and ear on suspected terrorist activity in our country. The government has a primary responsibility to keep all of us safe, and if that means "eavesdropping" and aiming satellites on a select few individuals, then so be it.

Apparently, I'm not alone in thinking that I'm safer now than 6 years ago. According to a purely unscientific online poll conducted by WIOD radio here in Miami, two-thirds of people feel safer now than 6 years ago. So much for the Herald slam dunk conclusion that we're no safer today.

I don't know about you, but where's the outrage at the fact that terrorists holed up in Guantanamo get three meals a day, free healthcare (paid for by Americans) and prayer services? Exactly.

The Herald concludes with the following:

The threats are real, but the greatest damage comes from our own fears. Six years later, it may be time to recognize that the best way to beat al Qaeda is to reject those fears and stay true to our values, our freedoms and our Constitution.

Talk about wishy-washy.

I checked the Sun-Sentinel's editorial, and here's their conclusion:
The country mustn't let disagreements and division over the war in Iraq distract us from the Sept. 11 enemy. In fact, just last week, Osama bin Laden called on the United States to virtually surrender, and to convert to Islam.

No, thanks. We'll stick with the Bill of Rights, which guarantees everyone's freedom to worship as they choose. That provision in the U.S. Constitution, plus others guaranteeing freedom of speech, press and property rights, are the hallmark principles that made America a beacon and model for the rest of the world.

That, and much sacrifice in the past 231 years.

So, take part in the ceremonies commemorating 9-11 in your hometowns, today if you can. It's important to remember you live in a world that often demands the sacrifice of innocents and soldiers alike.

By taking a moment of remembrance, you accept your duty to share the burden of sacrifice, and lend urgency to the ongoing mission at hand.
Better. At least a recognition of the importance of the battle we're facing and what it takes to succeed.

Best of all, however, were the comments by Frank Gaffney, President of the Center for Security Policy (and surely a Republican hack), in an interview this morning on WIOD. Listen to it here.

It's well worth your 5 minutes.



Blogger Adam said...

whether or not we are safer now than we were 6 years ago is a matter of much debate, but the fact that several of our inalienable, god given rights which it is the duty of the government to uphold have been diminished. One of the most severely crippled is the right to due process.

Our founding fathers knew very well that by guaranteeing these rights we would sacrifice some immediate safety. It's too bad that we no longer have the foresight that the brave founders did.

4:44 PM, September 11, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

According to what you quoted from the Herald, the editorial asks: "Are we better off"?

Its very different than asking if we feel safer, or if we feel more protected.

I find it incredibly contemptuous on your part to cite a "purely unscientific online poll" from WIOD, a radio station that caters to a specific audience and not the nation, when there are several scientific national polls being published now about Americans feeling safer.

- CNN/Opinion Research Poll: http://edition.cnn.com/

- CBS News/New York Times Poll:

- Zogby Poll:

If you are actually interested in how Americans feel (and not just yourself) six years after the 9/11 attacks then I encourage you to read the polling results. You'll find that many Americans don't feel safe, believe another attack is immanent, that the government is not ready for another attack and that the current administration has not made us any safer.

Do your readers a service.

2:22 PM, September 12, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...


Sorry that I provided a disservice to a specific reader (you) with the results of what was clearly stated as a purely unscientific poll. The point is that it's not automatic that everyone, or even most people for that matter, feel less safe or less better off or whatever you want to call it.

If you want serious, in depth analysis of every scientific poll imaginable, then great, seek those blogs or post the polls you deem to be worthy on your own blog. We know how obsessed you are with polls, especially those that support your own position, so implying that I am doing so myself seems kind of hypocritical, doesn't it. At least I admit that the WIOD poll is not scientific whatsoever.

Did you bother hearing the interview with Frank Gaffney? What do YOU think about the Herald editorial? That's what I want to hear, not your finger pointing at a stupid poll.

And sorry to break this to you, but I will continue to state my opinions in a very unbiased manner, and even use polls, scientific or not, to make my point.

4:54 PM, September 12, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

"And sorry to break this to you, but I will continue to state my opinions in a very unbiased manner, and even use polls, scientific or not, to make my point."

That should have been BIASED. Of course you all know that by now, right? ;)

5:07 PM, September 12, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...


I don't think it's just immediate safety we're dealing with here. It's the safety of our generation and future ones to come.

I would agree that the processing of the prisoners in Guantanamo should be moving along much faster. Still, I can't bring myself to feeling sorry for them just because they haven't had their day in court yet, especially when they are being treated better than in any prison outside the Gitmo fence in Cuba. Heck, they get better medical care and food than some Americans!

Then we have Jose Padilla, whom I believe was actually tried in a U.S. court.

How do you feel about Abraham Lincoln suspending habeas corpus entirely during the Civil War?

5:50 PM, September 12, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...


I'm amazed by your denial of the three scientific polls I mentioned. Don't you care about how the rest of the nation feels?

Also, you used the WIOD poll ALONE to refute the claims made by the Miami Herald editorial and their "slam dunk conclusions." But, the truth is that the Herald is more aware of the sentiments of the nation than you are.

Concerning my position, it actually differs from the rest of the nation, and the results of the poll. I feel no safer or less safe than at any other time. But, I don't cite polls to bring attention to my personal position. I cite polls because they provide important data to consider. So, there's no hypocrisy.

In fact, your statements reveal that your blog is self-serving. You have no problem saying that you "will continue to state [your] opinions in a very BIASED manner, and even use polls, scientific or not, to make [your] point."

Obviously, you don't care what the rest of the nation thinks, you don't care about objective analysis, you don't care about facts, and I wonder if you really care about real truths.

At least you're honest about what what your priorities are.

6:22 PM, September 12, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...


Where/when did I deny the polls you indicated? C'mon, one thing is to disagree with me, quite another is to totally misinterpret my statements.

I asked you before, and I'll ask you again: did you listen to the interview with Frank Gaffney? Not that he's totally right and you're totally wrong, but at least the point is that YES, there are people out there who feel safer today. It's my opinion, it's not the only one out there obviously, but please don't tell me that I'm off base just because you don't agree with me. Yours and the Herald's conclusion would lead one to believe that it's a no-brainer that we're not better off or safer, when indeed many people are.

Get it? I sure hope so because it really isn't that hard to get.

And one more thing: please stop pretending that you're unbiased and care about facts. Your blog posts tell me everything I need to know about that. At least I admit my biases and they're plain as day.


12:50 PM, September 13, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...


"If you want serious, in depth analysis of every scientific poll imaginable, then great, seek those blogs or post the polls you deem to be worthy on your own blog."

Excuse me (and my apologies) if I misinterpreted you, but this comment seemed like you were dismissing the polling data. One doesn't have to do "in-depth analysis" to understand the poll results.

I'm not opposed to your opinion, I'm opposed to your MISINTERPRETATION of the facts.

- The Miami Herald NEVER concluded that we Americans (or South Floridians) are less safe. They ASKED "are we really safer", "Should we sleep better", and "Are we better off now"? Those are NOT conclusions, as you misinterpreted it.

- You cite an unscientific poll to reassure yourself of safety, when in fact several scientific polls show that you are among the minority (contradicting the WIOD poll) who feel safer 6 years after 9/11. You misinterpreted the facts and concluded "two-thirds of people feel safer now than 6 years ago." That's false.

- You also misinterpreted the Gaffney interview because he says that "Islamo-fascism... is still out there" and that they are a "formidable" enemy and that safety prospects are "mixed". He also says:

"I think we've done PASSINGLY well so far, thank god, but I think we've got to do a lot better to prevent something HORRIBLE from happening in the future."

Doesn't seem like we are safer than before.

I'm bringing attention to how Americans actually FEEL about their safety after 9/11. I'm not saying there's conclusive evidence if we are or aren't. I don't really know how one can confidently say so. But, you seem to have no problem asserting it.

2:19 PM, September 13, 2007  
Blogger circuitmouse said...

In reality, we were really no safer on September 10, 2001 than we were on the 12th. Our perception of the world, and our place in it, hopefully, has broadened.

Had a small band of terrorists not changed our perception of our world, if the Far Right had been allowed to shred our constitution and turn the United States into a country where a relatively small group of people control and decide everything for us who would be standing up to defend what we think of as our "American Way of Life?"

Would we have stopped and taken the time to think of what that "way of life" is? The very word, "America" still has a very sacred meaning to some of us, and to people all over the world; how it has been desecrated and violated and abused is something we should find intolerable.

6:14 PM, September 13, 2007  
Blogger Agustin Farinas said...

please don't waste your time arguing with pro-communist apologists and a member of "the blame America first for everything" crowd. If you bother to visit MW's blog you will find all types of America-haters there who blame everything and anything on the US and defend the Cuban regime on everything and any position. In MW's blog everything is the fault of the US and Cuba's communist regime is only an innocent victim of the Big Bad US. You would never find anything in that blog criticizing the human rights abuses in Cuba or any violations of the most normal rights of its citizens. But of course you would find plenty of stuff cricizing the US for eavesdroping on terrorists as an erosion of our Bill of Rights. I for one have no problem with the eavesdroping since I have nothing to hide and wish that they will continue to monitor these scumbags to prevent any more attacks. So why bother arguing with these types? Is a total waste of time.

8:59 PM, September 13, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

Yeah, I live in America (and pay my taxes), so I'm concerned about abuse in my country. That comes BEFORE pointing out abuses from other countries.

But, the world threat that we face today, in my opinion, is far greater than what's currently happening in Cuba.

Just finished writing about it too. Check the blog if you are really concerned about human rights.

9:13 PM, September 13, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

I guess we're going to take out of this what we want to. I'm tired of arguing with those who complain when people distort comments and facts, yet are themselves the masters of distortion and bias.

Se acabo!

8:34 AM, September 14, 2007  
Blogger Agustin Farinas said...

MW said:
"Just finished writing about it too. Check the blog if you are really concerned about human rights."
No thanks, I don't have my barf bag with me and besides I just finished eating. Your postings have a way of making me want to vomit, and specially your communist apologists commenters.

7:11 PM, September 14, 2007  

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