Remembering a Hero, 15 Years After 9/11: Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 9, 2016 — What do I think about when I think about that day?
Coming Full Circle on 9/11: Ruthie Blum, Algemeiner, Sept. 9, 2016— Sunday will mark the 15th anniversary of 9/11.
Dangers Rise as America Retreats: Dick Cheney & Liz Cheney, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 9, 2016 — Fifteen years ago this Sunday, nearly 3,000 Americans were killed in the deadliest attack on the U.S. homeland in our history.
Hillary Clinton’s Health Just Became a Real Issue in the Presidential Campaign: Chris Cillizza, Washington Post, Sept. 11, 2016 — Hillary Clinton falling ill Sunday morning at a memorial service on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks will catapult questions about her health from the ranks of conservative conspiracy theory to perhaps the central debate in the presidential race over the coming days.
15 Years After 9/11, US Terror Threat is Now ‘Homegrown’: Paul Handley, Times of Israel, Sept. 9, 2016
Barack Obama and the Lessons of 9/11: John Bolton, Algemeiner, Sept. 12, 2016
Google’s Clever Plan to Stop Aspiring ISIS Recruits: Andy Greenberg, Wired, Aug. 7, 2016
With The Terror Threat Growing, Europe Changes Course: Abigail R. Esman, IPT News, Aug. 31, 2016
Wall Street Journal, Sept. 9, 2016
What do I think about when I think about that day? The firemen who climbed “the stairway to Heaven” with 50, 60 pounds of gear. The people who called from Windows on the World and said: “I just want you to know I love you.” The men on the plane who tried to take the cockpit of Flight 93 before it went down in a Pennsylvania field: “Let’s roll.” And I think about Welles Crowther, the man in the red bandanna.
He was 24, from Nyack, N.Y. He played lacrosse at Boston College, graduated and got an internship at Sandler O’Neill, the investment bank. In two years he was a junior associate on the trading desk. He worked in the south tower of the World Trade Center, on the 104th floor. When United Flight 175 hit that tower at 9:03 a.m., it came in at a tilt, ripping through floors 78 through 84. Many of those who never got out were on those floors, or the ones above. Welles Crowther had already called his mother, Alison, and left a voicemail: “I want you to know that I’m OK.” Only one stairwell was clear. He found it. Most people would have run for their lives, but he started running for everyone else’s.
Welles was beloved—bright, joyous, grounded. Family was everything to him. He idolized his father, Jefferson, a banker and volunteer fireman. They went to the firehouse together when Welles was a child. Welles would clean the trucks, getting in close where no one else could fit. One Sunday when Welles was 7 or 8 his mother dressed him for church in his first suit. His father had a white handkerchief in his breast pocket. Could he have one? Jefferson put one in Welles’s front pocket and then took a colored one and put it in Welles’s back pocket. One’s for show, he said, the other’s for blow.
“Welles kept it with him, a connection to his father,” said Alison Crowther this week by phone. “He carried a red bandanna all his life.” It was a talisman but practical, too. It could clean up a mess. When he’d take it from his pocket at Sandler O’Neill they’d tease him. What are you, a farmer? That is from Tom Rinaldi’s lovely book “The Red Bandanna,” which came out this week. He’d tease back: “With this bandanna I’m gonna change the world.”
As Welles went down the stairwell he saw what happened on the 78th floor sky lobby. People trying to escape had been waiting for elevators when the plane hit. It was carnage—fire, smoke, bodies everywhere. A woman named Ling Young, a worker for the state tax department, sat on the floor, badly burned and in shock. From out of the murk she heard a man’s voice: “I found the stairs. Follow me.” “There was something she heard in the voice, an authority, compelling her to follow,” Mr. Rinaldi writes. Ms. Young stood, and followed. She saw that the man was carrying a woman. Eighteen floors down the air began to clear. He gently placed the woman down and told them both to continue walking down. Then he turned and went back upstairs to help others.
Judy Wein of Aon Corporation had also been in the 78th floor. She too was badly injured and she too heard the voice: “Everyone who can stand now, stand now. If you can help others, do so.” He guided her and others to the stairwell. Apparently Welles kept leading people down from the top floors to the lower ones, where they could make their way out. Then he’d go up to find more. No one knows how many. The fire department credits him with five saved lives.
He never made it home. His family hoped, grieved, filled out forms. On the Friday after 9/11 Alison stood up from her desk and suddenly she knew Welles was there, right behind her. She could feel his energy, his force; it was him. She didn’t turn. She just said: Thank you. She knew he was saying he was OK. After that she didn’t dare hope he’d be found alive because she knew he wouldn’t. They found him six months later, in the lobby of the south tower. He’d made it all the way down. He was found in an area with many firefighters’ remains. It had been the FDNY command post. It was where assistant fire chief Donald Burns was found. He and his men had probably helped evacuate thousands. Welles could have left and saved his own life—they all could have. But they’d all stayed. “He was helping,” said Alison.
The Crowthers never knew what he’d done until Memorial Day weekend 2002. The New York Times carried a minute-by-minute report of what happened in the towers after the planes hit. Near the end it said: “A mysterious man appeared at one point, his mouth and nose covered with a red handkerchief.” It mentioned Ms. Young and Ms. Wein. The Crowthers sent them pictures of Welles. That was him, they said. Ms. Wein had seen his face when he took the bandanna from his face as the air cleared on the lower floors. Ms. Young said: “He saved my life.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Algemeiner, Sept. 9, 2016
Sunday will mark the 15th anniversary of 9/11. On that fateful day in 2001, the “land of the free and home of the brave” was brutally violated on its own soil. Americans, previously insulated from war and terrorism within the confines of their country’s borders, were suddenly faced with the realization that their sense of security had been false for quite some time. This shock was not exclusive to citizens of the United States. The entire world watched the unfathomable footage of the collapse of the Twin Towers from television sets at home and in shop windows with amazement. Even those who celebrated the humiliation of the world’s only superpower at the hands of rogue actors were incredulous.
Indeed, for that moment in time, there was universal global consensus that a seismic shift had occurred in one fell swoop, and that life as we knew it would never be the same again. It was like witnessing a chapter – or prediction – of the Bible. But it was a very different book that became the focus of heated public debate, even before the dust in lower Manhattan had settled. Was the Quran behind such evil, or was it hijacked, like the planes-turned-bombs? Were all Muslims to be held accountable for the act of a few radicals, or would they join in the fight to root out their bad seeds?
Israelis were just as horrified as everyone else by the scale and scope of the mass murder. We also understood the significance of the targets of the meticulously planned atrocity — key symbols of American financial and military prowess. But we were not surprised by the event itself. Nor did we concern ourselves with the extent to which the tenets of Islam were to blame. We were in the throes of a suicide-bombing war, which had been launched against us a year earlier by the Palestinian Authority. The only casus belli for what came to be called the Second Intifada was our utter and repeated capitulation to the demands of arch-terrorist, PLO chief Yasser Arafat. The more we groveled, the more empowered the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, whose aim all along was to annihilate the Jewish state, became.
Yes, we Israelis were spending our days trying to calculate which buses might blow up on our way to school or work; which café, restaurant or discotheque was too risky to frequent; and what packages, backpacks and sidelong glances were suspicious. As heads were literally rolling in seas of Jewish blood on the streets, our concern was not with the Quran, but with our leaders’ ability to put a stop to the carnage perpetrated by enemies in our midst. We did not care whether Islam had been “hijacked.” We just wanted to eradicate the phenomenon – by any means necessary. Those naïve enough to have believed that the way to do this was through diplomacy were provided with a wake-up call, courtesy of Palestinians wearing and detonating explosive belts. The rest of us already knew that, in the language of Fatah and Hamas, “peace” is a codename for “death and destruction.”
In the decade and a half that has ensued, much has changed and even more has stayed the same. Most rational people today are unable to escape the conclusion that understanding the “gripes” of Islamic radicals does nothing but feed their bloodlust. Even willfully ignorant Europeans are being forced to remove their blindfolds. Nevertheless, the phenomenon is spreading, not receding. Which brings us back to America. In the past eight years, the administration in Washington – sitting in the very neighborhood of the 9/11 Pentagon bombing – has signaled to Islamists who believe it is their political and religious duty to subjugate, kill or maim all infidel Jews, Christians and Muslims that their path will not be hindered.
US President Barack Obama even put this in writing last year, when he signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – the Iran nuclear deal. With each passing day, new details of the agreement itself and of off-the-record addenda emerge to indicate just how completely and purposefully the White House bowed down to the ayatollahs in Tehran. In so doing, Obama gave the regime the bright-green light to continue to serve as the greatest state sponsor of global terrorism – but with deadlier weapons of mass destruction.
Americans now can lie awake at night knowing that their tax dollars are paying for the slaughter of innocent people, just like those who went to work on the morning of 9/11 and never returned. What a way to come full circle on a crystal anniversary.
Dick Cheney & Liz Cheney
Wall Street Journal, Sept. 9, 2016
Fifteen years ago this Sunday, nearly 3,000 Americans were killed in the deadliest attack on the U.S. homeland in our history. A decade and a half later, we remain at war with Islamic terrorists. Winning this war will require an effort of greater scale and commitment than anything we have seen since World War II, calling on every element of our national power. Defeating our enemies has been made significantly more difficult by the policies of Barack Obama. No American president has done more to weaken the U.S., hobble our defenses or aid our adversaries.
President Obama has been more dedicated to reducing America’s power than to defeating our enemies. He has enhanced the abilities, reach and finances of our adversaries, including the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, at the expense of our allies and our own national security. He has overseen a decline of our own military capabilities as our adversaries’ strength has grown.
Our Air Force today is the oldest and smallest it has ever been. In January 2015, then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno testified that the Army was as unready as it had been at any other time in its history. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert testified similarly that, “Navy readiness is at its lowest point in many years.” Nearly half of the Marine Corps’ non-deployed units—the ones that respond to unforeseen contingencies—are suffering shortfalls, according to the commandant of the Corps, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. For the first time in decades, American supremacy in key areas can no longer be assured.
The president who came into office promising to end wars has made war more likely by diminishing America’s strength and deterrence ability. He doesn’t seem to understand that the credible threat of military force gives substance and meaning to our diplomacy. By reducing the size and strength of our forces, he has ensured that future wars will be longer, and put more American lives at risk.
Meanwhile, the threat from global terrorist organizations has grown. Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told the House Homeland Security Committee in July that, “As we approach 15 years since 9/11, the array of terrorist actors around the globe is broader, wider and deeper than it has been at any time since that day.” Despite Mr. Obama’s claim that ISIS has been diminished, John Brennan, Mr. Obama’s CIA director, told the Senate Intelligence Committee in June that, “Our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability or global reach.”
The president’s policies have contributed to our enemies’ advance. In his first days in office, Mr. Obama moved to take the nation off a war footing and return to the failed policies of the 1990s when terrorism was treated as a law-enforcement matter. It didn’t matter that the Enhanced Interrogation Program produced information that prevented attacks, saved American lives and, we now know, contributed to the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden. Mr. Obama ended the program, publicly revealed its techniques, and failed to put any effective terrorist-interrogation program in its place.
We are no longer interrogating terrorists in part because we are no longer capturing terrorists. Since taking office, the president has recklessly pursued his objective of closing the detention facility at Guantanamo by releasing current detainees—regardless of the likelihood they will return to the field of battle against us. Until recently, the head of recruitment for ISIS in Afghanistan and Pakistan was a former Guantanamo detainee, as is one of al Qaeda’s most senior leaders in the Arabian Peninsula. As he released terrorists to return to the field of battle, Mr. Obama was simultaneously withdrawing American forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. He calls this policy “ending wars.” Most reasonable people recognize this approach as losing wars.
When Mr. Obama took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2009, Iraq was stable. Following the surge ordered by President Bush, al Qaeda in Iraq had largely been defeated, as had the Shiite militias. The situation was so good that Vice President Joe Biden predicted, “Iraq will be one of the great achievements of this administration.” Today, Iraq’s border with Syria has been erased by the most successful and dangerous terrorist organization in history. ISIS has established its “caliphate” across a large swath of territory in the heart of Syria and Iraq, from which it trains, recruits, plots and launches attacks.
On Aug. 20, 2012, Mr. Obama drew a red line making clear he would take military action if Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons. A year later, Mr. Assad launched a sarin-gas attack on his own people in the suburbs of Damascus. Mr. Obama did nothing—a failure that destroyed America’s credibility and strengthened the hand of our adversaries.
We now know that the president’s refusal to act came as the Iranians and the U.S. were engaged in secret talks about Iran’s nuclear program. In his new book, “The Iran Wars,” Wall Street Journal correspondent Jay Solomon writes that according to Iranian sources, “Tehran made it clear to the American delegation that the nuclear negotiations would be halted if the U.S. went ahead with its attack on Assad.” The Iranians were now in the driver’s seat, not just regarding their own policy in the Middle East, but in determining America’s.
President Obama and Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry were so concerned with pleasing Iran’s ruling mullahs that they were willing to overlook the American blood on Iranian hands and decades of Iran’s activities as the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. In pursuit of the nuclear deal, they made concession after dangerous concession. Every promise made to the American people about the Obama nuclear agreement has been broken. We were promised a “world-class” verification process. Instead, the Iranians are allowed in key instances to verify themselves.
We were promised the agreement would “block every pathway” to an Iranian nuclear weapon. Instead, the Obama-Clinton agreement virtually guarantees an Iranian nuclear weapon, gives them access to the latest in centrifuge technology and will likely usher in a nuclear arms race across the Middle East. We were promised that non-nuclear sanctions, including those that block Iran’s access to hard currency and our financial systems, would remain in place. Instead, the Obama administration has paid the mullahs at least $1.7 billion in cash, which includes at least $1.3 billion in U.S. taxpayer money, the first installment of which was ransom for the release of American hostages. In case there is any doubt that the regime will use these funds to support terror, Iran’s parliament recently passed Article 22 of its 2016-2017 budget, mandating that all such funds be transferred directly to the Iranian military. Fifteen years after 3,000 Americans were killed by Islamic terrorists, America’s commander in chief has become the money launderer in chief for the world’s leading state sponsor of terror…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Washington Post, Sept. 11, 2016
Hillary Clinton falling ill Sunday morning at a memorial service on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks will catapult questions about her health from the ranks of conservative conspiracy theory to perhaps the central debate in the presidential race over the coming days. "Secretary Clinton attended the September 11th Commemoration Ceremony for just an hour and thirty minutes this morning to pay her respects and greet some of the families of the fallen," spokesman Nick Merrill said. "During the ceremony, she felt overheated, so departed to go to her daughter's apartment and is feeling much better."
What that statement leaves out is that a) it came 90 minutes after Clinton left the ceremony b) reporters — or even a reporter — were not allowed to follow her and c) the temperature in New York City at the time of Clinton's overheating was in the low 80s. (A heat wave over the eastern United States broke last night/this morning.) She later left her daughter's apartment, saying she was "feeling great" and waving at the crowd, per the Associated Press. Clinton was diagnosed Friday with pneumonia, according to her doctor, who ascribed her illness on Sunday to that ailment.
Whether Clinton likes it or not, her "overheating" episode comes at a very bad time for her campaign. Thanks to the likes of Rudy Giuliani and a small but vocal element of the Republican base, talk of her health had been bubbling over the past week — triggered by a coughing episode she experienced during a Labor Day rally. That talk was largely confined to Republicans convinced that Clinton has long been hiding some sort of serious illness. I wrote dismissively of that conspiracy theory in this space last week, noting that Clinton had been given an entirely clean bill of health by her doctors after an episode in which she fainted, suffered a concussion and then was found to have a blood clot in late 2012 and early 2013.
Coughing, I wrote, is simply not evidence enough of any sort of major illness that Clinton is assumed to be hiding. Neither, of course, is feeling "overheated." But those two things happening within six days of each other to a candidate who is 68 years old makes talk of Clinton's health no longer just the stuff of conspiracy theorists. Whereas Clinton and her campaign could laugh off questions about her health before today, the "overheating" episode makes it almost impossible for them to do so. Not only has it come at a time when there was growing chatter — with very little evidence — that her health was a problem but it also happened at a 9/11 memorial event — an incredibly high-profile moment with lots and lots of cameras and reporters around. Her campaign may well try to dismiss this story as nothing more than an isolated incident, meaning nothing. (Democrats were already pushing the story of George W. Bush fainting in 2002 after choking on a pretzel, via Twitter.)
But the issue is that Clinton kept reporters totally in the dark for 90 minutes after her abrupt departure from the 9/11 memorial service for a health-related matter. No reporter was allowed to follow her. (Clinton has resisted a protective pool for coverage because Donald Trump refuses to participate in one.) This is, yet again, the Clinton campaign asking everyone to just trust it. She got overheated! But she's fine now!
Clinton may well be totally fine — and I certainly hope she is. But we are 58 days away from choosing the person who will lead the country for the next four years, and she is one of the two candidates with a real chance of winning. Taking the Clinton team's word for it on her health — in light of the episode on Sunday morning — is no longer enough. Reasonable people can — and will — have real questions about her health. I wrote this on Tuesday morning: The simple fact is that there is zero evidence that anything is seriously wrong with Clinton. If suffering an occasional coughing fit is evidence of a major health problem, then 75 percent of the country must have that mystery illness. And I am one of them.
Well, that is no longer operative. Context matters. A coughing episode is almost always just a coughing episode. But when coupled with Clinton's "overheating" on Sunday morning — with temperatures something short of sweltering — Clinton and her team simply need to say something about what happened (and why the press was in the dark for so long.) And as the New York Times's Adam Nagourney tweeted on Sunday morning, now might be a good time for Clinton to release a fuller record of her medical history.
15 Years After 9/11, US Terror Threat is Now ‘Homegrown’: Paul Handley, Times of Israel, Sept. 9, 2016—Fifteen years after the September 11 attacks, US anti-terror officials say the country is hardened against such well-developed plots but remains as vulnerable as ever to small and especially homegrown attacks.
Barack Obama and the Lessons of 9/11: John Bolton, Algemeiner, Sept. 12, 2016—Al Qaeda’s barbaric attacks on the United States 15 years ago caused a profound change in the way most Americans think about terrorism.
Google’s Clever Plan to Stop Aspiring ISIS Recruits: Andy Greenberg, Wired, Aug. 7, 2016—Google has built a half-trillion-dollar business out of divining what people want based on a few words they type into a search field.
With The Terror Threat Growing, Europe Changes Course: Abigail R. Esman, IPT News, Aug. 31, 2016—Sixteen years ago, when Dutch commentator Paul Scheffer published his "Multicultural Drama" declaring that multiculturalism in the Netherlands had failed, the response was swift and angry. Critics across Europe called him racist, bigoted, nationalistic. Others dismissed his views as mere rants and ramblings of a Leftist in search of a cause. Not anymore.