intersection

the Church, the State, and me

Lord, thou hast made us for thyself, therefore our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.
- St. Augustine of Hippo
Posts tagged "Terrorism"

From the POH Diaries:

As Bush and the class were enjoying their time together, White House Chief of Staff Andy Card delivered the horrible news in the President’s ear; what followed next became the subject of much criticism from Bush detractors of which there is no short supply.

The left has spent much time (and money in the case of Michael Moore) claiming that because Bush didn’t immediately jump up and run out of the room screaming that we were under attack, that somehow he was indecisive in the face of the tragedy that was unfolding. That somehow because he continued with the class for a mere seven minutes that it made the tragedy of that day worse.

Ten years later, we know that this isn’t the case. President Bush reacted the way you’d want a leader to react in the face of a National tragedy on the scale of 9/11. After all, what difference would those seven minutes have made in the grand scheme of things? No one really knew what was happening yet anyway. And once the facts began to be known, there was no one more confident and resolute in knowing what had to be done than President George W. Bush…

And a story in the Guardian on recollections of that day by some of the students there:

Later, there were calls by critics for Bush to be impeached for sitting and doing nothing for so long, having already been advised that the US was being attacked on a scale never seen before. But the children who were there remain convinced that Bush made the right decision, buying himself time to think while not distressing them by rushing from the classroom.

"He did the best that he could," said Chantal Guerrero, 17, now a student at the Sarasota military academy. "For me, it was right. If he had left straight away and freaked out that would have been the mindset he would have left for America. If he wanted the country to be calm he needed to stay calm … I’m not sure how much he would have been able to do in the seven minutes or so that it took."

Smith agrees with his former classmate. “I would have done the same. I wouldn’t want these little kids, who were reading to me, to get all hyped up and go crazy about what had happened. Now I understand why he did that so everything was still calm, why he didn’t jump up and leave straight away.

"It was nice that he understood we were young kids and would probably have gone crazy if he had told us what had happened."…

Former President George W. Bush in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at the 10th anniversary memorial speech for Flight 93 (September 10, 2011)

Astronaut Frank Culbertson captured this image as the International Space Station orbited above New York on 9/11

From CNN, a story on Astronaut Frank Culbertson, who had been aboard the International Space Station for a month when the 9/11 attacks occurred:

On Friday, NASA released letters Culbertson wrote and images he took as the space station passed over the New York City area after the 9/11 attacks.

Frank Culbertson

Culbertson wrote that he first heard of the attack via radio from a NASA flight surgeon.

"I was flabbergasted, then horrified. My first thought was that this wasn’t a real conversation, that I was still listening to one of my Tom Clancy tapes," Culbertson wrote. "It just didn’t seem possible on this scale in our country. I couldn’t even imagine the particulars, even before the news of further destruction began coming in."

And he closed his letter on that first day:

"Other than the emotional impact of our country being attacked and thousands of our citizens and maybe some friends being killed, the most overwhelming feeling being where I am is one of isolation.”…

Check it out.

In the Wall Street Journal, a piece by Michael Burke, brother of a firefighter killed on 9/11:

In our darkest hour, they gave us hope—the firefighters of September 11. In the chaos at the World Trade Center, the rigs pulled up, the men climbed out, retrieved their roll-up hoses and marched stalwart to the towers. Carrying nearly a hundred pounds of equipment they climbed the stairs; flight after flight after flight. A woman in the North Tower, descending from the 89th floor said, “When I saw the firemen I knew we would be all right.”

When they arrived at the base of the towers, there were jumpers by the score. Two firefighters, terribly, were struck. “There is no other way to put it,” an EMS who witnessed it said, “they exploded.”

And still they went in…

As they crossed the plaza into the daylight, one of the men looked back. The fireman was still there, standing his ground in case others needed help. And there he undoubtedly was when the full 110-story tower came down upon him.

"Courage," Winston Churchill said, "is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others."

Three hundred and forty-three firefighters, 37 Port Authority police officers, 23 NYPD officers and three court officers died at the World Trade Center. In response, America and the world hailed their heroism and sacrifice…

Who—especially on the 10th anniversary of their sacrifice—would deny the first responders their due and proper honor? New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. His office says that because of the number of victims’ family members attending there’s not enough room to accommodate first responders at Ground Zero that day, though “we’re working to find ways to recognize and honor first responders, and other groups, at different places and times.” Different places and times?…

Check it out.

Former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani slams current mayor Michael Bloomberg: “the microphone will not melt” if we have clergy at 9/11 Memorial

Heh, speaking Truth to (wannabe) Power

From Adam Liptak, the New York Times Supreme Court correspondent, an interesting overview:

… By historic standards, the domestic legal response to 9/11 gave rise to civil liberties tremors, not earthquakes. And even those changes were largely a result of reordered law enforcement priorities rather than fundamental shifts in the law.

Consider the USA Patriot Act, which was short for this Orwellian mouthful: Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001. The law, more than 300 pages long, sailed through Congress seven weeks after the attacks with scant dissent. It quickly became a sort of shorthand for government abuse and overreaching.

The Patriot Act undeniably expanded the government’s surveillance powers and the scope of some criminal laws. But this was, in truth, tinkering at the margins and nothing compared with the responses of other developed democracies, where preventive detention and limitations on subversive speech became commonplace.

“In comparative perspective, the Patriot Act appears mundane and mild,” Kent Roach, a law professor at the University of Toronto, writes in a new book, “The 9/11 Effect: Comparative Counter-Terrorism.”

The story is different as one moves beyond domestic criminal law. Detentions at Guantánamo Bay, extraordinary renditions and brutal interrogations all tested the limits of the appropriate exercise of government power in wartime. The American government held people without charge for almost a decade, engaged in torture as that term is understood in international law, and sent people abroad for questioning to countries known to engage in what everyone must agree is torture.

But criminal law itself changed surprisingly little in the wake of the attacks. What did change was how law enforcement conceived its mission

Check it out.

See my earlier post here. And from the ever wonderful Anchoress, more on the Bloomberg debacle of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks:

… But now — understanding all of that — we read that New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not inviting First Responders to observe the tenth anniversary of this day of death and sacrifice, at Ground Zero.

And we read, also that Mayor Bloomberg’s guest list is empty of any clergy, as well.

There will be no prayers at his little shindig. Heaven, forbid.

Apparently, there’s just not enough room for all the First Responders who want to be there, because there are so many important people who must be there! They cannot be denied their photo-op, and their speechifying, and their postures and poses, even though most of them were not even in office on that dreadful day.

No, Michael Bloomberg’s Super Colossal, Low-Salt 9/11 Memorial
and Networking Event is a big-ticket item for the the ones who can be tapped, later, for their money or their influence — the most important sorts of people.

And of course, some of the families of the dead will be allowed in. One does need them for the pictures, after all.

First Responders and Clergyfolk are not very important to the powerful and the enlightened. They only protect us, rescue us, resuscitate us, console us, pray with us, bless us and bury us. And when they die doing it, well, one does feel terrible about it for a whole news cycle or two. And then one takes a private jet somewhere, and tries to forget…

I don’t know why I should be surprised. Priests and First Responders are, like our troops, front-line folk. They’re like heroes in the cowboy flicks; they ride in, shoulder the burden, help put things to rights, and then — while the elite get on with assuming their power and asserting their primacy –they recede into the background. Only the very few stick around to say ‘thank you’ and wave them off. Sometimes children ask them to come back, or to stay.

Bloomberg’s priorities are all wrong. He’s thinking like a Baron — or no, he’s not really thinking at all; he’s being pragmatic: mustn’t let the help get get too much recognition, get too full of themselves — they might start getting uppity and making demands on milords purse and time. Mustn’t let the damn clergy murmur their vulgar prayers, or next we’ll have tent-revivalists cluttering up the fairgrounds and making such spectacles of themselves…

Check it out.

Someone please tell me this is a joke. From the Wall Street Journal:

Religious leaders are calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reverse course and offer clergy a role in the ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
Rudy Washington, a deputy mayor in former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s administration, said he’s outraged. Mr. Washington organized an interfaith ceremony at Yankee Stadium shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"This is America, and to have a memorial service where there’s no prayer, this appears to be insanity to me," said Mr. Washington, who has suffered severe medical problems connected to the time he spent at Ground Zero. …

Wow. Just. Wow. No clergy allowed by Mayor Bloomberg at the 10th anniversary of 9/11? What is he thinking??

Did Bloomberg forget this?

Mychal F. Judge, OFM (born Robert Emmet Judge on May 11, 1933; died September 11, 2001) was a Roman Catholic priest of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor, Chaplain of the Fire Department of New York, and the first recorded victim of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

And this?

Upon hearing the news that the World Trade Center had been hit, Father Judge rushed to the site. He was met by the Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, who asked him to pray for the city and its victims. Judge administered the Last Rites to some lying on the streets, then entered the lobby of the World Trade Center North Tower, where an emergency command post was organized. There he continued offering aid and prayers for the rescuers, the injured and dead.
When the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 AM, debris went flying through the North Tower lobby, killing many inside, including Judge. At the moment he was struck in the head and killed, Judge was repeatedly praying aloud, "Jesus, please end this right now! God, please end this!", according to Judge’s biographer and New York Daily News columnist Michael Daly.
Shortly after his death, an NYPD lieutenant, who had also been buried in the collapse, found Judge’s body and assisted by two firemen and two civilian bystanders carried it out of the North Tower lobby to nearby St Peter’s Church. This event was captured in the documentary film 9/11, shot by Jules and Gedeon Naudet. Shannon Stapleton, photographer from Reuters, photographed Judge’s body being carried out of the rubble by five men. It became one of the most famous images related to 9/11. The Philadelphia Weekly reports the photograph is considered an American Pietà.
Judge’s body was formally identified by NYPDDetectiveSteven McDonald, a long-time friend of the priest. The coroner found that Judge died of “blunt force trauma to the head.”
Mychal Judge’s body bag was labeled “Victim 0001,” recognized as the first official victim of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Former President Bill Clinton was among the 3,000 people who attended his funeral, held on September 15 at St Francis of Assisi Church in Manhattan. It was presided over by Cardinal Edward Egan. President Clinton said that Judge’s death was “a special loss. We should live his life as an example of what has to prevail.”

And has Bloomberg forgotten all the other clergy that ministered to the dying and the survivors?

What. A. Putz.

Anyone ever watch Numbers? I think this physicist has:

[Neil Johnson, a physicist at the University of Miami] and his research team gathered publicly available data on military fatalities in Afghanistan and Iraq. On a graph, the numbers created a distinct, upward curve.

He says it wasn’t just a coincidence; those numbers follow a specific mathematical pattern. In this case, the pattern translates into an equation you can punch into a handheld calculator, says Johnson.

It works like this:…

Check it out.