18 Years After 9/11, What Has Changed?
What Can We Do Together to Make Things Better?
September 9, 2019
We tend to remember momentous events. People of my generation remember where they were and what they were doing when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Most people today, young and old, remember where they were and what they were doing when America was attacked on 9-11-2001.
On that terrible morning, I had arrived with a friend at an attorney's office for an appointment and found the reception desk unattended. I rang the bell on the desk, but no one appeared.
My friend Kevin and I walked down the inner hallway until we found the office staff. Twenty or so people were crowded in the small conference room watching a small TV. While Kevin and I were driving to the office the first plane had hit the first tower of the World Trade Center, so we didn't know what had happened. People were quietly questioning whether it could have been an accident. Then we watched the second plane hit the second tower, and there was no doubt that this was a terror attack. No one spoke. The only sound in the room was the sound of weeping.
A few days later I penned an article titled, “The Day Everything Changed.” I talked about President Bush’s attempt to reassure the nation on 9/11. I wrote, “I doubt that there have been as many flags flown in this country since the day World War II ended. I have witnessed a new pride in people’s voices as they recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Not all the changes brought about by 9/11 have been negative. One result has been an increased sense of patriotism.” Another result was record attendance at churches, and more people turning to God in prayer.
People who experienced both events say that America was never so united since Pearl Harbor. I truly expected to see great changes in our nation. I believed we would work together to make sure that nothing like this could ever happen again. I naively thought that the unity we experienced in the days following 9/11 would endure, and even strengthen. Unfortunately, I was wrong. America is more divided today than at any time in our history. And, yes, I include the Civil War in that assessment.
In the Civil War, our nation was divided over one issue. But even as their armies fought against one another, people on both sides of that issue shared many important values. The great majority were Christians who believed in the authority of the Word of God. They believed in the type of family the Bible gave us. They believed that all life was sacred. They believed in freedom and liberty.
They would be horrified by the America that exists today. The idea that people would murder babies in the womb because they were too lazy to use birth control would have been repugnant to them. They would have been disgusted to see courts overturning the will of the people and their legislators to allow men to marry men and women to marry women. And they would have been utterly shocked to see courts in our nation allowing Islamic Shariah Law to override our Constitution.
It doesn’t take a historian to observe the two periods that make up the last 18 years. During the first eight years, George Bush’s steady hand was at the nation’s helm. During the next eight years, we were vexed with the bumbling, fumbling attempts of an amateur to lead.
Before he left office, in a nationwide poll, 54% said they believed the Obama nuclear deal with Iran had made America less safe. 80% of Americans believed a major terrorist attack against our country was likely, and that it could happen soon. Worse, 54% believe the nation is overall less safe than it was before 9/11. Only 39% believe we are safer. When Bush left office 51% thought we were safer than prior to 9-11, and 38% thought we were less safe. That was a huge shift – a complete reversal of the numbers – since Obama took over from Bush.
President Bush was far from perfect. But he was a patriot, and he was a leader. He made hard decisions that kept our nation safe. And he laid a foundation for national security that even Obama was not able to completely dismantle.
Following 9/11 under Bush, immigration to the United States became much more difficult, and rightly so. Bush believed that his first responsibility was to Americans, and he made decisions designed to protect America from infiltration by people who wished to harm us. Obama believed his first responsibility was to the "global community." He actually believed – contrary to the Constitution – that anyone who wants to come to America has a right to immigrate here. And that includes Muslims whose sole intention is to – at best – change American law and our way of life; or – at worst – destroy us from within.
Under Bush, public trust in government reached the highest level since the 1980s, according to the respected Pew Research polls. Now, trust in government is not necessarily a great thing. A free people need to have a healthy skepticism about their government to keep it from becoming tyrannical - a sentiment our Founding Fathers would second. But in a time of war, such as we have been engaged in since 9/11, it helps if the people trust the motives of at least their Commander-in-Chief. After Obama took office, the same polls showed trust in government – specifically Obama – dropped steadily.
Bush put terrorists in a prison in Guantanamo Bay – off US soil. This meant that they could be treated as what they were – enemy combatants – and held in military confinement. Obama has insisted on treating these terrorists like common criminals and trying them in US courts on US soil – greatly increasing the risk to the court officers, the juries, and the public. And he foolishly insisted on holding them in New York City, the favorite target of Islamic terrorists. It is a miracle that we didn't have a terrorist attack on a court where these trials were being held.
Bush also allowed the intelligence professionals to use harsh interrogation techniques to get vital information from these prisoners that helped prevent terrorist attacks and gave us valuable insight into terrorists’ plans and methods. These techniques included sleep deprivation and playing loud rock music – both of which are things that US teens do to themselves every day. More serious was the technique of waterboarding. While it is very uncomfortable, it can’t kill the subject. In fact, after thousands of uses – under careful medical supervision – not one terrorist has died of sleep deprivation, loud music - or waterboarding. Yet Obama termed this “torture” and – if not for an outcry from the public – would have tried brave military and intelligence personnel in court for their efforts to protect us. Today, without these tools, we get very little information from these monsters.
If you feel sorry for these viscous monsters because they experienced uncomfortable interrogations, please remember that these are the people who killed thousands on 9/11 and in numerous other terror attacks, wiped out whole villages including women and children. They used real torture, beheadings, and burned people alive to terrorize innocent people.
Altogether 775 detainees were brought to the prison at Guantanamo Bay. These weren’t people about whom we had casual suspicions of terrorist activity. Most were captured on the battlefield or while they were performing terrorist acts. Today, thanks to Obama’s obsession with closing the prison, only 61 remain in custody. He has farmed them out to any country that would take them, paying them to keep them in custody. In most cases, the nations (primarily Muslim nations) either let them walk about freely or even let them leave their countries. Obama wanted to transfer the rest to US prisons, but fortunately, Congress blocked him.
Obama told a reporter that “only a handful” of former Guantanamo detainees who have been released have returned to terrorist activities. He must have pretty big hands. According to Obama’s own National Director of Intelligence, about 200 of the 653 that have been released – about 30% - are known or strongly suspected to have returned to their prior occupation – terrorism. And who can blame them? That’s the only job training they have had. More important, these guys don’t send a postcard to the US government when they return to terrorism. These are only the ones we know about. Some intelligence estimates have the number at over 80%.
Finally, let’s take a look at the TSA (Transportation Safety Administration), which – along with the Border Patrol - is our first line of defense against terrorists attacking the US. The TSA was frankly a joke under Bush. It has gotten even worse under Obama. A leak of an internal investigation showed 67 of 70 deadly objects getting past screeners, which infuriated Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson. He was mad because it made him look bad. But American citizens should be infuriated because such gross incompetence could make them look dead.
There are many forms of transportation in any modern country – aircraft, boats, trains, and highways, to name a few. The TSA spends 98% of its budget on just one of those – airlines. And very little of that attention is paid to private aircraft, which is a far more likely mode of transport of a weapon of mass destruction than an airliner. But TSA spends all its time harassing airline passengers and almost none screening the millions of people who board subways, trains, and ferries every day. A bomb on a large ferry or cruise ship could kill far more people than on most airliners.
Some attention – but not enough – is paid to container ships docking at large ports. But pleasure boats are almost never inspected. How hard would it be for a yacht to bring a suitcase nuclear bomb from Bermuda or the Bahamas (just 50 miles from Florida) into a major harbor?
The reason TSA wastes so many resources on air travelers is that they are so politically correct that they refuse to do what Israel does – profile passengers. Israel has never had an incident of sabotage on an El Al aircraft. How many have we had? They have never had a death due to an airline terrorist incident. How many thousands have we had? Israeli aircraft are the most sought after targets of Islamic terrorists – yet the Israelis always stop the terrorists. So shouldn’t we use a little common sense, and learn from our ally Israel? Shouldn't we profile the people whom we know are predisposed to hate us and want to kill us?
100% of the terrorists who brought down four US airliners 18 years ago were young Muslim men. None of them were 8-year old black girls. And none of them were 80-year-old Italian grandmothers in wheelchairs. Yet I have personally seen both of these hand-searched by TSA agents while Mohammed walked by them smiling at the ridiculous scene.
Of course, other types of people could be a threat. But when I was a deputy sheriff and received a call that two Asian men in a white van had just robbed a bank, my partner and I did not stop black men driving green VW’s. It’s just common sense. Unfortunately, common sense is not all that common in government.
The bottom line is that since 9/11, little has changed overall. Much improved during the eight years when George Bush was in the Oval Office. But during what I like to call Obama's Reign of Terror, most of the gains were lost, and Obama both damaged the economy and greatly weakened our national defense. He promised to cut our military by 50% during his campaign - and that's a campaign promise he kept.
Thankfully, there's a new sheriff in town today. He doesn't have Obama's pretty manners. He's definitely rough around the edges. And tact is not in his repertoire. But he has gotten the job done.
He has increased our military readiness at an amazing pace. He has given us an amazing economy that I don't think anyone would have believed possible after the devastation Obama wrought. Remember when Obama told us he had a pen and could do basically whatever he wanted with Executive Orders? Trump has torn the worst of those up and is working on getting rid of the rest of them. He has also torn up many of the thousands of burdensome regulations Obama put on businesses. This is one of the main reasons our economy is at its best in decades.
Which brings us to the 2020 presidential election. On every anniversary of 9/11, we hold our breath, waiting to see if the Muslims will use the occasion to kill, terrorize and traumatize people who don’t follow their bloody religion. So I have to ask you a few questions. Since I’m here and you are wherever you are, I will have to both ask and answer the questions…
QUESTION: The National Debt has been described as the greatest national security issue of the US by Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – because without money we can’t fight. Which party is most likely to reduce the National Debt?
ANSWER: Of the dozens of Democrat candidates, here are just a few of the trillions of dollars of giveaways that have been proposed – without providing a way to pay for any f them. Free college for all. A $1,000 check every month to every man, woman and child in the nation. Cancellation of billions of dollars of student debt. Free childcare. Doubling the wages of millions, which would force thousands of businesses to close – and thus cost millions of jobs. “Medicare for all,” which is not at all like Medicare as we know it. (Their plan would take away the real Medicare and all private medical insurance, and replace it with a terrible version of Medicare.) Not one of them has expressed any interest in balancing the budget. Trump is a businessman who knows how to balance a budget.
QUESTION: Which party would guard our national security by guarding our elections?
ANSWER: The Democrats have sued states that require voters to prove who they are and – heaven forbid – prove that they are US citizens before they vote in US elections. Democrats hate voter ID’s because they prevent double and triple voting. Trump takes the sensible position that only Americans should vote in American elections, and that they should only vote once.
QUESTION: Which of the parties would continue rebuilding our military, which Obama reduced by 50%?
ANSWER: Democrats praise the military in public, but privately they hate the fact that we are the strongest nation on earth. It doesn't fit in with their one-world government Socialist agenda. Trump knows that a strong country must have a strong military, and he will continue to rebuild it.
QUESTION: Which party believes the insane nuclear arms deal Obama pushed through with Iran was good for world and US national security?
ANSWER: Even though they know that it guarantees that Iran will build nuclear weapons, the Democrats are unable to admit that Obama was wrong. Trump knows the deal was a disaster, pushed through so that Obama could keep a campaign promise. He has removed the U.S. from it. Unfortunately, Obama gave Iran billions of dollars to build nuclear facilities while he was still in the White House. So Trump will have to continue sanctions against Iran until they break and give up their dreams of nuclear weapons.
QUESTION: An armed citizenry is essential to our national security. It is a historical fact that Japan planned to attack the US West Coast directly and that they probably would have been successful. But because their intelligence indicated that every home in the US had weapons, they decided to cancel the operation. Which party would protect our Second Amendment rights?
ANSWER: The Democrat leadership is guarded 24-7 by armed men - but they believe that you and I should not be allowed to defend ourselves. They are very vocally in favor of more and more restrictive gun regulations. Trump continues to defend the Second Amendment.
QUESTION: Which party favors “sanctuary cities,” which refuse to turn illegal immigrants (even murderers) over to federal authorities?
ANSWER: The Democrats want cities (and now a state, California) to continue to protect criminal illegals. They make the dangerous jobs of ICE agents even more hazardous by refusing to allow the police to turn the illegals over in the safety of their jails. Trump wants to withhold all federal funding from such cities, counties, and states - but has so far been blocked by liberal judges.
QUESTION: Which of the candidates will keep us safe from terrorists slipping across our border with Mexico?
ANSWER: Democrats insanely believe, like Obama, that everyone in the world has some sort of right to come to America. Trump understands that the danger of our open border is not so much the Mexicans and Central Americans but the Islamic terrorists who use our ridiculous political correctness to infiltrate our country. He will build the wall (which, by the way, was passed into law by Congress in 2006, and which the majority of Democrats at that time voted for).
QUESTION: Which of the parties will defeat ISIS?
ANSWER: Since Obama essentially created ISIS with his foolish premature withdrawal of our troops, I doubt that Democrats will be very effective at destroying it. Again, they can't bring themselves to admit that Obama ever made a mistake. Hillary Clinton made the asinine statement that “ISIS wants to make this a religious war. It’s not, and we can’t let it become that.” Since its name begins with “Islamic” and the next word is “State,” it is very clear that this is a religious war to create a religious state – in which only one religion is allowed. Trump knows the enemy – Islamic terrorists – and he will crush them using every available resource.
QUESTION: Which of the parties believes in preserving our national sovereignty?
ANSWER: Most Democrats have long been strong proponents of an eventual one-world government. Their votes in Congress promote strengthening the UN and other international organizations at the expense of the United States. Trump has been described as the New World Order’s worst nightmare. Why do you think Mitt Romney, the Pope, the former president of Mexico, and other One-Worlders have denounced Trump? It’s because he will stand up for American sovereignty.
Under Obama, the United States lost ground in practically every important area. If you want more of the same, make sure you vote Democrat. If you want to keep America strong, vote Trump.
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