Remembering That Clear September Day 10 Years Ago – The Dates That Have Defined Our Lives….And OUR Country – The Leaders of the American Republic Must Always Be On Guard Against the Threats To OUR Country and As We Remember and Honor the Past We Must “Begin the World Over Again”….Because We Are Americans
Since that clear September day in 2001 that saw most of us here at Coaches Hot Seat groggily waking up on the West coast to find that the United States of America was under attack the last decade has brought for us many ups and downs and many questions about America and its’ future that would be impossible to list in this space.
The one question that we always asked each other and to the American Republic’s leaders on each September 11 since 2001 was a very simple question though:
“Where the Hell is Osama bin Laden?”
We finally got an answer to that question in early May of this year when American special forces sent bin Laden to a meeting with his Maker after President Obama ordered the attack on the home where bin Laden had been hiding for what…3, 4, 5 or more years?
Yes, we here at Coaches Hot Seat are very thankful that another 9/11 anniversary will not come and go with Osama bin Laden still breathing air on this Earth and as we look back at the last decade that included a silly and stupid war in Iraq that wasted 1 Trillion Dollars and cost OUR country over 4,000 dead and 40,000 wounded to take out a two-bit dictator that a well-armed Boy Scout troop could have taken down; a financial crisis that was wholly created by ourselves with our political and financial leaders allowing the U.S. financial system to run wild while Americans binged on Trillions of Dollars in debt; and heading towards an election in 2012 that we are confident will be the 4 th straight “change” election in America with the American People looking for someone…anyone…that can provide some clarity and direction that can take the American Republic forward from the decade of the 2000s which saw OUR nation doing little but treading water while at the same time weighing ourselves and our children and grandchildren down with massive amounts of debt that no one expects will ever be paid back.
It is often events and days in our lives that provide markers through which we remember history and for most of us here at Coaches Hot Seat there was another day long before 9/11 that we at the time had thought had fundamentally changed the world for the better but in many ways created vast new challenges that required American leadership to take on problems that were much broader than just East vs. West. United States vs. the Soviet Union, Communism vs. Capitalism or Evil vs. Freedom.
In November 1989 when the Berlin Wall was brought down by tens of thousands of Germans and freedom-loving people from around the world we watched while in the US military or working for the US Government as the Soviet Union….”the focus of evil in the modern world”….begin what we were confident would be its’ ultimate demise which was confirmed two years later with the end of the USSR.
The day the Berlin Wall came down was November 9, 1989
Two dates that help to define our lives.
Most of us left the US military and US Government service in the early 1990s and watched from afar over the past two decades as OUR “Elected Leaders” played their silly political games (Yes, through the prism of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Soviet Union, 9/11 and the rise of terrorism whether an US President is fooling around on his wife or not looks very stupid indeed) with both political parties running OUR country deeply into debt, somewhere along the way the people that were charged with protecting the American Republic and its’ People had taken their eye off of the real threats that emerged from a world that included hundreds of millions of people with newfound freedom but also a world that had spun-up lots of new threats that had to be dealt with head-on.
Two former US Senators that were in office when some of us were working in Washington DC, Warren Rudman and Gary Hart, warned a year before 9/11 that terrorism was the primary threat facing the United States of America:
A Day That Will Live In Infamy
“Several years passed before our government realized that the end of the Cold War had unleashed a set of new realities, realities containing both new dangers and opportunities. The U.S. Commission on National Security for the 21st Century was empanelled in October, 1998, to assess these and to recommend reforms in our national security structures to deal with them.
Though later described as a “terrorism commission”, our mandate was much broader, and in the course of pursuing that mandate we realized the depth and immediacy of the terrorism threat and warned against it in these words: terrorists “will acquire weapons of mass destruction… and some will use them. Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers.” (September 15, 1999)
Tragically, few in government or the media paid attention when our final report was issued on January 31, 2001, and the results, a decade ago, are well known. As a result, our way of life has been dramatically altered.
National commissions come and go, most with little attention. Attention should have been paid in our case if for no other reason than that we undertook the most comprehensive review of U.S. national security since 1947, the eventful year in which we created the national security state.
Ten years later only one of our commission’s fifty unanimous recommendations, the creation of a Department of Homeland Security, has been adopted. The other 49, still current, still significant, remain unattended by both the second Bush and the Obama administrations.
The new realities we identified and addressed included failed and failing states, the rise of non-state actors, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the rise of economic competition that would erode our ability to finance our own protection.”
We here at Coaches Hot Seat had the same concerns as Senators Rudman and Hart about the potential for the rise of terrorism from the Middle East and other areas of the world where there are millions of people living with little hope for a better life and future while nearby corrupt dictators live like medieval kings on the Trillions of Dollars of wealth that is often sent to them by the American People in exchange for their energy resources.
On September 11, 2008 we wrote about in this blog an experience that two of us here at Coaches Hot Seat had while working in New York City in February 1993 when the World Trade Center was attacked the first time:
God Bless to all that lost loved ones on 9/11 – “To reap the whirlwind”, Coaches Hot Seat Blog, September 11, 2008
“As our country marks the seventh anniversary of 9/11 we can only hope that Americans have not forgotten not only the price paid on that day, but the immense sacrifices that have been made by the citizens of this Republic in its history and through to today that allows us to actually have the time to debate the finer points of college football. It is very easy to forget how tough the life was for our forefathers and in many instances even for our parents and grandparents as the United States was emerging in the last century into pretty much the unchallenged superpower that we are today. Being in the crowd of one of our great college football stadiums, like a few of us here at Coaches Hot Seat will be at the Coliseum on Saturday night, provides a tremendous feeling of unity and pride that we as citizens of America can come together to watch two great football teams settle their differences on the field of play under a shared set of customs and rules. An equally powerful feeling is to be overseas onboard a United States Naval Ship as it is passes through the Straits of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf just behind the USS America aircraft carrier as it turns itself into the wind and commences flight operations. Yes, we live in a mighty country, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that there are storm clouds building on the horizon both domestically and overseas and we only hope that Americans everywhere are prepared for the huge challenges that are surely to come.
With the memorials and memories of 9/11 today, we all should understand that we are living in a very dangerous world, and that we should be eternally prepared for the next attack upon our country. A few of us here at Coaches Hot Seat spent a considerable amount of time in the Persian Gulf region of the world in the 1980s and early 90s, including Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and after seeing that area of the world and its people up-close, the recent attacks upon our country and all that it stands for were sadly not a surprise to us. In February 1993 a couple of us, only a few months after leaving the US Navy, were working for a bank in midtown Manhattan when suddenly a scene popped up onto one of the TV screens on our trading desks of people being carried out of the World Trade Center. Business being business it never occurred to us at that moment to do anything but keep working, because it only looked to us and our co-workers as if there had been a terrible fire in the World Trade Center, and we were glad to hear as the day went on that there were not many casualties in the “fire.” As we went to lunch and later that evening as we worked-out and played basketball at our local gym, the details of the “fire” at the World Trade Center were beginning to sound like something else all together. We put on our black ties and coats for a dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that included the string section of the New York Philharmonic and we picked up our dates (a couple of hot NYU girls as we seem to recall!) for what promised to be another great night in the greatest city on the Earth. We dropped our dates off in front of The Met and drove around trying to park one of our “way too big for Manhattan” Chevy Tahoe’s and just as we found a parking spot we heard then Governor of New York Mario Cuomo on the radio in a press conference talking about the incident at the World Trade Center earlier that day.
Governor Cuomo said (paraphrasing all quotes since it was so long ago): “We may be looking at a bomb at the World Trade Center rather than a fire.”
Reporter: Why do you think it is bomb?
Governor Cuomo: “Well, when it quacks like a duck it is usually a duck, and this smells like a bomb to our people here, especially with all the damage in the underground parking deck.”
As the two of us sat in the Chevy Tahoe in the upper-80s on the upper-east side of Manhattan only a couple of blocks from Central Park and listened to Governor Cuomo say “bomb” we two long-time friends looked at each other and at the very same moment had the same exact thoughts and series of images running through our heads. We had spent time in the Persian Gulf region of the world while in the US military before Saddam invaded Kuwait in August 1990 and then again in the build-up to and during Operation Desert Storm, and we had been on liberty many times in the Middle Eastern cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, UAE; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Mina Sulman, Bahrain; and even Kuwait City, Kuwait before and after Desert Storm. We had seen the Persian Gulf region and its people pre-Desert Storm as they wearily accepted a US military presence during the Cold War and tanker wars of the 1980s. We also saw a growing resentment to the US as our power was increasingly flexed in the region to protect our national interests and economy at home. We two friends over many watches on “the bridge” and in “CIC” discussed what we saw and the implications for our country in a world that was growing smaller everyday. After Desert Storm when Coalition Forces destroyed the Iraqi Army we again went on liberty and this time when we looked into many people’s eyes in the Middle East we saw not only fear, but anger. We two friends continued to discuss the possibilities and challenges that our country would face into the future as some people in the world came to be both envious and fearful as this country’s influence continued to grow, especially with the downfall of the Soviet Union. Both of us vividly recall while on liberty in Europe in 1992 that we had discussed the chance that the same thing that happened after the US’s covert and overt operations in Cuba in the 1960s (a blowback that can be tied partially into everything from the JFK assassination to Nixon’s use of Cuban “plumbers” that were members of the Bay of Pigs operation, which of course led to Watergate, and later to Nixon’s resignation), could also happen with all that our country had been doing in the Middle East since the 1950s, which was accelerated after the takeover of our embassy in Iran in the late 1970s.
Yes, all of those images ran through our heads as we heard Governor Cuomo use the word “bomb” as the probable scenario for what had happened at the World Trade Center earlier that day. We two friends looked at each other and we immediately thought that the perpetrators behind this attack on WTC were of Middle Eastern origin. As we all came to learn the attack on the World Trade Center in February 1993 was led by Ramzi Yousef and several other men of Middle Eastern ancestry that harbored a deep hatred of the United States and all that our country stands for. As Yousef said at his trial in 1995: “Yes, I am a terrorist, and proud of it as long as it is against the U.S. government.” It would be foolish for anyone to believe that Ramzi Yousef and his co-conspirators in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center just naturally hated the United States. No, a human can only “learn” to hate something, and no doubt his twisted view of the world was created by the perceived and real actions of the United States in the Middle East over the past 50 years. Many times our country’s very real “national interests” collided with what would have been best for the Persian Gulf region of the world and its people, and that is one of the reasons we had Middle Eastern men trying to blow up the WTC in 1993, and why they came back in 2001. As Hosea wrote long ago, “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk; the bud shall yield no meal; if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.” The main problem with the West and the Middle East is that both us have “sown the wind” in dastardly ways, and each of us have alternated between “reaping the whirlwind” for the past 50 years. For the sake of all of our children, it is time for both sides to end this madness.
Both of us knew that night as we walked towards the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a dinner, that later seemed oddly suspended from reality with all that had happened that day in New York City, that the world had completely changed that day, and we only wondered if our fellow citizens realized what had happened that day as well. Over the next eight years both of us frustratingly watched as the Clinton administration missed one opportunity after another to appropriately address a growing terrorism problem in the Middle East that had to be apparent to anyone that was paying attention, and a problem that was getting closer to us everyday. Neither of us were that surprised in September 2001 when “they” came back for a second attack on the World Trade Center, because their motives and desire to attack our country were clear, as has been detailed in Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Looming Tower. What frustrated us even more was the Bush Administration’s reaction to 9/11 when they attacked and invaded a country in Iraq that had not attacked us nor posed any threat to our country. Instead of obliterating the Al Qaeda network and killing outright or holding Osama Bin Laden and the rest of the terrorists behind 9/11 to account for their dastardly deeds, we undertook an unnecessary war in Iraq when the real enemy was, and still is in hiding on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. You see, we have this odd notion that when our country is attacked, like when the Japanese attacked this nation at Pearl Harbor, that the country or people conducting that attack on the US will pay a very heavy price for their actions. Going back to the end of Operation Desert Storm in 1991 when we did not march to Baghdad and overthrow Saddam, there had been a very small and committed group of people in Washington DC and elsewhere that were determined to get this country into a war with Iraq, and with our current President they found a man that they could manipulate into violating the basic precepts and standards of a country that is founded upon the Declaration of Independence. It is not the right of any country to attack another country that has not attacked it, and our incredibly stupid decision to invade Iraq, when the Iraqi people did not have the guts to stand up for themselves and overthrow their tyrannical leader, diverted this country from going after the people that really attacked us 7 years ago. Needless to say, if we would have had a say in US policy during the 1990s and in the aftermath of 9/11, we would have unleashed our intelligence and military forces against the Al Qaeda in a manner consistent with our military’s determination to destroy Germany and Japan in World War II. Why that was not done will be one of the enduring mysteries surrounding 9/11 and if God forbid this country is attacked in the future by Al Qaeda the blame for that attack can be laid right at the feet of the men and women that believed attacking a country in Iraq that never posed any danger to the might of the United States, over the incredibly dangerous designs of terrorist groups that are probably plotting against our nation at this very moment. Now that the US has spent upwards of $500 billion dollars (all borrowed money by the way) in Iraq and we have approaching 50,000 total casualties counting both killed and wounded, the question must be asked, for what reason was the Iraqi war conducted? So the Iraqis could live in freedom? Please, for decades the Iraqis did not have the desire nor the will to break free of the dictator that ruled over them, and only incredibly stupid or foolish people believe that it is the right or obligation of any country to give people freedom, when those people have no basic understanding of the concept, nor are willing to fight for it in the first place. As all of us should know from our own American Revolution, that FREEDOM must be earned and fought for, it can never be given.
Now here we find ourselves on September 11, 2008, 7 years after the attack on New York and Washington, with Osama Bin Laden and many of his brethren still on the loose, when the United States was able to defeat the military empires of both Germany and Japan in under 4 years. As anyone knows that if you want to hit a particular target, you aim directly at that target and here we have the current Administration that seems to not care that many of the perpetrators of the attack on our country 7 years ago are still not accounted for, and that in so many ways is absolutely outrageous. Osama Bin Laden is just very lucky that he did not attack the US when we had a President in the White House that understood the vital importance of removing from the face of the earth anyone that would dare attack our country on our own soil. A well-armed Boy Scout troop could have overthrown the Taliban in Afghanistan, but the real work of aggressively going after the Al Qaeda and removing its presence from of face of the earth was never done. On its face, that is unexplainable.
All of us should recognize how precious the life that we have in this country actually is, and that we have brave men and women that are willing to stand up and fight for this country under very difficult and trying circumstances. These men and women, our citizen soldiers are often tasked to do things and to accomplish missions that make no sense nor help in any way to protect the United States’ national interest, but our fine soldiers shoulder on. For that, we here at Coaches Hot Seat say: THANK YOU. When we watch or attend college football games our soldiers are never far from our thoughts and their unselfish actions make all that we enjoy and have in this Republic possible. Without our mighty and the powerful US military we would not be the country that we are today, and our standing in the world would be greatly diminished. Let each of us remember the sacrifices that have been made and are being made as you read this blog entry by our servicemen across the globe, and be assured that every time that we see our flag flying or hear our Star Spangled Banner all of YOU are in our hearts and prayers.
To all of the families that lost loved one’s 7 years ago, we as always extend our deepest sympathies and wish only the best for you and your family. We only wish we were in a position to fully bring the people that were responsible for 9/11 to account for their actions. One day soon, maybe we will have a leader that knows right from wrong, common sense from stupidity, and knows that when attacked by someone to attack back in a very ferocious and very direct manner the perpetrators of that attack. That would seem to be obvious, but for some reason the obvious hasn’t been a common currency in our nation’s capital going on 16 years now.
God Bless to all that lost loved one’s on 9/11 and during this country’s wars over the past 7 years. God Speed to each one of you and your family.”
As we recognize all of those Americans that lost their lives on 9/11 a decade ago we ask that OUR “Elected and Appointed Leaders” look beyond their petty political jealousies and confront directly a world where there are still very real threats that can do great damage to OUR country and to its People.
The world is a very dangerous place and it is made even more dangerous by people that are willing to give up their own lives to kill other people that they disagree with and if one combines the power of weapons of mass destruction and Bastards that have access to the resources to achieve their warped dreams of destroying other people’s lives then one quickly understands that the same kind of vigilance and aggressive approach that was used to bring down the “evil” Soviet Union must be used again today against the threats that confront OUR country today.
Over three decades ago many of us here at Coaches Hot Seat took up the challenge of electing a new type of leader for America that would take-on the greatest challenges of the day without concern for the “political-correctness” that was then just emerging and has come to dominate American political life in the 21 st century.
That man was Ronald Reagan and we leave you with the words of President Reagan from a speech he delivered in March, 1983 that dealt with the challenges that faced America then….and in different ways face America today:
“I believe we shall rise to the challenge. I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written. I believe this because the source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual. And because it knows no limitation, it must terrify and ultimately triumph over those who would enslave their fellow man. For in the words of Isaiah: “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increased strength . . . But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary . . . “
Yes, change your world. One of our Founding Fathers, Thomas Paine, said, “We have it within our power to begin the world over again.”“
Amen to that President Reagan.
God Bless to everyone that lost loved one’s on 9/11 and during America’s wars in this past decade.
Now let’s go forward, find political leaders that have the vision and courage to take America forward and “begin the world over again.”
After all….We are Americans.