Today, virtually all Americans will remember or be reminded of the early 21st century’s version of Pearl Harbor.  For the few of us who saw something like 9/11 coming, and warned the nation, it will forever be tattooed indelibly on our souls.

Because the lesser versions of that evil hour have been more or less home grown and carried out by deranged fellow citizens in theaters and kindergarten classrooms, we tend to think that a 9/11 will not, possibly cannot, happen again.  After all we have, as the US Commission on National Security for the 21st Century urged eight months before 9/11, a US Department of Homeland Security, TSA, and increasingly militarized local police departments.

Don’t be too sure.

And don’t assume that, having made it more difficult for a handful of young men to highjack domestic airplanes and crash them into tall buildings, we have solved the problem of domestic terrorism.

The late, unlamented Osama bin Laden saw as his goal not the killing of a few thousand Americans.  His announced goal was to severely damage, if not destroy, the US economy.  So, we have just begun to see the tip of the cyber warfare iceberg.  Because corporate America refuses to accept US Government guidelines for securing and hardening its vast computer systems, some of us have warned that we can expect serious, and possibly successful, attacks on the computer networks that control our financial systems, our communications networks, our transportation systems, and our power production and delivery networks, that is our critical infrastructure.

We have already been told that it will take weeks and probably months to recover many of these systems after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  Think what a cyber hurricane can do.

For those of us in the business of seeing that history does not repeat itself, the question has to do with lessons learned.  All the TSA’s in the world cannot replace diligent leadership, presidents, cabin members, and members of Congress, who a window open to future potentials and think of ways to anticipate and protect against the worst.

If future national commissions or even alert individual citizens warn of impending danger and policy makers at the top refuse to listen, as they did in early 2001, no amount of forecasting of impending doom will prevent it from happening.

Those whose inclination is not to trust their own Government, and whose personalities are tuned to happy talk and not danger, will shy away from alerts and warnings of hazards ahead.  And they will always tell us that not every danger can be avoided.  But even if true, that is no excuse for not trying to anticipate the iceberg.

It was all summed up for me personally, as I have reiterated before, by the statement made by the Director of the US Secret Service when protection was provided to me as a national candidate: “If someone wants to kill you,” he said, “they will probably kill you.  Our job”, he continued, “is to make it as difficult as possible.”

To make terrorism on the shores of our nation as difficult as possible requires intelligence, foresight, wisdom, strength of character, and seriousness of responsibility.

In the age ahead, we should demand nothing less from our national leaders.  We owe it to the victims of 9/11 now sixteen years ago, whose loss could have been prevented, to hold our leaders accountable.

3 Responses to “Days of Infamy: Then, Now, and Still to Come”

  1. Paul G Says:

    “bin Laden’s announced goal was to severely damage, if not destroy, the US economy.”

    – Senator Gary Hart (retired)

    Students of civics in our best universities need to hear this directly right now!

    Destroying US symbols of commercial, political and military power, by hijacking and crashing US planes into major buildings and killing thousands was merely his primary objective of chaos and disruption. But his ultimate goal – publicly stated – is to destroy the US economy. What better way to destroy US than the technological equivalent of the biggest hurricane to ever hit our Atlantic coast: a cyber-hurricane!

    US elected officials whose definition of success on our behalf is career self-interest and who barter access for positive “happy talk” media attention or their criminal silencing of true patriots, such as Thomas Drake and Bill Binney, who ring warning bells that such systemic corruption is treasonous.

    “The NSA’s vision statement is: keep the problem going so the money keeps flowing.”
    – William Binney (NSA retired)

    Neither Senator Clinton nor her husband President Clinton ever publicly cited their own pre-9/11 Hart-Rudman Commission that warned of the likely loss of “THOUSANDS” of Americans’ lives on US soil, nor even when the president was personally attacked by Chris Wallace of Fox News for not doing enough!

    In fact the so-called post-9/11 Commission report, published July 2004, makes no mention of unheralded heroes Hart or Rudman, but gives a full page to a portrait image of bin Laden! Why? To keep more “Trailblazer” money flowing into the coffers of a “security corporation” staffed by former public officials with lucrative contracts at US taxpayers’ “Thinthread wallet” expense?

    The 14-member Commission on National Security for the 21st. Century, who unanimously recommended urgent Congressional debate on establishing an effective Homeland Security Agency and warned of the first international terrorist attack on US soil in almost 200 years, remains hidden from history.

    When Senator Hart flew to the White House, Sept 6, 2001, to urge immediate action on his commission’s recommendations for our safety, the national security advisor revealed that the president had delegated US national security to his vice-president who cut the anti-terrorism budget 4 days later! Just weeks earlier, Binney’s FISA-inclusive cyber terrorist search engine was summarily closed down.

    Is it any surprise therefore that our access-hungry fake news media who decided not to publish the Hart-Rudman warnings when first announced at a press conference the previous January, thereafter designed their coverage as “After 9/11?”

    As recently as Sept. 2015, a CNBC reporter chastised a presidential candidate for saying, “I wouldn’t let the Towers come down,” when merely asked what kind of president he’d be. The reporter immediately reacted, saying, “We talk about after-9/11; we don’t hold Bush responsible (for what happened before).”

    Today, the 16th anniversary of 9/11, seems no longer front-page news, even though the $Trillions in wasted costs and the immeasurable loss of our ideals including privacy and liberty, continue to destroy us daily far more than all of nature’s worst hurricanes combined might ever do.

    While former leaders still remain unaccountable for their treasonous and willful ignorance that have resulted in so much avoidable carnage in the US and overseas, now more than ever we need leaders with foresight, wisdom, strength of character, and seriousness of responsibility, to save us.

    As our honorable host so often has shown, this process may have to begin anew with our civics students who are especially cyber-smart but still need to hear directly the wise insights of our esteemed statesman. Right now!

  2. Eric Jacobson Says:

    Paul G. raises an important issue almost in passing: Why did the Clintons “cold shoulder” Sen. Hart, the Commission he co-chaired and its prescient Report? Arguably, had the Clintons (including Hillary then running for the US Senate in New York) given it more recognition in “real time”, Bush-Cheney would have paid more attention to the prediction therein, one that turned out to be tragically accurate.

    The question resonates with me in part because of two things that caught my attention (other than Hurricane Irma) over the past weekend:

    One, I watched a c-span lecture by a scholar of President Herbert Hoover that recounted (in painstaking minutia) the former president’s relationship with Presidents Truman and Eisenhower. (Paradoxically, given their differing party affiliations, Hoover had a warmer personal friendship with Truman than with Ike. Go figure.)

    And two, native Cuban boxer Sugar Ramos died. He had killed Davey Moore in the ring in 1964 and inspired Bob Dylan to write a thought-provoking song in response. The link is here: https://twitter.com/ECJLA/status/906105151693324288 .

    Hart wasn’t a member of the former president’s club during Bill Clinton’s presidency but Hart was important enough (as the man who saved the Democratic Party from political ignominy by fighting back against Reaganism “head-on” in 1983-84 and as the fallen-frontrunner for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination) to cause historians (but alas few members of the public) to wonder WHY the Clintons treated Sen. Hart as “radioactive” (in political consultant Raymond Strother’s phrase) during the 1990s and beyond.

    Here is my second-draft-of-history answer: It is because for the Clintons Hart was the conscience-bothering equivalent of Hamlet’s father’s ghost for the usurper-King who had killed his brother (Hamlet’s father) by pouring poison in his ear while the King slept. Here is how I put it in an April 2016 private email to one of our fellow MOP commenters:
    —————
    Hart’s pivotal importance [was] as a (Silent Generation) transitional leader, a leader who [as president] could and would have kept his baby boomer juniors honest, by harshly vetting their ranks and elevating only those with a sense of public morality. When Hart disappeared the oldest boomers (left to their own devices) elevated “the worst and the dumbest” of their generation (led by the Clintons and including big-foot journalists such as Tom Fiedler and Paul Taylor) who in turn ran the Democrats, the nation and the world into the ground by raising the flag of selfishness and fecklessness high and adopting policies “of by and for” the 1% (with a socially liberal gloss). Paul Taylor has written yet another superficial book rationalizing boomers’ solipsism. https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/books/2014/04/29/book-review-the-next-america-boomers-millennials-and-looming-generational-showdown-paul-taylor/5wRH6MtUbXmguNZKp23pUI/story.html .

    I do think Hart would have come around eventually on the ruinous nature of corporate globalization, but I’m not sure. If he had become president and behaved like Clinton regarding NAFTA, etc. I would have lost all interest in his Administration, including in serving in it. I am fairly confident though he would have gone a different way and conformed globalization to post WW2 ideals and not let those ideals become subverted and corrupted by the 1% as they clearly have been. Of course, we will never know.

    In sum, boomers and their pols rejected Hart’s altruism and public morality with a vengeance. And that is why Fielder and Taylor had no trouble treating him the way Roman Senators did Julius Caesar. And why they appear to have never had a qualm of conscience about it. It’s true (as Fiedler alludes in the Radiolab show) they had no way of knowing that their stunt would induce Hart to political-suicide-himself by taking the one course (rationally) barred to him in the circumstances, namely quitting the race. So their defense is that of the boxer whose opponent dies in the ring. In Bob Dylan’s lyrical phrase: “It wasn’t me who made him fall. You can’t blame me at all.”

    If I had the time and leisure I’d perfect a satirical take on Bob Dylan’s famous song “Who Killed Davey Moore?”
    http://bobdylan.com/songs/who-killed-davey-moore/ (lyrics) Here’s a first draft:
    ———–
    Who killed Gary Hart?
    Why and what’s the reason for?

    Not me said the political writer who pounds the keys on his new pc.
    Sayin’ journalism ain’t to blame,
    it’s our job to make sure things stay the same.
    We hit him hard with a few lefts and rights,
    but he didn’t have to quit the fight.
    Sayin’ fake news is here to stay, it’s just the American way.
    It wasn’t me that made him fall. You can’t blame me at all.

    Who killed Gary Hart?
    Why and what’s the reason for?

    Not I said the tabloid tv producer, don’t point your finger at me.
    He was running for the presidency and partied like a Kennedy.
    I just give those watching tv exactly what they want to see.
    It’s too bad he had to go, but there was pressure on me too you know.
    It wasn’t me that made him fall. You can’t blame me at all.

    Who killed Gary Hart?
    Why and what’s the reason for?

    Not us said the late night talk show-runners,
    who cater to the “dumb and dumber”.
    He could’ve taken it all in good fun, he didn’t have to cut-and-run.
    It’s too bad he got mortified. We didn’t want his career to die.
    It wasn’t us who made him fall. You can’t blame us at all.

    Who killed Gary Hart?
    Why and what’s the reason for?

    Not me said his campaign manager. I was playing to win
    and the Bimini cruise wasn’t no sin.
    I didn’t manage his private life, that’s between him and wife.
    Yeah it got hot in the the kitchen but taking that heat is part of runnin’.
    True I took 2 days off when I heard the news
    and didn’t tell him to fight the ruse.
    But it wasn’t me who made him fall. You can’t blame me at all.

    Who killed Gary Hart?
    Why and what’s the reason for?

    Not me said the career gal whose girl-pal took the Kodak moment
    that became his torment.
    I befriended him on a yachting trip it’s true, but I was just an ingenue.
    And that DC weekend that sealed his fate
    was just a job interview and a dinner double date.
    Don’t say honey-trap, don’t say man-killer, it was destiny it was God’s will.

    Who killed Gary Hart?
    Why and what’s the reason for?

    Not me said the candidate who believed the presidency was his destiny.
    I never thought the press would spy, disrespect me and pry.
    I could’ve been the chief of state with a neutral Fourth Estate
    And could have handled a media profane who had my stolen my good name.
    But they closed down their megaphone
    and my voice was being heard by me alone.
    Don’t say quit, don’t say suicide or martyrdom.
    I left politics as I entered, in defiance, a party of one.
    ———–
    PS. My summary take on the history-changing effects of the media’s character assassination of Sen. Hart and Hart’s consequent non-presidency, including the likelihood that the train of events leading to 9/11 would have been avoided, is found here at pp. 119-133: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5ilXuTzT1mlMHV6Y2l3QkFCbWM/view?usp=sharing .

  3. Paul G Says:

    LESSONS OF 9/11 STILL UNLEARNED

    With one hand out for lobbyist campaign “contributions,” and the other planted in the air to gauge the political winds of Reaganism too many so-called Democrat pols failed and still fail to investigate the pre-9/11 impact of the mass firing of PATCO strikers on airports’ vulnerability to terrorist surveillance.

    Today, mainstream news reports many related unlearned lessons from an attack that’s still costing us far more than $Trillions in ever-growing debt, millions of destroyed lives and a continuing tsunami of endless wars and gradual dissolution of diplomacy as dictatorships displace republics. And so it goes.

    “The United States remains an easy mark for terrorists and others who prize anonymity when registering aircraft or licensed to fly. So much for the lessons of 9/11.
    A Spotlight Team investigation has found that lax oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration, over decades, has made it easy for drug dealers, corrupt politicians, and even people with links to terrorism to register private planes and conceal their identities.”

    http://apps.bostonglobe.com/spotlight/secrets-in-the-sky/series/part-one/?s_campaign=breakingnews:newsletter

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