September 11, 2006

Five Years After 9/11: Noteworthy Posts and Info

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:00 am

I will make no pretense of special profundity today. I’ll leave that to others more gifted than myself. Though the collection below is a pretty good one, this post may be updated from time to time throughout the day.
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Paul Miller at Newshound remembers that day, believes that history will judge George Bush harshly for failing to mobilize the country, and believes that because of that “They will hit us (again) — hard.”

Mark Steyn pessimistically believes we’ve “retreated to the laziest old tropes,” while our enemies still hide in plain sight.

The incomparable Peggy Noonan, on the “metallic roar” and the heroic messages (HT Pro Ecclesia).

SOB Alliance members A Rose by Any Other Name, Steve the Pirate, and Interested-Participant are part of the 2996 project. Congrats to all of them, as well as the all of the other blog contributors around the nation (probably around the world) for getting involved. A Rose tells you about to Daphne Ferlinda Elder, Steve gives you insights into Joseph Zuccala, and I-P covers Obdulio Ruiz-Diaz, Manuel Da Mota, and Joshua Poptean. All victims are clearly missed. Multiply the agony inflicted and the talent lost by 600 and you get an idea of the treasure unspeakably evil people took from us 5 years ago. UPDATE: A Rose also has a tribute to Davis Greer (“Deeg”) Sezna, Jr. UPDATE 2: I missed the fact that Lincoln Logs is telling us about Carol Bouchard today. UPDATE 3, Sept. 12: Brain Shavings also had a tribute to Damian Meehan, and Right on the Right covered David Rice.

Atlas has pictures from that day that you should not miss, and that you should consider saving.

WCBS-TV has many video clips from that day. I’d be interested in getting links to clips that can be saved. Comment or e-mail me if you know of any.

Michelle Malkin (at the “read more” section of the post) and the UK Guardian both have the translation of “a four-page document, written in Arabic, found in the baggage of the suspected ringleader behind the carnage, Mohamed Atta.”

Michael Ledeen (HT Larwyn) remembers Barbara Olson, and notes how little patience she would have with those who undermine us.

Chuck Colson has good news and bad news.

Seth Swirsky is grateful to someone.

Dr. Sanity expounds on the dangers of catastrophic psychological denial.

Outstanding roundups are at Wizbang (a definite bookmarker) and La Shawn Barber, who also has a great essay that precedes hers.

Bryan Preston: Five Years On (HT Michelle Malkin, whose key words are “Remembrance. Resolve. Recognition.”). On the third word, Bryan’s money line — “Five years on, a psychosis has gripped millions who can’t and won’t fathom the true nature of the war we are in.” President Bush comes in for a fair share of what I would agree is deserved criticism.

The list of all victims is here (HT LGF).

Lawhawk at A Blog for All was there. He also links back to a previous post on a NY Post story that the tunnel bombers a couple of months ago were trying to “flood the bathtub where the Twin Towers once stood, and where the new Freedom Tower, 9/11 Museum and Memorial, plus the other office buildings and transit hub would be located.” Wow — How many people know THAT?

The Fundamental 5th Anniversary Truth: “Most People Want Us to Win”

Filed under: Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 8:28 am

Note: This and a “post of others’ posts” will be today’s only entries.

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The President met with Paul Gigot of The Wall Street Journal last week (link requires subscription). Here are key excerpts:

Love or loathe President George W. Bush, you can’t say he lacks the courage of his convictions. Down in the polls, with the American people in a sour mood over Iraq, Mr. Bush isn’t changing his policy or hunkering down in the Oval Office. Instead he’s doubling down, investing whatever scarce political capital he has to frame the November contest as a choice over the economy and taxes and especially over his prosecution of the war on terror.

….. The president is certainly in feisty, even passionate, form as I meet him for 40-some minutes Thursday afternoon, coming off the third of his speeches this week on the lessons of 9/11 and a fund-raiser in Savannah, Ga., for GOP House candidate Max Burns. The critics are saying the Bush Doctrine of spreading democracy in the Middle East is dead, but the Beltway coroners must not have talked with Mr. Bush. I pose the frequent complaint that his policy has succeeded only in unleashing the radical Furies in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq.

“I would remind the critics of the freedom agenda that the policy prior to September 11th was stability for the sake of stability: Let us not worry about the form of government. Let us simply worry about whether or not the world appears stable, whether or not we achieve short-term geopolitical gain,” he says. “And it looked like that policy was working, and, frankly, it made some sense when it came to dealing with the Middle East vis-à-vis the Communists.

“The problem with that philosophy, or that foreign policy, was that beneath the surface boiled resentment and hatred, and that resentment and hatred helped fuel this radical Islam, and the radical Islam is what ended up causing the attacks that killed 3,000 of our citizens. So I vowed, and made the decision that not only would we stay on the offense and . . . get these people before they could attack us again. But in the long run the only way to make sure your grandchildren are protected, Paul, is to win the battle of ideas, is to defeat the ideology of hatred and resentment.”

….. The pace of Middle East reform will vary by country, he adds. In Kuwait, they now let women vote. “And so if you look at the Middle East from 10 years to today, there’s been some significant change. Jordan changed, Morocco, the Gulf Coast countries, Qatar,” and of course the nascent democracies of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Regarding Iraq, Mr. Bush is a bit reflective, if also insistent about the costs of failure. “I’m not surprised that this war has created consternation amongst the American people,” he concedes. “The enemy has got the capacity to take — got the willingness to take innocent life and the capacity to do so, knowing full well that those deaths and that carnage will end up on our TV screens. So the American people are now having to adjust to a new kind of bloody war.

“Now, my view of the country is this: Most people want us to win. There are a good number who say, get out now. But most Americans are united in the concept — of the idea of winning.”

….. Mr. Bush is most emphatic when he links Iraq to the larger struggle for Mideast reform. “In the long run, the United States is going to have to make a decision as to whether or not it will support moderates against extremists, reformers against tyrants. And Iraq is the first real test of the nation’s commitment to this ideological struggle. . . . I believe it strongly. One way for the American people to understand the stakes is to envision what happens if America withdraws.” He has been hitting that last point hard in his recent speeches, and it is the linchpin of the argument Mr. Bush will make through November against the Democrats who insist on pulling out immediately.

….. Mr. Bush remains as blunt as ever about the nature of the Iranian regime when I ask if one lesson of North Korea is that Iran must be stopped before it acquires a bomb. “North Korea doesn’t teach us that lesson. The current government [in Iran] teaches that lesson,” Mr. Bush says. “Their declared policies of destruction and their support for terror makes it clear they should not have a nuclear weapon.”

The impression Mr. Bush leaves is of a man deeply engaged on the Iran problem and, like several presidents before him, trying to understand what kind of diplomatic or economic pressure short of military means will change the regime’s behavior. One way or another, Iran will be the major dilemma of the rest of his presidency, and Mr. Bush knows it.

….. “I said in my Inaugural Address, we should end tyranny in the 21st century,” he says. “And I meant that.”

Supercomputers: Get Ready for a New Level of Processing Speed

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:06 am

The petaflop — 1,000 trillion calculations per second.

The “My Culture Made Me Do It” Excuse for Statutory Rape

This excuse is starting to get old:

Man gets 18 months in prison for impregnating 14-year-old

LEBANON — A suspected illegal immigrant was sentenced to prison Thursday after impregnating a 14-year-old girl.

William Cuellar, 24, of Loveland, was sentenced to 18 months in prison by the Warren County Common Pleas Court following his June conviction for having unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, according to a release from the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office.

Cuellar was charged with the same crime involving the same girl in January and had been placed on two years of community control, said Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel.

Cuellar is an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, Hutzel said, and one of his defenses was that this type of conduct is legal in his culture. But Hutzel said Ohio has laws to protect against that behavior.

….. Whether Cuellar is deported will be left up to federal authorities, she said, but while he is in the United States, he will be required to register every 90 days as a sexual predator.

“Whether” he is deported? Words, fail.

The first sentence Cuellar received earlier in the year was a joke. The second sentence, 18 months, is an outrage. The fact that he may remain here after his prison term is dereliction of duty on the part of people who are supposed to protect us.

Oh, and how can this guy be a “suspected” illegal immigrant in the first paragraph and definitely one in the fourth?

UPDATE: Lindsey Hilty, the story’s reporter, responded to an e-mail inquiry about Cuellar’s citizenship status by saying “The Warren County prosecutor said he was an illegal immigrant.” I would think that an affirmative statement by the prosecutor should not be characterized in that manner, as the prosecutor is, in effect, legally under oath any time he or she is in a courtroom.

Creative Non-Commitment Excuse Number 1,943

Filed under: General — Tom @ 7:56 am

From AP:

Brad Pitt, ever the social activist, says he won’t be marrying Angelina Jolie until the restrictions on who can marry whom are dropped.

I Guess It Depends on What You Mean By “Complicated”

Chris Matthews has told NewsBusters’ Matt Sheffield that he’s not covering the flamed-out Plamegate any more on “Hardball” because it’s “so complicated.”

NRO’s Nathan Goulding comments:

“In reality, it couldn’t be any simpler. Richard Armitage told Robert Novak. Rove confirmed this to Novak. There was no conspiracy to ‘punish’ a Bush critic — only an effort to refute his lies. What’s so ‘complicated’ about that?”

(In fairness to poor Chris, this probably is “complicated” for him, as is anything going against his preconceived notions.)

That’s all you have to remember about this three-year fiasco. On a day like today, it’s truly remarkable to see how small, petty, and insecure people like Chris Matthews really are.

Next topic, please.

Positivity: Holocaust Survivors Meet after 62 Years

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:04 am

They had not seen each other in person since they were both 11 (HT Good News Blog):

Holocaust survivors meet after 62 years
Duo reunited at Trudeau airport; Childhood friends who experienced too much

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Second World War survivors Tova Weiszner (in pink) and Esther Grauer are reunited at Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport. The two had kept in touch, but had not seen each other since they were 14, soon after leaving a prison camp in the Ukraine.

When they were 11 years old, childhood friends Esther Grauer and Tova Weiszner survived a six-month death march.

They then spent three years together during the Second World War in a prison in the occupied Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, begging food from villagers to survive.

They lost touch after the war but trod similar paths, settling in Canada and raising families.

About 20 years ago, a support organization for Holocaust survivors put them in touch, but they hadn’t seen each other in person since not long after they left prison.

Sixty-two years, five children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren later, the survivors were reunited yesterday at Trudeau airport.

“Do you have a Valium? I can’t believe I forgot my Valium,” Grauer, 77, exclaimed moments before the reunion, to no avail.

“I don’t want to make a scene.”

But there was no scene. Only glistening eyes, throats choked with emotion and the silent embrace of friends who have experienced too much and haven’t seen each other since 1944.

“I have no words,” said Weiszner, 76. “There are no words. I am speechless.”

Friends since Grade 2 at their Hebrew elementary school in Lipcani, Romania (now a part of Moldova), Grauer and Weiszner and their families were among more than 1,000 Jews forced from their homes in 1941 by Germany’s Nazis and the Romanian army, marching for six months until they reached the prison barracks in the occupied Ukraine in which they would live for three years. Those who couldn’t walk any longer or disobeyed were shot.

Grauer arrived with her mother and younger sister, Weiszner with her father, pregnant mother and brother.

“It wasn’t a four-star hotel,” Weiszner said. “We slept on the cement floor; there were no beds or even mattresses. And there was no food.”

They would sneak under the barbed wire before dawn (“If the soldiers saw us, they would shoot us.”) and beg from villagers who risked their lives to help them.

Grauer remembers melting snow for water in prison. For food, she rinsed potato skins discarded by the German and Romanian guards.

Bodies of the dead were carried out daily. Weiszner’s parents and her newborn sibling would be among them, ultimately succumbing to typhus and malnutrition. Disease and lice were rampant because prisoners were not allowed to bathe.

“Imagine not having a shower for three years,” Weiszner said.

Weiszner’s and Grauer’s parents heard of a new law protecting young prisoners with no parents, and they made the children pose as orphans so they would be sent to orphanages back in Romania. Grauer eventually reunited with her mother and sister; Weiszner never saw her parents again.

The friends last saw each other in Bucharest in 1944. Separately, both travelled to Israel in the late ’40s, married and had children.

Grauer immigrated to Montreal in 1958, and her husband, a professional soccer player, played for Italian and Greek teams and drove a taxi before opening the Village Cycle and Ski sports store in Dollard des Ormeaux. One of their sons, Morrie Grauer, started the MicroBytes computer store, which now has 16 franchises in Quebec. She recently became a great-grandmother.

Weiszner stayed in Israel for 12 years, then immigrated to Winnipeg, where her husband earned 80 cents an hour as a tailor and she made 50 cents at any job she could get – working in a factory, cooking for a daycare, washing floors.

They raised three children – two of them became dentists, and the other works at a university. Weiszner has been a volunteer for the last 25 years, and still donates her time to three different organizations.

And she recently became a great-grandmother.

“I’ve been lucky,” said the diminutive Weiszner, who has a comedian’s delivery and credits her vitality to “keeping busy -

I don’t just sit on the couch.”

“I’ve had a good life, I have good children – they’re healthy, they’re not in prison.”

Her one regret, however, is that she and Grauer took so long to see each other. Yes, Winnipeg is far, but it’s not like they had to walk, Weiszner said.

Grauer feels the same way.

Friends fortunate enough to have survived the Holocaust and who live in the same country have an obligation to see each other, Grauer noted.

“We were happy to survive, but you never forget. … When you’re that young, it leaves an imprint forever.”

“The Path to 9/11″ Verdict: ABC Essentially Didn’t Cave (Night One)

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:06 am

Having just seen the edited version on ABC, I went to Allah’s side-by-side. I think ABC basically pulled a fast one on the censors, editing out time but not substance. What went away was most of the night-vision stuff and some of the frustration on the ground when the operation was cancelled.

Apparently, the only cuts occurred in that one Afghanistan-Berger scene. I don’t see how the editing will make Berger feel any better, except that the exposure of the cowardice in the Situation Room (that’s the Northern Alliance character’s word in the movie, not mine — “Are there any men left in Washington, or ar they all cowards?”) was for a briefer amount of time.

I don’t think Madeline Albright’s scene about the Pakistanis warning Bin Laden before the missiles hit was altered at all, and she (deservedly) does not come off well.

And for all the hoopla, it’s important to remember that Bill Clinton is the one getting a huge free ride here compared to reality. Michael Scheuer reminded us on Fox on Sunday that we had ten chances to either capture or kill (apparently 2 to capture, 8 to kill) Osama Bin Laden between May of 1998 and May of 1999.