S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seventh Anniversary - 9/11/01

Today will be a solemn occasion for all of us here in the United States, not an anniversary celebration. The only "celebrations" will be those in our individual hearts, as we celebrate the lives of those thousands who died on that tragic day. We must also remember the others who lost their lives later as a result of illness brought on by their prolonged work in the aftermath at Ground Zero.

Barack Obama suggested to John McCain, in a phone call after the Republican convention, that they appear jointly at the September 11 commemoration at Ground Zero. The political opponents will not be so today as they mark the tragedy of the terrorist attacks of that day several years ago. To find out all about what is going on today, we are indebted to David C. Morrison who writes the terrific newsletter, CQ Behind the Lines. On 9/8/08, he wrote a piece that included, "Grounded at zero." To quote from it (author's links):

McCain and Barack Obama will appear jointly — with partisanship tuned way down — at Ground Zero on Thursday, the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, The Wall Street Journal spotlights. As the commemorative date looms, the World Trade Center Medical Working Group has released its first annual report related to the aftermath of the attacks, The Chicago Tribune tells. The results of a biopsy, published by The New Yorker, suggest that an NYPD detective whose 2006 death has been held up as an example of the toxic illnesses suffered by Ground Zero workers, actually died of some other cause, the Times tells. Construction workers last week installed the first steel column for New York’s Sept. 11 memorial, Newsday relays — while the Post previews the dedication of the Pentagon’s 9/11 monument, and USA Today notes that the other major memorials are at least three years off.

Since the attacks in 2001 The United Nations has struggled to come to terms with terrorism, unable even to define the term. The current Secretary General is Ban ki-Moon, about whom I have written in the past. with whom the U.S. is not an effective partner. From Yahoo! News 9/11/08 by Howard La Franchi: "At U.N., a bolder approach to terrorism." To quote:

Terrorism is not an easy topic to raise at the UN: The political, religious, and ideological dimensions of the issue always seem to get in the way of a full-on discussion. . . And yet there sat Mr. Ban on Tuesday, using the back door of a conference of his creating about the victims of terrorism – who could disagree with that topic? – as a way to get at the overarching issue of terrorism.

. . . Ban's one-day symposium, the first conference on the topic held by the UN, reflects the determination of the results-oriented chief of the unwieldy institution to address the top issues of the day, as delicate as they may be. When Ban rose to the secretary-general's office in January 2007, many UN hands wondered how the longtime South Korean diplomat's signature efficiency and impatience with no-can-dos would fare in a job prizing the ability to walk on 192 eggshells.

. . . Others say that Ban, while a realist about what can be achieved in the short term, refuses to accept that a central challenge to civilization must be left off the world agenda because of controversy.

"Terrorism has turned into something of a taboo topic, but [Ban] refuses to accept that and stands by his belief that we must be able to have a fair discussion of the main issues of the day," says one UN official who is well acquainted with Ban's thinking but who is not authorized to comment publicly on him. "He realizes this may not result in policy, at least not right away," the official adds.

Tense times are upon us. On 7th Anniversary Of Attacks, White House Claims Bin Laden Was Not The ‘Mastermind’ of Sept. 11," according to Memeorandum. The campaign to be the next President of the United States is fierce. A hurricane is bearing down on my state, and though we live considerably inland, yard stuff must be tied down, extra water saved, and batteries located for when the power goes off. Those activities are absolutely nothing compared with what the survivors of those lost in the 9/11 attacks are faced with today. I will be "sending white light," as my friend Laura says their way. I am hoping that they are finding peace and solace as they visit the various memorials now emerging at the various attack sites. They are in various states of completion. The beautiful Pentagon memorial is now opening. Ground Zero and the Shanksville, Pa. site have a way to go, though many people will gather to pay their respects at all three sites.

Previous South by Southwest "9/11" posts:

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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