Thursday, June 15, 2006

New York, New York

My wife and I were in New York City with our daughter and her husband two weeks before 9/11. We were going to visit Windows on the World, atop the World Trade Center, where a friend of my daughter’s was to give us a tour, but had to cancel due to foul weather. We figured we could always catch it the next trip.

I remember checking in at the hotel; the desk clerk (inappropriately) volunteered, “You’re from Texas, like George Bush. We don’t like him here.”

“You’ll learn,” was my curt reply.

And learn, they did, at least for a while.

I was unaware at the time of our visit that my Newark-based flight attendant daughter had just been reassigned from the route she’d flown all that summer—United Flight 93—the one the passengers took down over Pennsylvania while fighting the terrorist-hijackers. My wife accompanied her on one of those flights using a buddy pass, so she could see our smiling daughter at work, charming the passengers as she saw to their needs.

President Bush’s high point with that opinionated desk clerk and, if voting records are accurate, probably was when he stood in the rubble of the World Trade Center beside that fire fighter and said, “I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”

But since then, a lot of New Yorkers seem to have lost their way. One would think that, as residents of the scene of the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil, New Yorkers would remember. One would think that they would understand the necessity of keeping terrorists on the run worldwide, killing them and denying them sanctuaries in new Afghanistans where they could plot the murder of more Americans. One would think that New Yorkers were as tough as their reputation.

Apparently not.

Perhaps the fault lies in their traditional liberal-left political orientation. For many of us, liberals and conservatives, 9/11 changed the world and changed our world view. Some, however, cling to their outmoded beliefs no matter what. They do not learn from history and thus are condemned to repeat it. After a suitable pause and a demonstration of solidarity after 9/11, they went right back to their old pre-9/11 ways and bought into the Democrat smear campaign against President Bush, regardless of its effect on the war.

Perhaps the fault lies in the leftist media, the nexus of which resides in New York, specifically at The New York Times. Again, after a suitable pause, the knives came out. A once-great newspaper, now sullied by scandal, gave up any pretense of objectivity in its relentless assault on the President and the War on Terror.

Perhaps the fault lies in the willful censorship of 9/11 by the so-called mainstream media, a media that is quick to show dead Iraqi civilians, yet denies us images of the most sobering event in U.S. and New York history. Video of 9/11 ought to be played on television stations around the country every single day, with special emphasis placed on those poor American souls who jumped from the Twin Towers rather than burn to death. It hasn’t been and won’t be, because those images reflect the truth of why we are fighting and the kind of evil we are up against, as opposed to the propaganda that the left wishes us to believe.

A number of great New Yorkers of all political persuasions, from former Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat, to “America’s Mayor,” Republican Rudi Giuliani, understand the stakes and the fact that the world has changed. Others—the likes of Sen. Schumer and Sen. Clinton (who at times seems to get it, but most of the time puts politics ahead of national security)—are less helpful to the cause.

Make no mistake. New York is a prime target of the terrorists. So are Washington, D.C., Houston, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle, De Moines. We are all targets—Christians, Jews and yes, even Muslims. This is going to be a long war, because the radicals are numerous and even some of our so-called friends, such as the Saudis, are fueling that radicalism with their children’s textbooks, not to mention money and their own political corruption.

As the president is fond of saying, Iraq is but one theater in the global War on Terror. Those who refuse to see that, those who refuse to recognize the undeniable truth that supporters of terrorists are just as evil and guilty and dangerous as the terrorists themselves, are fools. And in their foolishness, in their mindless hatred for George W. Bush, they put all the rest of us at risk.

But it is for those New Yorkers who have forgotten what happened that September morning; it is for people like the “Jersey Girls” and Cindy Sheehan, who abuse their dead (and all our dead soldiers and civilians from 9/11 and its aftermath) as political pawns, for whom I reserve the most contempt.

The world has changed. But they still have your heads in the sand.

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