"The mortal citizens of a planet are praying right now that we will bear in mind, better than ever before, that no kind of bomb ever built will extinguish hatred."
-Barbara Kingsolver / 9-23-01
Statement of Kristen Breitweiser, Co-Chairperson September 11 Advocates, Concerning the Joint 9/11 Inquiry
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Reprinted from September 18, 2002
I would like to thank the families of the 3000 victims for allowing me to represent them, here today, before the Joint Intelligence Committee. It is a tremendous honor. Testifying before this committee is a privilege and an enormous responsibility that I do not take lightly. I will do my best not to disappoint the families or the memories of their loved ones.
Toward that end, I ask the members present here today to find in my voice the voices of all’ of the family members of the 3000 victims of September 11th. I would also ask for you to see in my eyes, the eyes of the more than 10,000 children who are now forced to grow up without the love, affection, and guidance of a mother or a father who was tragically killed on September 11.
I would now like to thank the members of the Joint Intelligence Committee, Eleanor Hill, and her staff for giving the families this opportunity to be heard. It has been an excruciating and overwhelming 12 months, and it is now time for our words and our concerns to be heard by you.
My three-year old daughter’s most enduring memory of her father will be placing flowers on his empty grave. My most enduring memory of my husband, Ronald Breitweiser, will be his final words to me, “Sweets, I’m fine, I don’t want you to worry, I love you.” Ron uttered those words while he was watching men and women jump to their deaths from the top of Tower One. Four minutes later, his Tower was hit by United Flight 175. I never spoke to my. husband, Ron, again.
I don’t really know what happened to him. I don’t know whether he jumped or he choked to death on smoke. I don’t know whether he sat curled up in a corner watching the carpet melt in front of him, knowing that his own death was soon to come or if he was alive long enough to be crushed by the buildings when they collapsed. These are the images that haunt me at night when I put my head to rest on his pillow.
I do know that the dream I had envisioned, that I so desperately needed to believe—that he was immediately turned to ash and floated up to the heavens, was simply not his fate. I know this because his wedding band was recovered from ground zero with a part of his left arm. The wedding band is charred and scratched, but still perfectly round and fully intact. I wear it on my right hand, and it will remain there until the day I die.
September 11th was the devastating result of a catalogue of failures on behalf of our government and its agencies. My husband and the approximately 3000 others like him went to work and never came home. But, were any of our governmental agencies doing their job on that fateful morning? Perhaps, the carnage and devastation of September 11th speaks for itself in answering this question.
Commending an AP Politics Writer
This is the way it should be done.
I highly respect Pete Yost from the Associated Press for quoting Dubya Bush at a West Virginia rally yesterday and then following up on Bush's biting rhetoric with some facts. We just don't see enough honest journalism like this anymore.
THE RHETORIC: "The newest wrinkle is that Sen. Kerry has now decided we are spending too much money in Iraq even though he criticized us earlier for not spending enough," Bush said. "One thing about Senator Kerry's position is clear. ... If he had his way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power and would still be a threat to our security and to the world."
THE REALITY: Kerry has not chided Bush for spending too much money on the war but has criticized the president for engaging in "a war of choice" without obtaining more financial support from allies. The war has cost nearly $200 billion that, according to Kerry, could have been used for domestic programs.
Mr. Yost wrote about the fact that Zell Miller was campaigning in West Virginia with Dubya.
Yost followed up with this fact:
THE REALITY: Miller's keynote address at the Republican convention galvanized delegates and left Democrats fuming over what they called an angry, inaccurate rant by the Georgia Democrat.
"Fear is not the natural state of civilized people."
--Aung San Suu Kyi
Does Lack of Vision Perpetuate American Fear?
James Wolcott believes so, and explains how our cultural attention-deficit disorder stymies our progress
"Now there are lots of reasons bruited about for why this election is dragging so much dead baggage.
• The group narcissism of the baby boomers.
• The unhealed wounds of Vietnam.
• An attempt to misdirect attention from a war we're in the process of losing (Iraq) to thrash about in the big muddy of a war we lost thirty years ago (Vietnam).
All very plausible explanations. One or all may be true.
But I also think that the future is what this election wants to avoid. The country now has such short attention span that it can't/won't concentrate on the future, finds it too taxing, would rather back up into the future than face it honestly."
See:The Long Now Project, a cultural institution, where the necessity of mechanism or myth which encourages the long view and the taking of long-term responsibility is stressed. 'Long-term' is measured at least in centuries.