Coming to America

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November 15, 2009 | Comments

Less than one year ago, voters in this country elected for their President a man with what amounts to a blank resume and a rather mysterious background to match. In so doing, they entrusted this man with the responsibility of making the most crucial life-and-death decisions for our country, for our families, and for our future. This last Friday, he made one of those decisions, bringing the consequence of that election one year ago into the harsh, mean light of reality. 

His message was conveyed through Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced, as if perpetrating a cruel Friday-the-13th prank, that 9/11 mastermind Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed and four of his fellow conspirators are to be transferred from Guantanamo Bay to Manhattan. There they will stand trial, with full protection of the U.S. Constitution and the precious rights reserved for American citizens, rights not typically granted war criminals who attack our families and our home. To add insult to the already mortally injured, the trials will take place just yards away from Ground Zero, the site where our proud towers once stood, a parcel that, along with Pearl Harbor, Normandy Beach, and now Fort Hood, we Americans consider sacred ground.

If this President and his administration were awaiting the ideal moment to reveal their true identities and where they intend to take this country, well, on Friday our fears – and his intentions — were confirmed for us and for the world. It began months ago with apologies to Europe; his abandonment of Poland, the Czech Republic and Israel; his appeasement of Middle Eastern leaders and interests; and, more recently, his dismissal of the shootings at Fort Hood as an act of stress. Now his agenda comes home to roost, as his favorite pastor might say, culminating in an announcement that stands not only to endanger our nation and our people, but also to rip the scab off an 8-year-old wound and that now will never heal.

In response, we hear howls of outrage and accusations of betrayal, even from people who voted for this man but decided at the time to ignore his intentions and his past. Many of us, however, are not at all surprised. We began gathering clues the moment this man threw his hat into the presidential-candidate ring. We took seriously what was written in his autobiographies.  We listened to his speeches and those of the people with whom he surrounded himself. We reviewed his voting records (what there were of them), and we knew that on his watch, should it ever come to be, we knew we would not be safe. Sadly, now that his watch has come to be, we can’t help but believe that this is exactly what he and his administration have planned all along.

How else might we explain the delicate orchestration of his Gitmo announcement? The President made sure he was out of the country, in Asia, so few questions could be asked of him. The announcement came on Friday, to limit both coverage and audience size as we slid into the weekend. Orchestrated as well, by what would seem a cunning collection of sadists, was the decision to hold the trial virtually on the very site of what the terrorists deem their great victory and the portal to those 72 virgins.

This announcement also happens to come only a week after Nidal Malik Hasan, reportedly a disciple of the same doctrine that guided the 9/11 terrorists, took the lives of thirteen people and an unborn baby at Fort Hood. Nevertheless, this administration chose Friday, November 13th, to plunge the knife even deeper into all who have lost loved ones to terrorist aggression, and into every American who suffers with them.

Those among us who tend to read between lines, are also left wondering if, in addition to continuing the appeasement of Islamic jihadists, there might be another agenda at play here, as well. War criminals are typically tried by military tribunals, the seemingly obvious fate of the 9/11 conspirators. But when a defendant has been waterboarded at Gitmo (subsequently divulging plans for further attacks on American citizens), and when an administration’s grandest desire is to see the CIA and the former administration prosecuted for crimes that they consider far more egregious than those committed in the name of Jihad, well, why let a golden opportunity like that pass you by?

Regardless of motive, many who lost family members on that terrible day in September, have wasted no time expressing publicly their disgust, their fury and their pain. They have spoken poignantly about traveling to Gitmo to see the perpetrators or attending terrorist trials. They tell of would-be martyrs using this forum as a stage to taunt their victims and their families and to glory in their anguish. Facing an unspeakable return to that state of anguish, they warn us that the same will happen in New York, as we all relive that day and watch the perpetrators laugh.

Meanwhile, our President and his administration won’t even call what happened on that day or since “terror.” And they warn us not to use the word either. How, then, can these men, these war criminals, be properly prosecuted for what they have done? How can the story be told, intentions and motives revealed in full? They can’t be. And maybe that itself is the most insidious intention hiding here. Are we destined to hear more talk of stress and post-traumatic this and that? Are we going to be asked what we did as a country and as individuals to cause these men to commit this atrocity? Is sensitivity training around the corner for us all?

Already the spin begins. Scrambling yet again to protect this administration (Chris Matthews perhaps pondering how most eloquently to ask where it is deemed illegal to take the lives of Americans with commercial aircraft), the mainstream media has thus far covered the story as though Eric Holder is acting alone, free of presidential input. If that were indeed the case, which we know it is not, wouldn’t that be what we call “going rogue?”

During that desperate week after the planes exploded into the Twin Towers, a field in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon, I spoke every night to a dear friend in Southern California, who was born and raised in New York City and knows it well. She lamented that despite the camaraderie and the desire for justice we seemed to be feeling en masse at that moment, many Americans, New Yorkers among them, would soon forget the morning when war was declared on us during those brief and tragic moments in time.

It pains me now to see my friend’s prediction, in part, come to be – so much so that eight years after we were attacked, we continue to wallow in political correctness that perhaps places us even more at risk than we were on the tenth day of September, 2001. We even went so far as to usher into power an administration and a Congress that seems hellbent on destroying all that has for more than two centuries made our nation, this grand experiment, exceptional.

Pummeled by what has become a constant internal attack on what we love and who we are, we, as battered Americans are struggling through a new form of domestic violence, wondering just how much more of this we can stand. Yet deep down, we know we can get through it. We know we are not alone.

I speak of “we” here, not “I,” for it is in the “we” that we can find strength and sanctuary. It is in the voices we hear raised in unison with love of country and outrage at those who mean us harm. Those voices are the true hope of this country, a hope that will see us through to the day when it will once again be “morning in America.”

Betsy Siino | Comments