It’s been six thousand five hundred and seventy-four days since a billion people around the world watched almost three thousand of our number perish in gruesome and horrible ways. And every year on September 11 I think to myself, “This will be the year it doesn’t matter anymore. This will be the year it’s finally all right.”
But it never is.
George W. Bush deserves pride of place on this date. He betrayed the American people twice. First by not heeding the alarm bells going off everywhere about the impending attack…
Why? Because he and Cheney—Fuck you, Dick Cheney—were so fixated on some new military toy—Star Wars or Brilliant Pebbles or some such nonsense—that was so much more worthy of their time than the safety of America.
Remember how it was like pulling teeth to get Condoleezza Rice to admit delivering the headline to Bush, “Al Qaeda still determined to strike in US?”
Bush betrayed us again, using our grief to fund his stupid war in Iraq—the single greatest foreign policy blunder in American history—instead of finishing the necessary war in Afghanistan.
It gets worse
Worse was to come. Osama bin Laden with within the grasp of our military just three months after the attack when the US military commander ordered them to stand down.
Quisling General Tommy Franks refused to insert a few hundred special forces troops to block the passes into Pakistan that were Osama bin Laden’s only escape from the cliffs of Tora Bora.
Go ahead. Look it up. Justice for our dead had already given way—just three months later! — to plans for the war in Iraq.
Fuck you Tommy Franks.
When he died, I hope there was a special 21-gun “Welcome to the Mouth of Hell” reception for ‘ol Tommy ranks.
Every election day, somebody needs to be designated—because obviously no weakass Democrat will do it—to remind us that the biggest attack in American history happened on a Republican President’s watch.
The horror. The horror.
Like everything else to do with the 9.11 attack, the truth of the last searing moments of those three thousand souls was redacted by our own government.
We saw some. A charred body sitting upright inside a wrecked office with barely discernible facial features, a small torso covered with ash on a blue stretcher. The audio was worse.
“It’s very, very, very hot,” a panicked woman trapped above the flames told a 911 operator. “All I see is smoke. I’m going to die, aren’t I? I’m going to die; I know I’m going to die.”
Ever wonder what kind of vertigo was felt by the hundreds still perched atop a 100-story building when it crumbled beneath their feet?
“There are three of us in here. Three of us. Two broken windows,” a man explains, just as the Tower imploded. Oh God. Oh–.”
“I’m not dead yet.”
It wasn’t written by some clueless “9.11 Truther” funded by Saudi billionaire Adnan Khashoggi, saying ‘No plane hit the Pentagon. or “It was all a hologram,” or –my personal favorite— “There were termites in the World Trade Center!”
Fuck you Donald Trump.
If you’ve got the stomach for it (it’s not for the squeamish), here’s one story he heard from a first responder.
Fuck you Moscow Mitch, for making these heroes beg for medical care.
“Call my daugher. I’m not dead.”
Here’s what he saw.
“I had arrived at the North Tower only a few minutes before we met. This lady was among a half-dozen people I saw who probably fell a thousand feet or so when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center. I am not sure how she got on the plaza. Maybe she was on her way to Los Angeles and was ejected from the jet by the force of the collision.”
“Or maybe she was an office worker in the tower sitting near one of the windows and was swept away when the building caved around her. Or maybe she was trapped and jumped to escape the flames, though I don’t think so, since I happened upon her before most of those people were seen jumping.”
“She was an elegant lady. I could tell that she had her hair done up very nicely. Brunette. She had on tasteful earrings. She was wearing pretty makeup. In my profession you notice clothes because you often must cut them off to save lives. That was the first thing that came to mind: This lady is well dressed.”
The Talking Torso
“The categories are indicated by colored tags that are hung around the injured person’s neck. Green is the least serious. Yellow more so. Red indicates critical injuries: And black means the person is dead or close to it. When you’re engaged in triage, you have one thing in the back of your mind all the time, “My backup is coming. My backup is coming.”
“That’s the reason you can tag people who obviously need help and not stop and give it to them right then. You know you need to get everyone tagged, and you know someone with a medical bag is coming right behind you. That certainly was what I was thinking when I met the lady in the plaza, the big open space between the two towers that had a fountain and a round sculpture in the middle, and saw something that was so horrific that I am glad I missed it the first time around.”
“When the plane hit, an incredible amount of debris from the collision rained down on the plaza. Most of it was chunks of airplane and building that had little meaning to me. But amid the destruction lay a half dozen people.”
“There was virtually nothing left of him”
“There was a man having a seizure and his eyes were rolling into the back of his head. He had struck the pavement so hard that there was virtually nothing else left of him. And then there was the lady with the nice hairdo and earrings.”
“When I got to her, what impressed me and scared me was that she was alert and was watching what I was doing. I ripped out a black tag and put it around her neck.”
“And she looked at me and said, “I am not dead. Call my daughter. I am not dead.”
I was speechless. Then I stammered, “Ma’am, don’t worry about it. We will be right back to you.”
That was a lie. She couldn’t see what I could see. Somehow, I guess it was an air draft or something, her fall had been cushioned enough so that she didn’t splatter like the others. Still her body was so twisted and torn apart that I could only ask myself, why is this lady still alive and talking to me? How can this be? Her right lung, shoulder and head were intact, but from the diaphragm down she was gone.”
“Yet she was lucid enough that she continued to argue with me. “I am not dead,” she insisted again. I am convinced she had some medical training because she knew I had given her the black mark of death. And she resented it.”
Black tag with a tiny white cross
“I knew I had to keep going, but she had so deeply shaken me that I lingered for a second or two. Then I stepped over her and put a black tag on the man having the seizure.”
“Another wave of casualties arrived in the lobby from upstairs, so I needed to return. As I headed back, I stepped over the lady one more time. And as eerie and unsettling as our first encounter had been, the second was worse.”
She started yelling at me.” I am not dead! I am not dead!”
“They’re coming, they’re coming,” I replied without stopping.
“I am not dead! I am not dead!”
“Today I think of her as the living dead. I talked to the living dead. And I lied to the living dead. I told her to hang on, that help was coming. But I pronounced her dead in my mind. And she knew that. I put a black tag with a small white cross around her neck. And as best she could, she gave me hell for it.”
“The psychiatrists and those from the post-trauma team say it is good for me to talk about her and the rest of that day. They say it is the only way I will come to terms with what happened and finally free my mind of her.”
“So here I am talking to you,” he told reporter Dean Murphy.
And now I’m telling you.