Tuesday, May 29, 2012


September 12, 2001, Israelinsider, Fear for fate of Israelis in New York, by Ellis Shuman,

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was flooded with phone calls yesterday from Israeli citizens trying to establish the whereabouts of relatives who live and work in New York City. The Israeli Consulate in New York, the Israeli Embassy in Washington and the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem set up emergency hotlines but were limited by a lack of information to report.

For many hours, Foreign Ministry officials were unable to get updates from the United States due to a collapse of phone networks and the excess demand for international lines. Many of the callers could not provide the ministry with the exact location of their relatives in New York. Dorit Shavit, who coordinated the ministry's emergency room, said that all she and her staff could do was to record the information provided by callers.

ynet reported this morning that an Israeli trapped under the rubble of the collapsed towers managed to call for help on his cellular phone. According to the report, the man contacted his wife, who is also located in New York. No additional information was available about his condition.

At least four other Israelis are reported missing, according to ynet. Two are employed in companies located inside the World Trade Center towers. Another Israeli, who reportedly lives in the lower Manhattan area nearby, was still missing Wednesday morning after leaving his home with his daughter, in the city on a visit.

Many Israelis worked in World Trade Center offices
According to media reports, many Israelis work in the high tech companies and trade agencies in the towers. Yediot Aharonot reported that some Israeli companies had local representatives at the World Trade Center, but Israeli Channel Two television discredited this claim.

A trailer running on CNN and Fox News listed an office for Zim-American Israeli Shipping Co. in the buildings. This information was apparently outdated, as the company relocated to new offices in Norfolk, Virginia, one week ago. Zim Chairman Dr. Yoram Sebba said, "Despite our own miracle, we of course are very sad about the massive loss of life throughout the United States."

No Israelis have been located in any of the New York City hospitals admitting the injured from the bombings. Transportation Minister Ephraim Sneh (Labor) is in New York City coordinating Israeli affairs in the disaster. Sneh, a former physician himself, said he is dealing with the growing number of requests for information and is also acting as a liaison with Israeli doctors in the various hospitals. ynet reports that Hebrew-speaking doctors circulated among the hospital patients yesterday in attempts to locate Israelis.

The Israeli Ministry of Health and Magen David Adom last night declared a nationwide emergency blood drive. Israel Radio called for O-type blood donors to come to first aid centers, which were opened at midnight for the special operation. The blood is to be airlifted to the United States together with an Israeli rescue unit today. According to media reports, some 600 blood units had already been collected by early this morning.

The IDF's disaster rescue unit attached to the Home Front Command was scheduled to leave for New York City today. Army Radio reported that 120 soldiers would assist local authorities in participating in the rescue operations. The unit is to depart in two planes that will be granted special permission to land in the New York area. According to Army Radio, the unit can begin its mission one hour after arriving at the disaster site.

Successful Israeli high tech figure among confirmed victims

One confirmed Israeli victim from yesterday's tragedy was Daniel Lewin, cofounder of Akamai Technologies. Lewin, 31, served as Akamai's chief technology officer and was responsible for the company's research and development strategy. He reportedly was a passenger on one of the planes that crashed yesterday into the World Trade Center towers.

Born in Denver, Colorado, Lewin was raised in Jerusalem. He served as officer in the Israel Defense Forces for more than four years. Lewin held a Bachelor of Arts and of Science, summa cum laude, from the Technion and a Master's degree from MIT. Previously, he worked at IBM's research laboratory in Haifa where he was a full-time research fellow and project leader.

Lewin founded Akamai in September 1998, along with Tom Leighton and a leading group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists and business professionals. The company provides businesses with high-performance delivery of streaming media, rich Web content and Internet applications through scalable, easily implemented services.

Lewin was frequently mentioned in the media as one of the richest Israelis in the world, due to his 15% holdings of Akamai shares.

Arabic Media Internet Network

Arabic Media Internet Network,


September 4, 2001, amin.org, The dance of death, by Khalid Amayreh*,
September 6, 2001, amin.org, Apartheid roads and other discriminator policies, by Daoud Kuttab,
September 12, 2001, amin.org, *PA prevents journalists from reporting on Palestinians celebrating terror attacks,
September 13, 2001, amin.org, America is a great country but, by Daoud Kuttab,
September 14, 2001, amin.org, PA impose new ban on filming celebrations,

September 14, 2001, amin.org, PA impose new ban on filming celebrations,In a letter to Deputy Minister of the Interior Ahmed Said Tamimi, the Paris based Reporters sans frontières (RSF), protested the numerous cases of intimidation of journalists in the territories under the Palestinian Authority's control. "There are some subjects that the Palestinian authorities do not wish to have tackled," said Robert Ménard, the organization's secretary-general. "We ask you to act in order to stop hindrances to the right to inform, regularly encountered by journalists in the territories under your control," he added.

On 11 September 2001, some Palestinians expressed their joy, in front of cameras, following the attacks in the United States. Since then, in an effort to avoid shocking public opinion any further, the Palestinian authorities have tried to stop these demonstrations. According to information collected by RSF, that same day, police forces and armed gunmen prevented journalists in Nablus from covering celebrations following the New York and Washington attacks.

Moreover, on 14 September, five journalists were detained by the Palestinian police. They were covering a demonstration at the Nusseirat refugee camp in memory of the perpetrator of the 9 September suicide-bomb attack in Nahariya, Israel. A Reuters photographer and editor, an Associated Press TV (APTV) cameraman, the correspondent for the Abu Dhabi satellite television station and an Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer were released an hour and a half later, after police confiscated their videotapes and film. During this commemoration, a portrait of Osama bin Laden was held up by young people. Four of the detained journalists were Palestinians and one was Norwegian.

September 12, 2001, amin.org, *PA prevents journalists from reporting on Palestinians celebrating terror attacks,

PA prevents journalists from reporting on Palestinians celebrating terror attacks

The Associated Press (AP) on Wednesday September 12, protested to the Palestinian Authority about threats against a freelance cameraman who filmed Palestinians celebrating terror attacks in the United States.

The videographer, on assignment for Associated Press Television News, was summoned to a Palestinian Authority security office and told that the material must not be aired. Calls in the name of the FATAH militia, an armed group associated with Yasser Arafat's Fatah group, warned him he would be held responsible and made what he interpreted as threats on his life.

Ahmed Abdel Rahman, Arafat's Cabinet secretary, said the Palestinian Authority ''cannot guarantee the life'' of the cameraman if the footage was broadcast.

The cameraman then requested that the material not be aired. In light of the danger, APTN has not released the footage of the rally in Nablus. AP news stories reported worldwide on the demonstration in Nablus and AP distributed still pictures and video of similar rallies in east Jerusalem, Lebanon and elsewhere.

An AP still photographer did not take pictures of the Nablus rally after being warned at the scene not to do so. The protest by AP Chief of Bureau Dan Perry said, ''I ask the assurances of the Palestinian Authority that you will protect our journalists from threats and attempts at intimidation and that no harm would come to our freelance cameraman from distribution of the film.''

September 13, 2001, amin.org, America is a great country but, by Daoud Kuttab,

America is a great country. It stands for the best things people can hope for. The US constitution, the first amendment, the respect or individual rights are unmatched the world over. These are not just words on paper, for every American these values are experienced every day in every state of the union.

Unfortunately, though, sometimes that is as far as it goes. Once outside the US or in dealing with foreign policy these values are often replaced with a variety of other considerations. People who have not lived in America, especially those people who have been on the receiving end of some of the distorted US foreign policies have little appreciation for what America stands for.

The ugly and despicable attack on US governmental and commercial institutions needs to be seen in this vein. This is not to excuse this act which must be denounced.

For years people in the Middle East have suffered from this double faced US foreign policy. Human rights, the great Wilsonian concept of the people’s right to self determination seems to stop when the subject of discussions are Palestinians.

Some might ask why now. What has the US done recently to trigger this unprecedented response? While this is an important question the answer is not necessarily in any specific action by the US but rather in the fact that people around the world have much more access in real time with full color to acts, events and pronouncements of American official regarding foreign policy issues. The spread of satellite television, for example, has meant that stories about say the human suffering of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation enter the sitting rooms of hundreds of millions of people every day. And when top US officials defend or justify human rights violations in third world countries, few people can go back and think of the rosy American picture as the defender of rights and protector of freedoms.

When Vice president Dick Chaney told Fox television last month that the US “understands” Israel’s need to assassinate top Palestinian officials, his statement was widely broadcast all over the Arab and Moslem world. To have a senior US official understand the use of an ally of US apache helicopters in an offensive attack was hard to fathom. Some commentators said that even Timothy McVee was entitled to a trial, while Israeli generals are acting as judge jury and executioner with full support from the world of human rights and democracy. Shortly after Cheney’s statements I wrote an oped in the long Island daily Newsday (8/13) saying that Cheney is adding fuel to the raging fire of the Middle East.

Unfortunately the US support for Israel and justification for its brutality against Palestinians continued. The highly publicized withdrawal of American from the Durban conference for fear that Israel would be tainted ‘racist’ did little to reverse the anti American feelings of many people around the world. All this simply added to the poisonous feelings in the non western world. Even the most moderate and pro US country in the region, Saudi Arabia was expressing strong anti American positions in public.

The public attacks against Americans by many of its Arab allies in the region didn’t satisfy a population that daily saw humiliation against fellow Arabs and Moslems with Arab governments completely inept in responding to it.

Shortly after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington President Bush spoke to the American people calling what happened as an attack against America’s values. He ended by saying “we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.” For Americans living in this great country these words sounded true and genuine. But for many around the world who have not seen these values translated in US foreign policy, these words were empty rhetoric.

The values that America stands for are the envy of well-informed human beings around the world living in authoritarian countries. Those of us who have lived in America and have experienced this great country try our best to tell people around the world about it with the hope that these values can be emulated. Those who only see the results of American foreign policy often hamper our efforts by pointing to this contradiction.

In the past the US government was able to get away with this duplicity. Friendly countries would protect the US image and government controlled media would ensure that America’s policies are defended. Globalization which has been the main vehicle for the success of America has also brought with it media instruments (internet and satellite) that circumvent government controlled media and allow the people a free access to the reality of the US foreign policy. Is it possible that the very instruments of its own success haunt America?

*Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian American journalist living in Jerusalem. He is the director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University.

September 6, 2001, amin.org, Apartheid roads and other discriminator policies, by Daoud Kuttab,

My personal assistant Jumana was in tears. Her husband Nadim has been pressing her to quit her job and try with us in Ramallah and apply for another job in Jerusalem. The reason is simple. Her daily trip from Jerusalem's Beit Hanina neighborhood to Ramallah and back has become a nightmare. She was upset because she didn't want to leave a job she liked with colleagues and friends just because of the Israeli check post. But she knew deep inside that her husband was right. The difficulty of movement for Palestinians has become unbearable and there are no signs that it will get better.

Mary Habash has the reverse problem. She has a good paying job as executive secretary in a international agency in Jerusalem. But her daily trip from the Ramallah district of Bir Zeit to Jerusalem and back has also become unbearable. If she finds a job in Ramallah, it might mean losing as much as half her salary.

Joseph Handal also has a great job working as a cameraman for French Television. His daily trip to Jerusalem has also become a nightmare. He has no plans of quitting his job but the daily problems at the checkpost seem to have no end. The fact that he and other Palestinian journalists, working for reputable western media organs are accredited by the Israeli government press office, mean little to Israeli soldiers, apparently with new orders banning even professional journalists from the free movement guaranteed by international treaties and accepted norms.
The seemingly upturn in harassment against Palestinian professionals is just the latest result of a general policy of discrimination against Palestinians. The reality of the 11-month Al Aqsa intifada has certainly eliminated one favorite Israeli justification- security. Despite the many levels of closures and restrictions of movement, Palestinians wishing to enter Jerusalem and Israel have had little trouble. So the policy of closure and restrictions of movement simply effect those who by Israel's own admission are the kind of people who are not involved in acts of violence, suicide bombings etc.

Major changes are happening every day to the road system in and around Jerusalem. The multi layered check posts are supported by an Israeli policy of closing every side road in the Palestinian neighborhoods. This policy is making the dual road policy much clearer. Israelis have their own well paved, well lit and well protected roads and
Palestinians have their own single pot filled road with numerous checkpoints on the road. And for those Palestinians who wish to use the Israeli roads A dual military and settler vigilante terror campaign is being enforced. Until recently this discriminatory policy applied to Wrest Bank and Gaza Palestinians. By Israeli military decree these Palestinians are not allowed to enter Jerusalem or Israel without permission. Practically no permissions are being given these days. Even Palestinians with permission have for years been banned to use their cars and since 1967 Palestinians have not been allowed to sleep or purchase property in Jerusalem or Israel. The latest policy affects Palestinians from East Jerusalem who Israel considers Israelis residents (but not citizens). A Palestinians from Jerusalem can not go see his relatives in the West Bank unless he or she can show utility bills proving that he/she lives in say Ramallah or Bethlehem.

There is no doubt that the basic source of all these policies is the overall Israeli government's continued policy of occupation and exclusive Jewish settlement activity. For years Palestinians have been complaining about this discriminatory policy but with little attention. The UN conference on racism seems to have given attention to some of these issues of discrimination that are based solely on Palestinian's national origin. The US and Israel seem more intent on de-legitimizing this international messenger rather than dealing with the message. If the message of the
Durban conference is that all human beings are equal, hen it is high time that policies of discrimination and racism clearly practiced on the ground, on the roads and in all aspects of the lives of Palestinians come to and end. The sooner this happens the sooner that Palestinians and Israelis can live in freedom and tranquility.

*A Palestinian columnist from Jerusalem. He is the director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University.

September 4, 2001, amin.org, The dance of death, by Khalid Amayreh*,

In Palestine, death begets death, in a grisly dance of the macabre. On Tuesday, a Palestinian dressed as an ultra-orthodox Jew exploded himself on the streets of West Jerusalem. He died instantly; 15 Israelis were injured. One, a policeman, is critically wounded. Another policeman, who confronted the bomber before his suicide, says he died smiling.

No one has yet confessed to the attack. But Israeli sources suspect the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), whose leader, Abu Ali Mustafa, the Israeli army murdered in Ramallah, on 27 August.

Despite the repression that Israel will now almost certainly unleash, Palestinians seem to support the suicide-bombers. According to a survey published last week by the Palestinian Center For Public Opinion Studies, in Beit Sahur, close to 80 per cent of respondents condoned suicide bomb attacks against Israelis.

In many ways, they have been driven to it. As the Israeli occupiers continue to narrow peoples' horizons, and turn Palestinian towns, villages and even small hamlets into detention camps, the sense of powerlessness mounts. Now most Palestinians believe that until Israelis feel real pain they will continue to be deaf to Palestinian cries for freedom and justice. Their sense that their way of life is being pitilessly strangled to death, and which is likely to continue as long as Ariel Sharon is in power, can only lead to a massive drift towards favoring "martyrdom operations" as the Palestinians' last weapon, and hope.

The suicide bombings have grown out of Israel's brutal flaying of Palestinians since the Intifada began. Throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel has recently resorted increasingly to armored incursions into densely populated residential Palestinian areas.

In the last few weeks, such incursions have happened daily, and in a familiar pattern. Israeli tanks and armored vehicles rumble into PA-controlled neighborhoods, destroy private and public buildings, and kill and wound with abandon, before finally returning to base. And when, as often, the outnumbered and scantily-armed Palestinians resist, the Israeli army unleashes its awful fire-power, machine- gunning whole areas, with a staggering contempt for human life.

Following the Israeli army's re-occupation of Beit Jala on 28 August, Israeli troops made as many as 10 incursions into Hebron and various parts of the Gaza Strip, killing 10 Palestinians, resistance fighters and civilians alike. In Hebron, the most serious incursion took place on 30 August, when Israeli troops advanced through the Wadi Al-Hairriya neighborhood in order to "clear terrorist hideouts" and prevent firing upon settlers in the Jewish enclave in downtown Hebron. The Palestinians resisted. Young men, determined to defend their homes, returned fire; and all hell broke loose. The Israeli army began shooting indiscriminately in all directions. Israeli soldiers then seized rooftops overlooking downtown Hebron and rained bullets on to shops, markets, motorists, and anything moving in the streets.

At one point they killed a doctor who was helping an injured child. According to eyewitnesses, Hussein Ikdeimat, 50, was blasted to death as he rushed from his clinic to help a child casually gunned down by an Israeli bullet.

Then, after a brief hiatus, Israel attacked Hebron again. On 3 September, the Israeli army fired several heavy artillery shells at the Abu-Senineh neighborhood in Hebron, killing two Palestinians, Amjad Al-Jamal, 17, and Isam Batash, 25. That brings the death toll in Hebron to six, in three days.

Attacks were not confined to Hebron. On the same day, the Israeli army advanced through the Yibna refugee camp near Rafah at the southern edge of the Gaza Strip. There, true to form, Israeli forces destroyed six more houses, bringing to 25 the number of houses destroyed in Rafah in 48 hours.
Rafah and its surrounds have suffered more than any other Palestinian locality since the beginning of Al-Aqsa Intifada last September. Hundreds of houses are now rubble, vast tracts of farm land lie desolate, families have had to bury a hundred young men and children, and hundreds of others will carry the mutilations and injuries of Israeli bullets and bombs as long as they live.

The machine-gunning of huge swathes of the occupied territories, suggests that Israel is not merely after "terrorists" but is intent on killing, maiming and cowing the bulk of ordinary Palestinians, many of whom fear even walking the streets lest an Israeli bullet turn them into a statistic. In such a climate, Palestinians have begun to think that fear is the only weapon they have with which to fight fear.

And so the stakes increase. If the PFLP turns out to be behind Tuesday's attack in Jerusalem, it will herald a ratcheting up of the violence. The PFLP, and other Palestinian leftist factions, are not known for suicide bombings, something that so far has been the preserve of Islamists. If the PFLP is responsible, it will confirm that human bombs had won popular support. A day earlier, the PFLP had claimed responsibility for four car-bomb explosions in occupied Jerusalem in revenge for the death of their leader. If it was responsible for the recent bombing, it will be up to the world to convince the Palestinians that they have another choice; a world whose efforts in that direction have so far been close to nil.

*Palestinian journalist based in Hebron.

Monday, May 28, 2012

It's a good time for war, by Christopher Hitchens

September 8, 2002, The Boston Globe, It's a good time for war, by Christopher Hitchens,

Proving Osama bin Laden wrong is the right thing to do. And when we remember that victory is certain, we can stop scaring ourselves to death.

By Christopher Hitchens, 9/8/2002

In several of his demented sermons, in the days before he achieved global notoriety, Osama bin Laden made his followers a sort of promise. Defeating the Red Army in Afghanistan and bringing down the Soviet Union, he said, had been the hard part. The easy part - the destruction of the United States of America - was still to come. That task would be easy because America was corrupt and cowardly and rotten. It would not fight (as the debacle in Somalia had shown); it was a slave of the Jewish conspiracy; it cared only for comfort and materialism.

It involves no exaggeration to say that everything depends, and has depended, on proving bin Laden wrong. And not merely in proving him wrong, but in demonstrating exactlyhow wrong he is. (Or how wrong he was: I am one of those who do not expect to hear from him in person again.)

Of course, this weekend is partly, and rightly, being given over to remembrance. Everyone has his own indelible image of September 11. Mine is in part imaginary: It involves picturing the wolfish smiles on the faces of the second crew of hijackers as United Airlines Flight 175 screamed toward Manhattan and saw the flames and smoke already billowing from the first World Trade Center tower. With what delight they must have ramped up the speed of their plane, crammed with human cargo, and smashed into the second civilian target. But I also like to visualize the panic and dismay on the faces of those who stole United Airlines Flight 93 as they saw a posse of determined passengers ready to do or die over Pennsylvania rather than have the White House or the Capitol immolated by the scum of the earth. (I live in Washington, D.C., and can never pass either building without picturing how the scene might have looked if it were not for those exemplary volunteers. I also try hard to stay aware of my indebtedness to them.)

In order to get my own emotions out of the way, I should say briefly that on that day I shared the general register of feeling, from disgust to rage, but was also aware of something that would not quite disclose itself. It only became fully evident quite late that evening. And to my surprise (and pleasure), it was exhilaration. I am not particularly a war lover, and on the occasions when I have seen warfare as a traveling writer, I have tended to shudder. But here was a direct, unmistakable confrontation between everything I loved and everything I hated. On one side, the ethics of the multicultural, the secular, the skeptical, and the cosmopolitan. (Those are the ones I love, by the way.) On the other, the arid monochrome of dull and vicious theocratic fascism. I am prepared for this war to go on for a very long time. I will never become tired of waging it, because it is a fight over essentials. And because it is so interesting.

I had felt this way once before, on Valentine's Day 1989, when the Ayatollah Khomeini offered a bounty in his own name for the murder of a fiction writer then living in Western Europe. On that occasion, the response had not been so unanimous. The first President George Bush, when asked for a comment on the Khomeini fatwahagainst Salman Rushdie, had replied that as far as he could see, no American interests were involved.

In September 2001, there wasn't much evasive babble of that kind. It had become plain to any thinking person that Islamic absolutism was a deadly and immediate menace. Look at what it had done to its own societies: the Stone Age misery imposed upon Afghanistan or the traumas visited by fundamentalist gangs on Algeria or the state-enforced stultification in Saudi Arabia. If they would treat their "own" people like that, what might they have in store for us?

There's no time to waste on the stupid argument that such a deadly movement represents a sort of "cry for help" or is a thwarted expression of poverty and powerlessness. Osama bin Laden and his fellow dogmatists say openly that they want to restore the lost caliphate; in other words, the Muslim empire once centered at Constantinople. They are not anti-imperialists so much as nostalgists for imperialism. The gang that kidnapped and murderedWall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl - and proudly made a video showing the ritual slaughter of a Jew - issued a list of demands on that same obscene video. One of those demands was for the resumption of US sales of advanced F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. Only a complete moral idiot can believe for an instant that we are fighting against the wretched of the earth. We are fighting, as I said before, against the scum of the earth.

It is important to realize at the outset that a victory for those forces, of which bin Ladenism is only the most extreme, is in two senses of the word impossible. Impossible, obviously, from a moral point of view and from the viewpoint of survival. It has taken us a long time to evolve a society that, however imperfectly, respects political pluralism and religious diversity and the emancipation of the sexual life. A society that attempts to employ the objective standards of scientific inquiry and that has brought us the Hubble telescope and the unraveling of the chain of DNA. Clearly, there can be no compromise between this and the ravings of those who study dreams and are deluded by wild prophecies and who regard women as chattel and unbelievers as sacrificial animals. For them, the achievements of science are nothing, while the theft of weapons of mass destruction counts as a holy task. Their degradation is bottomless.

This also entails the second sense in which their triumph is impossible. Even if it wished to go there, the Muslim world cannot be returned to the desert and to the precepts of the seventh century. Every such attempt has been a terrifying failure, just as every jihad has ended either in ignominious defeat or in fratricide among its partisans. In a broadcast just after September 11, bin Laden deputy Suleiman Abu Gheith warned Muslims living in the West not to reside in tall buildings or fly on airplanes, because the rain of death was not going to stop. There are many, many Muslims, and not just in the West, who do not care to be spoken to in that tone of voice.

I think that that broadcast should have been mandatory viewing and should have been followed by a robust reply delivered by a serious scholar or a duly elected politician. Instead, the Bush administration asked the American networks not to carry it, and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice even hinted suggestively that such transmissions might contain hidden codes. Well, I think we can take it as certain that Al Qaeda does not rely for its communications on the broadcast schedules of our treasured TV system. (It seems to have been able to arrange everything from flight training to bank accounts without even bothering to conceal its identity.)

But more to the point, why are we so timorous in the face of such a contemptible foe? Why did our vice president go into hiding? Why are we so bent on the useless collective punishment of law-abiding air travelers, none of whom are any better protected from a determined suicide-murderer than they were this time last year? What is the point of all these ominous "warnings" issued by the authorities, which resemble airport or subway announcements in being very loud but highly incomprehensible? Where is the spirit of Flight 93?

Of the gamut of emotions that made the scoreboard a year ago, many people reported a sense of powerlessness or helplessness. This is defeat in the mind. It is certainly true that the national security elite underestimated Al Qaeda before September 11, to an extent that verges upon criminal negligence. But that would be the worst justification for overestimating it now.

And people do not make the best decisions when they are afraid. It was a mistake to pass any law in the immediate aftermath of the assault. Congress should have insisted on a full accounting of the failures of the executive branch before submitting to that same branch's panicky demand for measures that infringe on the letter as well as the spirit of our Constitution. Imagine the grin on the faces of the enemy when they read that Canadians can no longer, with mere student visas, cross the border to take classes at US colleges. Thatshould settle the terrorists' hash. No: When we remember that victory is certain we can at the same time stop scaring ourselves to death.

My most enduring memory of last fall, apart from the hauntingly beautiful weather that seemed to mock the prevailing anxiety, was of the maturity displayed by American society. Thousands of citizens are burned alive in an instant - some of them consumed by flames on camera - and there is no panic, no lynching, no looting to speak of. A few sick morons take out their ire on random Tibetans or Sikhs: The general disapproval is felt at once.

And for almost a month - a month - not a shot is fired in response, and there is no public demand for any theatrical or precipitate reprisal. Then, in a very well-calibrated international action, Afghanistan's Taliban regime is taken down and the Al Qaeda network is dispersed. Let the boasters of jihad remember this and be always reminded of it: Mullah Omar and his gang left "their" capital city of Kabul at dead of night and did not even bid farewell to the people they had so long exploited and tortured. Their guest bin Laden may or may not have met his end under the rubble in some obscure cave, as now seems likeliest. But whether or not he did, his last known action was to run away. As with every big-mouth cleric who ululates to an imaginary heaven about the bliss of suicide-murder, he preferred (and nominated) others to do the dying. In contrast to this cowardly hysteria, innumerable American civilians and soldiers acted with calm and humanity and courage.

I was in Pakistan, in Islamabad and Peshawar, and also in Kashmir during the war, and I am as scrupulous, I hope, about civilian casualties as the next person. I was highly impressed by the evolution of military strategy and tactics since the bombs-away inglorious days of the Vietnam era. Many of the points made by the antiwar movement have been consciously assimilated by the Pentagon and its lawyers and advisers. Precision weaponry is good in itself, but its ability to discriminate is improving and will continue to improve. Cluster bombs are perhaps not good in themselves, but when they are dropped on identifiable concentrations of Taliban troops, they do have a heartening effect.

The highest figure for "collateral damage" in the war in Afghanistan that I have seen is the untrustworthy figure of 3,000, which is compiled by suspect pacifist sources and takes no account of the refusal of the other side to identify itself. Such a figure, even if true, would hardly count as a "war" total at all, let alone a war that changed the entire future of a country. (To make a comparison that some idiots deliberately overlook, it is hardly more than the number ofintentional civilian deaths in the trade center attacks in New York, where the total could easily have been much higher and where civilian aircraft were used to kill civilians.)

If you remember, there were also those who warned hysterically of a humanitarian disaster as a result of the bombing: a "silent genocide," as one Boston-area academic termed it. But to the contrary, the people of Afghanistan did not have to endure a winter with only the food and medicine that the primeval Taliban would have furnished them. They survived, and now the population hasgrown by almost 1.2 million, as refugees from the old, atrocious tyranny make their way home. Here is the first country in history to be bombed out of the Stone Age.

It's not over yet, as we must indeed keep telling ourselves, but thus far it is one of the most creditable military operations in history. And it was achieved with a minute fraction of the forces and resources that are at our disposal. There is not a government in the world that will ever again volunteer to play host to Al Qaeda or its surrogates and imitators.

For just this very reason - lest I sound too triumphalist - there is every cause for circumspection and care. We have time and force on our side, and we also have a culture that rightly claims superiority because of its attachment to objectivity and pluralism. This attachment is not emotional, it is intellectual. And the targets of our indiscriminate, fanatical foe are civilians, not generals or politicians. (Our foes wouldn't mind killing generals or politicians, of course, but their ideology counts all infidels as enemies, and civilians are easier to kill, and their level of soldiering is, well, a bit crude.)

So, as civilians in this war, and therefore as primary front-line targets, we do not need to submit to any culture of trust or loyalty or deference. We have a right to know who is in charge and what policies are being debated and what measures taken. We do not have to agree with the choice of any old ally in this struggle, and we dare not assume that any step taken in the name of the "national security" mantra is automatically OK.

Let me give some illustrations of what I mean: First, I'll take the international front. The most annoying thing, in arguing with peaceniks last fall, was confronting their refusal to see that a wholly new situation had arisen. They would insist on translating the fresh, challenging information back into the familiar language they already knew, of Vietnam or Nicaragua or the West Bank. Well, the same was true of the president's "axis of evil" speech, which attempted to fit the new reality into the reassuring old list of "rogue states" or official enemies. In particular, it seemed insane to include Iran in the "most-wanted" category.

The Iranian people, with no interference from outside, have in the past few years developed their own civil-society riposte to the archaic and bankrupt rule of the mullahs. With its dress and its music and its thirst for contact with the outside world, a generation has begun to repudiate theocracy and to insist that election results be respected. A free press is exploding from under the carapace, and electronic communications are eroding superstition. Iranian forces were extremely helpful in combating the Taliban, which had among other things been butchering their Shi'a co-religionists (as have bin Laden's allies in Pakistan).

There should by now have been a chorus from the American Congress and press and civil society demanding that the administration make good relations with Iran into a high priority. (By the way, the Iranians detest Saddam Hussein as well, and for excellent reasons.) Instead, we lump together potential friends with lethal enemies, and our elite cringes before Saudi Arabia, which would belong in any "axis." And why should our elite, which has got everything wrong in Iran from the shah to Oliver North's hostage-trading, be trusted just because this is an emergency? The most one can say here is that the "axis" rhetoric has been quietly dropped, but that's not good enough.

In case I should be accused of avoiding the question of Palestine, I should simply say that George W. Bush was right in making it plain to the Palestinians that suicide bombing, at this time or any other, would be suicidal only for them. But that does not dissolve America's longstanding promise to sponsor mutual recognition between equal populations - a promise that has been unkept for far too long and is now made more urgent rather than less.

Turning to the domestic side, I am still reeling from two telephone calls that I received at home last December. They were from people "in the loop," and they urged me to get myself and my family right out of town, right now. Intelligence had been received: A loose nuke was on the move, and Washington was the known target. "We're going. We're just telling some friends." I didn't go. Nor, after some hesitation, did I pass on the warning. (To whom? Anyway, I didn't believe that my sources could have such precise time-and-place information.)

Then I started to get angry. I'd already read about Washington's postal workers being felled by anthrax, while life-saving Cipro prescriptions were being distributed on Capitol Hill. And I've since read of the lucky few who are to receive immunization against smallpox. To repeat: The whole point of this war is that it pits us against those who deal in death without discrimination. Even so, we try to fight back in a discriminating manner. But why on earth discriminate among ourselves? If there was ever a time when the demand for comprehensive national health care should and could have been raised . . . Need I complete the sentence?

There is a tiny half-truth lurking in the gloating remarks made by some Europeans and others, to the effect that now "Americans will know what it's like." Fair enough. The lazy version of the pursuit of happiness was indeed interrupted by September 11, as other equally lazy versions have been ruptured since. But war, which was once cynically and cleverly defined as "the health of the state," need not be a one-way street. Previous conflicts, in the 1860s and 1940s, also deepened the attachment to democracy, law, and human rights. Within its own borders, the United States is already a potential microcosm of a secular, multinational democracy. We are the ones who have to decide whether such a system can long endure, at home or abroad. Rather than become nerve endings for nameless fear, we can each resolve to become more internationalist and to take a more forward role as citizens.

Last September is commonly said to have "changed everything," but it hasn't done so yet. As it does, we will move closer to a cause, and a country, that is already well worth fighting for.

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and The Nation and a professor of liberal studies at the New School in New York. His latest book,Why Orwell Matters, will be published in October by Perseus.

My side of the story, by Virginia Buckingham,

September 8, 2002, The Boston Globe, My side of the story, by Virginia Buckingham,

Terrorism and security were not the only concerns at Logan Airport during the September 11 crisis. Political opportunism and finger-pointing also had their day.

By Virginia Buckingham, 9/8/2002

I had no aviation experience when I was appointed to head the Massachusetts Port Authority in September 1999. What I had were political connections, the right gender, and a governor's faith in my abilities. The learning curve was steep, but the allure of aviation quickly captured my imagination - until the events of September 11, 2001.

This story is a recounting from Logan Airport, Boston's own ground zero, of the first hours and days following the new century's most searing moment. It is a sharing of my soul and a look into the soul of a city that felt sorrow but sought solace in political revenge. It is a journey I have taken in the shadow of families that lost so much more than a job and professional reputation, as I did.

For me, September 11 was an ending of all I thought I knew and all I thought I was.

September 11, 8:45 a.m.  It started as a normal frenzied day. First, drop my 2-year-old son off at day care and then head to the airport.

I was catching a 10 o'clock shuttle to Washington, D.C., for a meeting with FAA administrator Jane Garvey to discuss Logan's proposal for a new runway.

Driving to the airport with a Massport colleague, James Roy, I heard the report on the radio of a plane hitting the north tower of the World Trade Center. My first thought: "Must be a private plane, a confused pilot. I'm glad we're not flying to New York; it's going to be a mess." My assistant called, asking if I wanted to cancel my trip. "Of course not," I replied.

Almost 18 minutes later, still in the car, I heard a radio report of another plane flying into the second trade center tower. I looked at Roy in disbelief. "Oh, my God," I said, "it's terrorism." I immediately got unconfirmed reports from my office that one of the planes was from Boston, possibly both. "God, please, no," I silently prayed.

What had happened? I thought. Were any other hijackings in progress? Did I know anyone on the planes? I called my husband, David, at work to assure him that I was still on the ground. When I reached Massport headquarters, it was eerily quiet, everyone's attention riveted on the television replay of the second plane ramming into the south tower. The sight momentarily left me gasping for breath. But there was little time to take it in. I noticed employees walking by my office, looking in as I watched the television, as if to gauge my reaction. I was determined to set a matter-of-fact tone. We had a job to do, setting in motion Logan's emergency response plan, which involved opening an emergency operations center and a family assistance center.

At first, it was impossible to confirm whether the planes that hit the towers were from Boston. The Federal Aviation Administration and the airlines were focused on closing the nation's airspace and bringing the rest of the commercial fleet down safely. By 9:30, the FAA had grounded all flights out of Boston and New York. By 9:40, all US flight operations were halted. As we tried to account for all Boston-originating flights already in the air, we received word that a Delta flight out of Logan, bound for the West Coast, had lost radio contact with air traffic control.

I felt sick to my stomach. It would be more than an hour before we received word that the flight had landed safely in Cleveland. But that was little comfort, because we knew by then that American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles had been hijacked and rammed into the first WTC tower. A flight attendant, Madeline Amy Sweeney, had called the airline's control center at Logan and described the horrifying scene unfolding at the front of the plane. For the first time, I heard about box cutters, the weapon that would start a war.

While we were trying to grasp the coldblooded murder of 92 passengers and crew on Flight 11, the changing story of United Airlines Flight 175, another LA-bound flight out of Boston, unfolded. At first we were told that it was the second plane involved in the New York attacks. Then we were told that an American Airlines plane out of Washington's Dulles International Airport had crashed into the trade center tower, and United 175 was safely on the ground. I winced at the effect this uncertainty must be having on passengers' families. Meanwhile, I passed the contradictory information on to the governor's office and the mayor's office.

It was late morning before fact was separated from rumor, and we knew that Boston was doubly touched by tragedy. It was United Flight 175, it would turn out, that had been flown into the south tower of the World Trade Center, killing its 56 passengers and nine crew members.

We would also learn that it was American Flight 77, en route from Dulles to Los Angeles, that had crashed into the Pentagon at 9:43 a.m. And that at 10 a.m., United Airlines Flight 93, en route from Newark to San Francisco, had crashed into a Pennsylvania field.

Around 11 a.m., my husband called to say that the state courthouse where he worked was being closed for security reasons. Suddenly I felt an overwhelming desire to get my son out of day care. "Get Jack and bring him home," I told David, my voice cracking. Nothing seemed safe anymore.

Senior officials from Massport gathered at the emergency operations center just set up at Logan's fire station. The center, intended to deal with aircraft disasters, was staffed by more than 30 federal, state, and local agency personnel, each manning a phone in a large, modern auditorium. In the front of the room, one screen broadcast the national news, and another bore updated information relayed by each agency involved in the emergency response. Yearly practice drills had prepared us for a plane crash on a Logan runway. But four different planes, hijacked from three airports at almost the same time, was beyond anyone's worst imaginings. The atmosphere was orderly, if tense, as staffers took their posts, professional training overcoming the shock and disbelief that could be read on every face.

I took over a conference room above the auditorium and gathered key aviation and security staff. We went through a checklist. A team of 50 Massport employees - from secretaries to engineers - trained to aid victims' families had been deployed to the Logan Hilton hotel, where victims' families were starting to gather. The State Police were securing the terminals and any aircraft on the ground. Massport's conference center in South Boston was opened to stranded travelers. In an incredible show of generosity, many families in East Boston, the neighborhood in Logan's backyard and the most at odds with the airport over the years, opened their homes to total strangers with nowhere else to go.

For the first time in decades, all was quiet overhead. The airport, normally moving 75,000 passengers through its doors each day and 1,400 flights off its runways, was unnaturally still. We waited for guidance from Washington as media outlets and federal investigators descended on Boston.

We established a media center at the Hyatt Harborside at Logan and held two briefings that first day. Massport public safety director Joseph Lawless was bombarded with shouted questions. Because little was known about how the hijackers had gained access to the planes, Lawless was forced again and again to cite the ongoing investigation. Neither the FBI nor the FAA had made itself available to the media, so Lawless bore the brunt of pointed questioning that would have been better directed at federal officials.

Later that evening, I joined Lawless and Massport aviation director Thomas Kinton at the podium. Row upon row of reporters, pens poised over their notebooks, literally on the edge of their seats, waited for answers. We had none. I made a statement about the horror Massport felt at what had happened and how our efforts were focused on aiding the investigation. I was exhausted and emotionally drained, stunned by the enormity of what had happened. In politics, perception often matters more than reality, and while I inwardly felt focused and calm, a reporter told me later that I had looked shaken and unsteady - an image that proved difficult to overcome.

I finally went home about 1 a.m. I leaned into David's arms and stood by my sleeping son's bed for a few minutes. I was too tired to speak and too tired to sleep and spent the few hours until dawn staring at the ceiling in our bedroom, mentally forming a checklist for the staff meeting I'd called for 7 a.m.

The day after the terrorist attacks was spent chasing down rumors and listening to the tidbits of the investigation that federal authorities were sharing with us. The first break came when it was discovered that one of the terrorists' bags had not been put aboard a connecting flight at Logan from Portland, Maine. In it was a copy of the Koran, a flight manual, and pages of Arabic writing. Later, a rental car used by the terrorists was found in Logan's central parking garage. Records showed that the car had been in and out of the garage several times in the days before September 11 - disturbing proof of the cool calculation that went into the murderous plan.

When we received word that the FAA would reopen US airspace the following day, September 13, a decision on reopening Logan loomed. The airlines were anxious to get flying again, and thousands of travelers, stuck at airports around the country and the world, wanted to get home. But terrorists had walked through our doors just one day earlier. Were there more out there? I wanted to wait to open. The FAA had been flooding us with new security directives, and I wanted to be certain we had complied completely with them. Moreover, many of the directives seemed to just scratch the surface of what needed to be done, such as banning plastic knives from the terminals and halting curbside check-in. We also wanted the FBI and FAA to assure us that they didn't have any intelligence information that put Logan at risk.

Others in the operations center had the "snowstorm mentality," so called because of the overriding dynamic in our nation's Snowbelt airports that defines operational competence as keeping your airport open (i.e., at least one runway) during a snowstorm. With this dynamic driving it, the operations staff was marching Logan toward a reopening the next day, in concert with other airports around the country.

I took Kinton aside and said, "Tom, this isn't a [expletive] snowstorm; that's not what this is about." Kinton agreed we shouldn't be taking the traditional operational approach. At our staff meeting on September 12, I framed the issue this way: "Opening the airport quickly is not the priority, opening it safely is. What else would you do before we reopened, to ensure we are as safe as possible?" The staff developed a working list of 35 items that we quickly adopted, ranging from checking air vents on the terminal roofs for explosives to deploying a State Police SWAT team, armed with machine guns, to patrol the airport.

We decided to go one step further by requiring the airlines to certify that they had complied with their own new safety directives from the FAA. If an airline refused to produce proof, complaining that only the FAA had the authority to demand it, Kinton said bluntly, "Fine, we'll open, but you're not operating."

I skimmed both Boston newspapers each morning. On September 13, Acting Governor Jane Swift was quoted as saying, "Terrorists got onto a plane [at Logan], so obviously there was a problem." She said this despite a New York Times story the day before quoting aviation experts as saying that Logan followed the same procedures as any other airport. I swore under my breath. The governor was the first to point to Logan as a unique problem; she wouldn't be the last.

Only a handful of airports, including Logan and Washington's Reagan National, still remained closed. In the nation's capital, the highest levels of the federal government debated when, or even whether, Reagan would reopen. I shared our own reopening strategy with Swift by phone, and she said she agreed with our approach and wanted to be kept apprised of the latest developments. But she added, "I don't think I should be involved in the actual decision to reopen the airport." I felt uneasy. First her quote in the paper, now this. The political distancing had begun, aimed at protecting the governor from political harm.

In Washington, President Bush rallied the nation with an emotional speech to Congress and took the political risk of visiting CIA headquarters to embrace and encourage the agency, under fire for possible intelligence lapses. Democratic leaders shunned partisanship and offered unconditional support for the war on terror. In New York City, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani put aside a bitter political battle with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and became the personification of a city's strength in grief. But in Boston, politics still ruled. We extended an invitation to the governor for her to visit Massport's operations center, but the offer was rejected. Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who was doing television interviews down the street at the Logan Hyatt, also declined. A week after the hijackings, Menino was quoted in the Globe as saying that Logan's new runway project should be shelved. The Boston Herald quoted a Massachusetts congressman admitting anonymously, "We are embarrassed that two of the planes came from Boston."

By contrast, US Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry wanted a full tour and briefing at the operations center on September 13. They gave a pep talk to the federal, state, and local emergency workers manning the center, thanking them for their efforts and giving them an update on the national response. Their questions at a private briefing afterward were incisive and to the point. Kerry, with whom I had tangled politically in the past, most notably when I ran then-governor William Weld's Senate campaign against him in 1996, commented that this was a national problem, not a Logan problem. It was a statement he would make repeatedly over the next several weeks as he led the successful fight to federalize airport checkpoint security. Kennedy said he had told the media earlier that it was counterproductive to search for scapegoats. As Kerry was leaving the briefing, he asked me when we thought the airport would reopen. "I know it's hard, but at some point you just have to make the call," he said and squeezed my shoulder. I nodded. He confirmed what I already knew - the decision was mine to make, and it was time to make it.

Iturned 36 on September 14. Celebrating seemed obscene, and in the morning I quieted my husband's whispered "happy birthday," putting my finger to his lips and saying, "Shhh. Let's talk about it next year." That day a news story suggested a personnel "shake-up" was coming at Massport, citing State House sources. It was the first of many.

The airport was scheduled to open at 5 a.m. on September 15. Before leaving to grab a few hours' sleep, Kinton, the aviation director, gathered his staff together. "Normally, when we get the airport reopened after a storm, we feel relief," he told them. "From now on, it should just make us feel sick." As his words sank in, the realization that the job of running an airport had forever changed began to sink in, too.

The first commercial flight departed Logan bound for Chicago at 6:50 a.m. A few minutes later, United Flight 168 arrived from Los Angeles. American and United airlines staff gathered together on the tarmac, many crying, and waved tiny American flags to welcome the crew and passengers home. Later that morning, another commercial pilot opened his cockpit window and let an American flag flap in the breeze as he taxied his plane to the gate. Patriotism, gritty determination, and a love of aviation would give the nation's airline personnel, newly aware of their vulnerability, the fortitude to take those first flights. I felt immense pride and awe at their personal victory over terrorism and swallowed my own gnawing sense of fear that rose in my throat each time a jet roared overhead.

Having served as the chief of staff for two governors, I had a good sense of what a governor did and did not need to know. Certainly there was no bigger public issue at that moment than security at Logan. So I was taken aback when Swift's chief of staff ordered me to stop calling the governor and instead communicate with a functionary in the Executive Office of Public Safety. I understood the benefit of filtering information but countered that I thought Logan's issues were too important to offload to a Cabinet department. Our conversation grew heated. "There's sensitive security information we're not going to be comfortable telling anyone else," I argued. He wouldn't budge but agreed I could call him if necessary. Otherwise, he said, a public safety staffer would be calling the shots.

On Saturday morning, the airport reopening having gone smoothly, I was able to spend a few hours at home. I hadn't seen Jack awake in four days, and Mommy's disappearing act wasn't sitting well. After a few hours of play, I went up to dress for work. Jack burst into tears. "Don't go, Mommy. Don't go to airport. You no save people anymore." His words brought me up short. It seemed that some well-meaning adult had explained my absence by saying I was at the airport saving people. Saving people? No, Jack, it was too late for that.

At the time, I was several weeks pregnant with my second child. Only a few close friends and my family knew. Working at the operations center until midnight almost every night and dealing with the media scrutiny, I had little time to worry about the effect on the life inside me. In the wee hours of the morning I'd read and reread my pregnancy books to assure myself I was doing no harm. I also convinced myself that I could handle it if I miscarried. After all, wasn't it a small loss compared to what so many others had suffered? It wasn't until late October, my resignation decided, that I acknowledged I didn't want to lose this baby and felt a deep need for my daughter to survive. With mine in doubt, I needed her future. With so much death, I needed her life.

Death was all around us. On September 16, airport employees organized a memorial service in the Delta hangar. Hundreds of airport employees stood side by side in the open concrete expanse, seeking comfort in one another. Kinton, Lawless, and I stayed in the back. From the moment I learned of the first crash, I had not shed one tear, and I doubt that Tom or Joe had, either. There had been no time to reflect, no time to mourn. The airport chaplain led the service, and colleagues of the murdered crew members read bits of poetry and prayers. State Trooper Dan Clark sang "God Bless America." His voice, those words, finally cracked my emotional armor. Kinton put his arm around me, tears streaming down his own face.

After the service ended, people milled about, hugging one another, the macho aviation culture displaced by sorrow. Many airline employees expressed their disbelief at the backlash. For the past four days, the Boston media had focused on Massport's political appointees and security problems at Logan. One prominent story even speculated about the political danger to Swift. "What is wrong with this city?" the airline workers said to me. "They're making the airport and all of us look like we're to blame. Don't they care that we lost our friends, too?" It struck me forcefully that I was speaking for the whole airport community, a community that had no voice. Urged by my aides to point the finger of blame at the airlines, I resisted. The blame lay with 19 dead criminals and their master, hiding thousands of miles away in the caves of Afghanistan.

My mantra to the media became: "Clearly there was a system failure. It does not appear to be unique to Logan, but the priority is finding out what happened. We'll go wherever the investigation leads us." I left out the obvious point that two other major airports - Newark International and Dulles - suffered the same systems failure. I had been chastised by Swift's press office for noting the systemwide failure publicly and for saying that Logan was as safe as any other airport. Had I said that Logan was as unsafe as any other airport, maybe the governor would have approved. It would have been closer to the truth.

We desperately wanted Washington's leaders to tell us how to protect airports from terrorism. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta announced two rapid response teams to make recommendations on national aviation security. The teams' members were all familiar aviation industry leaders, but they lacked an obvious qualification - counterterrorism expertise.

Frustrated, I shouted at the television in the conference room: "This is the same commission on security they would have announced if September 11th had never happened!" Jose Juves, Massport's media spokesman, summed up how we all felt: "We're on our own, guys. We're on our own."

As soon as Mineta's press conference ended, I went into a private office, next to the conference room, and closed the door. "I want to call Crandall and Barclay," I told Kinton. Robert Crandall was the former head of American Airlines' parent company. He lived in Gloucester, and while I'd only met him once, he had a reputation as a maverick, willing to buck the aviation and government establishment. Charles Barclay, the president of the American Association of Airport Executives, a national trade group, was well-respected by Congress, the FAA, and airlines alike. If there was a way to get Washington's attention, they'd know how.

Barclay cautioned me on the ability of the FAA bureaucracy to respond quickly but promised to use his position on Mineta's response team to voice airports' concerns. Crandall advised us to use the media, as he was doing, to force action through public pressure. I decided to try both approaches, ordering a list of security recommendations be sent to Barclay and seeking out national and local media opportunities to call for airport security to be taken over by the federal government.

Of course, we all knew the nation's airports and Logan had reopened with nothing much having changed. Logan had one of the first of many security breaches, at Terminal B on September 17. A screener thought she saw a knife as she scanned carry-on luggage, but by the time she attempted to stop the passenger, he or she was gone. The Terminal B concourse was emptied and the passengers rescreened, a situation that was to play out over and over at dozens of airports in the months following the hijackings. In Boston, the media reported it as one more strike against Massport's competence.

I had a telephone conference call with FAA administrator Garvey and 31 US airport directors at about the same time as the Terminal B incident. I was prepared to talk about federalizing airport security, but as the call began, touching on a few relevant security issues, it became clear that there was another agenda: sports charters. Four hijackings, nearly 3,000 people dead on American soil, and a major concern was celebrity athletes boarding privately chartered aircraft without having their belongings or person screened. I was dumbfounded. Toward the end of the call, I asked Garvey if the FAA planned to seek counsel from people who understood the kind of threat we were now facing. Her answer wasn't reassuring. She said that kind of input was being handled by the National Security Council, not the FAA. The call ended, and I said out loud: "We're on our own, guys. We're on our own."

On September 18, Kinton and I left the operations center to begin a terminal-by-terminal checkpoint inspection. On the way, over Kinton's radio, we heard that a pilot approaching Logan had declared a mayday, saying he had a "control problem." Post-September 11, that meant one thing to us: a hijacking. At breakneck speed, we drove through the south security gate and onto the airfield. We could see the plane, significantly off-course, fly over the air traffic control tower. Kinton leapt from the car and said repeatedly, "Get down. C'mon, get down," as we watched the plane struggle over Winthrop Bay. It landed safely on Runway 27, a mechanical problem the cause of the pilot's mayday call.

The next night, we experienced another surreal moment: the bin Laden family airlift. My staff was told that a private jet was arriving at Logan from Saudi Arabia to pick up 14 members of Osama bin Laden's family living in the Boston area. "Does the FBI know?" staffers wondered. "Does the State Department know? Why are they letting these people go? Have they questioned them?" This was ridiculous. But our power to stop their arrival or departure was limited. Under federal law, an airport operator is not allowed to restrict the movement of an individual flight or a class of aircraft without going through a byzantine regulatory process that had, to date, never succeeded. So bravado would have to do in the place of true authority. Kinton said: "Tell the tower that plane is not coming in here until somebody in Washington tells us it's OK." He then repeatedly called the FBI and the State Department throughout the night. Each time the answer was the same: "Let them leave." On September 19, under the cover of darkness, they did.

As each day brought more news accounts of security checkpoint problems, the media frenzy built. We spent a lot of time trying to separate fact from rumor. It was widely reported that a Logan ramp pass had been found in one of the terrorists' cars. A Chicago newspaper said another hijacking out of Logan was thwarted, citing a flight number that didn't exist. Yet another story reported locally said that a pilot "described as Middle Eastern" had been given a tour of the Logan tower just days before the hijackings. The first two stories turned out to be baseless, the other misinterpreted, but the perception of an airport out of control was growing.

I was on my way to Worcester to meet with local officials and review security measures for the Worcester airport when I got a call from my office. Following a media report of another security problem at Logan, the governor was ordering the newly formed Carter Commission - originally charged with conducting a sweeping review of "organizational challenges" at Massport - to do a seven-day security review of the airport and report back to her with immediate steps to implement safety improvements. I understood the impulse. There was a bad-news story, and the governor wanted to be on the offensive. But I was in the midst of hiring an Israeli counterterrorism expert to make security recommendations at Logan, and my staff was working around the clock to ensure that the new FAA rules and our own voluntary measures were airtight. Moreover, while the Carter Commission, charged with reviewing Massport operations in the wake of the attacks, was composed of accomplished appointees, not one of them was an expert in counterterrorism.

For the first time since the attacks, I grew very angry. I was a team player, but Swift and her aides had to understand this wasn't a game. I called Stacey Rainey, Swift's closest adviser, and in a tone barely concealing my outrage, made the case for letting Massport proceed with its own plans. I also asked another Swift political adviser to weigh in. A few hours later, Swift's chief of staff called me to say the governor was backing off. I'd won one, but it was a hollow victory.

For weeks, I was doing five to six media interviews a day. I wondered how many ways I could be asked if I was going to resign. Each morning as I dressed for work, I pinned a red, white, and blue ribbon on my jacket. A Massport firefighter had made them in commemoration of her fallen New York colleagues. I was beginning to feel like a pariah because of the critical news coverage, but wearing the ribbon made me feel some solidarity with the pain of other Americans.

Even this small token of patriotism brought scorn, however. A Boston columnist sneered that I was wearing the ribbon "like a shield." The words cut deeply. A friend wondered why I didn't have a flag on my house, as many of my neighbors had. It was a simple question with a complicated answer. Deep down, I felt some people didn't think I deserved to have a flag on my house. I guessed others thought that I, of all people, should have one. So I took off the pin, put a small "God Bless America" sticker on my car window, and sought comfort in working side-by-side with my tired but determined airport colleagues.

In the past, my faith had always helped me through difficult times. My husband and I come from different religious backgrounds, but we diverge most in our individual conception of how God acts in our world. I had always believed that God acts directly, that if you pray for help, you will receive it, that "when a door closes, God always opens a window." My husband believes in a more distant God, a God with unexercised power that leaves human beings to chart their own course. I talked with my mother, a deeply faithful Catholic, about the hijackings, and she said, as if to comfort me, "God always has a reason." I said sharply: "How can you believe in a God that would let this happen? I refuse to believe that God had the power to intervene and chose not to. I refuse to believe in that kind of God." God was still there, but out of my reach.

I often felt very alone. In politics, when someone's in trouble, the natural instinct is to stay away, lest the flying mud hit the wrong target.

I attended a City Hall Plaza memorial service for the flight crews, sitting just a few rows below the governor and other constitutional officers who were onstage. A few people I knew from the State House nodded hello, but others looked away, as if they hadn't seen me. Bette Midler sang "Wind Beneath My Wings" as white doves representing each Boston crew member who had died in the attacks were released and soared overhead.

As soon as I returned to my office, the phone rang. It was Attorney General Tom Reilly. He had seen me at the service, he said, and was struck by "the pain on your face." He continued: "This isn't your fault. I'm sorry this is happening." I quietly thanked him for calling and hung up the phone.

It had been five days since I had spoken to the governor. On September 21, I was summoned to attend Swift's daily security meeting, because federal authorities had alerted her and Menino to a potential terrorist threat against Boston. Swift asked me to stay after the meeting ended. She said she knew that there was nothing Massport could have done to stop the hijackings. "But you also know politics," she continued, "and I can't guarantee you how this is going to turn out. The only way that I can sleep at night is that I know you understand how the media works." This would be the last time I talked to the governor before I resigned.

I have since reflected on how I would have advised the governor had I been her chief of staff, not head of Massport. The fact that politics sometimes demands change for the sake of change was no surprise to me. I had been a practitioner of Boston's tough politics for a decade, and as one reporter told me, "There are plenty of people walking around Boston Common with one kneecap to prove it." I like to think that I would have seen that this tragedy was bigger than politics and urged unblinking leadership in the face of the withering criticism. But whether I would have recommended the same course Swift followed is an unanswerable question. So, instead, I try to answer a more pressing one. Was I to blame? Thousands of people were dead. Could I have stopped it? I sought the answer in the heart of a grieving mother.

Marianne MacFarlane, a 34-year-old United Airlines gate agent, had been on United Flight 175 for a mini-vacation in Las Vegas. Her mother, Anne MacFarlane, a Logan public service representative and former flight attendant, describes Marianne as "everybody's friend." That her mom was Marianne's dearest friend was plain to all who knew them.

Marianne's first airport job was selling flowers out of a cart in Terminal D. As her mom says, "Once you work at an airport, you can't work anywhere else." Despite a college adviser's admonition that "she had no future in aviation," Marianne's career took her to Florida, Maine, and finally back to Boston and a job with United Airlines. She worked the 4:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. shift and would rise at 4:05 to find her mother waiting downstairs to drive her to work. "Otherwise, she'd never have gotten there," Anne says wryly. Although she usually tossed an "I'll see ya" over her shoulder, on September 11, Marianne said "goodbye" as Anne dropped her off at Terminal C. Anne almost stopped the car to ask, "Why `goodbye'?"

The MacFarlane family lived in the old Irish section of Revere, in two double-deckers connected by a driveway and a pool. Anne and Marianne shared one, and the two MacFarlane sons lived next door. It was George MacFarlane, a Chelsea firefighter, who heard of the first plane crash and urged his mother, Anne, to turn on the television. As a commentator spoke of the horror unfolding in New York City, a second plane careered into the south tower. Anne watched as her only daughter was murdered. While she didn't know at the time that Marianne was on the plane, an unease grew. Anne at first waited at home with her sons for some piece of news, but then felt an urge to go to the airport. She needed to know. United Airlines employees were gathered around the ticket counter. When they saw her approach, some began to cry.

The memorial service for Marianne was held at St. Rose of Lima Church in Chelsea. When I arrived, the line of mourners stretched for three blocks. It dawned on me that I might not be welcome here. I had never met Anne and hadn't known her daughter. My heart pounding, I introduced myself to Anne and expressed my condolences. She took both of my hands and looked me straight in the eye. "Don't let them tear our airport apart," she said. "Promise me." Moments before she bade a final farewell to her daughter, Anne saw far beyond her own sorrow. "I won't," I said. "I promise I won't."

It was a promise I could not keep. The chairman of the Carter Commission was openly telling my staff that Massport needed a "professional" CEO. Allies on the Massport board of directors told me that the governor's office had begun subtly lobbying them for my removal. I felt my choices were either to resign or be fired. Aides and close friends gathered in late October to discuss my resignation speech. I had been through this kind of drill before, helping three governors craft just the right words to say in times of crisis. But it's infinitely harder when they're your own words. Struggling to keep my composure, I asked, "How can I resign without people thinking forever that I was to blame for the deaths of thousands of people?" The question hung there unanswered.

Following the resolution of a major controversy over my severance agreement, I drove out of the airport for the last time as its leader on November 9. A television news crew stopped my car as it exited the garage. I answered a few questions with the spin that my spokesman and I had agreed upon: "This allowed the agency to move forward." But one final question was unsettling: "What's next for you?" I answered, "I don't know; I'm sure good things." In truth, I was sure of nothing. As I headed for the Sumner Tunnel, I gripped the steering wheel to keep control.

Three months passed. Unemployed and six months pregnant, I sought refuge in my childhood home in Connecticut. A snowstorm had moved in, frosting the ground in my old neighborhood with 5 fresh inches. Wandering street after street, I searched for the peace that comes from having roots. The joy of more carefree times. After a half-hour, I turned to climb the hill to my old house and paused to take in a view unchanged in my 36 years: tall, gangly apple trees, a simple Cape Cod-style home. As I took a deep breath, the idyllic scene before me burst into flames as one, then two towers of the World Trade Center were hit by hijacked 767s and crumbled to the ground.

I continued to follow the daily news stories about aviation security. Richard Reid's alleged attempt to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with a plastic bomb concealed in his shoe filled me with anguish and outrage. How could this happen? How could it not? The FAA's knee-jerk reaction was to say that shoes should be inspected at the security checkpoints. If Reid had been wearing the bomb under a baseball hat, the FAA probably would have said to check under hats, instead. A suitcase loaded with explosives could still be checked onto a flight at any time. Magnetometers weren't uniformly sensitive enough to catch a gun carried through a security checkpoint, even if the machines stayed plugged in. The industry was spending more time lobbying Congress to extend deadlines for tougher security rules than figuring out how to implement them. What had changed? Everything and nothing.

In June, I again sought out Anne MacFarlane. We met at the IHOP restaurant in Revere, and Anne handed me a teddy bear wearing a T-shirt saying, "Always in Our Hearts Flight 175." I squeezed the bear hard. She also gave me a laminated copy of an American flag, a certificate of recognition, and a letter from NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe. He wrote that the space shuttleEndeavour had carried 6,000 American flags to the International Space Station in December to honor the victims and heroes of September 11. Anne wanted my children to have the mementos, to use as vivid illustrations for their history lessons. Inadvertently, Anne had shared my reasoning for telling this story in the first place: bearing witness for my children to events that someday will be as distant to them as Pearl Harbor and Vietnam are to me.

Anne also gave me a Mass card with Marianne's picture on it. I had wanted to ask her to bring a picture but had felt awkward. Our meeting was already enough of an invasion of her private grief. But I wanted Anne to share with me the essence of her daughter. I wanted to look into Marianne's eyes. I wanted to know her. We talked easily, Anne's motherly ways inviting questions and confidences. Finally mustering the courage to pose the question that haunted my dreams, I asked her, "Do you blame me?" She didn't blink. "You're no more to blame than Marianne is." I felt relief but no unburdening of my heart.

"I know I didn't lose anyone on September 11," I explained. "I have my husband and two children and my health. I know it's not comparable to what you and others lost, but on September 11, I lost myself." Anne didn't look surprised. She just asked quietly, "What are you going to do now?" I answered, "Get through the one-year anniversary, write my story, try to reclaim who I am." "Then do it," Anne said. "Do it in Marianne's name."

More months will pass, a second anniversary will come, then a third. Perspectives will change, more truths will be discovered. Mindful of the agony of so many mothers, I hold my children close and, in Marianne MacFarlane's name, try to find what I have lost, grateful for what I have.

Virginia Buckingham was executive director and CEO of the Massachusetts Port Authority from September 1999 until November 2001.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Robert Cruikshank '58, Martin Wohlforth '76 and Jeffrey Wiener '90

September 26th, 2001, The Daily Princetonian, Three more alumni confirmed dead, By Joshua Tauberer,

Three additional alumni have been confirmed dead after the attack on the World Trade Center.

Robert Cruikshank '58, Martin Wohlforth '76 and Jeffrey Wiener '90 were all killed in New York on Sept. 11.

Wiener, an engineer at Princeton, went on to receive a masters in engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. this May. He worked at General Electric on classified aerospace engineering, and later for Marsh, Inc. in the WTC, his wife Heidi said.

Though initially he was involved in computer programming at Marsh, his interests changed, Heidi said.

Most recently he became a manager at the company and dealt more with clients than with engineering.

Wiener was an active member of his synagogue. "He would help out. He would fill in when our cantor was away," his wife said.

Wiener was also a "video game fanatic," Heidi said, recalling his flight combat simulations and other games.

"He was just always there for any who needed him, whenever they needed him," she said.

"His biggest job was making sure I stayed in school," said Heidi, who is now working on a Ph.D. in cell biology at N.Y.U. Medical Center.

"He really always wanted to give more back to Princeton because he felt he got a lot of it out of it."

Robert Cruikshank was the former vice chairman of the Chicago Board Options Exchange and was working for Carr Futures on the 92nd floor of 1 World Trade Center.

"He loved to ski and play tennis and play golf. He was a terrific father and my best friend for 39 years," said his wife, Marianne. "[He was] the most positive man in the world."

Cruikshank was almost 65. "He not only looked but he acted much younger than he was," said his son, Douglas Cruikshank '87, who has a seven-month-old daughter. "He thought himself so youthful that the moniker grandfather seemed out of place for him . . . We used to tease him. We used the term grandpa, but he always cringed when we said it."

Cruikshank, who was an economics major at the University, considered his time at Princeton "a turning point in his life," his wife said. His family has decided to honor him by establishing a scholarship fund for University students in his name.

Martin "Buff" Wohlforth was a politics major and became an investment banker after graduating from the University. He worked for Sandler O'Neill and Partners on the 104th floor of 2 World Trade Center.

"He was absolutely a man of incredible integrity," said his wife, Susan. Though he was dedicated to his work, she said he made sure he was home for dinner every night. "I think that tells the world about a man."

Wohlforth played golf and won the golf tournament at his last Reunions. But for Wohlforth, winning was not as important as the game itself. "It is the journey not the destination. It is the process not the prize," Susan recalled him saying.

"He was very content with his life, and he was a very, very happy man," she said.

His father, Bob Wohlforth '47, said, "He was an all-around good guy." Bob remembers taking his son to a Princeton basketball game when Martin was 12 years old.

"Bill Bradley certainly inspired him," he explained. "That really turned him on."

Judy Colfer, of Mine Safety Appliance Co.

A firefighter travels to the North Tower and climbs 54 stories in the same amount of time it takes Judy Colfer to descend only one story.

In a very unusual account, she says rescuers directed her into a dark subbasement, then up a ramp to the shopping plaza level, where true theatrics overlaid her building exit.

Colfer says she left the tower only five minutes before the first collapse, even though people 38 stories higher up also made it alive.

I can walk five city blocks in five minutes, but she was still close enough to be caught up in the first collapse and enveloped in "a total whiteout," where "some people she couldn't see grabbed her hands" and helped her to safety.

Her New York City taxi cab story is unlike anything I've ever heard of before.

She out ran death

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Sunday, September 16, 2001

By L.A. Johnson, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Waking up at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday in her Wall Street district Holiday Inn hotel room, Judy Colfer began another day. She showered, slipped into a business casual long black dress and pink blazer and made arrangements for a shuttle to LaGuardia Airport later in the day. After a breakfast of blueberry muffins and melon, she walked two long New York City blocks in high heels to a day-long seminar at the World Trade Center.

As the Twin Towers erupted in flames and then collapsed, there was panic in the streets as onlookers and rescuers sought cover from the thick smoke and debris. (Suzanne Plunkett, Associated Press)

"The morning was gorgeous," said Colfer, 49, of Greensburg. "Blue sky. No clouds. It started out as a wonderful day."

After going through security checks, she took two different elevators to the 55th floor of One World Trade Center for her 8:30 a.m. seminar on shipping goods to Mexico.

"We weren't 15 minutes into class when the building rocked," said Colfer, acting logistics director for Mine Safety Appliance Co., based in O'Hara Township. "It was like you were in an earthquake, but you're in New York City so you know there aren't earthquakes."

Desks and tables jumped up off the floor. Chairs shook. Books flew across the room. Glass and papers swirled around outside.

"Get out! Get out! Get out now!" someone screamed.

WTC guards escorted people to a door leading to a stairwell. It took a while to get the door open, but eventually Colfer and a couple dozen others huddled on a stairwell landing on the 55th floor.

"You could see fear in people's eyes, but there was no panic," she said. "Everybody knew something had happened. You just didn't know what."

People grabbed their cell phones, but cell phones weren't working. Two landings below, Colfer heard the beep, beep, beep of a man's pager.

"A plane hit the building! A plane hit the building!" the man yelled out seconds later.

WTC guards told Colfer's group they had to move people on lower floors out first before they could get them down. Time seemed to stand still. So did they. They'd move three or four steps, then stop for five minutes. They were in the stairwell single file because police, firefighters and emergency technicians were heading up.

The firefighters -- exhausted, sweating and breathing hard -- carried heavy gear including air tanks, sledgehammers and thermal imaging cameras, which Colfer's company happen to make. One firefighter, a lieutenant whose name she never learned, reached out and touched her arm.

"Lady, what floor did you come from?"

She had moved one story at that point and was only on the 54th floor.

"What did you see? Was there smoke? Was there flames? Was anybody injured? Did everybody get out?" he asked.

She looked into the lieutenant's face, noting his serious demeanor. At that moment, she feared she wouldn't make it.

"It will be OK," he said, touching her arm again, as if he'd seen the terror in her eyes.

"I know this man didn't get out," she said, her voice cracking.

Some 15 to 20 mintues later, though she admits time was difficult to gauge, Colfer made it to the 40th floor, still thinking: "I'm not getting out of here."

She thought about her husband, Gene, her two boys, Brian 13, and Brenden, 10, and how she had to see them again. She thought of her deceased parents and how she'd been named after St. Jude, the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes.

Colfer and others in the stairwell heard firefighters smashing steel doors floors below them. Doors to each floor were locked and firefighters needed to check each floor. They broke through one door, then smashed open the vending machine to get bottled water, which they handed to people in the stairwell.

"Pass it. Pass it. Pass it," the firefighters said.

They gave them paper towels, too, and told them to wet the paper towels then put them over their faces so they could breath amidst the smoke. The procession stopped for a time on the 40th floor as firefighters, police and emergency technicians carried down injured people -- a blind man with his seeing-eye dog, a pregnant woman, and two other bleeding and badly burned people. Single file, they continued to inch along.

"I thought I was never getting out of there," she said. "Finally, I got to the 10th level and I was thinking, 'I've made it this far!'"

When the group reached the third floor, rescuers told them to be careful of the water. The sprinkler systems had been activated and gone haywire. Water was flowing out underneath the door into the stairwell and there weren't any safety strips on the painted steel stairs.

"When I got to the bottom, where the subway ran through the building, there was five inches of water on the floor," she said.

Rescuers told Colfer and the others they were going to open a set of doors and then guide them through.

"They threw open the doors and it was dark, but you saw one small light," she said.

Once her eyes were acclimated to the darkness, she saw concrete slabs where the walls were on the floor and that the concrete ceiling above had collapsed.

"It was like a bomb had exploded," she said. "I thought, this structure has this much damage and I'm on the bottom. What does the rest of the building look like?"

Colfer and the others felt their way up a ramp, which brought them back up into the shopping mall level of the WTC building. At that point, the time for calm and order was over.

"We're going to throw these doors open and we want you to run!" rescuers told Colfer and the others.

"They threw open the doors and it was all this brightness and we did," she said. "We just ran."

Colfer ran as fast as she could. She wasn't out of the building five minutes when One World Trade Center collapsed.

"It was just totally unbelievable," she said. "It was so unreal.

"You're coming out of that building, police and firemen everywhere and thinking, 'Why are they screaming at you to run and they're still standing there?' "

As Colfer ran, she thought of that fire lieutenant's serious face and how she was lucky to be alive. She cried for him and the others five minutes behind her who didn't make it out. Suddenly, a giant light gray cloud of dust and debris hit her like a gale wind.

"It was like being in some horrendous blizzard, a total whiteout."

Then, all the noise and screaming were gone. Silence. Disoriented and covered with glass and concrete dust, Colfer kept running, though she wasn't sure where she was or where to run.

"Put out your hands," a woman called to her.

She did and some people she couldn't see grabbed her hands and they all kept running. When the dust finally cleared, she saw fire trucks, ambulances and the Brooklyn Bridge. Police on the bridge were trying to make a path in traffic for emergency vehicles. A cab screeched over to where Colfer and her two nameless companions were standing.

"Get in! Get in! You're going to get killed on this bridge," he said.

The three jumped into the back of the cab. He told them the twin towers had been hit and had fallen. They heard about the plane crashing into the Pentagon over the radio. The cabbie stopped to pick up another young man, who slipped into the front seat.

The couple that ran with Colfer got out on the other side of the bridge. Colfer wanted to go to the airport. The cabbie told her he couldn't take her there. Instead, he took her to the home of the man in the front seat, a Mark Figueroa from Elmhurst, N.Y.

"I'm safe," Figueroa assured her. "You can come home with me. My girlfriend is at my house."

During the drive, Colfer saw people crowding street corners and just staring -- as if they were in some trance -- in the direction of the city.

"When all this was happening, I felt like I was in a movie -- like you're watching this movie on a screen," she said. "You're seeing it, but you're not [feeling] a part of it. Your mind just wasn't comprehending the horrible circumstances."

When they arrived at Figueroa's house about 11:30 a.m., his girlfriend offered Colfer clean clothes and a towel so she could shower. She just wanted to call her husband, but Figueroa's phone wasn't working. They even drove down the block to a pay phone, but still no luck. She finally got through to her husband's office about 12:15 p.m. and left a message on his voicemail.

"I'm alive. I just want you to know I love you. I love the kids and I'm alive and I'll keep trying to reach you," she said.

Colfer and Figueroa and his friends drank Jack Daniels with Coke and ate pizza and watched CNN into the night.

Colfer's company helped get her home. An MSA salesman in the city delivering emergency equipment to the rescue site picked her up. He took her to another Holiday Inn, this time in Totowa, N.J., where people from the corporate office drove her back to Pennsylvania Thursday.

She met her husband in New Stanton. After lots of hugs and kisses, he whisked her home, where close friends and family waited. The trees that lined their driveway were festooned with yellow ribbons and streamers. The moment she walked through the door, her youngest son ran into her arms.

She plans to return to work on Monday, though she hasn't been able to sleep. She can't forget the faces of the men, especially that fire lieutenant, who unselfishly gave their lives to help her escape. She never thought something like this could happen in America.

"Now, it shows that it does," she said. "I'll never feel safe again."