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Saturday, October 29, 2005

From 9/11/2001 to 10/28/2005: a World Trade Center Survivor Story

Bonnie is a blogger who has become a real life friend of mine.  For as long as New Yorkers live we will hear each others 9/11 stories and be endlessly fascinated.  Bonnie can say to me "then I found myself next to Sbarro's," and I will know exactly where she was.  It was the defining day of our lives for many reasons; including: another day, another hour, another five minutes, I could have been killed.

So much has happened since then; it's been hard to heal.  We find ourselves in the unique position of having had a much loved, much used civilian complex attacked and yet being asked "why do you hate America so much?"  An offensive question if ever there was one. 

Bonnie left this comment on a post I did yesterday for my blog.  I asked if I could put it in Bring it on! because it expresses so much better than I can ever the feelings so many of us have been feeling.  And yes I also wanted the war in Afghanistan; for months before we entered Iraq I thought maybe...but by the time we did...

Yesterday felt as if there might be light at the end of the tunnel.  For the first time in so long we felt hope, and you don't know how how great that feels until you realize how helpless and hopeless you were feeling.

Hi. Full disclosure first, I am a regular reader & fan of Pia's blog.

I am also a NYC resident and I was AT the WTC on September 11th. I ran for my life and over 80 former co-workers there were not so fortunate. I was ferociously in favor of the war in Afghanistan; I have never been a big fan of Bush but I actually admired the way that the administration took the time to investigate & pull together a coalition rather than rushing blindly to attack.

But when Osama escaped justice, and the war drums started beating for Saddam, I felt like the administration was using Saddam to distract the rest of the country - (you can’t fool New Yorkers that way, we were there, we lived it, we knew the story and we didn't’t forget Osama even when months would go by without Bush so much as mentioning the name - that’s part of why so many of us have gone solidly into the anti-Bush camp) from noticing that we had failed to “smoke ‘em out”.

Eagerness for a war is a heinous thing, and I think Bush found the concept of being a “war president” a little too heady, was a little too eager to look around for more once the situation in Afghanistan began to quiet down. I wanted to see Osama captured; I wanted to see Afghanistan recover from the years after we congratulated the Mujaheddin for driving out the Soviets, then abandoned them to the tender mercies of the mullahs who invited Osama there to train the people who flew those planes into the towers above my head that day (if I had been 15 minutes earlier, or even made the wrong turn while I was fleeing, I do not know if I would still be here) - in short, I thought that what we did in Afghanistan was justified and for a good cause and I wanted to see us finish THAT mission (meaning seeing Afghanistan on her way to a true recovery and Osama on trial for 9/11).

Maybe attending more closely to that before rushing back to war would have made for a better, stronger, happier Afghanistan more quickly. Maybe that would’ve started some positive ripples spreading in a way that “shock and awe” never could - but that would’ve taken time & patience - and instead we rushed back into a second invasion that’s now entangled us there in a terrible way.

I felt utterly and very personally betrayed when suddenly that mission was replaced with Iraq. There was no proven connection between Iraq and the WTC but that was lost in the obfuscations leading up to the invasions. Al Qaeda is certainly there now - and the one thing that scares me that makes me hesitate to join in the “bring them home” chorus - is that I think that they WILL work to turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was before - but they are there BECAUSE OF OUR WAR. Let’s not lose sight of this. This war has us in a damned if we do, damned if we don’t situation the likes of which I’m not quite old enough to have seen before. And I hate it. And I wish that we actually knew what the majority of Iraqis wanted us to do because that is what I think I would want us to do.

Saddam was evil. I’m not arguing that fact. NOBODY is. Had the administration’s case in fact turned out to be true, I might even have been mollified. In fact I really would have LIKED to be wrong, it actually would have been so much better if things had happened the way Bush thought they were going to - would’ve been the most delicious crow ever served, I think.

As it is, that wasn’t the case - and now we’ve got 2,000 dead of our own plus 26K+ Iraqi casualties, which makes me ill - and Osama’s still free, and the Taliban is still in Afghanistan, and…and every revelation of even the SLIGHTEST underhanded dealing here at home feels like a little more betrayal. I trust these people less and less.

Posted by Pia Savage at 11:06 AM in Current Affairs, Military, Politics, Weblogs | Permalink

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Comments

I was, like so many here in Britain, opposed to the war in Iraq even long before it started because I felt the case for war being made on the back of a pack of lies, half-truths and manipulations, possibly even forgeries.

Now, the hope here is that Plamegate will vindicate us and will provide ammo to hold our own Dear Leader (the Suprissimo NeoLabour Bliar) to account. It's truly bizarre that in a country like the UK which is frankly obsessed with PC and accountability, our leaders get away with such lies, created to expose our servicemen and women to such great danger.

Posted by: Gert | Oct 29, 2005 1:32:44 PM

Stop worrying about the war. relative to pretty much every other significant conflict, there has been a very small number of casualties. The war is simply a distraction technique, these are the real issues:

*The judicial branch will become overwhelmingly conservative

*Roe vs. Wade will be overturned

*The cost of medicial care will skyrocket while regulations on health insurance providers is loosened

*It has become nearly impossible to file bankruptcy(relate to last point)

*Minimum pay requirements by field have been loosened

*An individual can be considered a terrorist merely for disagreeing with the policies of our government. This allows them to be held without trial or media coverage.(I wonder how many liberals are being held in guantanamo... I guess we just couldn't know)

*Corporations will be given more rights than individuals.

*Corporations have been given immunity from being sued by individuals adversely affected by their products...

and that's just what I can think of off the top of my head in 5 minutes...

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 29, 2005 8:39:24 PM

This was originally a comment to a post in my blog, about how I felt about the indictment.

I, couldn't help it, along with most New Yorker's felt hopeful for the first time in years.

Of course neither Bonnie nor I want to see Roe v Wade overturned or any of the other things you mentioned.

The post explained why somebody who was in the World Trade Center at the time of the attack doesn't want the war in Iraq.

Since Bonnie underplayed surviving the attack, I followed suit in my intro.

I do have to say that the war is something that could be stopped very quickly. It's one of many pressing issues.

Posted by: pia | Oct 29, 2005 8:49:03 PM

Yes - it's because I was there that I have extremely strong feelings about this. Actually the comment that elicited this response was one of those nasty sarcastic right-wing ones in which it was inferred yet again that a person being left of center means that somehow they think
terrorists aren't really so bad - that's the sort of stuff that sends me off into "How DARE you" territory. In this case I wrote down why.

Everything else Anonymous said - Yes. Absolutely. I agree. Those aren't topics that which I could address with either expertise or personal experience, but I see them happening & they scare me too. A person doesn't have to be a math wizard to understand the significance of the fact that both the economy and the number of people living in poverty are growing.

Posted by: bonnie | Oct 30, 2005 8:50:59 AM

I realize many here have seen these particular articles/stories/reports already, but i thought i'd post them anyway......A few things to read regarding the feelings of the Iraqi people themselves.....

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/1023-01.htm

http://www.comw.org/pda/0505rm10.html

http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/38/9719

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/printer_091305M.shtml


For a look at the real impact of the fighting in Afghanistan, i would start here:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/pilger_breaking_the_silence_35mb.htm

[requires real player]

Posted by: Michael | Oct 30, 2005 3:55:09 PM

you people act like you have seen unrefutable evidence that Osama did anything. If you think from a cave a attack like 9-11 could be carried out you all need help. If you do your homework you will realize (if you have any brains at all) that there isnt a chance in hell the 9-11-2001 attacks on American soil could have been pulled off without help from hi level officials within our Goverment. Please people-this admin needed or the powers that control them needed a event in which to rally the people behind them for nothing other than WAR. All the people in this country that still believe the medias vertsion of 9-11 need to wake the fuck up and realize that aint how it happend. Read understand and find some truth.

Posted by: Shadow | Oct 31, 2005 9:13:10 AM

Shadow has a strong point.

https://www.wbai.org/cart/product_info.php?cPath=49&products_id=1068&osCsid=dff97142069382b60e4627f3f401486d

Posted by: Jersey McJones | Oct 31, 2005 1:07:37 PM

"Please people-this admin needed or the powers that control them needed a event in which to rally the people behind them for nothing other than WAR. All the people in this country that still believe the medias vertsion of 9-11 need to wake the fuck up and realize that aint how it happend. Read understand and find some truth."


Right on.

I would add a bit to one sentence though: 'nothing other than war and a wholesale effort to further degrade and destroy the bill of rights'

Posted by: Michael | Nov 1, 2005 10:24:36 AM

Hindsight is always 20/20. Most people in NY were scared as hell those first few months; didn't know who or what to believe, and wanted revenge.

Yes, we who voted against Bush both times because frankly most of us always hated him, and never ever trusted him, had to find some way of dealing with what had happened

Afghanistan seemed right at the time. You're all blaming the victims

I will probably never trust a politician again--even if it were Gandhi's ghost

9/11 and its aftermath weren't exactly fun times, and we're still paying in many ways

I will probably leave NY not really out of want but because any other place is cheaper

I'm fed up with people on the right asking why I hate America so much--don't

And people on the left not trying to understand how many variables came into play. Instead of telling me about the need for more evidence, act to impeach Bush

Until we get that entire admin investigated we will never know the truth, and probably still won't

There is much concrete evidence against Bin Laden, and Al Qaeda

Find out why the Bin Laden family were the only people allowed to fly

I have always kind of believed that they were in it with Bush et al, but we won't know

About The Bill of Rights, some of us have worked very hard for the past five years to keep it whole so that people can come to blog post threads and pat themseleves on the back for being so conservative or so left of center.

To the people on the left: accept that Bin Laden most probably was part of it, be wary, but don't frigging tell us that we're buying into things when our voice has been overlooked for so long

Posted by: pia | Nov 1, 2005 10:57:44 AM

Pia, thank you for responding - I was off doing boat stuff (therefore completely incommunicado!) from midafternoon Sunday through 4:15 am Tuesday morning - am still stuck at work making up for the weekend's fun!

I'm sorry if this disappoints anyone but I just can't quite swallow the conspiracy theories that have the Bush gang (and I use the word "gang" rather intentionally) actually and actively involved in 9/11.

I do believed that they have used the "war on terror" to further their goals. It's not that I want to believe such things; the thing that makes me so ill about the indictment is that it looks so much like they went out of their way to find a way to harm a person who had the temerity to tell the truth even though it didn't line up nicely with the story the administration was trying to spin. It's sort of like that sick feeling you get when you are sitting in the doctor's office talking about something that was known to be not quite right and hearing him or her tell you that not only is it not quite right, it's potentially very, very wrong.

There was also the memo - well, I wrote a post on that the day after it came out in the papers, you can read my thoughts here. I know that the administration ignored it but speculating on intent, motivation, and premeditation (all those so-hard-to-prove things that draw the lines between things like murder and manslaughter) - well, unless somebody inside cracks & sings (and they don't gas the canary first) doesn't seem likely to get anywhere. I'm furious that they did ignore it - but I'm not a mindreader. And I worked at the World Trade Center for two years and with the sheer level of activity around there - remember, this was not a place that ever really shut down, there were always people around - this concept that somehow the place could be surreptitiously mined with explosives just doesn't seem plausible - ESPECIALLY after the first bombing.

What I will say is that although I do not believe the terrorists had the active assistance of the Bush administration, it is pretty clear that there's been some very underhanded stuff going on in this admin. Know some of you will be snorting at what you consider a gross misunderstatement.

Fact is though -I believe in the soundness of the basic tenet of our legal system - "Innocent until proven guilty". There are plenty of things I suspect our government of being guilty of (including horrible subversion of the very tenet to which I refer - Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, involuntary extraditions, and the ongoing efforts to contravene articles of the Geneva Convention all speak to that). It's just the worst that I can't quite see. I am no Pollyana but I do have a little more faith in human nature than that - and less as well. More, in that I simply cannot believe that with the level of involvement that kind of plot would have taken, someone - probably multiple someones - would not eventually have been appalled enough to run to the press. Less, in that I just don't think that any group of US politicians is organized, disciplined and efficient enough to actually pull off something of that magnitude.

But then that's more theorizing. I could be right, I could be wrong. That's true of most of the people who are blogging - how many of us have direct access to evidence? All I have is what I read and what I hear. From that, I have picked the versions that make the most sense to me, based on my personal experiences. Religious fanatics hijacking planes is nothing new - the only new twist was flying them into buildings. I accept that a group of religious fanatics with devoted followers and an entire country at their disposal (not to mention the blind eyes in the U.S. government that chose to ignore warnings for whatever reason) could indeed manage to find 27 loyal individuals to attempt to execute such a mission. Adding in active US government cooperation, a mission control center, additional explosives surreptitiously placed in a very busy office building with a very vigilant security staff, and the like just seems to add complicating factors that - to me anyways - just don't seem necessary to explain the events of the day.

Still, my sense is that plenty of wrongs have been committed by our government.

I have hopes that this indictment will become the mechanism by which the truth of the inner workings of the Bush White House begin to be illuminated. The toughest knots & tangles may be hard to work loose at first, but once you get the first bit moving, unraveling the rest gets easier and easier.

Watergate didn't start with conspiracy theories. Watergate started with a security guard finding a piece of masking tape on a door lock. That led where it led, and the rest, as they say...

anyhow. I wasn't going to launch into this until I finished something I had to do. Hope everyone can at least see where I'm coming from even if they don't agree with me.


Posted by: bonnie | Nov 1, 2005 10:48:17 PM

Bonnie
I dont normally do this but this is indeed a special moment in my life so I must tip my hat off to you. You are the first person I have have listened to that has absolutley no idea what you are talking about. Keep dreaming of your glory back during
Watergate and say good bye to rest of your leftist pig friends they will have no persuasion or influence over any of the public after this investigation is done with. TTFN.

Posted by: bushleaguer | Nov 2, 2005 5:07:30 PM

Wow, what a delightful personality that last commenter has...

Since I'm still relatively new to blogging, could somebody please tell me if that was one of those "troll" creatures of which I hear tell? I'm thinking that just might be the case but I'm not quite positive...

Posted by: Bonnie | Nov 2, 2005 6:11:47 PM

oops, I realize I left one little item off of that response...

here it is:

;D

Posted by: bonnie | Nov 2, 2005 7:07:41 PM

Bonnie
I am extremely sorry and I do feel like a troll like creature. Mix up with article, I couldnt agree with you anymore than I already do. Its just upsetting to see a group of people showing so much hate towards a good leader.

Posted by: bushleguer | Nov 2, 2005 10:01:24 PM

Oh, no, sorry, I think I confused you again. Just to clarify - I don't think he's a good leader - Colin Powell was kind of the one person in that administration who I seriously thought was a good guy (inner navy brat shows her colors...).

I don't trust the Bush administration at all by now - every time there's some new revelation (secret CIA prisons in Europe???!!!!) I get a little more depressed at how this can keep happening. But I'm not surprised anymore.

I think that the Bush people are capable of a lot of underhanded stuff, in fact have done a lot of underhanded stuff - they've probably managed to justify it all in their own minds but that doesn't make it right.

I just don't think Bush was flying the plane that day. That's all.

Posted by: bonnie | Nov 3, 2005 12:10:34 PM

Still - thanks for the apology. I doubt we are really in agreement on the relative goodness or badness of the Bush admin - but I also doubt that I'm as far left as you might have thought at the start (just based on your initial response).

In the end, though - this just makes me think about how one great thing about this country is that we're allowed to have & express our different opinions. Frankly - I like it that way - even when it means getting beaten up on a bit by people who don't see eye to eye with me. That's a price I'll pay gladly. I hope that we always have the freedom to disagree.

Posted by: bonnie | Nov 3, 2005 12:46:25 PM

Bonnie
Where I agree with you is when you stated that you thought we rushed into Iraq too quickly.We should have armed up more. I was sorry to have seemed rude in my first response but your view of the war against terror is frightening. You either choose to ignore the fact or just dont know that these terrorist that we are fighting are nothing put cold blooded monsters. And how you try to say that we replaced the war in Afghanistan to go to Iraq makes me sick. We can and we will fight a multiple front battle. You try and say that Iraq was no threat? What about the Sarin, Yellowcake uranium, LE uranium(1.77metric tons), Saddams link to global terror and last but not least Salman Pak. And further more the influx of foreign terrorist into Iraq. I do agree it would be nice if there was no war, but for god sakes how the hell else do you stop people like this. You really do have no idea what the hell is going on over there.

Posted by: bushleaguer | Nov 3, 2005 11:01:41 PM

Please, Bonnie gave you great answers from her perspective as a survivor of the Trade Center implosion

You are chosing to overlook everything that has been found out since we went to Iraq, and how Bonnie's responses fit the changes.

To call Bush a "great leader," well what can I say?

Posted by: pia | Nov 4, 2005 7:23:33 AM

Overlook everything that has been found out since the Iraq invasion. I think not.
This is from one of my previous blogs from last week. Enjoy.

"Former Iraqi military officers have described a highly secret terrorist training facility at Salman Pak, where both Iraqis and non-Iraqi Arabs receive training on hijacking planes and trains, planting explosives in cities, sabotage, and assassinations.

The Salman Pak biological warfare facility was located on a peninsula caused by a bend in the Tigris river, approximately five kilometers (km) from the arch located in the town of Salman Pak. The facility area comprised more than 20 square km, and might have been known as a farmers (or agricultural) experimentation center. The peninsula was fenced off and patrolled by a large guard force. Immediately inside and to the east of the fence line were two opulent villas: the larger built for Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and the other for his half-brother, Barazan al-Tikriti. A main paved road ran through the center of the Salman Pak facility/peninsula. [GulfLINK] "
How can you explain all the Uranium in addition to 1000's of radioactive substances that Saddam was not supposed to have but did. I wonder what exuses you people will use when we go to take down Iran. Im surprised Bastard hasnt posted anythin about them. A UN nation telling another UN nation that they were gonna wipe their country from the face of the planet. Iraq was a first good pick.

Posted by: bushleaguer | Nov 4, 2005 8:53:28 AM

There's an AP story that went up on Yahoo - more information on the FBI's findings on the yellowcake uranium. Decided to do a 5-minute check on the other stories too just to see what I would find.

I'm not usually crazy about giving Yahoo news links but since that's where it is right now, here's the full story.

Here's some interesting reading about - Salman Pak.

And here's something about the sarin.

OK, now your move is to refute those refutations with charges of "liberal media". We could go around in circles for days without getting anywhere. If you provide links, say to your blog or your sources, in the retort which you'll doubtless put up now, I'll probably read them, then go research their veracity. However, I think most people are capable of doing that for themselves, so I'm not going to spend any more time posting links. I've said my piece, I stand by it, it's your right to disagree, and that's as far as I'm taking this. You get the last word if you want it, and anyone who's still actually reading this is welcome to decide for themselves who's more convincing.

Posted by: bonnie | Nov 4, 2005 10:28:47 PM

Re Salman Pak. Right out of the New Yorker, why not site the New York Times. It's highly unlikely that Saddam, who paid terrorists in Palestine to blow up Israelis would concern himself with an anti terrorist training camp. Re; Yellowcake. The Brits stand by their story. The one to investigate is Joe Wilson, who was permitted to write an op ed piece in the NYT but did not have to file a written report with the CIA. He had no experience in domestic investigation, let alone international investigation and he had every reason to discredit the president. Nigere admits that it was engaged in trade discussions with Iraq. Now lets see, what do you suppose a starving, dry and desolate country had to offer Iraq? Dates? No, I think Iraq grows dates. Sand. Nope, they have plenty of that. What is the one export that Nigere has that Saddam might have wanted. Could it be Yellow Cake? Bingo! You win the prize!

Posted by: bushleaguer | Nov 5, 2005 11:14:36 AM

Okay I'm going to step in for the last and final word.

Love it when people see a cite from a New York magazine or paper and immediately discount it.

The New Yorker has been known for its fact checking for almost a century now. There was one scandal involving Janet Malcolm, a book on Freud, and a male author, can't think of his name about fifteen years ago

Since that time it has been ultra careful. Will take a piece in The New Yorker more seriously than most publications, because The New Yorker wants to preserve its reputation among other things

Bonnie's other cite was from Yahoo--hardly a liberal conspiracy.

Don't like New York? Sorry. But you have showed your true colors in that answer, and it sickens me

Bonnie survived the attack, and chose to stay in New York. Her decision not to support the war in Iraq was made after long and careful thought

You bring Joe Wilson into this to support your liberal media bias; you're right Joe Wilson had many reasons to discredit the president; all legitimate

As Bonnie said you can go around these subjects forever.

Your side had its five or really more years of intimidating and making fun of anybody who dared question the president, the Republican party, or anybody who dared dissent or state anything that didn't fit your party line.

Get used to it; your side is losing.

Posted by: pia | Nov 5, 2005 12:46:27 PM

Im affraid your side is loosing my friend. Your using assumptions against me and your not adding anything to support your claim. So far Ive called you out on everything. And what makes me sick pia is that you make me look like I hate New York. Id like to know wheere you got that from my answer since you are indeed so insightful(typical liberal bs tactics). As for colors, yours are yellow and thats why people of your stature will never ever be leaders of this great nation.

Posted by: bushleaguer | Nov 5, 2005 11:05:55 PM

Never claimed to be insightful. don't understand how you got that and the typical liberal bs tactic

I said that you discounted both the New York Times and The New Yorker; they are the publications most people with more than an elementary school education here read; they speak for me. Dislike them; dislike the real New York. The New York I grew up in

People of my stature? Let's see; I'm a New York born and bred Jewish female social worker; what in that equation don't you like?

I know too many people whose lives will never be the same

Guess only yellow cowards live here, take the subway, and go into "terrorist hot spots" daily

My personal heroes consist of every single person who were in the towers that day; especially a man who stayed behind so that his disabled office mate wouldn't die alone

Guess he was a yellow coward for not running when he could have.

Do you understand that every New Yorker's life changed forever that day?

Bonnie is a Trade Center Survivor; she tried explaining it to you

Posted by: pia | Nov 6, 2005 2:14:16 AM

Pia enough, when I spoke of you being yellow I was refering to your unwillingness to pursue terror and caring more about their rights than the justice they deserve."There are plenty of things I suspect our government of being guilty of (including horrible subversion of the very tenet to which I refer - Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, involuntary extraditions, and the ongoing efforts to contravene articles of the Geneva Convention(Bonnie). As for liberal bs tactics, I meant your putting spin on a subject to make me look different than what I am. Where hell did I say I hate New York? Your not gonna win this argument by making me out to be a monster. I love New York and my heart goes out to every New Yorker and American whose life was changed that day. And yes I will attack the New York Times. What they have done and the bias they have clearly shown throughout these past years is ridiculous. Although I must say they are getting better.

Posted by: bushleguer | Nov 6, 2005 10:50:33 AM

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