Sunday, November 29, 2009

Speaking of Speaking Truth to Power . . .

Here's a woman whose forthright indignation makes one feel that a revival of moral principle and political prudence might still be possible. Her name is Debra Burlingame. Her brother was the captain of the American Airlines plane that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, and she responds to the Obama administration's decision to try the perpetrators of that attack in a New York criminal court in today's New York Daily News:

The attorney general has suggested that those who oppose prosecuting these men here in New York City are afraid - that we somehow don't have the courage to face Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in court.

How dare this man, who didn't have the decency to notify victims' families of his decision to bring these monsters here, imply that we lack courage. Courage is carrying on after watching your loved ones die, in real time, knowing that they burned to death, were crushed to death, or jumped from 100 flights high. Courage is carrying on, even as we waited, in some cases years, for something of our loved ones to bury. More than 1,100 families still wait.

How dare the attorney general suggest that the firefighters who oppose this trial need to "man up" and let this avowed enemy of America mock their brother firefighters in the country's most magisterial setting, a federal court.

Let me refresh the attorney general on the meaning of courage. Courage was going into those buildings that day, knowing they might not come out alive. Courage was digging for nine months on hands and knees, breathing in toxic smoke, to find the ravaged remains of brother firefighters, police officers, citizen responders and office workers. This courage was not summoned from false bravado; it sprang from an abiding love of their fellow human beings and a sense of obligation to them, their families and their beloved country.

The attorney general has glibly, and most insensitively, called the perverse spectacle he wants to invite on this city and this nation, the "trial of the century." Well, Mr. Attorney General, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has put you on notice. He's going to give it to you. His trial will be lawyer-assisted jihad in the courtroom.

We understand that to the terrorists, jihad is more than spilling American blood, it is forcing us to change our lives, divert our limited resources. When we spend hundreds of millions of dollars on rooftop snipers, kevlar vests and armored vehicles, that's jihad. When we barricade our buildings, lock down our streets, and close our transportation systems, that's jihad. When we grant a confessed war criminal access to platinum due process, so that he can use it to rally his fellow terrorists to kill more of our citizens and target our military, that's jihad.

Disagree with Debra Burlingame if you must, but acknowledge at least that here is a woman who is still in touch with her moral principles and her common sense.

2 comments:

Gordon said...

And courage is not using terrorists' defense attorneys to discredit the previous administration because you're afraid of the political fallout if you do it yourself.

Perhaps the Attorney General should "man up" and indict Bush and Cheney instead of risking the lives of thousands of Americans for red meat to placate the far left.

Anonymous said...

Part of me says let the AG have all the rope he wants. Same with the healthcare bill(s), take-overs, czars, CFKs, etc. Let your hair down, boys and girls. Keep talking; digging..

Rick F.