Whither Our 9/11 Commitments?

by AMBASSADOR HENRY F. COOPER September 10, 2016

No doubt we all remember where we were on 9/11 and the shock, subsequent anger and commitment to respond to that outrageous attack that claimed the lives of almost 3000 Americans, injured 6000 more and and caused heartaches for many, many thousands more. 

I was in a Board and Division Managers meeting in Alexandria, VA and someone interrupted our meeting to report that an airliner had crashed into one of the World Trade Center Towers . . . and then we heard about the second one and knew this was a terrorist attack. 

We had a hard time reaching anyone by phone to understand any specifics about what was going on. Then we saw the smoke from the American Flight 77 crash into the Pentagon.

Sometime later we heard about United Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania-we learned even later it had been diverted by the heroic action of passengers from a Washington target, perhaps the White House or Capitol.

Folks who had traveled from all over the country to attend our meeting had to make new plans to stay in place or to go home, because the airlines had shut down. And we all went into a reflective mode.

Someone asked me, "What will our leaders do?"

My response: "We'll first be angry and then we'll go into a payback mode against whoever did this."

We wanted to help . . . somehow.

Expert engineers in our company had analyzed the 1993 Trade Center terrorist attack which had attempted to bring down one of the towers from a detonation in the basement. We had also analyzed the car/truck bomb attacks on Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building bombing and numerous other terrorist activities-and sought to help various clients assess damages and to harden their facilities against various bombing attacks.  

They would also serve as expert witnesses re. the 9/11 events-to help decide whether insurance companies should treat collapse of the twin towers as a single event or two-or more in the case of the additional buildings damaged. And we sought to help our military clients prepare for the actual battles to take place in the Middle East-with planning tools and special supporting technology.

We had in mind President Bush's memorable comments at ground zero on September 14 ... promises that the world would hear from us soon!

 

It took our military almost 10 years to finally run down and kill the planner of that dastardly deed, Osama bin Laden, in Pakistan-and over 18 years after the 1993  precursor attack on the World Trade Center, with which he also is thought to have been associated. And the American public is tired of any on-going conflict and accumulating casualties.

But the job is still not done-the legacy of bin Laden's Al Qaeda is alive and well in the even more dangerous Islamic State-or as the Obama administration wishes to refer to them, ISIL. And there are other Sunni terrorist groups engaged all over the world as reported terrorist related fatalities grow.

And this is not just a Sunni Islamic threat-as Senator Joe Lieberman reminds us in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal, we should remember that Shia Iran had a role in 9/11.  (Click here for his informative article.) Moreover, he reminds us that Iran's involvement with Osama bin Laden goes back at least to the early 1990s.

The so-called Sunni-Shia divide matters little when we consider that both wish us ill.

And our participation in the ill-begotten Iran Nuclear Deal is just one more example of failed U.S. policies in dealing with the culprits behind 9/11.  Paying $1.7 billion ransom for hostages (including some in cash, yet) on the heels of releasing over $100 billion just adds fuel to the fire. And the Deal at best delays Iran's unyielding full court press to gain nuclear capabilities. I along with some of my colleagues believe we should assume they already have nuclear weapons.

Lest you forget, Grand Ayatollah Khamenei only four days after the nuclear deal was signed was responding positively to the crowd chanting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel." (Click here for a Times of Israel report.) In particular, he most notably said the Deal would not change Iran's dealings with America. 

So . . . whatever progress has been made in dealing with the Sunni and Shia culprits since 9/11 is not apparent, and we have spent much treasure and lives in battles with an enemy we continue not to define. 

Indeed, out of political correctness, we avoid references to Islamic doctrines, which obviously support core beliefs and fuel the hatred that underpins the terrorist acts against us and our allies-and others. 

Its underpinning sharia law is contrary to the U.S. Constitution-yet we continue to ignore the likely consequences of our inept actions, while opening our borders to un-vetted refugees from states that harbor jihadi elements seeking us harm. We seem to learn nothing from the errors of our European allies.

On the 15th anniversary of 9/11, we are in fact living in even more dangerous times than then-in a world where we have abandoned our friends and allies; no longer play a serious leadership role in alliances that have long depended on us; and allowed our strategic nuclear capabilities to atrophy while our conventional military capabilities are eroded in the Middle East.

And we are no longer respected by our enemies-while they take advantage of these deteriorating conditions and we dither.

We need to have a serious conversation about our sad situation and chart a new course before it's too late.

This is much more important than worrying about a 9/11 repeat.  Next time it may be much more catastrophic.

Ambassador Henry F. Cooper is Chairman of High Frontier and a former Acquisition Executive for all U.S. ballistic missile defenses.  He also served in several other senior USG acquisition and policy positions, including as President Reagan's Chief Negotiator at the Geneva Defense and Space Talks with the Soviet Union. He is currently focused on helping local, state and federal authorities protect against the natural and manmade EMP threat by building effective ballistic missile defenses and hardening the electric grid. Otherwise, loss of the electric grid would freeze America's "just in time" economy, leaving most Americans without means for survival.

 


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