Archive for the ‘9/11’ Category


September 11, 2008

It’s not time for a whole political statement on American life since the September 11, 2001 attacks. I just want to take a moment and remember those who fell that day, honor the sacrifice of the firemen and police, and thank our troops who have been at war continuously for almost seven years now.

My father, Gerald Gitell, attended the Las Vegas funeral this week of a member of the 10th Mountain Division, who had been wounded in Afghanistan, came home and took his own life. The burden of dealing with the aftermath of the attacks has fallen squarely on the families of our service men and women. We all need to remember that.

Power Breakfast: Ground Zero

January 26, 2008

At 7:50 a.m. yesterday morning, I watched commuters stream out of the World Trade Center Path Station in Lower Manhattan. My vantage point was the third floor of 55 Church Street, which houses the Church & Dey Restaurant in the Millenium Hilton.

The view from the bar facing the picture window, where I leafed through a copy of the New York Daily News as I waited for my breakfast mate, was nothing less than extraordinary. There in front of me was the entire site of Ground Zero followed by Battery Park City.

The location is now an active construction site. I could count at least three cranes and saw lots of scaffolding. The Path Station is the most visible sign of the return to life in the wake of the September 11th attacks set amid what was formerly rubble.

I can’t say the room was packed. The buzz was a far cry from what I have experienced at the Regency Hotel in New York or here in Boston. Nevertheless, the mere fact that one can once again have a working breakfast in this site that has been central to so much that has happened over the course of the last 6 1/2 years is a remarkable testament to the resilience of New Yorkers, Americans and all human beings.

Joe Klein at The Harvard Club

December 13, 2007

Joe Klein

I caught Time Magazine scribe Joe Klein at a breakfast sponsored by Henshon Parker Vyadro at the Harvard Club this morning. The talk represented a homecoming of sorts for Klein who served as the news editor of The Real Paper, a predecessor to The Boston Phoenix.

Matt Henshon, a lawyer and former Bradley campaign operative, called the breakfast to order. Klein was subsequently introduced by his son Terry, a partner at the firm, who described Klein’s four strengths as a journalist: (“He can write…He can report…Versatility…His ability to reason effectively.”) Klein told the story how the September 11th attacks brought him back into journalism after a semi-retirement. 

Klein who, by his description, has spent every recent weekend in Iowa, said both the Democratic and Republican contests are wide-open. To me his most striking observation involved an important credential in a post 9/11 chief executive. He said that other than John McCain, who “knows the most about foreign policy and national defense,” the Republican field was particularly bereft of national security experience. He credited Rudolph Giuliani with studying but added that Governor Huckabee probably didn’t “know the difference between a battalion and a brigade.” On the Democratic side, he said Hillary Clinton had become very knowledgeable on defense matters and received frequent briefings from military experts and generals. Here are some of his other observations:

On Mitt Romney: “I have never seen a candidate run a campaign saying nothing he believed…[He] still stands the best chance of being nominated.”

On the potential of Barack Obama’s election: “A teenager wakes up in Karachi or the West Bank to find the president is Barack Hussein Obama – Wow. That changes everything.” He also praised Obama for telling the NEA “he was in favor of paying good teachers more than mediocre teachers.”

Asked about his daily reading regimen, Klein said he reads The Wall Street Journal, Washington PostNew York Times as well as magazines such as The Weekly StandardThe New Republic and The Nation. He also cited unnamed “blogs.” The Primary Colors author added that he sets aside an hour-per-day to read books, usually pouring through a history book about the Middle East and a novel at the same time.

Bill Clinton Stands Up For Truth

October 26, 2007

I’ve been noticing the way the 9/11 conspiracists infiltrate political events and gatherings. I wrote about this phenomenon on the anniversary of 9/11. One thing that has bothered me about when these guys start hectoring celebrities and politicians about Building 7, they seem to have the rhetorical advantage. They put the person they are quizzing on the defensive. Well, they tried this recently with Bill Clinton, and he really put them in their place.

Clinton also has been the most effective person at articulating the peace deal that Yasser Arafat rejected at Camp David and Taba.

At a time when the country is hopelessly polarized, a circumstance that is augmented by the existence of the blogosphere, Bill Clinton knows how to occupy the center. If Hillary Clinton follows his lead in this regard, as she appears to be doing, she will be the next president.

9/11 Remembered

September 11, 2007

We remember that terrible day six years ago. We mourn those who lost their lives that day as well as for those soldiers who have fallen in combat since then.

In my New York Sun column, I write about the prevalence of 9/11 conspiracy theories on the campaign trail in New Hampshire. I report:

“Back in August, two of his New Hampshire backers were on hand at a Hillary Clinton event on the crisis in mortgage lending. They were an innocent looking pair, a young man, age 19, and his sister, age 22, handing out a brochure titled “Why You Should Demand a New 9-11 Investigation.” The brochure laid out what have become the standard tenets for those who challenge the accepted view of the attacks: questions about the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 and the destruction of the Twin Towers as well as assertions of motive.

The main premise behind the brochure and the array of accompanying Web sites seems to be that individuals or elements within the American government had foreknowledge of the attacks. The brochure cites a publication of “The Project For a New American Century, a neo-con think tank” as supplying their motive – a cataclysmic attack that would spur a military build-up. Questions from the conspiracists persist despite a comprehensive and highly detailed rebuttal in ” Popular Mechanics.” The pair, whose appearance recalled the character of A.J. Soprano and his female friend, both of whom became obsessed with Al Qaeda in the final season of ” The Sopranos,” said they were supporters of Mr. Paul. “Enough of liars,” the young woman said of the other candidates.

When Senator Clinton finished her remarks that day, the crowd applauded — except for these two who booed. Two of Mrs. Clinton’s supporters turned around in their seats to chastise the young pair, who exited quickly amid epithets. “