Sometimes you have to wonder why Obama makes a speech at all. It really cant be for any other reason that wanting to hear himself talk because, as should have been evident in every speech he made during the Democratic primaries and ever since, nothing he says actually means anything.
Less than 24 hours after saying that a return to the 1967 borders should be the basis for any Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiation, and less than 24 hours after Netanyahu said Obama's statement shows he is out of touch with reality on the ground, Obama back tracked and in a speech before Israel's most influential lobbying group, a speech designed to remove the foot from his mouth that he placed there, said that borders "have to reflect reality on the ground". The only thing he didn't do was turn to Netanyahu and ask, " did I say it right"?
Obama today insists nothing changed about his original position, that it was the simple minded analysts and government officials, presumably including Netanyahu who got it wrong and just didn't understand that he meant 1967 borders should be the start of negotiations and that mutual land swaps would redefine the borders. President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority however didn't exactly understand Obama either, praising him for taking a position that would return a two state solution to the borders that existed pre-1967.
This is what happens when you elect a president with no principles, convictions or vision and who will say anything for political advantage without regard to consequences, because it was only 3 years ago, in a speech to 7,000 Jews in Miami while running for president that Obama said he supported a unified Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel. A unified Jerusalem would not mean pre 1967 borders when Jerusalem was divided, east and west, with east under Arab control. True to form, he backtracked three years ago too, and also within 24 hours when the Palestinians went ballistic over his remarks. He revised them the next day using the same excuse -- that everyone just misunderstood him and that what he meant by a unified Jerusalem was a Jerusalem with no barbed wire. Since Jerusalem hadn't had barbed wire in 42 years that attempt at damage control was what one might call lame.
Obama is already taking a political hit in the U.S. for his comments about pre 1967 borders and no doubt Netanyahu who actually is a good orator will rub Obama's nose in it, perhaps gently but also obviously, when he addresses congress on Tuesday.
In the meantime Obama headed to Ireland to get in touch with his roots on his mother's side and her Irish background, the same roots he virtually, politically and temporarily disowned when he filled out his census form a year ago, knowing it would be made public, and checked the box that said he was black instead of mixed race.
So after having a few bad days in which just about everyone trashed his middle east speech and his press secretary, Jay Carney,had tried to make sure everyone understood that the heart of Obama's "major speech on the middle east" was that Obama had said "nothing new", Obama may have gone to Ireland looking for a little of the luck of the Irish. The way he is going, when 2012 rolls around he is probably going to need it.
While pausing frequently after what he thought would be applause lines, waiting for applause that never came, especially the long pause after mentioning once again that Bin Laden had been killed and getting no response, President Obama made his much touted speech on the Middle East and the reaction, both in and out of the room and around the world was not the applause he was looking for but the sound of one hand clapping.
For those who feel that Obama deserved getting the Nobel Peace Prize for doing absolutely nothing it must have been a thrilling moment. For the career diplomats, state department professionals, middle east analysts and both the Israelis and the Palestinians it amounted to nothing.
Obama outlined an approach to peace and for a Palestinian state that is based on the 1967 borders. It was immediately rejected by Netanyahu as being indefensible. Netanyahu even went so far as to say Obama didnt understand reality. Obama also said that peace would require Hamas to recognize the right of Israel to exist and to disarm and renounce violence. Hamas rejected that too. The proposal itself was nothing new, just warmed over Obama nonsense and a restatement of the same positions that have been held by both sides for decades.
A CNN Egyptian analyst was also less than enthused saying about the same thing, that there was really nothing new in Obama's speech, that everything in it were things everyone, especially those in Europe and the Middle East have known for 60 years.
Obama's speech was typical Obama and as empty and vacuous as his "major speech on race" that he gave when his political back was to the wall after being caught lying about what he knew about Jeremiah Wright.
He spent most of the beginning giving us a history lesson on the middle east no one needed or wanted and gave facts that most everyone familiar with the region has known for decades,then proceeded to offer no solutions or offer anything new about anything . There was mention of forgiving Egypt's debt to allow a new government to get on its feet, and providing additional loans to other middle eastern countries where people are fighting for a democratic government. But as for the thorniest issue -- Israeli-Palestinian peace, Obama had nothing new to say, nothing new to add, no ideas, just another in a speech that could be filed under " Would you buy a used speech from this man?" And one has to remember Obama has zero crediblity with both the Israelis and the Palestinians dating back to a speech Obama made when he was running for president, a speech he made in front of 7,000 Jews in Miami when he needed to win Florida to win the presidency. In that speech he said he supported a single unified Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel. He received then the predictable standing ovation he didnt get yesterday. But when the Palestinians learned of his statement they went ballistic and blasted Obama. In true Obama fashion, the next day he backed off and reversed himsef, telling people everyone misunderstood him and that what he meant by a unified Jerusalem was a Jerusalem with no barbed wire. It was a laughable attempt to get his foot out of his mouth since there hadnt been barbed wire in Jerusalem for 40 years but ever since, all he accomplished was uniting the Israelis and Palestinians in their contempt and distrust of him.
Not that there aren't real solutions out there to implemented to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and there is one that has been staring everyone right in the face for ten years.. And it has nothing to do with Obama but it is Bill Clinton's peace plan, the plan that he arm twisted Ehoud Barak to accept, a plan that included partioning part of East Jerusalem as a capitol for a Palestinian state, a plan that made the biggest concessions any Israeli prime minister ever made or probably ever is going to make, a plan that Arafat rejected in 2000 choosing instead to launch the Infitada and a plan that Arafat on his death bed said he regretted not accepting. And why not? Had Arafat accepted, the Palestinians would now be in the 10th year of their state.
If anyone -- the Israelis, the Palestinians or Obama, came out for the Clinton plan of 2000, rejecting it would put both Netanyahu and the Palestinians in an unsustainable position regarding peace. They would either have to accept it, or acknowledge that there is no peace process and never will be. Its something Obama should put back on the table instead of vacuous history lessons that no one needs, no one wants, or facts that most people already know.
Then maybe Obama will hear what he wants to hear at the end of a speech -- the sound of more than one hand clapping.
With the media frenzy over the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn we have more to add to a long history of outrageous and dishonest double standards by the news media when it comes to reporting cases of sexual assault.
The whole world now knows that Strauss-Kahn was arrested for sexual assault because a hotel maid made an accusation. But even though there has been no proof of an assault, and no judicial process, the media sheilds the name of the maid or anything about her other than she is a 32 year old African immigrant who lives in the Bronx.
This is not to say that information about her or her name should now be in public view. It is to say that in a world of so called gender equality and justice, neither should Strauss-Kahn's identity have been revealed.
To plaster Strauss-Kahn all over the media with sensationalist headlines when he has been convicted of nothing, when there is nothing more than an accusation being made by a person who's identity and credibility is kept secret and there is no proof that any crime was committed at all much less committed by Strauss Kahn, it becomes nothing more than media groveling and pandering to a politically correct double standard that benefits them in their need to grub for not grab, headlines. The headlines have more to do with who he is than what he is accused of doing.
There may be a lot of good reasons for keeping the victim of a sex assault anonymous if the victim so chooses. Most of the time the reason has to do with the ignorant reactions of people in the past to victims of such crimes. But at the same time, while in most cases there is obviously a victim, there are also cases where whether someone has actually been a victim of anything has yet to be determined. An accusation alone by someone does not make them a victim. And there is a world of difference between an accusation and an allegation, a simple exercise in vocabulary that most in the media, cant seem to understand.
Anyone can make an accusation. No one needs proof to accuse. An allegation is different. An allegation is what is contained in a formal indictment handed down by a grand jury. In it an indictment alleges certain facts yet to be proven. It has an official sanction even though as we all know, an allegation is hardly a conviction and the old saying is a prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.
So there is a world of difference between an "accusation" and an "allegation" yet the media insists on calling the accusations against Strauss-Kahn "allegations".
And the fact that we've seen cases where people making accusations like this have been lying, is reason enough to shield the identities of both accuser and accused until something is proven.
One of the most notorious examples of an accuser lying is what happened to members of the Duke University Lacrosse team. Without any proof, without any court proceedings,without any convictions, the names of those college students accused by a stripper of sexually assaulting her were plastered all over the news media. Their names, their faces, their backgrounds, their families, were all part of a media feeding frenzy. And because they were all white and the accuser was black, race was added to the mix.
The accuser (and that's all she was at the time and all she ever was -- an accuser) was given the cloak and protection of anonymity. Those accused were put in public stocks and pilloried by the media without a shred of proof.
In the end we learned the accuser lied about everything, a prosecutor was disbarred for his handling of the case, and the news media was proved guilty of putting innocent people through hell based on nothing but what turned out to be baseless and dishonest accusations.
No one yet knows the facts about Strauss-Kahn but thanks to the media we know he has been accused of sexual assault. He was considered a cinch to be elected the next president of France and that may now be up in smoke, which of course it should be if he is guilty of anything. But we don't know that he is. And neither does anyone at any media outlet.
One can make the case that on one hand it makes no sense that a man of his position and stature, even one who is a recognized womanizer, would commit a sexual assault on a hotel maid in a prestigious hotel that routinely houses people of stature, knowing full well that there is hotel security and security cameras everywhere. It would make no sense anywhere since if he wanted to have a liaison of some kind it could have been arranged. On the other hand people in high places have done strange, inexplicable things before, whether its Kobe Bryant, Ben Rothisberger, or Charlie Sheen.
The point is there is more than reasonable doubt that any crime took place at all, at least for now. Yet Strauss-Kahn's name and reputation are being dragged through media mud while the accuser is being given anonymity.
There are some who believe that it wouldn't be beyond the pale for political supporters of Sarkozy to have arranged such a thing since Strauss-Kahn is leading Sarkozy in French polls by more than 30 points.
But the media's gross double standard to give anonymity to an accuser even when there is no proof , yet freely plaster the name and picture of the accused all over TV and the front pages has to end. That is a lot of power to give to people who might want to harm someone for nefarious reasons. And it needs to stop.
It wasnt that many years ago that we had the case of the Buckeys and the McMartin Pre-School case where teachers and workers were charged with the most horrible incidents of child sexual abuse in anyone's memory. It was the longest and most expensive criminal trial of all time and every single allegation against every single person was proved in the end to be completely untrue, testimony coerced from the children by prosecutors and so called "professionals" who interrogated the children. This doesnt mitigate the horrors of child sexual abuse. It does mean that as far as the media is concerned, sex sells and sex crimes sell even better especially when they can put an evil face on it regardless of guilt or innocence.
Based on the facts as we know them there is more than enough reason to peice together a different scenario than the rape that was alleged. The maid claims in her statement that she was forced to perform oral and anal sex. How does that happen with no weapon, no claim of physical force used, no threat of a weapon, and a 62 year old slightly built perpetrator and a 32 year old woman? If he didnt use physical force or a threat of a weapon how did he force her into these sexual acts? She doesnt say in the criminal complaint at least for now. She just says she was "forced". Another scenario which would make Strauss-Kahn a cad but not a criminal, could be that when he came out of the shower naked and saw her cleaning his room he found her attractive and offered her a substantial sum of money for sex and being in a $3000 a day hotel suite she would have every reason to believe he would make good. For a recent immigrant and single mother it might have been an offer that was hard to refuse. Its possible she performed the acts and afterwards he told her to get lost and reneged on the money and she felt used, taken advantage of, violated, and angry as one might expect, and this was her revenge. Which makes him a jerk but not a criminal. Maybe.
Maybe more facts will come out to dispel this but right now it makes more sense than a 62 year old slightly built man who is one of the most powerful financial and political figures in the world, one who meets face to face with presidents and prime ministers and who is the leading candidate to be president of France, in a prestiguous hotel before noon, running down the hall naked as has been alleged in the complaint, chasing and then forcing a 32 year old hotel employee to have anal and oral sex with no weapon or threat of weapon or any specific allegation as to what kind of force was used other than her saying she was forced. And apparantly no concern on the part of Strauss-Kahn on what the consequences would be if she screamed, got away or ran for help. Instead he called the hotel later that day and asked them to deliver his cell phone to the airport.
The point is there are enough questions as to sexual assualt and forcible rape based on the current known facts to keep from jumping to conclusions which means if victims identities are to be shielded to protect them from ignorant stigmas society might impose on them, then the same is certainly true for those accused until they are shown to be guilty IF they are guilty. Then there is ample time to heap on them all the contempt, scorn and punishment they deserve.
If the media or anyone else is serious about equality and justice for all then if the name of a victim is withheld, the name of the accused needs to be withheld also. Until the victim is proved to be truly a victim. And the accused is actually proved guilty of something.
A week ago I wrote an article about the real investigation into gas prices that the congress should undertake. In it I gave some examples of what I saw as proof of collusion and price fixing based on the fact that the soaring price of gas at the pump was completely unrelated to supply and demand, or the oil market.
The rise in gasoline prices at the pump ( currently at $4.36 for regular where I live in NY) were not based on the price for what oil companies paid for crude that had been refined into gasoline you are pumping into your car, but on speculators driving up the price for what oil MIGHT be for future delivery.
I had written that the the speculative rise in oil prices wasn't the reason gas prices had spiked at the pump, they were the excuse oil companies were using to price gouge. And now it has become obvious that I was right. And I couldn't have been more prophetic in my examples.
In the blog piece a week ago I postulated that if speculators drove up the price of oil to $108 a barrel, it gave oil companies the excuse to spike gas prices AS IF they were paying that price for a barrel of oil when in fact they didn't pay that price for the oil used for the gasoline now at the pump and because the $108 a barrel was merely speculative, they might never pay that price and reap windfall profits if the price of oil went down for actual June delivery.
That has all come true. Speculators drove up the anticipated price of oil for June delivery to $108 a barrel, which oil companies used to spike their gas prices, but in the last two days, the contract for actual June delivery of oil had its biggest percentage drop in two years, dropping almost $10 a barrel to $98.
The speculators lost money but the oil companies stand to make huge windfall profits by using the speculative $108 per barrel oil to price their gasoline and drive up gas prices, but as I postulated a week ago, now will only pay $98 a barrel . So they make windfall profits on gasoline based on oil priced at $108 a barrel when they are only going to pay $98.
The fact that oil has plummeted and gas prices still haven't, and that these prices are all relatively the same from every oil company is proof positive that the oil companies are silently colluding on gasoline prices, since it was clear that $4.36 a gallon had nothing to do with supply and demand and nothing to do with what oil companies were actually paying for a barrel of oil.
Recently a lobbying group for the oil companies started running commercials whose sole point was that ordinary people, and their pensions own stock in oil companies and when they make big profits and the stock goes up they do too.
If the best the oil industry can do to defend the spike in gasoline prices is run commercials trying to say, sure we are cleaning up but the little guy who owns stock is seeing benefits too, you don't need me to tell you they are price gouging and colluding. And that its long past due for congress to drag the CEO's of the oil companies in front of a congressional committee along with other relevant executives, and make them lay out for the public under oath, all the documents and relevant testimony from those who know.as to what went into the pricing of gasoline over the last month since it wasnt supply and demand and it wasnt what oil companies paid for a barrel of oil for June delivery. And then do something about it.
President Obama is going to ground zero. The obvious question is why, since his presence there has absolutely no practical value as it relates to anything. The answer is equally obvious -- he is trying to milk every ounce of political benefit from the killing of Osama Bin Laden and will put on a show to do it.
So he is going to ground zero, then to Engine Co. 54, who lost 15 firefighters that day and then to meet with 911 families. Think about it. If he wanted to meet with 911 families ( and which 911 families anyway? There were 3000 people killed on 911. Obama is not going to be meeting with 6-10,000 people which would represent the approximate number of family members of those killed.)to share a moment with them he could have invited whoever he will meet with today to the White House and do it privately. Instead no doubt agreeing with his political advisors he is off to New York City to do a dog and pony show for his own benefit and to take as much credit as possible to trumpet Bin Laden's death.
Its to his own benefit because it's certainly not to anyone else's. As someone living in New York City I can tell you anyone in or around where Obama is going to be is cursing his arrival. Not because its Obama but because of what any presidential visit and the accompanying security issues does to New York City traffic.
Lower Manhattan which is the heart of the financial district still has narrow streets dating back to the Revolution. Traffic there is usually snarled on any average business day. It will come to a standstill and become a traffic nightmare with Obama's visit and I can promise you no one down there is happy about it. Especially since this isn't something like addressing the United Nations or doing something that is essential to carrying out his presidential duties. It is strictly a dog and pony show that is happening for his own political benefit.
The glory for killing Bin Laden belongs to the gallantry, heroism and ability of the Navy Seals who stormed the compound and killed him. The credit for killing Bin Laden belongs to the Seals and the hundreds of people in the military and the CIA who literally worked for years to bring about this day. For Obama to go and try and bask in the fruits of other people's labor and accomplishment is about as seamy and tasteless thing as I've seen from a president. Not only that, all of this -- Obama's presence, the congressional delegation that turned out, the pomp and cirumstance all over the killing of one man, in a perverse way inadvertantly honors Bin Laden by having such ceremony, such importance, the appearance of congressional dignataries nd the news media, all for the killing of one man. In its own way it elevates Bin Laden to a status he doesnt deserve.
Far from Bin Laden's death being justice it would have been a lot better to point out that 3000 Bin Ladens wouldnt be worth a single life of those who died on 911. It wouldnt be worth the life of one of the passengers who stormed the cockpit of Flight 93, or one of the firefighters or police officers who died trying to save people that day, or one secretary, accountant or mailroom boy who died on 911. Killing one man for everything that happened on 911 and since, wasnt justice.It might have been vegeance, and welcome vegeance and retribution, and the next best thing to justice but it wasnt justice. And neither is elevating the death of Bin Laden to the stature of a state event. It makes Bin Laden, in death, too important. And certainly not worth the trouble.
For all the catastrophe he brought on this country with his disastrous presidency, George W. Bush showed a lot of class declining Obama's invitation to bask in the limelight and join him in this "celebration" of Bin Laden's death at Ground Zero. Perhaps its because he recognizes the unseemliness of it all and politicizing of it all and doesn't want to be a part of any of it. Perhaps its because he doesn't want to recall his own massive failures which allowed the 911 attacks to succeed. Or perhaps its both.
The only thing all this pomp and circumstance over Bin Laden's killing has done is elevate Bin Laden to an even larger hero status in the eyes of Al-Qaeda than he was before. A president of the United States, the entire New York contigent of congress, dignitaries,the military, the news media, all converging on Ground Zero over the killing of one man -- Bin Laden. It must have made Al-Qaeda very proud.
What Obama should have done is publicly tell the number 2 man in Al-Qaeda, "and you're next"and then everyone should have gone on with their business.
Instead Obama will take the stage,the dignitaries will applaud, he will visit with some victims families, he will visit a firehouse that suffered immense casualites on that day, the news media will try and milk it for all its worth, they will all pontificate and Obama will probably make some speech that will start with "On a beautiful cloudless day ten years ago, with the sun shinning brightly..." and and not long after people will start looking at their watches.
President Obama , in his remarks in announcing that Bin Laden had been killed, told the American people and the families of those killed during 911 that justice was done. As always Obama was of course wrong.
Killing Bin Laden did not mean justice was done. Killing a thousand Bin Laden's wouldn't be worth the life of a single person killed on Sept. 11,2001 and so the idea that justice was done because Bin Laden was finally killed, is preposterous. It wasn't justice but it was something that isnt a bad substitue and that is vengeance.
But there is another aspect of the 911 attacks where justice could be done but has never been. Because for ten years there have been others who deserved to be held accountable for the 911 attacks and all the death and destruction it brought and way it changed America, who may never face justice because the news media, politics, and cowardice will prevent it. And those who still need to face justice for that day are George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice and Dick Cheney.
As the evidence revealed by the 911 Commission hearings proved, Bush, Rice and Cheney were guilty of the worst case of gross negligence with regards to the national security of the United States in American history.
The 911 Commission evidence showed that, contrary to Bush, Rice and Cheney's flimsy and dishonest defense, not only could 911 have absolutely been prevented, but it was ignoring 8 months of dire and specific warnings that the United States was going to be hit with a massive terrorist attack, and dismissing those warnings and refusing to act on them, that allowed the 911 attacks to succeed.
When Bush was elected Karl Rove boasted in an interview in Time Magazine in January of 2001 that the Bush administration was " going to be ABC - Anything But Clinton. If Clinton did it we are going to reverse it and undo it " boasted Rove. And they did. They undid the balanced budget, they undid the $5 1/2 trillion budget surplus left by Clinton, they undid the economy, and when it came to terrorism, they undid everything Bill Clinton had built up with the help of Richard Clarke.
They demoted Richard Clarke, the White House head of anti-terrorism for four presidents and reduced hsi position to sub cabinet level from the cabinet level position he held in the Clinton Administration. This meant no direct access to the president. They did because they completely dismissed terrorism as a major threat believing that Clinton and Sandy Berger the outgoing national security advisor exaggerated the threat of Bin Laden. To the Bush Administration the real National Security threat was China, and their principle concern when Bush took office was getting out of the ABM Treaty with Russia so, with their eyes firmly in the rear view mirror, they could revive Star Wars. Where the Clinton Administration made Al-Qaeda and terrorism their number one national security concern, terrorism was not a concern for Bush, Rice and Cheney.
So when Richard Clarke testified that in August of 2001 when the intercepts of Al-Qaeda chatter spiked to the highest level Clarke had ever seen, when CIA translations in August of 2001 indicated that we were about to be hit with a major terrorist attack and in the words of the CIA translator the attack was "imminent" and was going to be "spectacular", and, in Clarke's words, when both he and George Tenant director of the CIA were "running around the White House like men with their hair on fire" trying to warn Bush and Rice that something big was brewing, they were rebuffed. They were rebuffed by Rice who refused to allow to set up a meeting for them to see Bush and were rebuffed by Bush himself who went to Crawford on vacation and wouldn't talk to Clarke about terrorism at all unless it related to cyber security.
Then there is the infamous August 6,2001 PDB, the composite intelligence report that was given to Bush during that same time period. The report told Bush, at the same time that Richard Clarke and George Tenant were trying to convince Bush and Rice that a serious attack from Al-Qaeda was imminent, that intelligence reports told Bush that Bin Laden was going to strike within the U.S. borders, that there were over 30 Al-Qaeda cells already within the United States that were operational, that as part of the plot to attack within the United States, Al-Qaeda was going to hijack U.S. airliners (italics mine) and that Al-Qaeda had buildings in New York City under surveillance. This, alone with everything else is what Bush was told in early August of 2001.
All this on the heels of Bill Clinton, Sandy Berger, Richard Clark, George Tenant and Robert Mueller all telling Bush during the transition period in January of 2001 that Al-Qaeda was the single biggest threat to US national security in the world.
Arrogantly and stupidly Bush, Rice, Rove and Cheney ignored it, and even worse, dismissed it. Until Sept 11,2001 when that dumb, deer in the headlights expression on Bush's face at the Florida school where he was told that planes have intentionally crashed into the World Trade Center and that it was a terrorist attack, made Bush realize, too late, that everyone who had warned about a terrorist attack was right and he was wrong.
The press almost predictably, was always too cowardly to hold Bush, Rice and Cheney accountable. They ignored the evidence presented by the 911 Commission hearing and corroborated and urefuted testimony that should have led to Bush's impeachment or at the very least, made him so weak politically he would have been a one term president and never would have had the political capitol to use 911 as an excuse to invade Iraq.
The press as usual, failed miserably and they failed for the same reasons they always fail -- cowardice, incompetence and a set of journalistic values that are concerned mostly with ratings which is why their ratings are so low..
If they had spent 1/10th the time holding Bush accountable for his gross failures over 911 and Rice's totally dishonest defense and contention, easily disproved, that 911 couldn't have been prevented, had they put as much scrutiny into those things as they did chasing after Monica Lewinsky's semen stained dress, America would be a much different and much better place now. No deficits created by Bush and the Republicans, no economic crisis. Lives saved in New Orleans after Katrina. No massive debt caused by unnecessary war and unnecessary tax cuts.
Killing Bin Laden may be well deserved vengeance, but when it comes to justice, it is a reminder that Bin Laden's death doesn't change what is still sadly lacking in our country when it comes to 911, government officials and the press -- justice and accountability here at home.
While the "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead", mentality continues to sweep the streets and airwaves and people celebrate, its still worth remembering that had Bush not demoted Richard Clarke, had the principles meetings on terrorism been allowed to continue, had Bush upon learning of the intention by Al-Qaeda to hijack U.S. airliners simply ordered all major airports and airlines to be on high alert for the possiblity of hijackings by Middle Eastern men, had Bush Rice and Cheney taken even the most minimal actions in the face of the warnings they have been given, there wouldn't be anything to celebrate now. Because 911 never would have happened.