Jonathan Madison

I was only 12 when the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, occurred. The country, it seemed, was surmounted with fear and despair after bearing witness to terrifying images of the two tallest towers in the heart of the world’s superpower collapse at the hands of a few foreign terrorists.

Beyond those images, I recall one moment more vividly than any other. Believe it or not, it was not the frightening images of dark debris that swallowed lower Manhattan. The moment came when my father picked me up from school early for fear that another attack might occur. On the drive home, I saw more American flags on lawns, roofs, windows, doors and parks than ever before. I have yet to see another moment when patriotism was displayed in nearly every direction. It was proof to me that we often find the source of our strength in moments of true darkness.

With that strength, the country rallied behind President Bush in his sweeping measures to fight the war on terror, such as the enactment of the Patriot Act and a declaration of war on Afghanistan. Although I am critical of their tactics, I am thankful that the Bush administration and Congress took the important steps to bolster our military intelligence capabilities. I truly believe that protected us from dozens of potential attacks on our beloved soil.

For all the criticisms that candidate Obama leveled against the Bush administration, President Obama continued and even expanded many of Bush’s policies in the war on terror to more effectively protect our nation. Many of his early supporters were disappointed to see him take actions that did not reflect his campaign of change. However, I am grateful the Obama Administration realized the need to expand our national defense and intelligence capabilities in the wake of new terror threats.

The Obama administration also shares the blame for its fare share of mistakes. Our nation has lost the trust of a number of allies and adversaries during this administration, in part because of fairly weak leadership on national defense, and because of the diplomatic failures in Iraq inherited from the Bush administration.

As a result, the Islamic State terrorist group emerged as a major threat. The terrorist group attacked innocent civilians and filmed beheadings of Egyptian Christians in the name of ideologically purifying a religious sect.

In spite of the dark days that lie ahead of us, history gives us reason to believe we will prevail in the war on terror nonetheless. Consider the numerous fights against terror that the United States has won. In response to Hitler’s extermination of millions of Jews, the United States created a War Refugee Board that successfully saved about 200,000 Jewish lives on several search and rescue missions. Those efforts paved the way for the creation of the state of Israel, a crucial Middle Eastern ally for us to this day in the war on terror.

Don’t forget that 10 years ago, our nation succeeded in bringing to death Osama bin Laden — a worldwide symbol of the war on terror — allowing American families to find solace years after the 3,000 lives that were lost on Sept. 11, 2001.

We have not been flawless. Many groups now use our dominance in the Middle East and policies of torture and drone strikes as a recruiting tool for a new generation of terrorists. Beyond that, the Biden administration’s brash withdrawal of our nation’s troops from Afghanistan is being hailed by many as the genesis for new forms international terrorism, particularly after we effectively armed the Taliban with black hawk helicopters, assault rifles, and other deadly military equipment. After more than 20,000 wounded soldiers, 2,400 American deaths, and $2 trillion spent over the past 20 years, the uncoordinated withdrawal of our troops Afghanistan is nothing short of an international embarrassment.

One thing is certain — our nation’s response to the Sept. 11 attacks tested our faith in government. In spite of everything, I remain faithful that our nation can overcome this, as we always do. We have come through a Great Depression together. We defeated Nazi Germany and the Japanese in two theaters and have liberated millions of innocent people. We have stood together and become a stronger nation than ever following Sept. 11 and have chased its perpetrators to the corners of the Earth.

We will never live in a world that is immune from terror — but if we do not want our children to have to live through the horrors that we witnessed Sept. 11, 2001, we must stand together as a nation to protect our innocents from future attacks.

A native of Pacifica, Jonathan Madison worked as professional policy staff for the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Financial Services. Jonathan is lead attorney at the Madison Firm. Jonathan can be reached at jonathan@themadisonfirm.com.

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(36) comments

Rel

Since the option to simply reply to each of your banal and derisive comments is not available (SMDJ thinks so too as it asks if each is reportable), I will comment in turn here.

Dirk, you not only miss the point but did not answer this simple question: when it comes to withdrawal from Afghanistan, how would you have done it better? Was the withdrawal under Biden perfect, or even good? No, but what playbook exists for withdrawal from war that works? There is none. Withdrawal was always going to be difficult. Trump and Pompeo got the head Taliban out of prison who is now involved in the running of a Afghanistan and Biden still rescued 110,000 people with more likely to come.

Terrence: treasonous Biden? I'd ask if you were serious, but then again you support the real treasonous Trump.

Ray: I served during the heart of the Viet Nam war and lost two roommates to it. I had to two nephews serve in Afghanistan, one who committed suicide because of the losses of fellow soldiers there. So I know direct personal loss to needless wars and can be very happy when both were ended with no further loss of life. Convincing or remarkable enough for you? Since you always have to have the last word there is certain to follow a lengthy diatribe justifying your opinion.

To all: to paraphrase Dirk. Any reasoned reply to your opinions is likely to fall on deaf ears since in your book Biden and his team can't do any right, so further discussion is pointless.

Ray Fowler

Rel

I have not heard anyone say in this forum that the US should stay in Afghanistan. However, the current administration's withdrawal plan was a failure, and that failure is still reverberating across Central Asia. It will have a global impact.

Maybe it appears to you that I have the last word because you do not respond to questions or rebuttals to your posts. You cede the last word... that has happened over and over again in the past. That's a choice you make.

No one is happy with the loss of lives in Vietnam, the Middle East or Afghanistan in the past 60 years. It's sad to hear about personal losses like yours, and it is sad that almost 20 veterans commit suicide daily. Thankfully, that number will decrease now that we are out of Afghanistan.

Yes, my responses tend to be wordy, and I have acknowledged that tendency in the comments section. Sometimes a lengthy response will follow a spurious claim that lacks credibility, accuracy, and authentication. In this case, I will say no more... you can comment further or not... that's a choice you can make.

Tommy Tee

100%, Rel. 100%

Ray Fowler

Tommy Tee...

About a week ago, I posted the following in the comments that followed Kent Lauder's call to replace Matt Grocott, "... it seems to me as a general rule (does not apply to everyone) that the right side of the aisle brings a little more substance to almost every debate in this forum. I say that because their is a loose cadre of left leaning readers who just disappear when they are pressed to go beyond sound bites and MSM talking points. I cannot tell you how many times I have crafted a detailed response with supporting data only to have the other side respond with crickets."

!00%, Tommy. 100%

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Mr. Fowler,

ROTFLMAO, thanks!

Terence Y

Sounds like perfect last words, Ray, as I’m predicting crickets from Rel. I can’t speak for others, but I appreciate the responses, whether short, long, or extra-long. Unlike how at least one columnist featured in the DJ is being treated, I don't recall anybody calling for your censorship. If the DJ will print them, I’ll read them, so keep them coming.

Terence Y

Rel, you first need to provide reasoned replies – assuming you haven’t ghosted us. In this case, your response to me doesn’t meet that standard. Maybe some homework to determine the meaning of “treason” is in store. You can explain why Biden giving aid and comfort to the Taliban isn’t considered treason – assuming you don’t ghost me.

Dirk van Ulden

One post script Rel, he removed the military first, then allowed more than 80,000 unvetted aliens onto our planes, evacuated no more than 5,000 US citizens and green card holders and left an untold number of our countrymen/women to fend for themselves. These folks were abandoned and are being evacuated by private parties. The numbers don't lie, Rel!

And, let us thank ourselves for our service during the Vietnam war as nobody else did when I was discharged in 1970.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Dirk,

I was one of those idiots that had been whip into a frenzy against you, Rel and G.I.'s in general. Both of you have my deepest apologies and belated thanks. While not offered as an excuse, personal ignorance and trusting the likes of Walter Cronkite misled me. I am very sorry for the mistreatment heros like you suffered. It is one of the reasons I will never stop giving, as I have since it's inception, to the Wounded Warrior Project. Homes and educations for all survivors of death or serious injury should be the first payment made. From the Feds as well as citizens. IMHO

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Rel,

You know there is no single answer to your question, ..."how would you have done it better". You also know that President Biden did not have a clue. You should also know that President Biden has advisor that he listened to. President Biden, as Commander and Chief of the Armed Forces, is the one who chose. And he blew it. By defending the indefensible, so do you. How could you have done it better? By reading what the opposition has to say and coming to your own conclusion. You and the President are saving face, at the expense of innocents. Shame on the both of you. Lest you forget, I blame G.W. for all of this waste in the Middle East.

Jorg

WHY WEASN’T 9/11 PREVENTED?

Sadly, - is could have been! And relatively simply. A huge, red flag should have been raised when young Muslims signed up at American flight schools, wanting to learn to fly commercial airplanes, with no interest in take-off or landing, just flying while already air-borne. Were they asked why? Allegedly, some flight instructors became suspicious and reported it, reports that somehow disappeared on their way up the command channel Why?

These guys should have been tracked, and when they showed up to board 4 different American aircraft at roughly the same time, with only one-way tickets, very red flags should have been raised. For starters, their carry-on luggage should have been thoroughly searched, during which box cutters should have surfaced. What did they need box cutters for?

And especially because they were Muslims coming from the Mid-East, they should have been scrutinized. The World Trade Center had already been attacked, from the ground in 1993, by Muslims. And the Quran should have been studied by authorities, revealing that this is certainly not a book of love and peace, as claimed. Quite the opposite, a murder manual, where Islam-infested suicide murderers are promised virgins on the other side. Using airplanes as bombs, is nothing new. The Japanese used their own planes as bombs during WWII!

Why wasn’t that done? Why weren’t the dots connected? What has been done to prevent future disasters like 9/11? Have we learned anything at all? Why are we so easy to fool?

Dirk van Ulden

Jorg - get ready to be lambasted for telling the truth. While Jon makes cogent points, I for one, have lost confidence in our government. Both sides of the isle. The latest charade in Afghanistan is yet another example. Nothing but lies, no accountability, and meaningless, evasive answers from those who should know better. Even in my native The Netherlands, both the ministers of Defense and External Affairs had to resign because of their mishandling the evacuation of Dutch nationals. Where are we? Fortunately, the American people will stand together regardless of the duplicity in DC. I do have faith in our citizens.

Rel

Dirk, Afghanistan a charade? Have you had any personal experience of serving in a needless war? I have on both the Viet Nam and Afghanistan fronts. Biden ended a needless war with minimal loss of lives. He stood his ground while taking full responsibility for his actions. He was very forthright on this with many addresses to the American people. His administration rescued over 110,000 people with a minimal loss of lives while still working to bring back others who wish to leave. Future lives have ben saved while no more money is being poured down a rabbit hole there. How would you have handled it differently?

Ray Fowler

Rel...

Your position on this matter is uninformed, unconvincing, and unremarkable.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Mr. Fowler,

Some of President Biden's lovebirds agree with you. But Rel knows better. You can read about at the Huffington Post.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/joe-biden-media-coverage-afghanistan-withdrawal_n_612014d6e4b0c69681087cd7

Dirk van Ulden

Rel - as usual you missed the point. I believe most agreed with the decision to pull out of Afghanistan, it was the evacuation FUBAR that I am referring to. To claim that it was humanely and professionally administered is a slap in the face of any common sense and decency. But then, in your book Biden and his despicable team can't do any wrong, so further discussion is pointless.

Ray Fowler

Hey, Wilfredo

Thanks for the link. The Afghanistan question is the proverbial onion with layers to peel away. Media types... including the MSM... cannot really fault Joe for continuing the process for getting us out, but it's the how we got out that has emboldened journalists to criticize Joe's credibility.

Jorg makes the case for not going into Afghanistan at all... a position affirmed by readers on the left and right side of the aisle... an agreement that is a rarity for this forum. I think you can make an argument for going in and smashing the Taliban then providing the Afghan government, army and people with the tactical support they need to keep those wolves away from the door. It's the large scale staying part that doomed us.

In October 2001, we should have had a plan with clear objectives, and when the objectives were met... we're out. However, as the linked article clearly states... it's the old military industrial complex that won't let us get out. We should have been out well before GW Bush's second term ended. Barack wanted to get out... but couldn't make it happen. The Donald made some positive strides which set up Joe to turn out the lights after nearly 20 years of lost blood and treasure.

We can kick around whether Joe should have anticipated the Taliban's resurgence in such a short period of time, but Joe's rapid withdrawal plan made that resurgence easier.

Joe said the buck stopped with him. Leaving the Bagram air base in the dead of night, leaving control of Kabul... except for the airport... to the Taliban, leaving Americans and allies behind, leaving 80+ billion dollars worth of equipment to the Taliban were critical WH errors. Refusing to answer questions about the withdrawal and claiming that we retaliated with a drone strike against the Taliban that actually killed an Afghan family made those errors worse.

We're out.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Good morning Mr. Fowler,

The lovebirds I referred to are the Biden sycophants in the media. The link was intended to show Rel, who said elsewhere he wanted them, that you are not hating on President Biden. The motives behind criticism of President Biden do not interest me. I am not going to armchair quarterback a President. However, I am not alone in wondering if President Biden got good advice. As for me, I'm glad America flexed her muscles and destroyed the nest enabling harm against her. But beyond that, G.W. was a putz. The rest of the world is not Europe. There is no nation building to be done. IMHO

Thank you God for getting out.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Thank you God for getting us out

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Jorg,

Maybe Americans need to stop electing men preoccupied with philandering and globalists needing to prove they are compassionate conservatives. Snark, directed at politicos aside, thanks for saying what needed to be said.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Jorg,

As a self proclaimed scientist and because you see yourself as a spokesman for the intellectually superior side of America. I have a question for you. If masks are so effective, why has President Biden not paid for and distributed the 3M 8511 N95 respirator for us?

Jorg

I'll remember to ask him when he invites me over for a beer!

Terence Y

Jorg, hopefully you’ll be able to join Biden in his basement as he hides from simple questions. Wait a second… have you and Rel been channeling Uncle Joe regarding the inability to answer simple questions? Oh sorry, I forgot, you and Rel were both unable to answer simple questions before treasonous Biden.

Ray Fowler

Jorg!!

Funny... thanks.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Hmm, you are predictable.

Tafhdyd

Wilfred,

I read Mr. Madison's column and decided to let others do the commenting. However, as long as you asked about the 3M mask, I will throw in my two copper pennies.

Part 1. There was a saying back when the powers that be wanted people to wear a mask that went something like "I wear a mask to protect you and you wear a mask to protect me". The mask reduced the flow of the virus along with the six foot social distance rule helped to reduce the spread. The 3M 8511 mask has a valve for exhaling which allows the virus to travel freely and would defeat the purpose.

Part 2. Let's forget about the valve and use another N95 mask without the valve. The people that would wear the mask are the same people that are wearing the masks now. The conservative right wing anti-mask, anti-vax, conspiracy believing crowd would not wear it anyway. If the government provided it that would be even more reason for them not to wear it. You have well thought out reasons for things you do and I know that a high level of trust in politicians is not number one on your list. Imagine how the gullible would think about the free mask offer. They would be sure that it is a scheme for big brother to control their mind (or what is left of it). The only benefit of the gov't suppling the masks would be to reduce the cost to those of us that wear them.

Ray Fowler

Tafhdyd

Let's send the first free mask to London Breed...

Terence Y

Taffy, are you referring to the six-foot social distancing rule that a former FDA commissioner said was arbitrary and nobody knew where it came from? And are you talking about masks that your Democrat idols and other hypocrites don’t bother wearing? You know, like Newsom, Pelosi, Biden, Obama and his new Obama-variant COVID cases, Mayor Breed and her feeling the spirit excuse, folks at the Emmy awards, folks attending the Lollapalooza party in Chicago and the list goes on… Yeah, sure, conservative right-wingers don’t wear masks. Along, it appears, with quite a number of left-wingers.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Good morning mi amigo Tafhdyd,

Thanks for correcting the mistake I made based on the following. With a smile on my face I say, I expect nothing less of you. A fact checker. 👊

https://www.edcmag.com/best-face-masks-for-virus-protection/

I do not believe media reports about who is not wearing masks. Nor do I believe the academics and scientists in my my life that blame Christians. I imagine people of all stripes decide what they are willing to do regarding their health needs. Not just COVID-19. I suspect that is why we have an obesity problem, as an example. Drug and alcohol abuse, need I go on. Some people can't afford to eat well. Maybe they can't afford masks. But they can afford the things they want. Who knows my friend. What I do know is, I hate wearing masks. They fog up my glasses, are uncomfortable, make it hard to be heard, etc. But I wear them anyway, in certain situations. I never think to impose on others to do likewise. But will keep my distance, politely. Without the glares and sanctimony I see from others.

My point in the original question is, government officials be consistent. More simply said, they should put up or shut up. And they should not have a private face that is different from their public face. Literally as well as figuratively.

Once again, thanks for your thoughtfulness.

Tafhdyd

Wilfred,

Thank you for the link on face masks. I was surprised to see the N95 respirator w/valve listed as the top choice. The EDC magazine mentioned the CDC in the opening comments so I went to the CDC website to see if the guidelines had changed. The link is below. I have to guess that the EDC folks were rating them based on personal protection only, not on whether they would reduce the spread of the virus.

BTW, I did see your 8:15 comment on the other thread yesterday. Thanks

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Tafhdyd,

Thanks for the CDC link. I had noticed it when I landed at the EDC magazine site.

I checked it out but quickly left it because it did not specify a best mask. I did not get past the first page. I am trying to find another .gov site which did list, as I recall, the same mask as being the best. Unless I find it, please forgive my easily befuddled old man brain. 🤣

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Tafhdyd,

I found the site I mentioned in my previous message you. I was wrong. Thanks again for correcting me.

Tafhdyd

Wilfred,

[thumbup]All is well that ends well. Speaking of well, be careful up there in the wide open spaces. I see on the news tonight that Alaska now has the highest per capita rate of new cases of Covid and the state health department enacted crisis standards of care at the hospitals to deal with the overload.[sad]

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Good morning Tafhdyd,

Thanks for your concern. We are comfortable with the decisions we have made to protect ourselves. I am pretty sure others on these pages feel the same, because none of us are the idiots the mass media portrays us to be. TTYL8R

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Jorg, you are predictable and evasive.

Ray Fowler

Good morning, Jonathan, and thanks for a great column.

Unity...

With all the rancor about athletes kneeling or turning away from our flag, I hope one of the most important lessons about the flag is not lost on those protesters. That lesson... our flag deserves their respect because it represents a country where you can express your feelings about the flag in any way you choose.

In the early 2000s, I would often drive across Redwood City during the business week. Those trips would include driving south on Middlefield Road through the section of Redwood City populated by mostly Hispanic folks. That thoroughfare was lined with busy restaurants and shops which advertised with signs mostly in Spanish. It seemed like nearly every building along that street had a red, white and green tricolor flag flying in front of the business or on the roof.

But a week or so after the events on 9-11, I had occasion to drive down that boulevard, and I noticed that something looked different. I'm driving and thinking... what has changed? Then, it struck me... many of the tricolor flags had been replaced with the red, white and blue of the Stars and Stripes.

In a country where newcomers or minorities can sadly be made to feel like they don't belong... those red, white and blue flags were speaking for them and saying, "We belong." This is our country. An attack on one is an attack on everyone. We will stand up to those who wish us harm.

You cannot find anyone more patriotic than those folks who hoisted the Stars and Stripes along that busy street 20 years ago. Others may choose to kneel or turn away, but they choose unity.

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