Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Collateral Effects (9-11)

12 years ago, today, four planes were hijacked. Two flew into the towers of the World Trade Center. One hit the Pentagon (killing a friend of mine). One was taken back by brave passengers on Flight 93. It crashed into a field, failing to strike its target.

Around the nation, bloggers, journalists, and average citizens recount where they were, what they were doing, who they lost, and other details of that horrific day. My account is a bit different from most I've read. I've read about people being in school. Even some were too young to remember. Then there are those who couldn't forget if they wanted to. I was in a far away place. But the news, the images, and the memories are still painful. I still weep when I recall the day.

A year ago, on this same day, the same group responsible for the attacks on the USS Cole, the Embassy Bombings in Nairobi and Tanzania, and the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks hit us again. This time, they attacked the consulate in Benghazi, Libya. They raped, sodomized, brutalized, beat, and murdered Ambassador Stephens. They killed others as well. Yes, this does still make a huge difference.

Al Q'aeda did this on the 11th anniversary of the 9-11-01 attacks.

While the 2001 attacks were met with resolute retribution, the Benghazi attack was met with scandal, cover-up, and an attempt at a "Jedi hand-wave". Americans should be just as united and outraged, today, over Benghazi, as we were in 2001 over the World Trade Center attack.

And we have more to be angry about.

Recently, revised recidivism rates from former Guantanamo Bay detainees were released. These terrorists were let go to return to their deeds.Of the released detainees, there is, at least, a 28% recidivism rate.

95 have been confirmed to return to Al Q'aeda and their terrorist ways.

73 additional former detainees are suspected to have returned. "Suspected" means they have engaged in some activity or returned to some affiliation or relationship with Al Q'aeda. However, their direct action with/for the group has yet to be confirmed. This could be because they changed roles within the organization.

That is what is known and has been unclassified for release to the public. Having worked intelligence, I can easily predict the numbers of "suspected" may be quite a bit higher.

These numbers do not include those freed from detention centers now under Iraqi control. It doesn't include those held in Afghanistan or other areas, either. These are just those formerly held in Cuba.

Currently, there are indicators that the rebels in Syria may have employed Sarin gas. Sarin is a highly toxic nerve agent, one of the deadliest chemical weapons known to man. Most die quickly, especially compared to other CBRN weapons such as dirty bombs or blister agents. Those rebels are heavily backed, trained, equipped, manned, and supported by Al Q'aeda. Some of their operatives were caught near the Syrian-Turkish border with canisters of Sarin gas. Assad's regime may be employing the gas as well.

The war is far from over. Today, we need to remember both the 2001 and Benghazi attacks. We need to remember the USS Cole, Tanzania, and Kenya attacks. We need to remember those who fought and sacrificed. We have to remember the brave men and women who responded, trying to save survivors in all of those, especially those in New York. Among them are too many who died directly or indirectly from their efforts. We need to hug out kids and grandkids. We need to shed our tears.

Tomorrow, we need to lace up our boots, clean our muskets, unfurl our flags, and get back in the fight. We have a clearly defined enemy, though he hides in shadows with children as shields.

For those who ran not from the flames, explosions, and gunfire but towards them cannot come home until the last shot is fired.