May 18, 2004


The 9/11 Commission jumped the shark once and for all this afternoon when Commissioner John Lehman launched a hyperbolic, unfair, and grandstanding attack on the leaders of the New York police and fire departments -- who lost scores of men in the disaster of the World Trade Center:

The former police and fire chiefs who were lionized after the World Trade Center attack came under harsh criticism Tuesday from the Sept. 11 commission, with one member saying the departments' lack of cooperation was scandalous and "not worthy of the Boy Scouts." Commission members, in New York for an emotional two-day hearing, focused on how leaders of the two departments failed to share information effectively in the early frantic moments after two hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Center.

Former fire commissioner Thomas Von Essen and former police chief Bernard Kerik shot back with infuriated responses to commissioner John Lehman's questions, the strongest of a series of pointed statements from the panel.

"I couldn't disagree with you more strongly," Von Essen replied. "I think it's outrageous that you make a statement like that." Outside the hearing, he called the questioning "despicable."

Let's try to remember that these men sent hundreds of their brothers in uniform into the burning and collapsing towers in a desperate attempt to rescue as many people as possible. Let's remember that this entire country was unprepared for an attack on this scale. Let's remember that these men represent thousands of men and women in New York that stand ready to make that sacrifice again, if necessary, to keep New Yorkers safe.

Now this pissant little Monday morning quarterback sneers at them from across the dais, belittling these men who risk their lives in service of their community instead of making a living showboating for the cameras. It's just the latest in a series of prime-time tongue-lashings that the 9/11 Commission feels qualified to give everyone while they're supposedly reviewing evidence in an open-minded and rational way. Instead of treating witnesses with respect, they belittle them to enlarge their egos.

And they do get a response from the few ultra-partisan 9/11 families, with whom I have completely lost patience. For instance:

Families of Sept. 11 victims applauded the tough questioning and shook their heads sadly as the panel enumerated a litany of communication breakdowns between the departments. Family members sporadically mocked and booed Von Essen, Kerik and Richard Sheirer, former Office of Emergency Management commissioner, and they wept earlier in the day as they watched videotape of the buildings collapsing.

As Von Essen testified, Sally Regenhard who lost her firefighter son held up a piece of paper reading: "LIES." ...

Family members cheered when commission member Slade Gorton launched an aggressive line of questioning about the city's 911 emergency system to Kerik, Von Essen and Sheirer.

When the agency heads tried to defer to their successors, Gorton refused to let them. "I'm asking ... what was going on Sept. 11," Gorton said to applause from the families.

I'm glad that these few, ill-mannered families are getting their money's worth, but for everyone else the 9/11 Commission is a joke. It hasn't crossed the minds of these idiots that 9/11 was an attack on America, not just a ticket to network talk-show gigs for a handful of the victims' families and an opportunity to resurrect political careers for hacks like Lehman and Bob Kerrey. And if you think I'm being too harsh on the victims' families -- and perhaps I am -- then maybe they should quit manipulating the media and start pressing for a real investigation, one that gets real information from witnesses, instead of show trials where everyone who appears is treated like they personally flew the airplanes into the buildings themselves.

It's time for someone to pull the plug on this ongoing embarrassment.


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» Besmirching Our Heroes from Watcher of Weasels
More grandstanding from the partisan hacks on the 9/11 Commission...  now they are spitting on the New York police and fire departments.  Of course, more hooting and hollering from the left-wing activist 9/11 family members in the audience.&nbs... [Read More]