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Unity Gone

Reported by Eleanor - September 11, 2004 -

The Fox financial series, The Cost of Freedom, (Sept. 11, 10:00 a.m.) morphed into "The Rise After the Fall" today in honor of the anniversary of 9/11, hosted by Neil Cavuto. Bush read from a prepared speech held in his hand, with no spontaneous remarks. Cavuto noted that the entire Bush presidency was defined by that day, and the ongoing war on terror. The two hours pointed up some stark differences in the two sides of the political spectrum from numerous guests. Some 9/11 family members spoke of their loved ones, and a number of times we heard the reading of the names of the dead at the memorial. The dead are Americans and friends from other countries - not democrats and republicans.

Three years later on this anniversary, the following exchanges point up differences, rather than demonstrating any semblance of unity.

Bob Beckel said that 9/11 brought us together, but the politics ripped us apart. Jim Michaels stated that the stock market wants to see better news from Iraq. 9/11 doesn't have anything to do with it. The war is not going terribly well, and we hear the voice of appeasement. Some say we should pull out of Iraq. Steve Forbes said that the war on terror is money well spent. Ed Koch stated that we need to destroy countries that give sanction to terrorists, and he agrees with Kerry who said "whatever it takes."

Cavuto asked if we can keep spending billions, and Forbes replied that money is only part of it. Ten times as much is well spent. Quentin Hardy asked if the money was spent wisely. Good will has been spent without much being done, and Iraq is not connected to 9/11. David Hunt said we haven't spent enough - it's a 40-50 year war, and not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.

Kerry spoke at 11:05 a.m. He talked of unity, and the ordinary men and women who became heroes.

After Kerry's speech, Cavuto conducted a debate between Al Sharpton and Ed Koch that showed stark differences. Sharpton: Terrorists hate all of us. Despite our differences, we should remember that we all need to do what is right to protect America. Koch: The hatred directed toward Bush is harmful during war time. We must be careful of the language. Koch mentioned the words of Kennedy and others as being unacceptable. Sharpton: People have the obligation to talk about how to protect the country. The president fumbled. Koch: Nonsense. Supporters of Kerry use the word "liar." He accepted the advice of the CIA as others did about WMD. The invective is what I object to. Sharpton: That's hogwash. What's happening with Kerry's war records couldn't be more vicious. Cavuto: We haven't had another attack. Sharpton: The terrorists are still at large. Koch: That's ridiculous. The president never attacked Kerry's war record. Some have attacked Bush. All should be denounced. "Liar" was used against Bush. Ted Kennedy should be denounced. Sharpton: We've lost 1,000 people and $200 billion. Somebody should take responsibility. Cavuto: What if we capture bin Laden tomorrow? Sharpton: I'd be glad, but it took three years, and Al Qaeda controls part of Afghanistan. Koch: It will take 10-50 years. There is no quick fix. Sharpton: The president said to get those guys. He didn't deliver.

Michael Smerconish, author of Flying Blind, was interviewed by Cavuto because he claims the hijacking of planes will happen again. He says we haven't learned our lesson. We should start profiling radical Islamists rather than checking old women and children. The airlines are too sensitive to the accusation of profiling for fear of fines. We fear to say "the emperor has no clothes," and we still face the same enemy.

Don King came on at the end of the program saying that Bush will respond to terrorist activity. It hasn't happened again, because they fear Bush - the strong force that he is.

Cavuto made a final statement that we're "sanitizing 9/11" and how those people died. We can't "gloss over" the horror of the bodies. We should show them for the learning value - in every gruesome detail. We should not gloss over the cruelty of their deaths. Some say it's "morbid to show it. I think it's morbid not to."

Comment: On Cavuto's last comment. The Bush administration won't show flag draped coffins; or the injured and maimed; we rarely hear the death count; the thousands of Iraqi dead and injured are unknowable; and the number and extent of American injuries is almost totally absent from the public dialogue. I wonder how that fits into Cavuto's philosophy.