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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

9/11 Still Surrounded by Anger, Pain, Blame

September 14, 2004

President Bush's vow on Saturday that "we will not relent until the terrorists who plot murder against our people are found and dealt with" shouldn't impress anyone who remembers that Bush stood at ground zero three days after Sept. 11, 2001, and promised America that "the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."

Three years after that worthless promise, the only sound Osama bin Laden, Mullah Mohammed Omar and the other Al Qaeda conspirators have heard is their own laughter as they reminisce about committing mass murder inside the United States and getting away with it. They're alive, well and committing further atrocities because the president who would send 140,000 troops to Iraq deployed only 2,000 to Afghanistan to hunt down the world's most despicable criminals.

If fighting terrorism is our president's first responsibility, Bush is guilty of dereliction of duty for targeting Iraq while leaving the Sept. 11 masterminds free to plan, execute and celebrate more abominations.

Mike Gaynes

Moss Beach, Calif.

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The Sept. 11 tragedy was allowed to happen by naive and complacent Americans who admitted terrorists into our country, who allowed them to train in flight schools and who failed to stop them from entering planes.

Sept. 11 happened because our security agencies were forced to operate with their hands tied behind their backs and because our legislators erected barriers to communication between the FBI and the CIA.

A terrorist attack did not take place in the United States in the last three years thanks to the Patriot Act and Homeland Security and because we are fighting the terrorists thousands of miles away from the United States. Future terrorist attacks will be prevented if we do not revert to the complacency of pre-Sept. 11 and if we continue to strengthen the efforts of our security agencies.

Amos Turner

Highland Park, Ill.

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I just don't get how President Bush is seen as protecting our country from terrorism. I mean, isn't he the one who opposed the creation of the Sept. 11 commission that ended up giving us some excellent advice on how to better protect the nation?

Isn't he the one who sat for about seven minutes reading to the schoolchildren after the first plane ran into the World Trade Center during Sept. 11? Isn't he the one who opposed creating a commission to look into the abuses of Abu Ghraib, which greatly hurt our war efforts?

Isn't he the one who ignored the security briefing "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."? Isn't he the one who swore he would capture Osama bin Laden dead or alive for instigating Sept. 11, yet he rarely even mentions his name?

Sorry, my fellow Americans, but if these are the behaviors of a person who is supposed to be the best for securing our nation, I think we can do far better with Sen. John Kerry.

Paul Harris

San Diego

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