The strange, strange sacred and immutable right of families of 9/11 victims to spend an unlimited amount of public money on an obscenely tasteless monument: does anybody have the guts to say, enough is enough? They are now discussing a $1 billion dollar monument to the victims of 9/11, at the site of the former World Trade Centre. Did you know that the monument to all 55,000 dead soldiers from the Viet Nam War cost a "mere" $7 million? For that $7 million, those families received one of the most graceful, respectful, and amazing monuments ever built.
(Then the veterans jumped in and erected a more traditional monument right next to it to spoil the effect. Damn you-- we are not ashamed of our war!)
Where will all this money go? Probably to middle-men, agents, lawyers, and contractors. Oh-- there will be about $500 for a "vehicle security" gadget. I can't imagine what that will be. Is it because they think more 9/11 hijackers are going to come over and destroy the memorial?
Will families of dead soldiers from Viet Nam please organize themselves? It's never too late to jump on the bandwagon and demand your share. You should probably get a $10 billion dollar monument, and it should be right in front of the White House and it should be at least 2000 feet tall.
I'm sorry, but as sympathetic as I am to the families of the victims, it's hard to not see this all as an insult to their memories.
But not all of them. I'm sure some of the families believe, as I do, that this entire exercise has turned into a tawdry, tacky joke and someone should stick a fork in it.
Now here's my insanely great solution to the entire debacle: they should build a quiet, humble, small memorial at the base of the towers, and then donate the $990 million left over to fund "freedom schools" in Arabic countries that teach, for free, science, geography, music, literature, and math to earnest young Arab boys and girls.
Some of the families of the victims will say: such a small memorial would be an insult to the memories of our loved ones. Well, think about that. The memorial is not about them-- it's about you.
April 15, 2006
More on one of those rare sightings of sane judges.
Even more interesting-- from Findlaw:
The government must be shocked at having a judge not roll over in the face of their authoritarian strategies-- they demanded that the case be heard by another judge. The Appeals Court said: the government doesn't always get to win.
One of the gripes the prosecutors held against Scheindlin was an article she wrote which apparently supported the idea that judges should defend individual liberties.
Another "suspected terrorist" gets his. Or doesn't.
American juries seem a little less mad than American prosecutors. If you read the story above, a reasonable person might conclude that the FBI had lost its mind... or that it was under enormous pressure to produce a conviction, any conviction, of anybody-- as long as their name sounds something like Osama Awadallah--- Arabic!
The FBI successfully demonstrated that Osama Awadallah had written the name Khalid in a school notebook even though he denied-- after 20 days of solitary confinement-- that he knew anybody named Khalid. Khalid is Khalid al-Midhar, one of the 9/11 hijackers. Well, well, case closed then, don't you think?
It appears that the FBI was convinced that something sinister was afoot: here was a man who had actually talked to two of the hijackers. Osama admitted that. He had known two of the hijackers 18 months before 9/11. But he only recalled the name of one of them. But Osama wrote in his notebook this: "One of the quietest people I have met is Nawaf. Another one, his name is Khalid." Khalid was the name of the other hijacker. Seize him.
In the grand jury room, Osama was handcuffed to his chair, though there was not a shred of evidence to indicate that he was anything other than exactly what he claimed he was: a Jordanian college student who had remarked on quiet Khalid.
In the four years since his case began, Osama has been taking courses at San Diego State University.
No matter how many cases like this I read about, I never fail to be stunned at the absolutely shocking indifference of the American public and its political leaders to these cases of arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, harassment, and intimidation, by government officials--- and then the inevitable bizarre admission that even the prosecution doesn't believe the suspect is a terrorist, or has committed any serious crimes. Yet the prosecution in this case had a fanatical determination to prosecute Osama and apply a sentence of ridiculous severity. They would like to lock the man up for five years because he denied-- then later remembered-- that he did know a quiet man know Khalid.
Osama was locked up in solitary confinement for 20 days, before his appearance before the Grand Jury. Yes, this is how we treat a man who is suspected merely of lying about whether he had met one of the hijackers. The prosecution was determined to convict him of perjury-- why? To prove that they were men?
You have to understand that by the time the case has progressed this far, the prosecution MUST obtain a conviction to prove that Osama really deserved to have been treated so badly by the prosecution. And to show that we, and not they, the prosecutors, have lost all sense of perspective.
If a jury finds him not guilty, it might as well fire the prosecutors as well, because it is also saying that they have made a monumentally idiotic assessment of how the taxpayer's money should be spent.
There are some sane people in America. A Judge Shira Scheindlin dismissed the charges. An appeals court reinstated the charges, so sanity did not prevail. Fox News and the Wall Street Journal then accused Judge Scheindlin of unspeakable crimes against the security and safety and oil supplies of the United States of America, may God Bless Her!
I did not see a dollar figure to tell you how much the United States Government was spending to prosecute a man for not fully disclosing all of his social contacts.
There are people serving less time than that for arson or assault or rape or bribing the same idiotic congressmen who passed the very laws under which Osama is being prosecuted.
Is it possible to reach any conclusion but that the man is being persecuted for being Arabic?
Will a point in time come when Americans ever become ashamed these farces?
Copyright © 2006 Bill Van Dyk All rights reserved.