The New York Times reports that
The president took pains to distinguish between the military action he was putting in motion and the two wars begun by his predecessor, President George W. Bush. He likened this campaign to the highly targeted airstrikes that the United States has carried out for several years against terrorism suspects in Yemen and Somalia, few of which have been made public.
After enduring harsh criticism for saying in a news conference two weeks ago that he did not have a strategy for dealing with ISIS in Syria, Mr. Obama sketched out a plan that will involve heightened American training and arming of moderate Syrian rebels to fight the militants. Saudi Arabia has agreed to provide bases for the training of those forces.
The White House has asked Congress to authorize the plan to train and equip rebels — something the Central Intelligence Agency has been doing covertly and on a much smaller scale — but Mr. Obama said he had the authority necessary to expand the broader campaign.
“These American forces will not have a combat mission — we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq,” Mr. Obama pledged, adding that the broader mission he was outlining for American military forces “will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; it will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.”
For all of Mr. Obama’s efforts to reassure the public, his remarks were a stark admission of the threat posed by the militants, whose lightning rampage through Iraq and Syria and videotaped beheading of two American journalists have reignited fears of radical terrorism.
The president’s remarks, on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, will thrust the United States into a civil war in Syria that he had long sought to avoid, and will return the country to a significant military presence in Iraq, from which Mr. Obama withdrew the last American combat soldiers at the end of 2011.
It is ironic that Obama chose to make a speech in which he finally, forced by a growing public backlash, addressed the reality of the Muslim Terrorist Group, ISIS. For today, our nation remembers the 13th anniversary of the worst Terrorist attack ever perpetrated on American Soil. Over 3,000 Americans lost their lives that day, including the heroic First Responders of New York City, who ran into Hell, while others were running away from it.
Here is the tragic toll of 9/11/01, broken down by the numbers. Courtesy of nymag.com:
The initial numbers are indelible: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m. Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. Time they took to fall: 12 seconds. From there, they ripple out.
- Total number killed in attacks (official figure as of 9/5/02): 2,819
- Number of firefighters and paramedics killed: 343
- Number of NYPD officers: 23
- Number of Port Authority police officers: 37
- Number of WTC companies that lost people: 60
- Number of employees who died in Tower One: 1,402
- Number of employees who died in Tower Two: 614
- Number of employees lost at Cantor Fitzgerald: 658
- Number of U.S. troops killed in Operation Enduring Freedom: 22
- Number of nations whose citizens were killed in attacks: 115
- Ratio of men to women who died: 3:1
- Age of the greatest number who died: between 35 and 39
- Bodies found “intact”: 289
- Body parts found: 19,858
- Number of families who got no remains: 1,717
- Estimated units of blood donated to the New York Blood Center: 36,000
- Total units of donated blood actually used: 258
- Number of people who lost a spouse or partner in the attacks: 1,609
- Estimated number of children who lost a parent: 3,051
- Percentage of Americans who knew someone hurt or killed in the attacks: 20
- FDNY retirements, January–July 2001: 274
- FDNY retirements, January–July 2002: 661
- Number of firefighters on leave for respiratory problems by January 2002: 300
- Number of funerals attended by Rudy Giuliani in 2001: 200
- Number of FDNY vehicles destroyed: 98
- Tons of debris removed from site: 1,506,124
- Days fires continued to burn after the attack: 99
- Jobs lost in New York owing to the attacks: 146,100
- Days the New York Stock Exchange was closed: 6
- Point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average when the NYSE reopened: 684.81
- Days after 9/11 that the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan: 26
- Total number of hate crimes reported to the Council on American-Islamic Relations nationwide since 9/11: 1,714
- Economic loss to New York in month following the attacks: $105 billion
- Estimated cost of cleanup: $600 million
- Total FEMA money spent on the emergency: $970 million
- Estimated amount donated to 9/11 charities: $1.4 billion
- Estimated amount of insurance paid worldwide related to 9/11: $40.2 billion
- Estimated amount of money needed to overhaul lower-Manhattan subways: $7.5 billion
- Amount of money recently granted by U.S. government to overhaul lower-Manhattan subways: $4.55 billion
- Estimated amount of money raised for funds dedicated to NYPD and FDNY families: $500 million
- Percentage of total charity money raised going to FDNY and NYPD families: 25
- Average benefit already received by each FDNY and NYPD widow: $1 million
- Percentage increase in law-school applications from 2001 to 2002: 17.9
- Percentage increase in Peace Corps applications from 2001 to 2002: 40
- Percentage increase in CIA applications from 2001 to 2002: 50
- Number of songs Clear Channel Radio considered “inappropriate” to play after 9/11: 150
- Number of mentions of 9/11 at the Oscars: 26
- Apartments in lower Manhattan eligible for asbestos cleanup: 30,000
- Number of apartments whose residents have requested cleanup and testing: 4,110
- Number of Americans who changed their 2001 holiday-travel plans from plane to train or car: 1.4 million
- Estimated number of New Yorkers suffering from post-traumatic-stress disorder as a result of 9/11: 422,000
9/11/2001 was indelibly seared into the memories of Americans on that fateful day, regardless of the present-day wishes of a minority percentage of our population.
It was a another day, “which shall live in Infamy”.
It must not happen again…ever.
I hope and pray that Obama was not just blowing smoke last night, as he is wont to do. If decisive action is not taken against ISIS over there in the Middle East, they will be knocking on our door, very soon.
Last night, President Barack Hussein Obama talked the talk.
Today, he must walk the walk.
Until He Comes,