You may remember Debra Burlingame, who spoke at the Republican convention along with 2 other women who lost loved ones on 9-11. Burlingame lost her brother, Chic, who was the pilot of American Airlines flight 77, which was crashed at the Pentagon on 9-11. Burlingame is also a lifelong Democrat. This is the second known piece I’ve seen that she’s written for the Wall Street Journal (her first one was a piece criticizing the anti-Bush 9-11 wives – she takes a few shots at them in this piece as well) and I think her words speak volumes for many post 9-11 Democrats. I have one Democrat friend and one Democrat relative both of whom despised the President prior to 9-11 but have since come to respect him a great deal. Here’s some of what Ms Burlingame had to say:
As one of 150 9/11 family members who have signed an open letter strongly supporting the president’s decision to prosecute the war on terror in Iraq, I would remind Americans who think the presence of weapons of mass destruction are the sine qua non for any pre-emptive war that the 19 terrorists who slaughtered 3,000 innocent men, women and children in a matter of minutes were sponsored by the Taliban, a backward regime that had neither WMD nor the technology to produce them. Saddam may not have had a hand in the plot that killed our loved ones, but American troops found ample evidence that he wishes he had, including the murals he commissioned for public display depicting airplanes exploding into the World Trade Center towers, but with this added conceit: One shows the planes painted in the colors of Iraqi airlines while Saddam’s grinning portrait looms in the foreground in yet another.
For many 9/11 family members, the most compelling reason for putting an end to Saddam’s dangerous regime can be found in the 9/11 Commission’s pointed analysis on the subject of “imminent threats.” As we forced ourselves to read through the voluminous material which explains in excruciating detail the disparate threads of the 9/11 plot, we were constantly mindful of the seemingly innocuous events which would ultimately prove critical to the cruel and brutal deaths of our loved ones. We understand the commission’s dire warning and wish that our fellow Americans would listen closely: “Once the danger has fully materialized, evident to all, mobilizing action is easier–but it then may be too late.”
Rather than waiting until it was too late to prevent a fully materialized threat, President Bush acted. We believe history will support his courageous decision. We believe the president has demonstrated strength, consistency and a laser-like focus, sending a clear message to America’s friends and foes that he will not waver in his resolve as the winds of political fortune change.
My hat is off to Ms. Burlingame. Her strength through these trying times and the courage that she has shown in going against what’s percieved to be popular opinion – that most 9-11 families support Kerry – should be commended.