Update, 9/14/2007: Audio added.
Michael Graham writes today in the Boston Herald:
In his 9/11 commemoration speech, Patrick observed that while the attack on the World Trade Center was “mean and nasty,” (that’s telling ’em, Deval!) the real tragedy of six years ago was the “failure of human understanding.” Yes, 9/11 was, Patrick said “a failure of human beings to understand each other, to learn to love each other.” [Emphasis added.]
To find out what the victims of 9/11 didn’t understand about the terrorists that might have prevented the attack, I turned to Debra Burlingame. Her brother, Chic, was the pilot of American Airlines [AMR] Flight 77 — the plane that hit the Pentagon.
When I first read Debra the governor’s remarks over the phone, her reaction was astonished silence. “Can you read that again please?”
I did. More silence.
Editor: Click on the speaker icon:
“Did he have the audacity to say that in front of grieving 9/11 family members?” she asked, somewhat astonished.
“Well, I’m glad I didn’t have to listen to that on 9/11,” she said in a measured tone, trying unsuccessfully to conceal her anger. “I would have found it extremely insulting to the memory of my brother.”
“Did he really say ‘mean and nasty?’ ” she wanted to know. “At Ground Zero, they’ve recovered 21,000 body parts and still counting. That’s not mean and nasty, that’s an atrocity.”
Debra wasn’t happy with the governor’s suggestion that 9/11 was born of the failure of mutual understanding between the victims and their killers, but she understood it. She called is a form of moral vanity.
“It appeals to one’s sense of vanity to think we’re better than these people because we’re nicer than they are. Liberals like this think ‘I’m not judgmental, so that makes me superior,’ ” Debra said.
This self-gratifying “we’re all responsible for 9/11” preening isn’t just dumb, however. It’s also dangerous. “If your governor thinks we can love-bomb al-Qaeda into submission, he’s living in a dream world.”
Perhaps that’s Patrick’s problem. Maybe he’s living in another world, an imaginary liberal land were every Muslim radical is just one hug away from Methodism, and every criminal can be rehabilitated by a proper diet and midnight basketball.
The rest of us, alas, are trapped in the real world. And in this world, “9/11 is the price we paid for not truly understanding the enemy,” Debra told me. “It was the moral vanity of our politicians that told them the Islamists could be dealt with through diplomacy, or negotiated with.