Vol. 7    No. 18

The Capital City Hues
(608) 241-2000

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The Capital City Hues
PO Box 259712
Madison, WI 53725
($45 a year)
Contact Number:
(608) 241-2000
Advertising: Claire G. Mendoza


Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Ike Anyanike, Paul
Barrows, Alfonso Zepeda
Capistran, Theola Carter, Fabu,
Andrew Gramling, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Eileen Cecille Hocker,
Heidi Pascual,  & Martinez White
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                       9/11 and Barack Obama
While this newspaper is dated September 6th, it is practically coming out on September 11th, the 11th
anniversary of the terrorist bombing of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the
Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and the crashing of United Airlines Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.

I remember Heidi Pascual calling me up at my home office that fateful Tuesday morning to tell me that the
World Trade Center was on fire and I should turn on my television. I was the editor of The Madison Times
back then and writing some stories. Then as we were on the phone watching Bryant Gumbel report on the
fire live, the second passenger plane hit and we realized this was no ordinary fire and a terrorist attack had

While Gumbel was hit emotionally by what he was reporting on, he did an excellent job of keeping us
informed as details began to trickle in. He kept reporting long after his Today Show co-host duties ended. It is
a moment in time that I will never forget on a par of remembering exactly where I was and what I was doing
when John F. Kennedy was assassinated back when I was in Sister Patrick’s class in 6th grade.

Almost 3,000 people lost their lives that day and certainly many more did as a result of health conditions they
developed as first responders or as people rescued from the ruins of the WTC. It was a horrid moment; a
moment that showed the United States was not immune from a foreign terrorist attack although it had been hit
by the domestic terrorist attack of Timothy McVeigh several years earlier in Oklahoma City. Both of these
were horrid acts of violence visited upon innocent people, which is usually the case whether it is a drive-by
shooting in Chicago or a car bomb in Baghdad.

While President George W. Bush sought vengeance against Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and their hosts in
Afghanistan, the Taliban — when those responsible for the airplane-bomb attacks were revealed and
actually took credit — by invading Afghanistan, he and his advisors decided to take advantage of the
situation by invading Iraq and deposing Saddam Hussein. While the United States initially had the support of
almost the entire world — and the acquiescence of Russia and China — it squandered that international
capital of goodwill by invading Iraq. We became mired in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has become
the longest war in U.S. history.

Almost 4,500 U.S. troops were killed in Iraq as well as hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Congressional
candidate Tammy Duckworth of Illinois lost both of her legs when the Blackhawk helicopter she was co-
piloting was shot down in Iraq. I hope she symbolizes the grit and determination of the tens of thousands of
Iraq war veterans who must move ahead with life in spite of their physical and emotional scars. Over 1,600
U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan along with countless Afghanis. The violence is still going on there — as
well as in Iraq — and will continue long after the U.S. ends its combat role there in 2014.

When he ran for U.S. President back in 2008, Barack Obama pledged to end the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan and bring Osama bin Laden to justice. He ended the active U.S. role in Iraq although a slow,
simmering civil war is still going on there. He is winding down the active military role in Afghanistan although
the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan won’t end in 2014. And a year ago April, Osama bin Laden was
hunted down in Pakistan and killed by Navy Seals upon the direct command by President Obama. For the
most part, although hardly perfectly, President Obama had kept his campaign promises.

At the Democratic National Convention this past week in Charlotte, North Carolina, this record was
continuously mentioned and the killing of Osama bin Laden became almost the prompt for a roar of approval
from the delegates and others who were assembled in the Time Warner Cable Arena. It might have been
Vice-President Joe Biden who said, “Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off four years later,” mimicking a
standard campaign question of whether or not you are better off after four years of President Barack Obama’
s administration.

Violence always begets violence and so, I wish that there had not been the almost rejoicing of the killing of
bin Laden. Perhaps it was necessary, but rubbing it in wasn’t except for political offense or defense.

But violence begets violence whether it happens in the form of some future terrorist attack, the continued
erosion of our human rights as we seek to protect ourselves against terrorist attacks, or the ruining of lives
in our urban and rural pockets of poverty as money for education and other programs that allow children and
adults to advance in life are inadequately funded so that we can maintain a global military presence.

I commend President Obama for keeping his campaign promises. But we will not be done with this sordid
mess and lost lives for perhaps generations to come. I mourn that as well as those who died on 9/11.
2012 Democratic National Convention
in Charlotte