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Have you forgotten? World Trade Center bombing, 17 years later

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By Michelle Malkin  •  February 26, 2010 02:44 PM

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Did you remember? It has now been 17 years since the first World Trade Center bombing. The jihadi truck bomb exploded at 12:18pm, Feb. 26, 1993:

Four of the six people killed in the attack worked for the World Trade Center’s owner, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Most of the victims were having lunch in their basement office, adjacent to the parking garage where terrorists parked their explosives-laden van.

Bob Kirkpatrick, 61, Steven Knapp, 47, and Bill Macko, 57, were mechanical supervisors for the transportation agency. Monica Rodriguez Smith was Macko’s secretary. All were killed in the bombing.

The fifth and sixth victims were Wilfred Mercado, 37, who worked for the Windows on the World restaurant atop the North Tower and was checking in food deliveries in the basement, and John DiGiovanni, 45, a dental salesman who was in the parking garage when the bomb exploded.

Another thousand people suffered injuries. It took 11 hours to evacuate some 50,000 people from the complex.

The blast from the homemade 1,500-pound urea-nitrate bomb blew a hole five stories deep and half-a-football field wide. The explosion badly damaged the tower’s inner support beams and caused $500 million in property damage. But the twin towers were repaired, cleaned, and reopened in less than a month.

Watch this. It’s a reminder of what it was like to take the famous elevator ride up the WTC to the “Top of the World.” I first rode the elevator on a visit to NYC when I was 8 years old. Still get goosebumps thinking about it:

Remembrance is worthless without resolve, as I’ve said before. We need both now more than ever.

Debra Burlingame, sister of Charles “Chic” Burlingame III, the pilot of the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 that the jihadis crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11 and board member of Keep America Safe, released the following statement on behalf of the organization to mark the 17th anniversary of the 1993 World Trade Center attack:

“On this day, 17 years ago, the World Trade Center was attacked when an Islamist cell ignited a 1,500 pound car bomb in the underground garage of the north tower. Six people and a seven- month-old unborn baby boy were killed and thousands were injured. The perpetrators were Ramzi Yousef and a handful of others, including Yousef’s uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who allegedly provided financing for the plot.

“Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy wrote about our counterterrorism posture at the time in his important book, Willful Blindness: ‘In 1993, the United States Department of Justice was not merely the point of America’s counterterrorist spear. It was the spear. Period. The enemy was at war. Jihadists made that exquisitely clear, in word as well as deed. Our response was to call not the Marines, but the prosecutors.’

“We now know how well that worked out. The 1996 Khobar Towers attack, 19 killed; the 1998 East Africa embassy bombings, 225 killed; the 2000 USS Cole attack, 17 killed; September 11, 2001, 2,973 killed.

“This is our cautionary tale. Al Qaeda’s eight years of preparations to return and hit the World Trade Center with even more deadly force showed that while our government was in denial, the enemy was sharpening its weapons. Al Qaeda adapted, changing from suicide car bombs to hijacked commercial airplanes used as missiles.

“9/11 changed everything. We learned that the keys to prevailing in this war are actionable intelligence and our ability to be as agile as our adversaries.

“The Obama administration says it wants to ‘use all our counterterrorism tools’ in its defense of the decision to mirandize the Christmas Day bomber and to try foreign enemy combatants in civilian courts. But in creating a stated preference for criminal prosecutions, the administration has returned us to the same reactive posture which led to the string of deadly attacks that could not be stopped by the federal prosecutions of the 1990s. Suspending the CIA detention and interrogation program, closing Guantanamo Bay, and giving Constitutional protections to foreign terrorists who are trained and sent by Al Qaeda to kill Americans puts us at a deadly disadvantage. Allowing terrorists to ‘lawyer up’ robs us of the opportunity to acquire real-time actionable intelligence which saves lives.

“Critics have observed that the Obama administration’s national security policy is returning us to a September 10th mindset. In fact, the situation is worse. On September 10th, we either did not know or did not appreciate the nature of the threat we face. We know now. Returning to a pre-9/11 mindset in view of that hard-earned knowledge is to establish denial as formal policy. The Obama Administration’s repeated invocation of our nation’s ‘values’ to justify this denial is an insult the memory of those who died on this day, and to the thousands who perished in the years that followed.”

Debra Burlingame
Board of Directors
Keep America Safe

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Lan astaslem: Arabic for “I will not submit/surrender”