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Friday, May 08, 2009

9/11 Victim Family Member About Obama: 'We'd been had'

If you read nothing else today, read the words of Debra Burlingame, a former attorney and a director of the National September 11 Memorial Foundation, is the sister of Charles F. "Chic" Burlingame III, the pilot of American Airlines flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

She describes a meeting between USS Cole and 9/11 victims' families and Barack Obama on Feb. 6, 2009, and concludes that while his words were pretty, they meant nothing and the families were lied to.

In February I was among a group of USS Cole and 9/11 victims' families who met with the president at the White House to discuss his policies regarding Guantanamo detainees. Although many of us strongly opposed Barack Obama's decision to close the detention center and suspend all military commissions, the families of the 17 sailors killed in the 2000 attack in Yemen were particularly outraged.

Over the years, the Cole families have seen justice abandoned by the Clinton administration and overshadowed by the need of the Bush administration to gather intelligence after 9/11. They have watched in frustration as the president of Yemen refused extradition for the Cole bombers.

Now, after more than eight years of waiting, Mr. Obama was stopping the trial of Abu Rahim al-Nashiri, the only individual to be held accountable for the bombing in a U.S. court. Patience finally gave out. The families were giving angry interviews, slamming the new president just days after he was sworn in.

She gives examples and laments Obama's use of "swift and certain justice" and says "Given all the developments since our meeting with the president, it is now evident that his words to us bore no relation to his intended actions on national security policy and detainee issues."

From the last lines of her column, it is clear that not everyone was "had" though:

I asked Cmdr. Kirk Lippold why some of the Cole families declined the invitation to meet with Barack Obama at the White House.

"They saw it for what it was."

The whole piece is a must read... every word, from someone who deserves justice and will never see it, despite the promises Barack Obama gave her.