WHERE'S THE COMPASSION? After watching the second anniversary tribute to the victims of 9/11, we finally have a demonstration of “compassionate conservatism” in action. As the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and friends read the list of those lost on that horrible day, the impact was overwhelming. Bells, tears, and prayers brought back all the emotions, pity, and sympathy we share for the victims and their families. And our “compassionate conservative” President was too tired from fundraising to be in attendance at Ground Zero. Even after two years, commemoration requires courage. It also requires humility and honesty. But more than anything, it requires compassion. When the memorial was over, many of the relatives, especially the widows, appeared on television networks. Their comments and questions gave clues to their growing frustration with and suspicion of the President and his administration. Widow Lorie van Auken, when reflecting on that tragic day, said, “I couldn’t stop watching the president sitting there, listening to second-graders, while my husband was burning in a building.” No explanation has ever been given to families as to why Bush continued reading a story to Florida elementary students for nearly a half-hour during the worst attack in America’s history. Where is the courage and humility to provide the families an answer? Where is the honesty? Where is the compassion? Lots of other answers are needed in order to understand what happened to our country on that fateful day, only nine months after Junior Bush came to power. Why did John Ashcroft and Pentagon officials cancel their personal commerical airline flights the day before the attacks? Now that the FBI has changed its story, what really happened when Flight 93 crashed in western Pennsylvania? Where are the “indestructible” black boxes from the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center? Where were the jet fighters that were supposed to protect the air space that morning? Who mailed anthrax that killed five Americans? Why are 28 pages in the Congressional September 11 report blacked out? Where is Osama bin Laden? Why was his family whisked out of the country when it took government approval for anyone to fly? Why did this administration so quickly link Saddam Hussein to the attacks? Why has the White House fought against a comprehensive Congressional investigation? Where are the answers? Where is the compassion? Although Bush attended several fundraisers in several states in days just prior to the tribute, he curiously was unable to make the forty five minute plane ride to New York. Instead, he chose to attend a service at a church across the street from the White House. In his brief television interview, he piously quoted the Bible while speaking of the nation’s remembrance of “a sad and terrible day.” It seems odd that a man who has so cavalierly and repetitiously alluded to his deep and abiding religious faith, would fail to show up to speak, hug, weep, and comfort the families of 9/11 - especially when it happened on his watch. Does the passing of only two years now mean we can only expect sanctimonious lipservice from this President? After all, this is the worst act of terror to ever happen on American soil. We hear a lot of talk from Bush about winning at war. As a matter of fact, the word “war” seems to be his favorite word. When it comes to answering the questions of the victims of war, there are no answers. Where is the compassion? The 9/11 families, as well as the rest of the nation, are owed answers by George W. Bush. Those answers should provide information with honesty and humility. Unfortunately, Junior Bush has acted with cowardice and callousness, not compassion.


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