Where is Osama bin Laden? It is now eight years since the attacks on NYC and Washington, DC and Osama bin Laden is still a free man. And as long as he is free he is probably plotting against America. His next in command in the Al Qaeda terrorist group, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is also still free and believed to still be working with Osama bin Laden.
As the fall arrives and the new school year starts, it is easy, as it is every September, to remember the clear, crisp day of September 11, 2001. The sky was a bright blue, the sun was strong, and it was a glorious day. Americans on the East Coast were at work already at the time of the attacks and could not imagine how their lives would feel changed by the time they left work that day.
On that morning I was working as a teacher. A friend stopped by my classroom door as he walked down the hall and told me planes had hit the WTC. On a break after that class I was in the staff room when a new teaching friend announced to me that her 20-something son worked in the WTC. We talked about how she had not been able to reach him by phone and how worried she was about him. When another teacher ran in the staff room and said one of the WTC towers had collapsed she began to cry and fell to the floor of the staff room. I had to run down the hall to the Office to get the principal.
When he gave her permission to leave I walked her out to the door praying all the way that her son would contact her to say he was alive. Luckily much later that day he did. Six people in my town were not that lucky. They died in the attacks. Some were at work in the WTC and one couple was on one of the planes.
That morning the school did not allow us to put the news on. Thus most students were unaware of the events transpiring in NYC. Later, after lunch, I decided to tell my grade 12 class. I was too upset to teach and was fighting back tears worrying about my friend’s son. When I made the announcement about the attacks, it was clear no one had yet known of the attacks. They asked a lot of questions. Some of them asked to go use the phone in Guidance to check on relatives that worked in NYC.
Now, eight years later, it still feels unbelievable that NYC and DC were attacked. What feels even more surreal is that Osama bin Laden has not yet been captured. This man who is a disgrace to Islam and humanity, a cold blooded murderer of 3,000 Americans, is still free and probably living in the lawless border region of Pakistan near Afghanistan.
The London Times states that “Art Keller (a former CIA agent) believes bin Laden moves from village to village in Waziristan (Pakistan). …Bin Laden arrives in each village with a small group of bodyguards, when he will sit and talk to the local tribe leader….Bin Laden is then the guest of the village, where under Pashtun custom, he must be protected.”
The Pashtun culture believes that a home owner must “lay down his life for anyone visiting his home” according to Details. Also, “The slightest suggestion that you might be a spy for the American, Pakistani, or Afghan government is enough to get you killed.”
Osama bin Laden plotted to kill thousands of Americans and has declared war against Americans, whom he refers to as infidels. The NewRepublic reports that “Al Qaeda has always had a fundamentally apocalyptic mindset.”
Osama Bin Laden and his minion, Ayman Al Zawahiri have taunted America since 2001 with videotapes and audiotapes with threats against America and other countries. The most recent audiotape by Osama bin Laden was released prior to President Obama’s speech to the world from Cairo, Egypt. MSNBC states in the tape Osama threatened America by saying our new president has “planted seeds for hatred and revenge against America” and warned our country to “prepare to continue to reap what has been planted.”
The Iraq war has inflamed hatred against America to an ever higher degree. The terrorist training camps are believed to still be in full swing. Ever more terrorist groups have formed to join the mission of hatred to America.
And yet life goes on. America has learned much about heroism by watching how those directly impacted by the attacks on 9/11 have managed to continue successful lives and also help others too.
Howard Lutnick, CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, is one example of a man who lost a brother on September 11th. Also, 658 employees of his company Cantor Fitzgerald were murdered in the attacks. Mr. Lutnick had not yet arrived at work that day; he was dropping his son off to first day at kindergarten.
MSNBC states that all employees who were at work at Cantor Fitzgerald on 9/11 were killed in the attacks. Within weeks of the attacks, Howard Lutnick informed the families of employees lost in the attacks that he would “share 25 percent of profits with families for the next five years plus ten years of health insurance” according to MSNBC.
Howard Lutnick and Cantor Fitzgerald did hold true to this promise; more than $180 million dollars has been provided to the families of murdered Cantor Fitzgerald employees. Cantor Fitzgerald continues to be a very successful company.
Howard Lutnick lost his Mother in his last year of high school and his father in his first year of college. Then on 9/11 he lost his younger brother, Gary, in the attacks. He has faced many challenges in life. He is now an American hero; his actions since 9/11 show the courage and strength he had despite his own loss of his brother and the catastrophic damage caused to the company in the attacks.
And now, as the years pass, the many Americans who lost a beloved spouse, family member, or friend in the attacks of September 11th are still waiting for justice. They are still waiting for the capture of Osama bin Laden.
America will never have closure until Osama bin Laden is captured. The government of Pakistan and of America must step up the efforts to capture bin Laden. As long as he is free the odds are he is still plotting to murder ever more Americans.
Let’s hope the American government is now doing enough to protect the populace from terrorist attack. I still feel it is shameful the Bush administration ignored warnings that al Qaeda was perhaps plotting attacks using airplanes. I also feel the public should have been warned of possible hijackings. I flew to California on vacation that summer, out of Newark airport, where one of the hijacked planes took off. It is an eerie feeling to know that just two months after I flew home on July 11th feeling blissful joy after a wonderful trip, that the world would forever change on the morning of September 11th. Reports have noted that the hijackers took many practice flights that summer; I wonder if any of them were on the plane west with me.
Sources / Reading List:
London Times: article about CIA agents in Pakistan searching for Osama bin Laden
(Center on Law and Security of New York University: Peter Bergin Article from the New Republic about Osama bin Laden’s ability to evade capture)
(article about he CIA in Pakistan on hunt for Osama bin Laden)
(Article about Howard Lutnick, CEO Cantor Fitzgerald)
(article about Howard Lutnick)
(Article about Osama bin Laden)