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The 9/11 Commission versus Heroes

Sometimes, I believe that the 9/11 Commission is undertaking a massive CYA maneuver. I think that they are afraid that the real answer to what happened will lie in the underfunding of the FBI and the disconnect between the FBI and the CIA. For some of them, this happened on their watch in the House and Senate.

There are some on the 9/11 Commission asking the right questions:

    1. What did we do right?
    2. What did we do wrong?
    3. What can we do better?
    4. How can we help fix the problems?

But then there's people like John Lehman who surprise me when they go off on a tirade on the Chief of the New York Fire Department.

JOHN LEHMAN: I think that the command and control and communications of this city's public service is a scandal. (Applause)

SPOKESMAN: I would ask the audience, this is taking time away from the hearing, so please do not.

JOHN LEHMAN: It's not worthy of the boy scouts let alone this great city.

BERNARD B KERIK: The authority that the police commissioner has is very different than the fire commissioner, and I'll let Tommy talk about. That but that has a lot to do with the laws of New York City and the negotiations of unions and other things.

THOMAS VON ESSEN, Former Commissioner, Fire Department of New York: I couldn't disagree with you more. I think that one of the criticisms of this committee has been statements like you just made, talking about scandalous, procedures and scandalous operations and rules and everything else. There's nothing scandalous about the way New York City handles emergencies. You make it sound like everything was wrong about Sept. 11, or the way we function, I think it's outrageous that you make a statement like that. We operate, we had thousands of fires, thousands of fires, thousands of fires were operations worked, where we work together -- hundreds of collapses and operations where we work together with the police department. Yes, were there isolated incidents where a police officer an aggressive emergency service guy and an aggressive guy from our rescues is trying to take control of an incident, yes, and we worked awful those out.

It's important to note that First Responders need to be aggressive. They need to be go-getters; otherwise, no one would get saved.

Giuliani Says Firefighters Heard Order to Get Out, but Chose to Stand Their Ground

In the epic accounts of Sept. 11 provided over the last two days by former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and his aides, the Police and Fire Departments bravely worked together, and no catastrophic failure to communicate doomed scores of firefighters inside the World Trade Center.

Instead, Mr. Giuliani testified, those firefighters heard an evacuation order, but still did not leave the building. They were "standing their ground" to make sure civilians got out, he said...

While we are remembering heroes who stood their ground, there is this man - Rick Rescorla (if you relatively new to Blackfive or MilBlogs - this is one of the best posts about heroes anywhere). Rick Rescorla is someone that my son will learn about when he's old enough to understand what makes a real American. And please sign the petition while you're there.

John Lehman and Richard Ben-Veniste ought to do their jobs and find what needs fixing instead of damning their betters. You don't have to be elevated too high on those benches of yours to be above politics.