Sunday, November 23, 2014

GUZZARDI: Politically correct 9/11 museum ignores truth

By JOE GUZZARDI, Cagle Cartoons Syndicated Columnist | 5/21/2014

The National September 11 Memorial and Museum, recently dedicated by President Obama, has been fraught with controversy from the beginning.

As one cultural historian summed it up, the museum has too many stakeholders trying to achieve too many irreconcilable goals. Among the cross purposes are the victims’ families’ resistance to the memorial, the presence of the Ground Zero Cross, and Imams who object to what they perceive as the memorial’s unfair portrait of Islam. Also legitimately questioned is the inappropriateness of storing unidentified victim remains in the museum, charging $24 admission and selling souvenir T-shirts.

The National September 11 Memorial and Museum, recently dedicated by President Obama, has been fraught with controversy from the beginning.

As one cultural historian summed it up, the museum has too many stakeholders trying to achieve too many irreconcilable goals. Among the cross purposes are the victims’ families’ resistance to the memorial, the presence of the Ground Zero Cross, and Imams who object to what they perceive as the memorial’s unfair portrait of Islam. Also legitimately questioned is the inappropriateness of storing unidentified victim remains in the museum, charging $24 admission and selling souvenir T-shirts.

In his 9/11 museum speech, Obama called the site a place of healing and hope where Americans can come together to remember those who died as well as pay tribute to heroes who saved others. Then-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said the museum will be a place where future generations can visit to learn from the tragedy and use their newfound knowledge to become more aware. But none at the dedication ceremony said anything about how the tragedy happened and why subsequent terrorist attacks like the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings are inevitable.

The 9/11 terrorists abused a ridiculously lax immigration system to stay in the U.S. after their visas had expired or gained citizenship when they should have been denied. Between 1990 and 2001, foreign-born Islamic militants used almost every available immigration avenue to enter the country, according to research from the Center for Immigration Studies. They arrived as students, tourists, and business visitors. Some were Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and eventually became naturalized U.S. citizens. Others snuck across the border illegally, arrived as stowaways on ships, used false passports, or were granted political asylum.

From 1993 through 2001 and including the 9/11 hijackers, 48 foreign-born Islamics have been convicted of, charged with, admitted to or pled guilty to terrorism within the U.S. The sad truth, ignored at the museum, is that 9/11 could have been avoided and 3,000 lives saved if immigration laws had been strictly enforced.

Because terrorists exploited weak enforcement of already-too-permissive immigration laws, today the departments of Homeland Security and State must tighten security at the border, internally and scrutinize visa applications with a goal of issuing fewer of them, especially to foreign nationals from terrorist-sympathetic countries.

Despite the pious dedication ceremony, the federal government has shown little interest in protecting Americans from future terrorism. More than a decade after an entry/exit system was developed that would track how many of the 150 million U.S. visitors leave, Congress has done nothing. About 40 percent or 4.8 million of 12 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. have overstayed their visas. Those nearly 5 million could and probably do include hundreds if not thousands of terrorists.

The official 911 memorial website makes much of its determination to help young Americans understand the disaster. The website devotes a special section to a politically correct and nonsensical study guide to explore what it calls key 911 themes and issues. Sample topics include “Airport Security versus Civil Liberties” and “Days of Infamy: September 11 and December 7.”

But a chapter on how the terrorists entered and remained in the U.S. illegally isn’t included. In today’s America, criticism of federal immigration policy even in defense of saving lives is taboo.

Joe Guzzardi is a Cagle Cartoons syndicated columnist. Email him at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org

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