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Three years later , , ,
« on: September 09, 2004, 09:57:09 PM »
A Howl of Respect to All:

 It is natural to use anniversaries for taking stock of things and we approach the third anniversary of Flight 93.

  Those of you who read the WW3 thread know that from time to time I post things from   It is not cheap, but I recommend it highly.  What follows is one of their ongoing "freebies" that they use to show the level that they are at.

In my humble opinion, this is a superb analysis that all of us of all tendencies will find well worth the read.

Crafty Dog



September 11: Three Years Later
September 9, 2004

By George Friedman

The U.S.-jihadist war is now nearly three years old. Like most
wars, its course has been an unfolding surprise. It is a war of
many parts -- some familiar, some unprecedented. Like all wars,
it has been filled with heroism, cowardice, lies, confusion and
grief. As usual, it appears to everyone that the levels of each
of these have been unprecedented. In truth, however, very little
about this war is unprecedented -- save that all wars are, by
definition, unprecedented. Only one thing is certain about this
war: Like all others, it will end. The issue on the table on the
third anniversary is: What is the current state of this war, and
how will it end?

The war was begun by al Qaeda, and therefore its state must be
viewed through al Qaeda's eyes. From that standpoint, the war is
not going well at all. Al Qaeda did not attack the United States
on Sept. 11 simply to kill Americans. Al Qaeda wanted to kill
Americans in order to achieve a political goal: the recreation of
at least part of the caliphate, an empire ruled by Islamic law
and feared and respected by the rest of the world.

Al Qaeda's view was that the real obstacles to such a caliphate
were the governments of Muslim countries. These governments
either were apostates, were corrupt or were so complicit with
Christian, Jewish or Hindu regimes that not only did they not
represent Islamic interests, but they had sold out the immediate
interests of their own people.

From al Qaeda's point of view, the power of these regimes resided
in their relationship with foreign powers. Moreover, the
perception of these foreign powers -- particularly the United
States, which had become the latest edition of Christianity's
leading foreign power -- was that they were irresistible. Muslim
countries had not defeated a Christian power in war for
centuries. Hatred ran deep, but so did impotence. Al Qaeda was
far less interested in increasing hatred of the United States
than in showing that the United States was vulnerable -- that it
could be defeated. Al Qaeda argued that the mujahideen had
demonstrated this in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, and
the Soviet Union collapsed as a result. If al Qaeda could
demonstrate America's vulnerability, a sense of confidence would
infuse the Islamic world and regimes would fall or change their

The Sept. 11 attacks were designed to demonstrate the
vulnerability of the United States. They also were designed to
entice the United States to wage multiple wars in the Islamic
world while pursuing al Qaeda directly and indirectly, further
opening the United States up to attack and attrition. Al Qaeda
did demonstrate American vulnerability, and the United States did
surge into the Muslim world. It did encounter resistance and took

But al Qaeda completely failed to achieve its strategic goals.
There was no rising in the Islamic street. Not a single Muslim
regime fell. Not a single regime moved closer to al Qaeda's
position. Almost all Muslim regimes moved to closer cooperation
with the United States. Viewed through the lens of al Qaeda's
hopes and goals, therefore, the war so far has been a tremendous
failure. In various tapes and releases, al Qaeda officials --
including Osama bin Laden -- have expressed their frustration and
their commitment to continue the struggle. However, it is
essential to realize that from al Qaeda's strategic point of
view, the last three years have been a series of failures and

This is the objective reality. It is not the American perception.
The first reason for this perception gap is the definition the
administration has given the war: It is a war on terrorism. If
the goal of the war has been to deny al Qaeda strategic victory,
then the United States is winning the war. If, on the other hand,
the goal of the war is to protect the homeland against any
further attacks by al Qaeda or other groups, then that goal has
not been achieved.

Al Qaeda's primary operational capability is its ability to evade
U.S. intelligence capabilities. This is not a trivial capability.
Three years into the war, the precise shape and distribution of
al Qaeda and related organizations are still not transparent to
U.S. intelligence. However much more the United States knows
about al Qaeda, it does not appear that its abilities are
sufficient to guarantee the security of the United States or
allied countries against enemy attacks. There are too many
potential targets, and al Qaeda remains too invisible to
guarantee that.

Therefore, on a purely operational level, the United States does
not see itself as winning the war. During World War II, for
example -- by 1943 or even earlier -- the United States was
secure from German or Japanese attacks against the homeland. That
is not the case in this war. Therefore, there is an interesting
paradox built in. On the strategic side, al Qaeda is losing --
and thus the United States is winning -- the strategic war, and
this, of course, is the decisive sphere. On the operational side,
even though there has thus far been no repeat of the Sept. 11
attacks in the United States, the war is at a stalemate. Public
perception is more sensitive to the operational stalemate than to
the strategic success.

This has led to a crisis of confidence about the war that has
been compounded by a single campaign -- Iraq -- which has dwarfed
the general war in apparent importance. As readers of Stratfor
know, our view of the Iraq campaign has been that it was the
logical next step in the general war and that the Bush
administration knew that by February 2002, when it became
apparent that U.S. intelligence could not strike globally to
destroy al Qaeda. It has also been our view that the Iraq
campaign was marred by extremely poor intelligence and planning.
We have also argued that such failures are not only common in war
but inevitable, and that these failures, however egregious, were
to be expected.

We have also argued, and continue to be amazed, that the single
greatest failure of the Bush administration in this war has been
its inability to give a coherent explanation of why it invaded
Iraq. The public justification -- that Iraq had weapons of mass
destruction -- was patently absurd on its face. You do not invade
a country with a year's warning if you are really afraid of WMD.
The incoherence of the justification was self-evident prior to
the war, and the failure to find WMD was merely icing on the
cake. The consequence was a crisis of confidence that was a very
unlikely outcome after Sept. 11 and which the administration
built for itself. In other words, the decision to invade Iraq
was, from our point of view, inevitable following the failure of
the covert war. What was not inevitable was the catastrophic
failure to explain the invasion and the resulting crisis of

The clearest explanation for this failure has to do with Saudi
Arabia and the U.S. relation to the kingdom -- a relationship
that goes far beyond the Bush family or either political party.
Saudi Arabia was one of the reasons for the invasion. The U.S.
intent was to frighten the Saudis into policy change,
demonstrating (a) that the Saudis were now surrounded by U.S.
troops and (b) that the United States was no longer influenced by
the Saudis. The goal was to force the Saudis to change their
behavior toward financing al Qaeda. Stating this goal publicly
would have destabilized the Saudi regime, however, and the United
States wanted policy change, not regime change. Therefore,
Washington preferred to appear the fool rather than destabilize
Saudi Arabia.

If this is the explanation -- and we emphatically do believe,
from all analysis and sources, that the administration did have a
much more sophisticated strategy in place on Iraq than it has
ever been able to enunciate -- then it was one with severe costs.
Apart from the specific failures in the war, the generation of a
massive crisis of confidence in the United States over the Iraq
campaign has become a strategic reality of the wider war. To the
extent that this is a war of perception -- and on some level, all
wars are -- the perception that the United States is deeply
divided is damaging. The actual debate is over the Iraq campaign
and not the war as a whole, but this has increasingly been lost
in the clamor. There is much more consensus on the war as a whole
than might appear.

Therefore, we can say that al Qaeda has failed to achieve its
strategic goals. At the same time, the United States is facing
its own strategic crisis. Since Vietnam, the fundamental question
has been whether the United States has sufficient will and
national unity to execute a long-term war. One of the purposes of
the Iraq invasion was to demonstrate American will. The errors in
what we might call information warfare -- or propaganda -- by the
Bush administration have generated severe doubts. The
administration's management of the situation has turned into a
strategic defeat -- although not a decisive one as yet.

Massive dissent about wars has been the norm in American history.
We tend to think of World War II as the norm, but, quite the
contrary, it was the exception. The Revolutionary War, Mexican
War, Civil War, Vietnam War and others all contained amazing
levels of rancor among the American public. The vilification
among the citizenry of Washington's generalship or Lincoln's
presidency during the action was quite amazing. Thus, it is not
the dissent that is startling, but the perception of U.S.
weakness that it generates in the Islamic world. And the
responsibility does not rest with the dissidents, but with the
president's failure to understand the strategic consequences of
public incoherence on policy issues. Keeping it simple works only
when the simple explanation is not too difficult to understand.

Let us therefore consider the salient points:

Al Qaeda has failed to reach its strategic goals.

The United States has not secured the homeland against attack.

There has been a major realignment in the Muslim world's
governments, due to U.S. politico-military operations that have
favored the United States.

There has been no mass uprising in the Islamic world as a result
of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Iraq campaign has involved massive failures, but the casualty
rate remains less than 2 percent of the total killed in Vietnam.
That places the problem in perspective. In addition, the
political situation is increasingly manageable in Iraq.

The strategic management of information operations has been the
major U.S. failure. It is serious enough to threaten the
strategic thrust of the war against al Qaeda. The inability to
provide a coherent explanation for Iraq has substantially harmed
the war effort.

At the same time, this should not be overestimated. It is
interesting to note the problem that John Kerry is having in
articulating his own challenge to the president over Iraq and the
war in general. He has three potential strategies:

Reject the war in general

Reject the Iraq campaign but embrace the rest of the war

Accept Iraq and the war and argue that he would be more competent
in executing both

Kerry vacillates between the last two positions for a reason. If
he takes the first position, he risks alienating the center,
where voters are uncomfortable with any anti-war position but
want superior leadership and execution. If he accepts the third
position, he can take the center but risks the possibility that
hard-core anti-war leftists will stay home on Election Day.
Therefore, he is avoiding a strategic decision between the last
two positions -- shifting tactically between the two, hoping to
bridge the gap. This is a difficult plan, but it seems the only
one open to him. It is also the factor that will limit the extent
of strategic damage stemming from Bush's presentation of the Iraq
campaign. Kerry won't be able to effectively exploit that damage
because of his own political problems.

Therefore, at this moment, we would argue that the war, on the
whole, is being won by the United States or, more precisely, is
being lost by al Qaeda. The purely military aspects of the war
are going better for the United States than is the politico-
military effort, primarily due to the complexity of coercing
allies without causing them public humiliation. But that is also
the weak point of the U.S. campaign and the point at which al
Qaeda will try to counterattack. That covert coercion could, al
Qaeda hopes, energize a political movement it is trying to

The war is far from over. The snapshot of the moment does not
tell us what either side may do in the future. The United States
clearly intends to move into Pakistan to find bin Laden's command
center. Al Qaeda clearly intends to destabilize Saudi Arabia and
any other target of opportunity that might open up -- Pakistan or
Egypt. And in the end, as in all wars, there will be a
negotiation. It is impossible to really envision what that
negotiation would look like or who the parties would actually be,
but -- returning to the point that this war, like all others,
will end -- complete victory by either side is the least likely

Whatever the outcome, this much must be understood. On Nov. 8,
the United States will have a president who will never again
stand for re-election. He may have the office for four more years
or for only two more months. In either case, we can expect that
an attempt at decisive action will occur. Win or lose, Bush will
be looking for his place in history. A Bush acting without
political constraints will be the wild card in the next phase of
the war.

(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.


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Three years later , , ,
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2004, 10:18:06 PM »
September 10, 2004, 7:00 a.m.
The Whole World Is Watching
Three years of terrorism since September 11.

Chechen Islamicists burn up Russian airliners and shoot schoolgirls ? and say they are victims, deprived of the chance for their own autonomous theocracy. Beheaders in Iraq decapitate Americans, Pakistanis, Koreans, Japanese, and Nepalese ? only to claim that these are infidels guilty of trying to build roads and bridges. Italian humanitarians and charity workers are kidnapped by Islamicists. In the "holy" city of Najaf, religious extremists bomb innocents, not only without gratitude for those who freed them from Saddam, but full of hatred for those who would bring them consensual government.

Islamic terrorists kidnap French journalists and threaten them with execution, demanding that a sovereign nation previously known for its appeasement of radical Middle Eastern rogue regimes overturn a law protecting secular life in its schools. Hamas "freedom fighters" blow up buses inside Israel and call the dead children Zionists who belong in the sea.

Islamic fascists incinerate dozens in Madrid, and claim they have a right to do so because of the Spanish role in ridding the world of the Hussein clan ? or was the real rub the Reconquista? Australians in Bali are engulfed in flame by car bombers for the felony of being Western visitors in an Islamic enclave.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, as in the major capitals of Europe, Islamic terrorists are arrested periodically, seeking to trump the foul work of September 11. Theocrats blew apart General Massoud in Afghanistan, attempted to kill President Musharraf of Pakistan, and now claim that they plan to do the same to our own leaders here in the United States. A few thousand Islamic males made an entire nation take off their shoes at their airports and changed forever the daily routine of 300 million Americans ? and promise they are not done yet.

Ask yourself: What do a Russian ten-year-old, a poor black farmer in Darfur, an elderly pensioner in Israel, a stockbroker in New York, and a U.N. aid worker in Afghanistan have in common? In the last three years, they have all died in similar ways: Unarmed and civilian, they were murdered by a common cowardly method fueled by a fascist ideology.

The recent slaughters in Russia were the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back of excusing or explaining away radical Islamic terror. If the Estonians can break away from post-Soviet oppression and free themselves from Russian authoritarianism without slaughtering schoolchildren and blowing up airplanes, then the Chechens can as well ?but only if they wish to create democracy rather than an Islamic fascist state.

But there is something else going on here besides the cloak of so-called Chechen nationalism. The perversion not of religion per se, but of Islam; the singular method of suicide bombing rarely found elsewhere; the frequent resort to the unique grotesquery of beheading; the now-common display of abject incompetence on the battlefield coupled with craven slaughter of the noncombatant and civilian aid worker. At some point, the leaders of the Western world (if there are any left besides George W. Bush and Tony Blair) are going to look at all this madness worldwide and come to the bitter conclusion that there is a disgusting pattern: Not every Muslim is a fascist terrorist, but almost every fascist terrorist is a Muslim. Killers are not screaming "Hail Mary" when they machine gun children in the back, slit the throat of airline stewardesses, or blow pregnant women up on buses across the globe. And they are not the subjects of condemnatory fatwas in Iran or Saudi Arabia.

Their grievance is not really Russian imperialism, or the 5 to 10 percent of the West Bank under dispute, or black African encroachment on Arab land, or purported French insensitivity to legitimate Islamic pride, much less an American "crusade" to harm Muslims.

All these issues and the hundreds of others ? from the right to build a reactor in Iran to the desire for a semi-autonomous Chechnya ? in theory could be discussed, argued about, and adjudicated through democratic dialogue.

But that is impossible. For you see, the real problem is the democratic dialogue itself ? unknown in the Arab Middle East and much of the Islamic world, and a hindrance to both sharia and the pan-Arabist thug with epaulettes and sunglasses. Yet consensual government alone is the key to ending failed statist economies, gender apartheid, religious intolerance, state-controlled media, and tribalism. It alone might stop the self-induced misery and with it the tedious scapegoating of "the Jews and America."

Much of the Islamic Middle East continues to blame others for its own induced catastrophe, apparently unaware ? thanks to the lever of oil it didn't discover, doesn't know how to develop, and uses to intensify rather than alleviate its poverty ? that its entire culture is becoming an international pariah. Islamic young men on European flights are looked at with distrust; they are not welcome in Russia. China wants none of them. They are wary of visiting India. Australia learned from Bali. The whole world is watching ? in disgust.

In short, the suicide bomber, the improvised explosive device, the car bomb, the televised beheading, the wacko fatwa, the sleazy propaganda streamer on the Internet, the new cult of death ? all cowardly and lethal phenomena ? these are now the innovations that the world associates with the Middle East in lieu of gene research, car production, or computer breakthroughs. If you look for gender equity in the Middle East, you won't find it in Arab Olympic delegations, Saudi schools, or the Iranian government, but in the opportunity for young women to blow themselves up right beside men. Indeed, killing infidels is the nascent women's-liberation movement of the radical Muslim world.

It won't do to fault a few bad apples ? as if when Ziad Jarrah in his red bandanna yelled out "Allah is the greatest" as he crashed United Flight 93 on September 11, he did so alone, to the horror and disgust of the Arab Street, and without a shared ideology.

Yet if we look for change from within, the Arab League offers instead the tired victimization from colonialism of some 50 years past or retro European-Zionist conspiracies of the 1940s. It remains mostly silent about past American efforts to free Kuwait, save Bosnians and Kosovars, topple murderers such as Saddam and the Taliban ? and is completely mute about the ongoing Arab genocide of black Africans in Darfur.

The last three decades have taught Americans that extending aid or help to the Islamic world is almost as bad as warring with it, inasmuch as the Middle East apparently admires strength of any sort but despises magnanimity as decadence. Here at home there will always be a retired Clintonian diplomat or Council on Foreign Relations grandee to assure us that "the Bush foreign policy" is what stirred up the previously sober Middle East or alienated those once courageous French and Germans ? as if the last decade did not lead logically to September 11.

But there is a problem here that makes our struggle more than just a war against the "terror" of newfound stealthy cells. Libya came clean not out of principle but out of fear. Saudi Arabia is not quite the Saudi Arabia of September 11, thanks to American pressure. There is a reason Dr. Khan was exposed and Pakistan is suddenly doing more to harm than help al Qaeda. The cause of all of this ongoing change is not fear of a windsurfing John Kerry as the next president threatening a more "sensitive" war.

True, this war can be lost if we fail to address the hearts and minds of the Arab people ? if we fail to offer something better than the false choice between jihad and autocracy. Chechnya of the 1990s proves that perhaps. But it cannot be won by aid and diplomacy alone ? any more than the Kaiser, Mussolini, Hitler, Tojo, and Stalin and his successors could be talked or bought out of their extremism.

The U.S. military ? not NATO, the U.N., or the EU ? shut down the al Qaeda sanctuary in Afghanistan and the nightmare of Saddam's Iraq. It is the only protector of the effort to jumpstart reform in Iraq. Appreciation of that power impressed both Pakistan and Libya. Threat of that force keeps terrorist killers in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran careful not to leave visible tracks among their compliant, but also apprehensive, hosts. India understands that; so does China. Russia also grasps that there is now no appeasement possible with Islamic killers. How the Arab-Islamic world managed to unite over 3 billion nuclear Anglo Americans, Indians, Chinese, and Russians in their suspicions of it will be a case-study in imbecility for diplomatic historians for decades to come.

Only the Europeans, in their fear and impotence, still pray that obsequiousness might fend off Islamofascism, as if a Madrid is an aberration rather than a harbinger of worse to come. Only the elite radical American Left is either too timid or too morally bankrupt to condemn the new fascism in the Middle East or the Arab genocide in Sudan, preferring instead to whine about Bush's "lies" and all the other non-issues that the most secure and leisured people on the planet protest about for an hour or two before calling it a day.

Some insist that this war is only against a few "crazy" extremists and that it cannot be won by force. That is half true. In fact, millions of young Middle Easterners are watching Islamic fascists to learn whether to applaud or condemn them ? and that decision in places like Najaf, Fallujah, Kandahar, Madrid, Grozny, and Ramallah sadly hinges as much on resolute force as it does on "sensitive" understanding. There are millions we must help, but there are also thousands of wannabe Osama bin Ladens and Mohammed Attas who have neither minds nor hearts that anyone would want to win over.

In a war against such killers, it is the proverbial "Them or Us." Islamic fascists are not crazy ? however crazy they sound ? but evil, as their evil work confirms. We do not need more lectures about the impossibility of winning a postmodern conflict, about al Qaeda's not following the laws of Clausewitz or being immune to our way of war. In fact, we can and have defeated them. Keep doing that and the "hearts and minds" of others in the region, whom we are already helping, will mysteriously prove more open to dialogue.

Fail again like we did on September 11 ? and the entire United States Treasury could not buy the good will of an Islamic Street once more gone mad with delight for having felled the Great Satan.

? Victor Davis Hanson is a visiting professor for the month of September and a fellow of Hillsdale College.


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I will always remember?
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2004, 10:23:12 AM »
I will always remember I woke up that day running late, something did not feel right?
I will always remember the E train to the World Trade Center was slow as heck?
I will always remember getting off the E train and as I go to exit at the turnstyle, a mob of people were running at me from the mall yelling, "Bomb!"?
I will always remember that this cannot be happening?
I will always remember that this is not real?

I will always remember being swept with the mob being forced to exit onto Vesey Street, right next to the post office on Chambers Street?
I will always remember the tiny staircase up to the street being very narrow and barely fitting two people abreast?
I will always remember wondering why people were so slow at the top of the staircase?
I will always remember as I get to the top of the staircase exiting onto Vesey Street seeing a big f*cking, gaping black hole in the side of World Trade Center One?
I will always remember seeing the big f*cking, gaping black hole in the side of WTC One on fire?
I will always remember the dodging the falling debris as I try to cross the street to go to One Liberty Plaza?
I will always remember the chaos with the the firemen, policemen, and EMT's in the area?
I will always remember people sobbing and crying?
I will always remember people standing in a state of shock during the surrealness of the whole scene?
I will always remember that this cannot be happening?
I will always remember that this is not real?

I will always remember making it to my building safely and finding other co-workers?
I will always remember my co-workers telling me they were all scared and had to evacuate?
I will always remember one of my coworkers was pregnant at the time and had to climb down 16 flights of stairs scared witless and worrying for her baby's safety?
I will always remember talking to one of my coworkers and wondering what to do?
I will always remember as I talk to him, he flinches and cringes?
I will always remember asking him what happened and he said he thought he saw some people jump?
I will always remember that this cannot be happening?
I will always remember that this is not real?

I will always remember a mob of people running and shouting at us forcing us to go inside of One Liberty Plaza?
I will always remember that this cannot be happening?
I will always remember that this is not real?
I will always remember that the glass cracked all around as I felt what was like a small earthquake?
I will always remember finding out that the people saw a plane heading into World Trade Center Two and running away?
I will always remember what I thought was a small earthquake resulting in cracked glass was the 2nd plane hitting?
I will always remember that this cannot be happening?
I will always remember that this is not real?

I will always remember at that point to vacate the area immediately?
I will always remember thinking I hope my wife is safe in Brooklyn, right over the Brooklyn Bridge?
I will always remember if I would ever see her or my kids again?
I will always remember walking over the Brooklyn Bridge, always looking back and only seeing smoke covering the WTC?
I will always remember pi$$ing in my pants thinking what if the Bridge was going to be hit next or if there was a carbomb planted already as I walked over it with thousands of other people?
I will always remember making it over the bridge and hearing the Marshals in the Federal Courts saying the WTC collapsed and thinking, "No f*cking way!"?
I will always remember that this cannot be happening?
I will always remember that this is not real?

I will always remember finding my wife and she was worried for me after seeing it all on TV?
I will always remember how fortunate my wife's coworker was able to drive us home?
I will always remember getting home just as my mother picked up my oldest daughter from pre-kindengarden with my 2nd daughter in the stroller?
I will always remember having tears roll down my face as I go to hug my oldest daughter?
I will always remember her asking, "Why are you crying, Daddy?" and I replied, "You will learn about today in school as you grow up and I will tell you then what happened."?
I will always remember the jets flying overhead continously?
I will always remember being glued to the tv in the wee hours of the morning watching the same footage over and over as my family slept and me not being able to sleep?
I will always remember the next day, my wife's best friend calls saying her brother's girlfriend called him just prior to jumping?
I will always remember that this cannot be happening?
I will always remember that this is not real?

I will always remember finally going back to work after almost a week of staying home?
I will always remember working in a sardine-packed room full of other displaced coworkers at one of our branches in their lunchroom working on laptops off of picnic tables?
I will always remember working in that same room for a year before work has gone back to some semblance of normalcy?

I will always remember that it was happening and it was all real?

I will always remember 9/11/01.

* Dedicated to the heroes, victims, and their loved ones from 9/11/01 *
"A good stickgrappler has good stick skills, good grappling, and good stickgrappling and can keep track of all three simultaneously. This is a good trick and can be quite effective." - Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny


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Three years later , , ,
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2004, 10:24:58 AM »
i wrote that a week before 9/11/04, but did not get a chance to post it here.
"A good stickgrappler has good stick skills, good grappling, and good stickgrappling and can keep track of all three simultaneously. This is a good trick and can be quite effective." - Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny

Crafty Dog

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Three years later , , ,
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2004, 05:49:11 PM »
Woof All from Prescott AZ:

Continuing on the riff of "I will always remember":

I will always remember the passengers of Flight 93 who stepped forward.

Crafty Dog