USA Today: "Nothing Can Unite Us Now" – Ambassador Ric Grenell Debunks
Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11. It has been 20 years since nearly 3,000 innocent American lives were lost from the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks in America. All of us that were alive during this tragic moment in history remember that day as a defining moment for the United States. 9/11 is always an emotional time for many, but maybe even more so this year because of the situation unfolding in Afghanistan that we have seen in the last month.
ACLJ Senior Advisor for Foreign Policy and National Security Ric Grenell joined Sekulow to share his story:
I had worked previously with Ari Fleischer, my friend who was Ways and Means spokesman. . . . He helped me, if you remember he became the White House Press Secretary for George Bush. He helped me get into the Bush Administration. . . . Ari got me a job at the U.N. I was going to be the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.’s spokesman. The U.S. Ambassador nominee at that point was struggling with confirmation, so we were fighting for his confirmation. It was John Negroponte at the time. We had scheduled, finally, a hearing . . . in Washington. We were preparing for the hearing when 9/11 happened. The hearing was delayed by a day or two I remember. They rushed . . . through confirmation. We thought it would be a messy confirmation fight but 9/11 made it moot. They immediately rushed him through. He was confirmed by voice vote. He was sent up to the U.N. immediately days after 9/11. I found myself in New York working for John Negroponte at the U.N. when we were organizing about what to do about this tragedy on 9/11.
Ultimately, Ric stayed with the U.N. for 8 years. Ric talks about what it was like newly representing the United States to this international body after the tragic events of 9/11:
I was a young staffer basically going up to the United Nations. And at that point you view the U.N. with kind of idealistic eyes – this is where the world comes together. So, when you walk into that huge General Assembly hall of the U.N. . . . you quickly look for the Europeans and for others who share our values – capitalism, the rule of law. So, when I arrived there was an incredible outpouring for the United States of America because of what had just happened to us. And people could see that terrorism had just come to the U.S. And George Bush was only 8 months into his presidency. If you remember, he won on this compassionate conservatism mantra. He was going to change the way we talked about immigration and minorities. That was the goal, then 9/11 happened. Then, he became the war President. And for the rest of his tenure, it was about foreign affairs and military action. And that was not what he planned. But he rose to the occasion. I think all of us were thrown immediately into this. That was my first serious job in foreign policy 20 years ago.
Ric was there at ground zero when President Bush addressed the Nation. He described the scene:
When the President came to New York, there was a huge organization for any President obviously. So, I was just doing the staffer things. I didn’t get to be there with him at that moment. But I was down there organizing . . . media. It was very emotional, and I think we had so many foreign dignitaries that wanted to see 9/11, ground zero, and we would take them down . . . . I remember taking world leaders down, showing them what happened, and their emotions. And they would say to us, please don’t hesitate to ask for help, and what can we do for help? They would say, we are with you and this is terrible.
After the devastating events that took place on 9/11, Americans united like never before. In today’s divisive world, are we ever going to be able to get to that same place of unity? In a USA today article, they claim, “nothing can unite us now.”
ACLJ Senior Military Analyst and former Colonel Wes Smith lays out in his new article the solemn remembrance of 9/11 and further questioned if we can have another moment of unity while our government is currently communicating with the Taliban:
Tragedy often brings unity. . . . I think we all want to be united right now. It is tough, but I think we should try to be united. But so much has changed in the last 20 years. In 2001, the Taliban controlled a few provinces in Afghanistan where they harbored al-Qaeda. Today 20 years later and billions of dollars later and over 2,450 service members lives later, they control the whole country. And that is a tough thing for Americans to get our heads around. We want to be united but had the events of the last 3 weeks not happened, we would be commemorating tomorrow in a very different way. . . . I still think we can be unified, but I am not hopeful it would come any time soon. . . . As a retired Army officer, I have teared up a lot. . . . But as a retired Army guy, I have had a lot of pride the last couple of days thinking about the fact that the first battle on the war on terror was actually fought over the skies of Pennsylvania, and average Americans took a vote and they attacked the enemy. . . . This war has been going on for 20 years but the first battle was won with average Americans in Pennsylvania.
Ric summed it up best:
It is such an emotional weekend, and I love telling the stories. I love the emotional stories. . . . I love what you said about how everyone who has a memory does know exactly where they were when they found out about 9/11, when they turned on the news, when someone called . . . those are the times that build unity because we cared for each other in a crisis. And I think . . . we can get to that place where we have that unity, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be negative.
Today’s full Sekulow broadcast is complete with even more analysis of the remembrance of 9/11 with former Acting Director of National Intelligence and Ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell.
Watch the full broadcast below.