Sunday, September 06, 2009

In Harm's Way: The Post-9/11 Diplomat

From the Newsweek issue dated 14 September 2009:

By Ryan Crocker

The 8 a.m. US Airways shuttle from Washington to New York City took off pretty much on time. The mid-September sky was clear, the air still, and most of the flight was perfectly uneventful. My State Department colleague David Pearce and I read the papers and looked over our notes as the plane began its descent toward LaGuardia.

"Look!" somebody said, and a rumble of alarmed voices spread through the cabin. One of the towers of the World Trade Center was on fire, and smoke churned over the upper stories like a thunderhead over lower Manhattan. We craned our necks to see through one window, then another as our plane banked and made its approach to the runway. Then, just as we landed, we saw in the distant skyline the second tower erupt in flames. Cell phones rang out, and random, frightened voices tried to make sense of what was happening.

For a diplomat, I have seen a lot of violence in my career. I survived the 1983 U.S. Embassy bombing in Beirut that was, until that day in September 2001, among the most infamous attacks on Americans in the history of terrorism. David is as experienced in the Middle East as anyone we have at State. But you didn't need our expertise to know, when that plane hit the second tower, that this was the work of terrorists.... (more)

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