April 20, 2005

Kristen Breitweiser the Truth-Teller

Kristen Breitweiser was awarded The Ron Ridenhour Prize For Truth-Telling.
Kristen Breitweiser, 9/11 widow and activist, is being honored for her role in pressuring official Washington to provide a public accounting to the American people of what went wrong on the morning of September 11 and in the months leading up to the disaster that claimed the life of her husband and more than 3,000 others.

Breitweiser did not seek to be known as a truth-teller. She was a stay-at-home mom in suburban New Jersey and a George Bush supporter. Yet Breitweiser and the other so-called “Jersey Girls,” transformed by their grief and outraged by a lack of accountability, are widely credited with forcing the creation of the 9/11 Commission and were instrumental in insuring the passage in Congress of the national security reforms it recommended.

Breitweiser recalls the spirit of Ron Ridenhour, the citizen-activist who also went to the halls of power seeking justice and who would not be denied. We applaud Breitweiser for her courage, and we thank her for her tenacity and for what she has done to preserve and protect our democracy.
Kristen Breitweiser remarks on April 19 for the Ron Ridenhour award is a scathing indictment of Bush Administration.
In the past three years I have spent a lot of time talking about being a 9/11 widow and a victim's advocate for intelligence community reforms. I appeared frequently in the print and televised media discussing my transformation from a stay-at-home mom whose specialty it was to design children's gardens to a victim's rights advocate whose specialty has become national security. My transformation was urgent, drastic and not chosen by me. But, I no longer want to talk about my transformation. Instead, I want to talk about my country's post-9/11 transformation. A transformation unlike mine in that it was systematically and deliberately chosen.

Where are we today? Are the democratic principles that Osama Bin Laden tried to destroy on 9/11 still safely intact? Do nations around the world still respect and admire Americans? Are we still 'all Americans' like we were in the immediate wake of September 11th when almost every country in the world declared their solidarity with us? Or have we squandered that worldwide good will, faith and common purpose to fight terrorism? Have we learned any lessons since 9/11? And, most importantly, have our country's choices made us any safer than we were pre-9/11?
Lets remember President Bush and this Administration fought tooth and nail to stop the creation of the 9/11 Commission.
Recently, many people are wondering what the widows will be doing next. It is simple. We will continue to do what we do best. We will continue to ask questions and demand answers about our government's choices in the name of 'national security.' We will continue to work on issues that mean something to our children and to us. Issues that will make our future safer from terrorism like alternative energy resources, human rights abuses, congressional oversight and intelligence community reforms. We will continue to fight for the truth.

And, respectfully, our hope is that in future years this award might be rendered obsolete. Simply because there will be no need to bestow an award or any special status onto a truth-seeker because truth-seekers will have become our new norm."
I agree with Kristen Breitweiser, I hope in the future truth-seekers will become the norm. Instead of politicians seeking to stop the truth for political gain.

Go read the whole transcript of her remarks.


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