A never-end­ing hurt

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - Front Page - COM­PILED BY DEMO­CRAT-GAZETTE STAFF FROM WIRE RE­PORTS In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Feli­cia Son­mez, John Wag­ner and JM Rieger of The Wash­ing­ton Post and by staff mem­bers of The As­so­ci­ated Press.

A re­spon­der at the na­tional me­mo­rial in New York car­ries a marker Wed­nes­day for fallen fire­fighter Ruben Cor­rea on the 18th an­niver­sary of the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist at­tacks. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, speak­ing at the Pen­tagon, vowed to strike back with power the U.S. “has never used be­fore” if an­other at­tack hap­pens. More pho­tos are avail­able at arkansason­line.com/912sept11/

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump vowed Wed­nes­day to strike back with power the United States “has never used be­fore” if the coun­try faces an at­tack sim­i­lar to those that oc­curred Sept. 11, 2001, pledg­ing that any per­pe­tra­tors “will never have seen any­thing like what will hap­pen to them.”

The pres­i­dent spoke at the Pen­tagon dur­ing a me­mo­rial on the 18th an­niver­sary of the at­tacks. The co­or­di­nated al-Qaida hi­jack­ings killed nearly 3,000 peo­ple when air­lin­ers slammed into the World Trade Cen­ter and the Pen­tagon and when an­other crashed in Shanksvill­e, Pa.

“The last four days, we have hit our en­emy harder than they have ever been hit be­fore, and that will con­tinue,” Trump said, ap­par­ently re­fer­ring to the war in Afghanista­n. “And if for any rea­son they come back to our coun­try, we will go wher­ever they are and use power the likes of which the United States has never used be­fore — and I’m not even talk­ing about nu­clear power. They will never have seen any­thing like what will hap­pen to them.”

The ap­pear­ance was Trump’s third com­mem­o­rat­ing the Sept. 11 at­tacks since be­com­ing pres­i­dent. Last year, he vis­ited Shanksvill­e, where he paid trib­ute to the pas­sen­gers of Flight 93, who died dis­rupt­ing the plan of ter­ror­ists to crash one of their hi­jacked planes into the U.S. Capi­tol.

At the Pen­tagon on Wed­nes­day, Trump told at­ten­dees that “for ev­ery Amer­i­can who lived through that day, the Sept. 11 at­tack is seared into our soul.”

He noted that he had called off ne­go­ti­a­tions over the with­drawal of U.S. troops from Afghanista­n af­ter the Tal­iban took re­spon­si­bil­ity for an at­tack last week that killed a U.S. sol­dier. Trump had in­vited Afghan and Tal­iban lead­ers to Camp David but an­nounced on Twit­ter that he had can­celed the pre­vi­ously undis­closed sum­mit.

“We had peace talks sched­uled a few days ago,” Trump said. “I called them off when I learned that they had killed a great Amer­i­can sol­dier from Puerto Rico and 11 other in­no­cent peo­ple. They thought they would use this at­tack to show strength, but ac­tu­ally, what they showed is un­re­lent­ing weakness.”

The pres­i­dent also dis­cussed what he was do­ing when he heard the news of the at­tacks 18 years ago. He said he was at home watch­ing tele­vi­sion.

“I vividly re­mem­ber when I first heard the news, I was sit­ting at home watch­ing a ma­jor busi­ness tele­vi­sion show early that morn­ing,” Trump said. “Jack Welch, the leg­endary head of Gen­eral Elec­tric, was about to be in­ter­viewed when all of a sud­den they cut away.”

He said he watched from his apart­ment, which is about 4 miles from the World Trade Cen­ter, as the sec­ond of the planes hit the site on the morn­ing of the at­tacks.

“I was look­ing out a win­dow from a build­ing in mid­town Man­hat­tan di­rectly at the World Trade Cen­ter when I saw a sec­ond plane at a tremen­dous speed go into the sec­ond tower,” he said. “It was then that I re­al­ized the world was go­ing to change.”

Trump has made a va­ri­ety of claims about what he was do­ing on the morn­ing and in the af­ter­math of the at­tacks. He pre­vi­ously said he watched through a tele­scope as “many peo­ple” jumped from the twin tow­ers. Dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, Trump also falsely claimed that “thou­sands” of New Jersey Mus­lims cel­e­brated the at­tacks.

On Wed­nes­day, Trump also par­tic­i­pated in a mo­ment of si­lence on the White House lawn at 8:46 a.m. — the time the first plane hit the twin tow­ers — be­fore head­ing to the Pen­tagon.

Mean­while, al-Qaida on Wed­nes­day re­leased a video in which leader Ay­man al-Zawahri called for Mus­lims to at­tack U.S., Eu­ro­pean, Is­raeli and Rus­sian tar­gets.

SITE In­tel­li­gence Group, which tracks on­line ac­tiv­ity of ji­hadi groups, re­ported that in the video, the 68-yearold al-Zawahri also crit­i­cizes “back­track­ers” from ji­had, re­fer­ring to for­mer ji­hadis who changed their views in prison and called the 9/11 at­tacks un­ac­cept­able be­cause in­no­cent civil­ians were harmed.

“If you want ji­had to be fo­cused solely on mil­i­tary tar­gets, the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary has pres­ence all over the world, from the East to the West,” he said. “Your coun­tries are lit­tered with Amer­i­can bases, with all the in­fi­dels therein and the cor­rup­tion they spread.”

Al-Zawahri, an Egyp­tian, be­came leader of al-Qaida af­ter the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden in Ab­bot­tabad, Pak­istan, by Navy SEALs. Al-Zawahri is be­lieved to be hid­ing some­where in the Afghanista­n-Pak­istan bor­der re­gions. A July re­port by the United Nations cited re­ports that he is “in poor health” but pro­vided no de­tails.

AP/MARK LENNIHAN

AP/EVAN VUCCI

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump greets peo­ple Wed­nes­day dur­ing a cer­e­mony at the Pen­tagon hon­or­ing vic­tims of the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist at­tacks.

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