Shameless, but the Real Shame Is If We Don't Act

When I heard on cable television what Ann Coulter wrote and said about the widows of 9/11, my first reaction was pretty much unprintable. I have no apologies for it. Did this woman ever for a second stop and think that these women's children might be watching TV and have to listen to her venomous words? So much for family values.

Then I thought: grotesque as it is, this is her attempt to be provocative -- infamy's its own kind of fame -- to get her mug on TV and sell books. Coulter is counting on this "controversy" to get her ink and sell her angry harangue of a book.

Which is why we owe all the 9/11 families Ann Coulter slandered so much more than just outrage.

We owe them thanks. Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg, Patty Casazza, Kristen Breitweiser, and Monica Gabrielle -- and others -- provided an incredible service to each of us. And we also owe it to them to put the focus where they originally put it when, in the middle of their grieving, they stood up to demand answers and action from a government that invoked their husbands' memories for political reason but then wiped them away when the real work of fighting terror and providing homeland security got to be too tough and less ideologically attractive compared to a sideshow disaster in Iraq.

These women weren't and still aren't "in politics." Many voted for George Bush in 2000, some voted for me in 2004 and I was proud to have their support. They're independent-minded, they're their own people. They take homeland security more personally than many Members of Congress -- and they take it more seriously. These are women whose sole mission is to make our country as safe as it can and should be -- so the same thing that happened to their husbands will never happen to someone else's, or to their children. Think about what they accomplished -- bottom line: We would not have had the 9/11 Commission and their recommendations to make America safer without these brave women.

The tragedy of this whole thing goes far beyond what Coulter said -- it's that everything these women have been fighting for since September 11, 2001, still is not done. Countless recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission still aren't implemented. First President Bush resisted the creation of the 9/11 Commission, then he put up road blocks to its investigation, and still today he has failed to implement all its recommendations. We don't have the port security the 9/11 Commission said we need. We don't have the border security the 9/11 Commission said we need. And Osama bin Laden remains on the loose -- while we've got 132,000 troops bogged down in Iraq who should be hunting down this mass murderer.

I think about these survivors of 9/11 -- tough determined women -- and I kick myself above all that our country hasn't done the things they fought for. They could've gone off quietly, tried to put their lives back together, and who would have blamed them. But they didn't, they pressed on -- and Ann Coulter's shrill attacks only add insult to government incompetence.

Want to really irk Ann Coulter and at the same time help take these women's brave fight a little closer to victory?

Get on the phone to any television program that has Ann Coulter on, and demand they press her not on her callous attacks, but on which recommendations of the 9/11 Commission she thinks should be forgotten. Which ports does she think should be left unsecured. Make the 9/11 widows' issues follow this fool everywhere she goes.

And take Peter Daou's cue -- he's got a very smart take on this: make the Republicans who think Coulter's so witty own her repellant words. Read what Peter wrote at Make her a liability -- and test whether the GOP is ashamed of Ann Coulter, or just embarrassed by her.

But above all, don't forget what these strong, tough women of 9/11 have done for all of us. They've got more class and grit and character than Ann Coulter will ever know.