- The Washington Times - Friday, December 14, 2001

Veterans at VFW Post 33 in Greensburg, Pa., reacted with fury and disgust as they watched a grinning Osama bin Laden recall on videotape how he had calculated in advance how many casualties to expect from the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
"It disgusted me more, since I'm part Middle Eastern," said Ernie Weaver, an Army Vietnam War veteran, who explained that his mother is of Syrian ancestry.
"Everybody here who saw the tape already knew bin Laden did it," said Mr. Weaver, the post's bartender. Even so, he said, they were still shaken by "how sickening one person could be."
Outrage, repugnance, and loathing seemed to be common responses of those who viewed the bin Laden video yesterday on national television, after its release by the Pentagon.
D.C. resident Xavier Nelson said she was chilled by bin Laden's laughter over the attacks.
"It was shocking it validates what he did," said Mrs. Nelson, who works as a flight attendant and lost friends in the September 11 attacks.
"It was like he was discussing a soccer game," said Julie Cate, 22, an Arlington resident. "It made me angry, disgusted this absolutely nails him."
T.V. Landes, owner of the Hope Fish Market in Hope, Ark., says it's obvious from the tape that bin Laden has "sold himself so far to the devil" that there's little hope of redemption.
"One of those Green Berets ought to put three or four rounds of an M-16 [into bin Laden] and be done with him. I'd shoot him on the spot and ask no questions and feel like I'd done the world a big favor," said Mr. Landes, who claims to be a "fourth or fifth cousin of Bill Clinton."
As for bin Laden's assertion on the video that he anticipated that burning jet fuel from the hijacked planes would "melt the iron structure" of the World Trade Center at the point of impact, Mr. Landes said, "That's pretty cold, really."
Angie Gibson, manager of the Budweiser BrewHouse at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, called the tape a "great piece of evidence" that incriminates bin Laden.
"It frustrates me. It angers me and it should be more convincing to everyone now that he did really do it," she said.
A woman who identified herself only as Jodie, manager of the Creative Host restaurant at the airport in Charleston, S.C., said she saw only portions of the bin Laden video. "It kind of disgusted me, and I had to walk away," she said.
The tape showed bin Laden as "evil personified," according to Matt White.
"The smug, self-righteous, cavalier way that [bin Laden] related the events was awful. He is without a doubt guilty," said the 41-year-old Herndon resident. "I just hope they find him."
Bin Laden's frequent references to Allah and the Islamic faith in the video were troublesome, said Suleiman Wali of the U.S.-Afghanistan Reconstruction Council.
"It was disturbing to see the sense of calm he had," Mr. Wali said. "He is doing things that are totally against Islam. He keeps praising God in the tape but this is against whatever you are taught in Islam."
Laszlo Coletrain agreed. At the Station Grill in Union Station, the 31-year-old Silver Spring resident watched the tape and the translation as it flashed across the television screen above the bar.
"This is totally against anything written in religion. This man is a clown a dangerous clown," Mr. Coletrain said.
Bartender Mimi Aftwork, 30, said some customers had been upset that the Station Grill's television was tuned to a news channel. "But we think it is a good thing to have this on because a lot of people didn't believe he was guilty before they saw this," she said.
Some people including a waitress named Debbie at the Town House Restaurant in Ovido, Fla. had no desire to see bin Laden claim credit for the September 11 attacks.
There's no television at the restaurant, Debbie said, so she could not have seen the broadcast of the videotape, even if she'd wanted to. "But I wouldn't have watched it, if we had a TV here, because I'm sick of that," she said.
Those who did watch saw proof of the al Qaeda leader's guilt.
"If there was any doubt, it has been dispelled now," said Chevy Chase resident Craig LaCasse, 25.
Will Tso, owner of Croft Radio Service in Salt Lake City, said, "It showed that [bin Laden] definitely had something to do" with the suicide hijackings, said Mr. Tso.
To plan and execute a crime that killed thousands of innocent civilians, the Utah businessman said, bin Laden "has to be a sick individual, and he's got to be evil."
Evidence of that evil, in the eyes of Mrs. Nelson, was bin Laden's laughter on the video as he explained that many of the September 11 hijackers didn't realize they were on a suicide mission.
"The biggest surprise was how he laughed over fooling his own people who were his lieutenants. They are dead, and they have no sense of honor left because he made them look like fools," the 50-year-old flight attendant said.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide