Firemen douse Rudy’s image as 9/11 hero. So Rudy wasn't prepared for this disaster, as if anyone was. What I know is that his refusal to take the $10 million donation from bin Talal made me feel very proud. Would I vote for him? I don't know yet. Would you?
Several American news organisations are preparing exposés of the “untold story” of 9/11 after Giuliani’s dispute with the firefighters became embarrassingly public last week. He was the only leading presidential candidate not to appear at a Washington gathering of the International Association of Fire Fighters, which accused him of showing a “disgraceful lack of respect for the fallen” after the September 11 attacks.
Behind the union’s attack lies the grief and anger of families who believe their loved ones need not have died that day and their conviction that some bodies would never have been recovered had Giuliani had his way.
Jim Riches, 29, had been helping to rescue office workers in the north tower when it collapsed. In the dust and debris, his fellow firefighters did not realise that the south tower had already crashed to the ground. Despite the terrifying noise, survivors say they thought only the top storeys had toppled. They never heard the order to evacuate. “My son could have had 30 minutes to escape,” Riches Sr said.
The firefighters were still using the antiquated “handie-talkie” radios that failed to work during the 1993 bombing of the twin towers, when Giuliani was also mayor. He not only failed to replace them, but also located the city’s new emergency command centre at the World Trade Center against the advice of key officials. It proved useless when it was most needed.
Lack of communication also meant that warnings from police helicopters about an imminent collapse failed to get through.