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Susan Estrich
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Eleven Years Later

Comment

I will never forget the phone ringing on that sunny September morning and my friend Annie telling me to turn on the television because the world was going to hell. My children, then 8 and 11, woke up a few minutes later to see me staring at the images of the planes hitting the towers.

We were in Santa Monica, 3,000 miles away, and two of the planes were headed here. I did that Boston to Los Angeles commute for years and was planning to head east in two days for a book tour. There it was. We were all connected somehow. A friend of a friend. Another friend's son-in-law. The airline crews with whom I traveled for years. Didn't you know so-and-so? There but for the grace of God.

In the days that followed, there were all kinds of television stories and newspaper articles about how to talk to your children about what happened on 9/11. None of them really mattered. The children saw it, too. They got it.

I was their age when President Kennedy was shot. I got it. The images stick. The world is not a safe place. I used to worry that my children, growing up half a century after the Holocaust, would never understand the vulnerability and courage of the relatives we never met, the hate directed at the Jews who weren't lucky enough to get out when our family did. That worry was replaced by one even worse. They would know too well.

Soon after, when we went to the synagogue for the high holidays, there were guards. Schools stepped up security; airports where I used to make it from drop-off to gate in a matter of minutes sprouted long, snaking lines. I took deep breaths when I boarded planes. I made excuses not to travel.

And then time — the tonic of amnesia — passed. We started flying again. People started complaining — foolishly, I think — about being searched at the airport, as if they couldn't remember why the hardworking men and women trying to protect us were patting us down.

The fights began about what the memorial should look like, who would pay for it and what to do about the mosque being planned in the neighborhood.

We read, and tried to ignore, the stories about angry young men from England and Virginia who were volunteering for holy war against us. Feeling powerless, afraid of the world we are leaving our children, the mind turns to the mundane.

We cheered the killing of Osama bin Laden as if that would put an end to fear. It hasn't. We learned new words. IEDs. Soldiers coming home disfigured physically and mentally. My friends in Israel said, "Now you understand." I don't want to understand.

And once a year, we take a deep breath, a moment of silence, a look back at something that still makes most of us quake when we see.

Has it really been 11 years? It seems like yesterday.

Are we better prepared, safer, than we were 11 years ago? I really don't know. The candidates will probably fight about that, come tomorrow. As if changing parties and putting a new man on top is the answer to a world in which people, children, sacrifice their lives for beliefs that most of their own brothers and sisters reject.

Fear and freedom don't go well together. In times of terror, civil liberties always suffer. And the ones who pay the price are the ones who look most like those we fear, even if they are no different from the rest of us. If 99 percent of all Muslims reject terror, or whatever high number is right, is it fair to treat them differently because 100 percent of those who killed on 9/11 came from that other 1 percent? I raise the question every year with my students. We look warily at the one or two Muslims in the class. What is there to say?

How much are we willing to sacrifice to keep our children safe? Ask me, and I'll say whatever it takes. As if I know what that is.

Two days ago, a teenage suicide bomber in Afghanistan got too close; he looked like all the other kids who hang around, just kids, selling small things, collecting candy, being kids.

We will not be safe, Golda Meir once said, until our enemies love their children more than they hate ours.

I try to write columns with answers. But I have no answers. Only this: Hug your children. Live carefully. Do not take risks. Do not let fear turn into hate.

And most importantly, do not forget.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM



Comments

22 Comments | Post Comment
Susan, how are you going to explain President Obama being too busy to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu this month? Does his attending another election event, after two years of election events that have prevented Obama from attending almost 60% of his daily national security briefings, take precedent for you over Obama snubbing the PM of Israel? How is it that Obama has time to do a Letterman show but hasn't met with his Jobs Council in 8 months, while 23 million Americans go to sleep at night hoping that they'll finally get a job?

How are you about Obama tacity approving of Egyptians attacking the US embassy and tearing down our flag? Or that protesters attacked the US diplomatic compound in Libya, killing an American?

How are you about Obama allowing Iran to continue to produce a nuclear weapon while providng arms to Hezbollah and Hama - in the face of Iran vowing the annihilation of Israel?

For that matter, Susan, how do you sleep at night, knowing that you are publicly trying to get Obama re-elected in the face of so much disappointment and failure by this president?
Comment: #1
Posted by: Lesley Barnard
Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:04 PM
Re: Lesley Barnard
Great and pressing questions !

Perhaps obama's two great champions Lipka and Morgan could assist. Oh never mind ! Morgan will just blame Bush, Nixon or Reagan or call you a racist and Lipka will praise the " thoughtful" man and imagine an economic boom.

The reason why obama has utterly failed in all of the matters you raise is that he is driven by a deep seated hatred of all things American a deep seated hatred of Isreal and an affinity for Islam.

A further question would be when are the Jews in America going to realize that to worship the Democratic Party as they do is to worship a false and faithless diety that has consistently betrayed them and which is again about to betray them all.
Comment: #2
Posted by: joseph wright
Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:41 AM
Once again the Racist bigot above has decided to put words in my mouth. I do not know what mental hospital this man is residing in and how they allow him access to a computer. To respond to him is to fall to his level. That said, I have my thoughts on this awful tragedy in Libya.
First of all, the shoot from the hip response by the Romney campaign at 10:00pm on 9/11 supposedly under embargo until 12 midnight was incredibly stupid. But then, that is typical Romney and very stupid. To lay this tragedy at the feet of the Obama administration when it was all provoked by a film produced and promoted by that racist Right wing Florida Pastor Terry Jones is beyond belief. This pastor should be arrested as an accessory to murder. This is not the first time that Americans have died as a result of this pastor's bigotry against Muslims.
Second, Lesley Barnard, the Prime Minister of Israel is a former classmate of Mitt Romney and as such, has been trying desparately to embarrass this president for many months now. This administration has given much financial and military support to Israel on a scale much higher than any previous administration. T?HAT IS A FACT. I for one am glad that this president does not allow AN?Y foreign leader to call the tune on any issue. America is not at the beck and call of ANY foreign nation and NEVER should be. Netanyahu has tried desparately to get the United States militarily involved in IRAN. That places Americans directly in the line of fire. At a time when we are trying to extract ourselves from endless war in the middle east, it would be complete folly to take any active hand in any attack on Iran. To this date, the Iranians have not fully developed a nuclear weapon. Any action based on a maybe is insane. The attempt to provoke American action is an attempt to force a response that would place the blame for any military action squarely on the shoulders of the United States and take the blame off Israel. This president has rightly recognized that ploy and rightly refuses to fall for that strategy. And I believe that if we had a Republican as president at this time, we Americans would expect that Republican to also resist the attempt to draw us into starting another war.
Tossing the word FAILURE around constantly when referring to this president is a slimy cheap shot but as of this date, we are not involved in another war. We easily could be. The longer this status can be maintained, the greater the chance for continued peace in that region. The Prime Minister should rattle his own sword, not ours.
Comment: #3
Posted by: robert lipka
Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:32 AM
Re: robert lipka
WOW! How thought provoking and ignorant!
Comment: #4
Posted by: Oldtimer
Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:52 AM
Would American Jews, including Susan, please explain to me why they support Obama and the Democrats?
Comment: #5
Posted by: Oldtimer
Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:27 AM
Thanks to Ms. Estrich for a thoughtful article. The last eleven years seem to have passed by awfully quickly. I often wonder how different things might have been if 9/11 had never been. Living during "interesting times" isn't nearly as much fun as I thought it might be when I was in my teens.

On another matter, Lipka wrote: "Tossing the word FAILURE around constantly when referring to this president is a slimy cheap shot but as of this date, we are not involved in another war. We easily could be."

Unfortunately, I don't agree. After four years in office, Obama has not shown the slightest trace of having a plan (or even any solid ideas) to fix this countries problems. His policies seem limited to spending money way beyond what we can afford and hope things get better. $ 6 trillion dollars in dept later (1/3 of all the public dept ever incurred by the US), and we have a 8.2% unemployment rate (higher in parts of Ohio, as Mr. Lipka well knows) and there is absolutely no indication that things will improve any time soon. Sorry, but based on these results and his own promises from 4 years ago, this presidency is a massive failure. I for one, don't think the country can afford another 4 years of the Obama version of success. You may disagree, but you have to admit that the facts could be interpreted to support the word 'failure'.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Old Navy
Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:04 PM
Re: Old Navy
So Old Navy, you would have us go back to those wonderful Bush years??????? Considering the fact that 17 of Romney's closest advisors are hack from the Bush regime like Jamie Fly and Dan Senor who both pushed for the invasion of Iraq based on a lie they formulated about non-existant WMDs, that is what you would get with a Romney administration. As the events of today clearly have shown us, Mitt Romney is just not prepared to be commander in chief. It was appalling that Romney repeated the lie that Obama somehow apologized to terrorists........the question is When did that EVER happen. Not one person can produce ANY speech ever made by President Obama either here or abroad that apologizes to any terrorist group. If you can do that please feel free to post the date of such a speech and the place that happened. I would be glad to read that speech.
As too unemployment in Ohio, one only needs to drive along Interstante 80 with a camera in hand to see the new factories that are being built. There is one factory building going up just past exit 224 (Route 11) that is massive) That is solid evidence that this area, amongst the most blighted in the country four years ago is slowly coming back from the ashes. You can see it with your own eyes. It is funny but the invisible man Clint Eastwood should have been talking to is George W. Bush. No one DARED to mention Bush in any speech. They pretended like he did not exist...sadly, he did and even scarier is that many from his administration could come back to power. That is scary.
Comment: #7
Posted by: robert lipka
Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:39 PM
Lipka wrote:
"So Old Navy, you would have us go back to those wonderful Bush years???????"

This is silly, and an excellent example of the logical fallacy known as a false dichotomy. First of all, George Bush is not on the ballot. Second, Romney is his own unique individual with his own pluses and minuses. He stands alone without GWB. Third, if you don't want to vote Republican there are options other than Obama. They real question here is 'So Lipka, you would have us stick with the high unemployment rates and intolerable budget deficits of the Obama era????" My answer to that question is 'no thank you'. Obama, in my opinion, is a failure and will almost certainly remain one during a second term. I'll vote for the 'hope and change' represented by Romney.

Lipka also wrote:
"As the events of today clearly have shown us, Mitt Romney is just not prepared to be commander in chief. "

Romney is at least as prepared as Obama was at this time four years ago. At least, unlike Obama four years ago, his resume doesn't scream 'amateur'. I'd further say that the events of the last few days show that Obama still isn't up to the job as commander in chief. The deteriorating Middle East is yet another solid failure for the Obama administration.

Lastly, Lipka stated:
"As too unemployment in Ohio, one only needs to drive along Interstante 80 with a camera in hand to see the new factories that are being built."

We had this discussion last week. The unemployment statistics show that the area in question is not 'boom boom booming' like you would like to believe. Anecdotes about factories are trumped by real world statistics. Your trips down the Interstate appear to be nothing more than an exercise in confirmation bias. By the way, do you see these things when your driving without "a camera in hand"?
To recap, Obama has failed to produce any real plans to change the status quo. Further, it is very apparent he simply lacks what it takes to produce such plans. Like what you've got now? Than vote for Obama. However, if you want something better you need to seriously consider the options.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Old Navy
Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:51 PM
Everyone reading this comments section is urged to carefully read Lipka's first post above commencing with the words “Once again the Racist bigot” and to do so because they really do give insight into the anti America deranged mind of a liberal/progressive.
Lipka refers to the brutal pre meditated murder of US Ambassador Stevens and three other US diplomatic staff by the bestial practitioners of the religion of submission, slavery for women and perpetual outrage (Islam) as simply an “awful tragedy in Libya”. Having given himself “cover” by the use of the term “tragedy” Lipka then sets out his real liberal thinking and upon his real objective, to wit, to apologize for the perpetrator first and then to blame America or Americans second.
What is entirely absent from Lipka's initial thoughts (and indeed also absent from his second post above) is any express word of condemnation for the Muslim perpetrators of murder and mayhem on American diplomats, or any call that such animals be swiftly brought to justice or that necessary diplomatic and other actions be swiftly taken to secure our Embassies.
What is also entirely absent from Lipka is any word of outrage that a film about the pedophile “prophet” (if it were the cause, which it likely was not) could, in any way, be the cause of murder of our diplomats or outrage that the body of Ambassador Stevens was paraded through the streets by Islamic scum because of a film (if that were the cause).
No, what Lipka does is to segue into an attack upon Romney for simply speaking the truth about the apologist and appeaser in chief (the boy barack) and to ridiculously a call for the arrest of an American for “accessory to murder”.
Lipka seemingly accepts that murder by Muslims in reaction to a film was in some way acceptable or to be expected and therefore to be excused and thereby also becomes an apologist for Islamic slaughter practiced upon America and Americans. Such thinking is contemptible.
Lipka then really dives into the world of fantasy. Israel has never had a Prime Minister serving by the name of Lesley Barnard. As to embarrassing obama, obama is an embarrassment on the world stage. He is weak, an appeaser, an apologist, a rank amateur in diplomacy and frankly a worldwide bad joke. His weakness and appeasing and weak messaging is certainly at the heart of the confidence in our enemies that murder and destruction may be practiced upon America and American soil at will. The one thing that Israel can truthfully say about barry boy is that with friends like barry who needs enemies.
Was it not barry that uttered the stunningly stupid statement that Iran was a tiny country that did not pose a serious threat to us. Seems the dimwit still believes that and indeed believes that a nuclear Iran would remain no threat. Frightening is it not, that we could have such a buffoon as president. More frightening is the prospect that cretins like Lipka fall in line.
Lipka posits that he is glad that “this president does not allow any foreign leader to call the tune on any issue” God help us. Felipe Calderon of Mexico calls the tune on our immigration policy and the protection or not of our southern borders, Vladimir Putin (KGB) calls the tune in our nuclear armament and as to how obama is to betray our ally Poland, Hu Jinatao head of State China calls the tune on economic policy and the despots of the UN are permitted to call the tune on all manner of our domestic issues. Sober up!
Obama is not just a failure but an clusterf*ck of a failure, an epic, monumental, inter galactic failure in everything he touches.
Sarah Palin summed obama up in two sentences as follows “We already know that President Obama likes to speak softly to our enemies. If he doesn't have a big stick to carry, maybe he should grow one.”
Comment: #9
Posted by: joseph wright
Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:27 AM
Old Navy, you are kicking ass. You're intelligent comments are a welcome breath of fresh air amounst comments filled with name calling and hyper-partisainship. You know you have an Obama supporter with his back against the wall when they mention either Bush, or racism. What else can they say? They just enter fail safe mode. I'd like to make another comment about aid to Israel and the middle east as was mention in eariler comments. Obama may be giving Israel more support than ever, but every free market thinker knows that when you introduce "free money" into any market, you hurt the system more than help it. This military aid is actually hurting Israel. If you want to actually help them, they we should scale back aid to the entire middle east region to zero. CATO just did a wonderful conference on this very topic. You should go to their website and check it out if you actually think that throwing money at a problem will make it go away.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:15 AM
Re: How much are we willing to sacrifice to keep our children safe? Ask me, and I'll say whatever it takes. As if I know what that is.
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin.
Comment: #11
Posted by: David Henricks
Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:58 AM
Once again the nutcase JW shows that he does not pay attention. The Lesley Bernard I referred to is the above poster Lesley Bernard. If you cant even read and understand the above posts, it would behoove you to go back to your coloring books and play-dough.
Isnt it funny that no Republican these days wants to even mention George W. Bush and they get very hyper when Bush is mentioned by anyone else . But what is very scary is that 17 of the George W. Bush political advisors and foreign poloicy experts like Dan Senor and Jamie FLY are now on the Romney team. So voting for Romney is tantamount to putting the same basic team that lied us into the Iraq war based on a fiction about WMDs would be right back in the White House doing their evil again. Read Colin Powell's recent book where he comes clean about the lies that got us into Iraq. The people he mentions are now members of Romney's campaign staff and presumably will move on into the White House should Romney somehow win this election. That prospect is looking dimmer and dimmer with each passig gaffe by Romney . Yesterday's fiasco by Romney could not even be defended by Republican pundits like Peggy Noonan who is as partisan as you can find. Romney once again repeated the lie that the president was apologizing to terrorists. He has presented that lie in numerous prior speeches but when I wrote to his campaign asking for even one cite of a speech that does that, I got no reply....Why? Because no such speech exists. Those who repeat that line are liars, plain and simple. LIARS!
As to the boom that is happening in the Youngstown area, those of you can deny this all you want but the locals here can see it with their own eyes and have the new jobs to prove it. Even Gov. Kasich, the Republican, has pointed to the Youngstown area as on the path to recovery. When he pointed that out recently, the Romney campaign jumped all over him for pointing to the truth of what was happening because it did not match the doom and gloom theme of the Romney campaign. They all want to portray things like CHICKE?N LITTLE and say that the sky is falling, but the sky is bright blue here and that cant be denied.
Comment: #12
Posted by: robert lipka
Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:02 AM
The sky is not blue anywhere in this country. If our financial situation were a weather condition, it would be tornados and golf-ball sized hail. We are 16 trillion dollars in debt. We have an estimated 200 trillion in unfunded medicare and social secuirty liabilities. Medicare is running billions in the red. In just 10 years medicare and medicaid spending alone will be 300% of out GDP. The false unemployment they want you to believe is 8.1% and the actual unemployment rate is around 20%. We have an unstable fiat currency that is backed, not by anything valuable, but only by the assumption by forgeiners that its good. Soon we will lose our spot as the world reserve currency and that will be the end for us. The dollars in our pocket will be as worthless as dust. Don't bother pointing fingers. Both parties did this. Where are the solutions to these problems?
Comment: #13
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:16 AM
Re: Chris McCoy
First step is get rid of obama and his failed monetary, statist, socialist, entitlement spending, failed economic, failed stimulus policies and then install a president that perhaps can run an economy, to wit, Romney.

On another tack, one sees that the foreign policy wizard, obama, has made yet another monumental, epic, foreign policy gaffe. When asked if Egypt was an ally, he incredibly replied that in his opinion Egypt was not an ally but not an enemy either, causing the WH and the State Department to go into tail spin. LOL!

Bad enough that the fool does not know what Egypt is or has been but what is worse, notwitstanding that past Demorat presidents, including Nixon, Carter, Clinton all made it policy to cultivate Egypt as an ally and for the past 40 yrs our main arab allies in the middle east have been Egypt and Saudi Arabia, obama blows that in one sentence.

Nice one dummy!

Further given that Egypt was an ally under Mubarak and obama was instrumental in the so called "arab spring" for which he consistentlyclaims credit, seems that "arab spring" out of his own mouth has had the net effect of putting us down at least one ally in a hostile area. LOL again!

Not an ally, or not an ally because of the effects of the "arab spring' whatever way it is sliced obama has proven himself a foreign poicy rank amateur and failure.
Comment: #14
Posted by: joseph wright
Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:48 PM
OOOPs just labeled President Nixon a demorat president! Apologies !
Comment: #15
Posted by: joseph wright
Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:30 PM
Joe I take it that since Nixon was the first self proclaimed Keysian president, that that was not a gaff. Hehe. Anyway, I think the the first step to setting things right is not a person, but rather the act of cleaning up government. Obama said as a candidate that he would take on the special interests and clean up the corruption. As usual, he failed big time. Government is more corrupt than ever under BO. We all know that BO is bad for the economy, but I more closely follow his war on whistle blowers. Its clear now that BO has a deep anamosity towards people that would call out his administrations crooked dealings. Thats why we've seen a myriad of legislation that goes after whistle blowers with a vengence. The special interests are well taken care of under Obama, and thats why nothing will get better with him in charge.
Comment: #16
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:03 PM
Just in case you liberals forgot -
Remember how the Christians killed all those people and burned down all those movie studios in Hollywood after the DaVinci Code came out. I think it was about Jesus fornicating with someone named Mary Magalen.
Comment: #17
Posted by: Oldtimer
Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:25 PM
Ol Timer, what are you even talking about? We're here discussing foreign aid and Obamas awfulness, and you're off in fiction land.
Comment: #18
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:51 PM
Mccoy wrote:
" Don't bother pointing fingers. Both parties did this. Where are the solutions to these problems?"

I couldn't agree with you more. Both parties are short on solutions and long on rhetoric. So, if I can't vote for, I'll vote against. Romney offers some small hope for recovery. Obama now has a track record, so we pretty much know what we will get there (i.e., More of the last four years).

Lipka wrote:
"Isnt it funny that no Republican these days wants to even mention George W. Bush and they get very hyper when Bush is mentioned by anyone else ."

I'm not hyper about it at all. I've consistently pointed out that I have no intention of voting for GWB since he isn't on the ballot (and never can be). You keep pointing to his presidency as a reason to vote for Obama. This is a classical example of the "straw man" logical fallacy. GWB is no more a reason to vote against Romney than Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter are a reason to vote for or against Obama. The two candidates stand on their own merits. The reason you avoid that logic is that Obama looks awful when judged on the record of the last four years.

Lipka also wrote:
"...should Romney somehow win this election. That prospect is looking dimmer and dimmer with each passig gaffe by Romney"

A perfect example of the logical fallacy of inconsistency. You jump all over one candidates gaffes and claim they indicate he isn't fit for office. Yet, you don't apply the same standard to the howlers provided by the other candidate (e.g., The 57 states in the Union, the private sector is doing quite nicely, the "you didn't build that" mentality, the Egypt isn't an ally foolishness, etc...). Is it too hard to be consistent?

Finally Lipka wrote:
"As to the boom that is happening in the Youngstown area, those of you can deny this all you want but the locals here can see it with their own eyes and have the new jobs to prove it."

Here we go again. I used Department of Labor (DOL) data in my post last week. It showed that not only were things not getting better in that part of OH, they are arguably getting worse. The DOL tells us that the unemployment rate is high and isn't coming down. Yet you know better based on anecdotes and personal experiences. Don't you think if you were right that the Obama campaign would be playing up the good news in national ads? Yet they don't even like to mention the economy other than to tell us that Obama will lead us "together to a better place". They dodge this economic issue and bring up diversions like GWB because they can't win on this issue.

I'll say this again. As a nation, we have to get this election right. Please think and logically analyze things before you vote. Don't rely on magic, woo, or happy thoughts to decide who to vote for. The last few years are a stunning example of what results from that kind of thinking.
Comment: #19
Posted by: Old Navy
Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:18 PM
Old Navy, could you please educate us as to what the unemploymnet rate was in the area you cited back in January of 2009 just before president Obama took office so that we can properly compare then to now. ??? That is the only fair way to evaluate the unemployment rate. Just askin" ??? And give us the exact website where you found this data so that we can be up to date. Since Governor Kasich, a Republican, has praised the surging job numbers in that area, I guess your are calling him a liar. ???
Comment: #20
Posted by: robert lipka
Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:26 PM
Re: Chris McCoy
LOL! Nixon as in "I am now a keynesian in economics" citing the depression era belief that government managed economy performs better than the free market.

I would ask if obama was a Keynesian but Likpa or Morgan or both would froth and post that I was not just a racist bigot but also a birther.

Agree entirely with the rest of your post. Corruption, graft, bribery, thug politics its the obama/Chicago way.
Comment: #21
Posted by: joseph wright
Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:28 PM
Re: Chris McCoy
"11 Years Later" we are having riots and killings in the Mid-East because of a movie about Mohammed, so say the liberals.
It's not about a movie, it's about a weird religion. Now you get my point!
Comment: #22
Posted by: Oldtimer
Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:32 AM
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