September 11, 2001
First, the 9-11 attacks. No matter how Bush tries to blame the Clinton administration, this attack happened on his watch. George Bush assumed the presidency on January 20, 2001 and the terrorist attacks happened on September 11, 2001. The Clinton administration had left the Bush administration a comprehensive report on the subject of al Qaeda, including a plan to thwart their efforts. George Bush ignored it. It's now common knowledge that he also ignored repeated warnings between April and September of 2001. Not only was he warned of potential terrorist attacks taking place on our soil, but he was warned that the terrorists might use airplanes as weapons. The administration was warned by Israel's Mossad, as well as by Jordan and Moroccan intelligence. How did he spin his administration's failure to act? Bush and Cheney stated that, had the domestic wiretapping authorization been given in 2001 instead of 2002, it would have prevented the terrorist attacks. As usual, this is a bald-faced lie. The memo he received a month before the attacks warned that Bin Laden was determined to hit targets inside the United States. He didn't need wiretapping. If the memo could not move him to action, there is no way that wiretapping would have prevented the attacks. You simply have to question why he ignored it. In fact, you simply have to question the official version of 9-11 being fed us by the Bush administration.
Was the US military on "stand down" or "slow down" on September 11, 2001? While many conservatives show disdain for the conspiracy theories that have been proposed since that infamous day, there are a number of holes in the official story. What we do know is that the US military response was not what it should have been. The Bush administration's repeated stonewalling of the 9-11 investigation and the fact that the not-so-bi-partisan 9-11 Commission report was treated so irrelevantly by the administration that the American publica has become suspicious
Why were 140 Saudis safely flown out of the United States during the week after 9-11, when even Bill Clinton and Al Gore, both out of the country at the time of the attack, were not even allowed to fly back home? Many were members of the royal House of Saud, and at least 24 were direct members of the bin Laden family. Why weren't they detained for questioning instead? This would have been a logical step, given the fact that 14 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis and it was Saudi money backing al Qaeda? In fact, Osama bin Laden is a Saudi national.
The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars
Then, we have two ill-advised, ill-planned wars, one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. The justification for these two wars, of course, was to fight terror. In fact, the 9-11 terrorist attacks became the excuse for just about every crime the Bush administration has committed. According to our truth-challenged leader, we were going to take the war to the terrorists by invading Afghanistan and capturing Osama bin Laden. In fact, George Bush vowed we would get him "dead or alive" during one of his post 9-11 speeches. New information from former US officials, however, shows that George W. Bush had absolutely no plan to bring Osama bin Laden to justice. The only question that remains is why? Is this because of the close business ties between the Bush and bin Laden families? Or is it because bin Laden had nothing to do with the attacks at all? According to sources, George Bush was more interested in attacking Iraq than finding Osama bin Laden.
Of course, President Bush justified the invasion of Iraq by lying to Congress and the American people about a great many things, including that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9-11 terrorist attacks. We now know that was a lie and that George Bush invaded a sovereign nation under false pretenses. This was further legitimized when Robert Richer, a top CIA official, confessed that an order to forge a letter connecting Iraq with the events of 9-11 came to him on White House stationery. The most likely source, says Richer, was the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.
The president landed on the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003 and announced that the Iraq war was over. There was a huge 'Mission Accomplished' banner behind him. It is now 2008 and there's no end to the war in sight. In fact, our Republican presidential wannabe (John McCain) says he'll stay in Iraq for 100 years if that's what it takes to win the war (whatever 'win' means). At the five-year mark, we have lost 4,180 US troops. More than 1.2 million innocent Iraqis have died. At a cost of $12 billion per month, the mission is anything but accomplished. As far as Afghanistan is concerned, it remains a black hole for the mainstream media. Nobody even talks about it. Estimates from one web site provide these numbers: 8,587 Afghan troops killed; 3,485 Afghan civilians killed; 513 US troops killed; and 433 other coalition troops killed. Either way, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff isn't upbeat about the Afghanistan war: Next year, he says, will even be worse than this year.
Hurricane Katrina, August 29, 2005
The third watershed event was Hurricane Katrina and our government's disgustingly feeble efforts both before and after the storm. Katrina first made landfall at 7 a.m. on August 29 as a category 4 hurricane. At 7:30 a.m., the White House was warned that the levees were failing. In fact, before the storm was over, nearly all of the levees would be breached. Documents show that the White House had ample warning about the severity of Katrina, even though George Bush went on Good Morning America on September 1, 2005, to state, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." There's yet another outright lie. While still on a month-long vacation in Crawford, Texas, George Bush was told about the levees and then some. He had a report that predicted that the levees would be breached and that Katrina could potentially destroy 90% of the city structures. It also described the depth and breadth of the search and rescue effort that would be required, and predicted the displacement of more than 1 million residents. The president asked no questions. Instead, he told New Orleans officials, "We are fully prepared." That, too, was a lie.
Washington was anything but prepared. Why is that? Because, our key government officials were all on vacation when Katrina hit. George Bush, in spite of the warnings, stayed on vacation in Crawford, Texas. Meanwhile, Dick Cheney stayed on vacation in Jackson, Wyoming. Condoleeza Rice went to New York during the storm to see a Broadway play and buy herself some expensive new shoes. In spite of the catastrophic storm and devastation overwhelming the Gulf states on August 29, President Bush did not rush back to Washington. Instead, he spent his Tuesday playing golf. After that, he played guitar with some country and western singers. Think Progress has put together an incredible time line of Katrina's devastation and our president's response. It's clear that Bush had other business on his mind.
Unfortunately, President George W. Bush showed no greater leadership after the disaster than he did before and during the disaster. Two weeks after the storm, Bush pledged a homesteading plan to help residents of New Orleans. Unfortunately, it wasn't a complete plan and left many homeless people without assistance. The Baker Plan (named for its Republican sponsor Representative Richard Baker) was a much more complete plan, and it received the backing of Senator Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat.. It would provide compensation to victims right away and give them a choice of how to rebuild their homes. It even allowed people to walk away with compensation without rebuilding if they wished. The White House, of course, opposed the plan, mostly because it made George Bush's plan look as anemic as it actually was. The most decisive action President Bush took was to make sure he helped businesses profit from the Katrina disaster. First, he suspended federal rules and authorized FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers to extend no-bid contracts to corporations participating in the rebuilding. He also suspended the federal Davis-Bacon Act which requires contractors utilizing federal funds to play local prevailing wages on construction projects. You've just got to love those compassionate conservatives.
Think Progress has put together a very detailed and informative timeline of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
The Economic Meltdown of 2008
George Bush isn't the only Republican proponent of deregulation. Our 'deregulation nation' was actually launched during the Reagan Administration. However, it was carried to new heights under the Bush administration. Over the last eight years, corporations of all types have been given unprecedented powers to police themselves. Take a look at Wall Street. It's much more than a 'free market' playground. It is synonymous with corruption, deception and greed. How does the Bush administration respond? By giving the perpetrators a $700 billion infusion of new monopoly money to play with, ignoring Americans facing foreclosure and fleecing the American taxpayer. The White House employed its usual fear-mongering and strong-arm tactics to get the bail-out package passed, telling members of Congress that the stock market would suffer a devastating drop. When that didn't work, several Senators were threatened with martial law, the final step of our descent into fascism.
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