The Bush-Cheney War on Iraq began on March 19, 2003. On the just-passed 16th anniversary of that totally unjustified aggression, on his Al-Awda-News my good friend Sami Joseph republished an outstanding column by Jeremy Hammond on the immediate run-up to it that was published in the Foreign Policy Journal on Sept. 12, 2012. Reading that excellent work made me think back to a column that I published on an early left-wing political website called "The Political Junkies.net," on May 6, 2004. Following along the lines of Mr. Hammond's article, which exposed the lies and the "intelligence failure" that underlay the Bush-Cheney Administration's public justification for the aggression, mine dealt with the larger politico-historical context of it, in re the 9/11 disaster. I am re-publishing an edited version of it here, under its original title: "Possible Explanations for Bush Behavior and 9/11."
The Run-up to 9/11, and It's Aftermath
Despite the swirl of revelations over the past months, the public remains facing a large set of unanswered 9/11 questions, glaring inconsistencies, and seeming lies-at-the-time and very possibly lies now, combined with a drive by the Georgites to withhold as much information as possible (cover-up, anyone?). Only extreme political pressure can force further key disclosures.
The subject of this writing is not a comprehensive review of that data. As a follow-through to the "Condi Rice 'Testimony'" column published on 4/22/04, I will present here just a few prime cases that have raised unanswered questions. The subject of this column is to take a look at possible explanations for the Georgite response concerning events and non-events before, during, and after 9/11, in the hope that someday, sooner rather than later of course (and hopefully before the next election), the true story will be revealed. [Current note: of course, it never has been.]
First, let's see a few examples of what we do know about specific information the Georgites had and what they did with it -- and some of the resulting actions they did and did not take. They are presented here not necessarily in either chronological order or order of importance.
There's the famous August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) that seemed to contain some very strong warnings of what eventually happened. There's the apparent fact that Attorney General John Ashcroft told Mr. Pickard, Acting Director of the FBI in the summer of 2001, not to bother him with talk about terrorism and counter-terrorism, while at the same time Ashcroft stopped flying on commercial flights. There's the famous quote from Richard Clarke about Bush, immediately post-9/11 asking him/telling him to find a connection between Osama bin Laden and Saddam. There's Bush, according to Sidney Blumenthal in The Guardian (UK, April 15, 2004), "Hear no evil, read no evil, speak drivel," not reading anything; whether it's his PDBs or a 17 volume State Department report entitled "The Future of Iraq", warning of nearly all the post-Iraq war pitfalls that have been encountered. [Current note: gosh, another president who didn't read?] Bush just listened to what his advisors told him or worse yet, what the real decision-makers, if they are not he, had already decided to do but were kind enough to let him in on.
Just in case any reader doesn't agree with my position that Bush really believes the religious doctrines he says he stands by and for, as quoted by Blumenthal, Bush says, "I also have this belief, strong belief that freedom is not this country's gift to the world. Freedom is the Almighty's gift to every man and woman in the world. And as the greatest power on the face of the earth, we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom." One must wonder what the Iraqis think about the example of what the "freedom" is that the Georgites are trying to sell to them/force down their throats at the barrel of a gun.
Then there's all the background about the Georgites trying to prevent the formation of the 9/11 Commission, then under-funding it, then not cooperating with it at all until forced to do so, then cooperating with it as little as possible, and so on. [Current note: gosh, that has a familiar ring to it too, doesn't it?] That is combined with the peculiar non-reaction of our Air Defenses (NORAD) on 9/11 once it was known, and it was known very early on, that at least one plane had been high-jacked that awful morning. Plus, there's the Great Commander continuing to read to school children after being informed of the first collision of plane with building, and then spending the rest of the day flying around the country on Air Force One. Then there is the mystery of assisting, on 9/12, all those Saudis, including members of bin Laden's family, to fly out of the country during a time when nothing else was flying in U.S. airspace. The litany could go on.
And so, what possible explanations might be offered for this series of events, non-events, actions, and inactions leading up to the 9/11 Disaster? I see at least six. They fall neatly into two groups of three. The first set assumes, at the worst, incompetence. The second set assumes rather more than that.
1. We, the White House and the agencies, did everything we could have, and anyway it was all Clinton's fault. [Current note: Once again, sound familiar?] One variation of this or another seems to be popular with Bush, Rice, and Ashcroft.
2. Mistakes were made, but not by the White House of course (remember the famous Bush non-answer to that question at his April, 2004 news conference --- since they are so rare, one doesn't have to give an exact date to date it), but rather by the agencies. They should have been more on the ball. But heck, everyone makes mistakes. Nobody's perfect (except us).
3. Beyond agency mistakes, the Georgites were, and are, incompetent. They should have been paying attention, but because of other priorities and bureaucratic bungling just didn't. It could have, and should have, been played much better. The dots were big enough and close enough together so that if appropriate attention had been paid at the appropriate levels of government, the attack might well have been prevented.