Subject: 9/11 Nonsense
Date: 17 Mar 2004 16:58:29 -0800
NNTP-Posting-Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2004 00:58:29 +0000 (UTC)
By William Rivers Pitt
Wednesday 17 March 2004
The attacks of September 11 have become, morosely, a political
football. The Bush for President campaign is running commercials that
display burning towers and the faces of brave firefighters, said
firefighters being played by actors. Despite outraged howls from real
firefighters, who were joined in rage by family members of 9/11
victims, the commercials continue to run. Bush believes his leadership
in the aftermath of the attacks should be a campaign issue, and so
there it is.
In truth, however, September 11 became a political football on
September 11. Conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan, in the immediate
aftermath of the attacks, blamed the Clinton administration. "The
decision to get down and dirty with the terrorists, to take their
threat seriously and counter them aggressively, was simply never
taken," wrote Sullivan. Senator Orrin Hatch referred in 1996 to the
terrorist threats, threats which compelled Clinton to attempt the
passage of a comprehensive anti-terrorism bill that would have gone a
long way to stopping 9/11, as "Phony threats." After September 11, he
joined the 'Blame Clinton' chorus.
During his administration, Clinton offered legislation that would
give the Treasury Secretary broad powers to ban foreign nations and
banks from accessing American financial markets unless they cooperated
with money-laundering investigations that would expose and terminate
terrorist cash flows. The legislation was killed by Texas Republican
Senator Phil Gramm, who was chairman of the Banking Committee. At the
time, he called the bill "totalitarian." It was revealed later, of
course, that Gramm killed the bill because it would have blocked Enron
officers from laundering stolen stockholder money through the same
offshore conduits the terrorists were using. Gramm, from Texas, was
beholden to Enron, and killed the bill at their behest. Of course, he
joined the 'Blame Clinton' chorus after the attacks, and never mind
There was Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell blaming the attacks on
gays, feminists and the ACLU a couple of days after the horror. They
claimed the attacks were God's justice being levied against America
for tolerating such people. No one quite explained the glaring hole in
this logic - if the terrorists were acting as an instrument of God's
justice, doesn't that mean the terrorists themselves are blameless
instruments of the Lord? - but in the end, the message was clear.
Liberals like Clinton were to blame for the attacks.
The list goes on. September 11 became a political football on
that very day, and it has since been punted all over the playing
field. The GOP has tried relentlessly to throw the blame at Clinton,
but on Tuesday, the game took a bizarre new turn. According to an
editorial in the New York Post, John Kerry is to blame for the attacks
of September 11. Yes, you read that right. John Kerry did it.
The article, written by Paul Sperry and titled "The Warning Kerry
Ignored," claims that Kerry was given a warning some months before the
attacks of security problems at Logan Airport, where two of the planes
originated, and failed to handle them properly. He sent the warning,
received from an FAA agent in Boston, to the Department of
Transportation's Office of the Inspector General. According to this
FAA agent, and according to Sperry, this wasn't good enough. Because
of Kerry's failure, the article argues, 3,000 people are dead.
The Bush administration received a blizzard of warnings before
September 11 that something huge was about to happen. The security
agencies of Germany, Israel, Egypt and Russia delivered specific
warnings about airplanes being used as bombs against prominent
American targets. FBI agents were raising alarms in Minnesota and
Arizona. Donald Kerrick was a deputy National Security Advisor in the
late Clinton administration. He stayed on into the Bush
administration. He was a three-star General, and absolutely not
political. He has reported that when the Bush people came in, he wrote
a memo about terrorism, al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The memo said,
"We will be struck again." As a result of writing that memo, he was
not invited to any more meetings. No one responded to his memo. He
felt that, from what he could see from inside the National Security
Council, terrorism was demoted.
Richard Clarke was Director of Counter-Terrorism in the National
Security Council. He has since left. Clarke urgently tried to draw the
attention of the Bush administration to the threat of al Qaeda.
Richard Clarke was panicked about the alarms he was hearing regarding
potential attacks. Clarke is at the center of what has since become a
burning controversy: What happened on August 6, 2001? It was on this
day that George W. Bush received his last, and one of the few,
briefings on terrorism. According to reports, the briefing stated
bluntly that Osama bin Laden intended to attack America soon, and
contained the word "hijacking." Bush responded to the warning by
heading to Texas for a month-long vacation. It is this briefing that
the Bush administration has refused to divulge to the committee
investigating the attacks.
There was not a single Republican member of Congress who ever
raised a single question or put a query to the Clinton National
Security Council about its efforts against terrorism before the
attacks. When the Clinton team left office, their National Security
group conducted three extensive briefings of the incoming Bush people.
The attitude of the Bush people was, essentially, dismissive, that it
was a "Clinton thing." Condoleezza Rice has admitted that the massive
file on al Qaeda and bin Laden left for her by outgoing National
Security Advisor Sandy Berger went completely unread until the attacks
had taken place. This happened despite the fact that Berger told her
during one such briefing, "I believe that the Bush Administration will
spend more time on terrorism generally, and on al-Qaeda specifically,
than any other subject."
One FAA agent delivered a security warning that was forwarded to
the proper agency by the Senator who received it. Meanwhile, dozens of
alarm bells were blaring in the White House, and especially in the
Oval Office, about impending attacks using airplanes against prominent
targets. This particular chapter of the 9/11 blame game would be
uproariously hilarious if it were not so completely absurd.
William Rivers Pitt is the senior editor and lead writer for
truthout. He is a New York Times and international bestselling author
of two books - 'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know'
and 'The Greatest Sedition is Silence.'