A BuzzFlash Reader Commentary
How W. Bush and His Administration Failed Us
May 21, 2002
Re: What's Fair is Fair, by Fifth Columnist
I think it should be pointed out, in addition to the evidence presented in this fine essay, that George W. "The Buck Stops Someplace Else but Not Here" Bush had little to distract his concentration on potential terrorist attacks during the summer months of 2001 preceding the September attacks.
A 20/20 hindsightful look at the information contained in the unconnected dots may provide clearer perspective in May 2002 than in August 2001, but the fact remains that warnings had been delivered, however vague they might have been, and that Mr. W. Bush had little else pressing.
So little pressing, in fact, that he was able to take a month off from his arduous duties as Buffalo Dick Cheney's version of Howdy Doody.
Mr. W. Bush had dismissed the Mideast issues as unworthy of his attention. The Enron collapse was still on the horizon. The Democratic leadership of the Senate was just settling in and had not yet delayed enough judicial nominations to be labeled obstructionist. There were no more treaties for Mr. W. Bush to abrogate, and he had returned from the terrorist-threat-laden Genoa talks with his skin intact.
Did he know, as a result of the August briefing, enough to have taken steps to prevent the attacks of September 11? Perhaps, but I doubt it. Not because I think it was patently impossible for anyone to have predicted those events -- after all, if the terrorists thunk it up, someone else could have thunk it up, too -- but because I believe the inherent laziness of Mr. W. Bush's occupation of the presidency precluded his personal connecting of the dots AND precluded the kind of determined effort on the part of his administration and underlings to put the pieces of evidence together.
That it is possible for security agencies to assemble evidence and pre-empt terrorist attacks ought to be self-evident. The Millennium Bomber conspiracy was foiled by intelligence agencies. Zacharias Moussaoui was arrested and presumably prevented form taking part in the September 11 attacks. Various individual agents of the intelligence services made reports on suspicious activities by suspicious individuals. In an administration that set an example of caring about national security, there very well might have been an atmosphere and an environment that encouraged the sharing of information, the plotting out of "dots" on the map of potential threats.
The W. Bush administration, however, has never impressed me as being particularly interested in national security. In the summer of 2001, there were no overt threats. The cold war was virtually over, the tensions with China had been relieved, and all that remained was to negotiate some sort of deal with that pesky, stubborn Taliban group in Afghanistan so the Caspian Basin oil and gas could begin to flow into the reservoirs (physical or economic) of W. Bush cronies such as Enron, Carlyle, etc.
The W. Bush administration has always been about personal interests, especially financial interests, cloaked in an ideology of national interest. The W. Bush administration has used various ideological rhetoric -- everything from right-to-life, gun rights, and anti-affirmative-action rights -- to disguise what could best be described as aristocratic/autocratic greed. The fact that no one has challenged the administration on this issue has in effect given the administration a green light on most of its agenda.
In contrast, the Clinton/Gore administration, which was engaged in world issues such as anti-terrorism and the Mideast tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, had to deal with the enormous distraction of the Republican-led feeding frenzy of the Lewinsky scandal, Whitewater, Travelgate, and a host of other pesky nuisances. What indeed might have happened to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida if Bill Clinton had been free to train his attention on anti-terrorism instead of defending himself against impeachment charges based on nothing more heinous than an extramarital affair that involved oral sex in the Oval Office?
Which was worse -- getting a blow job by Monica, or getting 3000 people blown away by terrorists?
In this sense, we ought to be able to blame the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy for at least part of the tragedy of September 11. Did Bill Clinton's sexual escapades contribute to a diminution of national security? Probably not. Did the VWRC's relentless investigation, with its expenditure of 73 million taxpayer dollars and usurpation of the time and energy of our government, contribute to the diminution of national security? I think it did, if it took the President's attention off his duties.
Mr. W. Bush has had no such distractions. He has had no excuses for not putting all his energies into the best interests of this country. Yet he -- and his various puppetmasters and spokespersons -- claim that it would have been impossible to connect the dots that led to September 11.
I would suggest, were I arguing this in a court of law, that in fact those dots might very well HAVE been connected, and that a very different picture of September 11 might have been engraved on our national memory had Mr. W. Bush been engaged in the business of being a leader before that fateful day. I contend that it was not the failure of intelligence organizations to provide the information but rather the failure of the W. Bush administration to provide leadership and engagement and concern for something other than the profits to be made from the systematic extraction of fossil fuels from the earth.
Do I believe Mr. W. Bush actually knew there would be a specific attack of a specific nature on specific targets on a specific day? No, I don't. And I don't believe Mr. W. Bush actively participated in the conspiracy of terrorists who attacked on September 11. But I do believe that the naked greed of Mr. W. Bush and those around him -- beginning with his father, from whose failed administration virtually all of Mr. W. Bush's administration springs -- established the atmosphere of non-cooperation, non-sharing of information, and non-concern that allowed such a tragedy to happen.
As more information comes out in the news and the number of dots increases -- from the memos on students at flight schools in Minnesota and Arizona; the assessments on the bombings of the USS Cole, the embassy in Nairobi, the World Trade Center in 1993; the warnings on al-Qaida; and so many others -- it becomes increasingly difficult NOT to see the pattern and where it was leading.
I contend, therefore, that it was not impossible at all for the W. Bush administration to have known something was afoot, but that it was impossible for the W. Bush administration to rouse itself sufficiently in the interest of national security to look at the picture those dots were forming.
No president is perfect. But Mr. W. Bush has no reason to excuse himself from his responsibility to the American people. Ignorance is no excuse. No matter what happens, the leader is always responsible. It is his job to be responsible.
But I do not think Mr. W. Bush is interested in doing his job. I don't think he knows what a job is.
Not even a blow job.
Ann Wheeler Hilton
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