I think it might have been too much to expect Osama Bin Laden to have picked up the telephone and called National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice or President Bush before 19 of his mostly American-based disciples hijacked planes and struck the World Trade Center a second time.
So after the first assault on the Twin Towers by al-Qaeda, the many subsequent al-Qaeda attacks that followed, and all of Bin Laden’s sabre-rattling about trying again (possibly using hijacked airplanes as torpedoes) we might have been better prepared.
We didn’t have Al-Jazeera reporters conveying the threats. The sources were clandestine, foreign governments and media reports, according to the now infamous Aug. 6, 2001 "President’s Daily Brief" that only a handful of weeks before Bin Laden’s strikes warned that Bin Laden wanted to do more. Something big. And that Bin Laden would rely on cells in the United States.
Funny how government is. When Bin Laden says something innocuous, it’s a clear threat and evidence that he was involved in September 11th. Recall Bin Laden never initially claimed credit for Sept. 11th. He only celebrated and rejoiced in the terrorism afterwards in numerous interviews, and that was enough for President Bush to indict him.
But when the same kind of evidence suggests Bin Laden was planning a sequel to the first failed attempt to destroy the Twin Towers, Rice and Bush want us to believe that Bin Laden’s threats were meaningless and only important in the light of 20-20 hindsight.
Sorry, Mr. President. I don’t buy that baloney. You screwed up. You had other priorities, like avenging the honor of your father by taking out Saddam Hussein instead of fighting the real war on terrorism. All the reasons you gave us for attacking Iraq were based on lies and half-truths, evidence that doesn’t even come close to the frightening accuracy of what you had and missed involving Bin Laden before Sept. 11th.
Now you want us to believe that the PDB offering the most convincing evidence of a Sept. 11th threat ever to exist was nothing more than "historical" observations, as Rice explained after being forced to testify before the September 11th Commission you’ve been so reluctant to support.
I don’t buy her responses or your excuses.
It’s clear you were so consumed with trumping up evidence to justify an attack against Iraq that you couldn’t have possibly seen al-Qaeda coming, even if Bin Laden had held a press conference to declare his intentions ahead of time.
The blame doesn’t just fall on your shoulders. I also blame your "Hell’s kitchen cabinet" of advisers like Richard Perle, a guy who makes the traditional "Big Lie" as little more than a "fib." I also blame the news media who you rope-a-doped after September 11th into pulling their punches on truth in the name of National Patriotism.
How dare any reporter challenge you when we had been struck so viciously and immorally by such a backward, sandal-wearing Third World degenerate? I am sure you and Rice saw how easy it was to brow-beat the media with just enough guilt that they wouldn’t ask questions like, "With all the evidence before hand, why didn’t President Bush see this attack coming?"
And, "Why are we attacking Iraq so forcefully first, while Bin Laden continues to operate and make threats in Afghanistan?" Not enough contracts for Halliburton, I presume. No oil spoils in Afghanistan to satiate America’s drunken thirst for gasoline, big cars, SUV’s and the new post-September 11th patriotism fad, Hummers.
My God. The PDB speaks clearly about al-Qaeda operatives working in the United States, contemplating the use of hijacked airplanes, and even conducting surveillance of buildings in New York, a city and target mentioned twice in the 11-paragraph PDB.
It’s very possible that ignorance is the president’s defense. I mean, could anyone but a person so naÃ¯ve not been alarmed even had they failed to read and appreciate the content of the PDB had they only read the PDB’s ominous headline: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."
Maybe Bush misunderstood. He thought Bin Laden’s American-based cells were engaged in some sort of labor union strife? Or, possibly, Bush has other meanings for the word "determined." Add them to his dictionary of new phrases, like "subliminable."
The fact that it took nearly three years for the White House to release the PDB suggests strongly that President Bush is not as stupid as he might seem. Bush knows exactly how damaging the PDB appears, now that he finally understands what it all means.