Let’s just put the latest White House spin in to perspective whilst the administration scrambles to come up with the next round of so-called explanations defending its hero of September 11th, George W. Bush.
Until now, Bush has taken credit for being the leader of the free world, fighting against terrorism and anyone who has ever known a terrorist. Make no mistake; we are at war and if the president deems a state to be anti American, we pre-emptively strike and name it a terrorist nation. This assumes that the American public (all speeches are, after all, addressed to the “American people” only) will fall for this bag of tricks and fall in lock step with White House propaganda. This has now reached such epidemic proportions, is there any country in the world that actually takes the US seriously any more?
The White House is told in May of 2001 that there are Islamic militant threats currently in the works involving American targets. For three months the White House is informed of potential hijackings, terrorist threats, and attacks using American based airlines. Since June of 2001 Al-Quada and Osama bin Laden have been named as being behind these impending dangers. The FBI learns of Arab men taking flying lessons with the intent of flying a plane without landing or taking off. The FBI issues warnings to Bush. The CIA issues warnings to Bush. Bush and his inner circle apparently didn’t have the collective mental capacity to file this information under “possible Arab/Muslim terrorist threat”. And we all know that if an Arab or Muslim is involved, it has to be bad news.
Bush gets several more warnings from the FBI and CIA, and in August is given a full briefing at his ranch in Texas to deliver the news. Did anyone connect the dots (the vernacular of the moment) and use pure logic to say, “We have Arabs trying to fly planes but not land them; we know that Muslim Arab suicide bombers have planned to use planes to attack buildings in the Philippines, Italy and France in the past; we know that Osama bin Laden has designs on American interests; we know bin Laden blew up the USS Cole; we have been warned that American planes are targets, and we have been repeatedly told of these threats. We have Zacharias Moussaoui in jail because the FBI thought him a significant enough risk to arrest him, but we won’t examine his computer for any leads because that’s in invasion of his rights. Nah, none of this is that important and doesn’t add up to more than vague, so let’s toss it over to others and let them deal with the problem. We need to get back to more urgent matters: Cheney needs to meet with Middle Eastern oil brokers in secret, and we have a few private coffees with the Jewish lobby in order to collect money for us and the GOP – the ADL and AIPACs new best friends.”
On September 11th, Arab hijackers used the World Trade Centres and the Pentagon as targets, killing 3,000 people from all around the globe. Instantly Bush accuses Osama bin Laden of responsibility without sharing evidence for this conclusion with the public. Other nations who received the apparent evidence of bin Laden’s guilt claimed that it “wouldn’t stand up in a court of law”.
We now see Ari Fleischer spinning on his own personal axis to try and deflect all questions about the simple logic behind the latest revelation that the White House knew a lot more than it ever led us to believe, and never fessed up afterwards. Someone leaked this, and heads must roll. Poor Ari, you have to feel sorry for the guy: he’s got to defend this President and this White House, who think we are all gullible and naéve to whatever they feed us, whilst Ari knows that the press is really not that stupid. He also knows that if they are persistent in their line of questioning, they won’t be permitted entrance to the press briefing room next time should he so deem fit.
So reducing all this, what do we have? We have a White House that knew, but didn’t really know. A White House that knew who was behind the attacks but wouldn’t prove it to the public when asked. Who had warnings and ignored them. Who never told us that they knew all along that something would happen using US planes, Arab Muslim extremists and hijackings. There was no leap of any semblance of logic anywhere in this White House to put all this together, warn the public, and step up security at least minimally. Not even pilots were warned of the heightened sense of danger, although John Ashcroft stopped flying commercial planes immediately.
Could Bush have done something to prevent the September 11th attacks? We won’t know that, but it took the US 24 hours to suddenly beef up security around US airports and be keenly on the lookout for men flying whilst brown, including Bush’s own personal Secret Service agent. It took 24 hours before the US announced that Osama bin Laden was behind the attacks, and that we are going to war against terrorism. Which we did, handily netting a massive amount of money for operations against such terror with nary a blink of an eye from Congress who were all claiming shell shock. Of course that’s because they weren’t told of all the information Bush and his team had about these attacks in advance, including a war plan on Bush’s desk outlining step by step actions against Afghanistan two days prior to September 11th which we instantly carried out. No trouble following the dots in that manual. And we were able to blow up 4,500 Afghan civilians and 10,000 Afghan based fighters, far exceeding the toll of death in the US. Certainly exceeding the death toll of Afghans killed in the September 11th attacks, which amounted to a sum total of zero.
And where is Osama bin Laden? Did we “smoke him out”? Our tax dollars are paying for a war wherein this administration will force upon you the notion that this war is succeeding. I don’t know when you last defined success, but abject failure to me doesn’t come close.
What would have happened had Clinton been in the Oval Office at the time of these numerous and repeated warnings? It doesn’t take an great mind to imagine the outcries of “liberal bed wetting traitor” would pour from the public and fill the airwaves. Congress would have demanded an official enquiry within hours, and Clinton would have been 100% responsible for, as Rush Limbaugh would doubtlessly claim, “killing our own men and women to add to his body count”.
What if the hijackers had been Palestinian instead of Saudi Arabian? Had the hijackers been Hamas, Hezbollah, or Islamic Jihad, Arafat would have been responsible and Israel would have gone to war at the behest of the Bush White House without a vote in the Knesset. We would have aided and abetted Israel and its capacity to strike at Palestine once and for all, giving confirmation to Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu that they were right all along and had to be wiped off the face of the earth forever. What a perfect opportunity would have been waiting. America could have seen its weapons in action, up close and personal, against a population who never even flew in a plane; after all, we give $3 billion a year of our taxpayer money on military aid alone to Israel. Does it really matter that Arafat has little if any control over a disgruntled extremist and illegally occupied people?
There is absolutely no justification nor excuse for this President to have ignored the continued warnings about hijacking threats given the information available to him from the CIA and FBI in the months prior. There is ample reason for the administration to convince us, the public, that it was “general” and “vague”. Despite being so general and vague that they knew precisely who was responsible for the September 11th attacks, launching a multi billion dollar war effort to locate some caves and cause mass civilian death. Still no Osama.
We must believe that the White House knew nothing of value. We must believe that all that “generic” information was passed off to other people in the spin and blame game on Capitol Hill. We must believe that they are faultless, because we are fool enough to never ask questions of the Bush White House. We do not need to know. We are taxpayers and we shall not ask. We must, however, turn around on September 12th and trust the White House to know exactly who was responsible, when, where and why. And believe whatever desperate backtracking they try and sell us now.
Above all, we must believe that for eight months of being asked what the White House knew, it “forgot” to mention all these warnings even when the press asked if they ever had an idea of a forthcoming attack.
Remember what happened to the Clintons when Hillary “forgot” the Rose Law Firm papers?
President Truman had a sign on his desk that read, “The Buck Stops Here”. It appears that President Bush’s reads, “The Buck Goes Everywhere Else”.
Tanya C. Hsu is British, lives in the US, and is a writer of Middle Eastern politics. She is also a staff member of Palestine Media Watch. Currently she is working on two books on the people of Palestine. She contributed above article to Media Monitors Network.