Monday, October 19, 2015

Barbara Bush Was Completely Right That The Country Doesn't Want Another Bush In The White House


Let's talk about a service the Trump campaign is doing for America. Thanks to Obama and Pelosi, Bush and Cheney were never held accountable for their 8 years of mayhem. And thanks to Trump-- or, more accurately, thanks to the Trump campaign's jihad against Jeb-- the Bush-Cheney responsibility for 9/11 and then destabilizing the Middle East by attacking Iraq under false pretenses is again being discussed by the American people. I'm sure you've noticed. We touched on it over the weekend to illustrate how a ruthless predator like Trump can force a sad patsy like Jeb to commit suicide by pressing the right buttons. Early this morning, Peter Beinart, writing for The Atlantic, made the devastating case that "Bush didn't do all he could to prevent the attack-- and it’s time Republicans confronted that fact"... and that the unsavory Trump is doing the right thing by bringing it up, even if for the wrong reasons. Beinart called it "an ugly truth," in contrast to the ugly untruths we've come to expect from the Trumpish mouth-- and noted that "politicians and journalists erupted in indignation. Jeb Bush called Trump’s comments 'pathetic.' Ben Carson dubbed them 'ridiculous.'... and that the reporter who had asked Trump the question said, 'Hold on, you can’t blame George Bush for that.'" But, as Beinart said, "Oh yes, you can."
There’s no way of knowing for sure if Bush could have stopped the September 11 attacks. But that’s not the right question. The right question is: Did Bush do everything he could reasonably have to stop them, given what he knew at the time? And he didn’t. It’s not even close.

When the Bush administration took office in January 2001, CIA Director George Tenet and National Security Council counterterrorism “czar” Richard Clarke both warned its incoming officials that Al Qaeda represented a grave threat. During a transition briefing early that month at Blair House, according to Bob Woodward’s Bush at War, Tenet and his deputy James Pavitt listed Osama Bin Laden as one of America’s three most serious national-security challenges. That same month, Clarke presented National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice with a plan he had been working on since Al Qaeda’s attack on the USS Cole the previous October. It called for freezing the network’s assets, closing affiliated charities, funneling money to the governments of Uzbekistan, the Philippines and Yemen to fight Al Qaeda cells in their country, initiating air strikes and covert operations against Al Qaeda sites in Afghanistan, and dramatically increasing aid to the Northern Alliance, which was battling Al Qaeda and the Taliban there.

But both Clarke and Tenet grew deeply frustrated by the way top Bush officials responded. Clarke recounts that when he briefed Rice about Al Qaeda, “her facial expression gave me the impression that she had never heard the term before.” On January 25, Clarke sent Rice a memo declaring that, “we urgently need…a Principals [Cabinet] level review on the al Qida [sic] network.” Instead, Clarke got a sub-cabinet, Deputies level, meeting in April, two months after the one on Iraq.

When that April meeting finally occurred, according to Clarke’s book, Against All Enemies, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz objected that “I just don’t understand why we are beginning by talking about this one man, bin Laden.” Clarke responded that, “We are talking about a network of terrorist organizations called al-Qaeda, that happens to be led by bin Laden, and we are talking about that network because it and it alone poses an immediate and serious threat to the United States.” To which Wolfowitz replied, “Well, there are others that do as well, at least as much. Iraqi terrorism for example.”

By early summer, Clarke was so despondent that he asked to be reassigned. “This administration,” he later testified, “didn’t either believe me that there was an urgent problem or was unprepared to act as though there were an urgent problem. And I thought, if the administration doesn’t believe its national coordinator for counterterrorism when he says there’s an urgent problem and if it’s unprepared to act as though there’s an urgent problem, then probably I should get another job.” In July, the Deputies Committee finally agreed to schedule a Principals level meeting on Clarke’s plan. But the schedule for July was already full, and in August too many Cabinet members were on vacation, so the meeting was set for September.

During that same time period, the CIA was raising alarms too... But the same Defense Department officials who discounted Clarke’s warnings pushed back against the CIA’s. According to Eichenwald’s sources, “the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat.”

...The warnings continued. On July 11, the CIA sent word to the White House that a Chechen with links to Al Qaeda had warned that something big was coming. On July 24, the Daily Brief said the expected Al Qaeda attack had been postponed but was still being planned. Finally, on August 6, the CIA titled its Daily Brief: “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike the US.” The briefing didn’t mention a specific date or target, but it did mention the possibility of attack in New York and mentioned that the terrorists might hijack airplanes. In Angler, Barton Gellman notes that it was the 36th time the CIA had raised Al Qaeda with President Bush since he took office... On the morning of September 11, 2001, Clarke’s anti-Al Qaeda plan was sitting on Bush’s desk, awaiting his signature. It was the ninth National Security Presidential Directive of his presidency.

...When Donald Trump hurls insults at his opponents, respectable people generally roll their eyes. But it is precisely Trump’s refusal to be respectable that helps him spark debates that elites would rather avoid. And sometimes, those debates are important to have.

Given that George W. Bush’s advisors still dominate the Republican foreign-policy establishment-- an establishment that has not broken with his ideological legacy in any fundamental way-- his record both before and after 9/11 remains relevant to the terrorism debate today. For many years now, that foreign-policy establishment has insisted that questioning Bush’s failure to stop the September 11 attacks constitutes an outrageous slur. That’s why Fleischer is now calling Trump a “truther.” He’s purposely blurring the line between accusing Bush of having orchestrated the attacks and accusing Bush of having been insufficiently vigilant in trying to stop them. But Bush was insufficiently vigilant. The evidence is overwhelming.

If Jeb’s loyalty to his brother makes it impossible for him to confront that, fine. But he has no right to demand that the rest of the public avert its eyes.

Maybe it's more than Jeb's blind loyalty in play here, though. David Sirota, writing for today's International Business Times noted the real irony about Jeb's laughable assertion that his brother "kept us safe." Jeb himself, in his role as Governor of Florida didn't keep us safe, in fact, quite the contrary. "Many of the 9/11 hijackers were able to obtain Florida driver’s licenses or identification cards-- and train freely in the state-- while Jeb Bush was governor." Jeb, of course is trying to pass the buck and blame his subordinates.
While Jeb Bush has called Trump’s criticism “pathetic,” the immigration policies of Bush’s gubernatorial administration were under the microscope in 2001 when law enforcement officials acknowledged that Florida had issued driver’s licenses or state identification cards to 12 of the hijackers, all of whom had come to the United States on visas. The St. Petersburg Times reported that at the time of the attack there was a warrant in Florida to apprehend one of the lead hijackers, Mohammed Atta, but “the warrant for Atta's arrest was ignored.” A national conservative organization pushing tougher immigration laws soon criticized Bush for his unwillingness to support what the group said was legislation necessary to stop terrorism.

...In the days after the 2001 attacks, news broke that most of the 9/11 hijackers carried driver’s licenses or identification cards issued by Florida’s department of motor vehicles-- an agency controlled by Bush and the other statewide elected officials who comprise the Florida Cabinet. Some of the licenses and ID cards were issued by the state while Bush was governor. Some of the hijackers trained for the attacks at Flight Safety International in Vero Beach, Florida. Local newspapers said the Florida licenses played a pivotal role in helping the hijackers conduct business in the United States.

“Terrorists known to have Florida licenses or identification cards made more than a dozen trips total to driver's license offices in the state,” the St. Petersburg Times reported “That's how often the terrorists willingly called themselves to the attention of the state, either to acquire a license or to update their address, both of which might have helped them rent cars or board planes without arousing suspicion.”

Mohammed Atta lived in Delray Beach and rented an airplane. He had been stopped a few months before 9/11 by Florida law enforcement officials, and was told to appear in court the next month. However, he was not arrested and, the Times wrote, “deputies never learned that Atta reportedly was on a U.S. government ‘watch list’ of people tied to terrorist activity.” The newspaper also noted that while Atta tried and failed to get a driver’s license at one Florida facility, he was able to get one later at another facility.

Another hijacker, one of several aboard the American Airlines flight that crashed into the Pentagon, was stopped for a traffic violation in Arlington, Virginia, days before the attack and had a Florida driver’s license, according to CNN.

Others bided their time in Florida; the Palm Beach Post reported that “at least seven and possibly nine of the hijackers lived in Delray Beach in the months leading up to the attack” and “three others lived in Boynton Beach.” Several also looked into renting crop duster planes-- officials believed they may have been aiming to use them to drop chemicals, according to news station WPBF.

“Gov. Jeb Bush has ordered a ‘top-to-bottom’ review of all state security measures, including Florida's licensing laws,” the St. Petersburg Times wrote in an editorial just after the attacks. “That so many of the terrorists obtained IDs and flight instruction here was not a coincidence.” Noting that the majority of hijackers “were able to obtain state driver's licenses and identification that enabled them to nestle within the fabric of society,” the newspaper declared: “Alarm bells should have gone off but never did. We can no longer afford these kind of security lapses.”

Bush signed an executive order in October 2001 for foreigners to receive only 30-day temporary driving permits while police investigate their identification, and he called for the regulation of flight schools to be reviewed.

"The world has changed and we're going to respond to that change," Bush told the Tampa Bay Times that month, as he accepted a report on the state's readiness to prevent terrorism.
But now Jeb is trying to raise money by attacking Trump over the issue! "If you believe as I do," his campaign wrote in an e-mail, "that my brother kept this country safe and strong after those horrific attacks, then I need you to donate $5 and fight back against Donald Trump." Neither his nor his brother's policies did anything but throw out a welcoming mat to the 9/11 terrorists.

What a terrible time for Jeb's campaign for Truth, the SONY movie about how Dan Rather and producer Mary Maples were fired for reporting the truth about George W. Bush's shady record in the Texas Air National Guard, to get released! I hope everyone goes to see it.

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At 11:50 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

Wouldn't miss it!

Some reason Redford couldn't at LEAST darken his hair a little and TRY and look like Rather?
That last "Wild", not, Appalachian trail movie of his sucked badly bigtime, zzzzzzzz.

Rather had big ones.
Time for Redford to start LOOKING like the people he's playing if they are real characters.

At 11:58 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

Oops, WHAT happened to JEB was the smarter brother cartoon? Dan Rather movie commercial?
Scary, am I in the wrong universe/commentary??? again...

At 4:41 AM, Anonymous brian said...

George W Bush killed 3000 people.

At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't Rather's hair gray or grayish by then?


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