Tuesday, September 11, 2012
The Wound That Never Heals
Kurt Eichenwald has a piece in The New York Times called "The Deafness Before the Storm," which to sum up says point blank that the Bush Administration received multiple intelligence briefings regarding al-Qaeda plots in the U.S. yet did not act. Despite persistent pleas by the C.I.A. that the treat was real, Neocons at the Pentagon somehow managed to convince the Administration that the real danger was Saddam Hussein and not Osama bin Laden.
After the September 11 attacks, the Administration "attempted to deflect criticism ... by saying they had not been told when and where the attack would occur." As Eichenwald points out such deflection "misses the point." The facts are undeniable that actionable intelligence was available and the Bush Administration decided not to follow up on it. Had they done so, the government could've been on high alert and the whole attack might've been averted.
Of course we'll never know that for sure, as Eichenwald concedes, but that hasn't stopped the Bush apologists from jumping all over him and calling him a partisan. The usual "There was plenty of blame to go around" and "What about Clinton?" excuses are coming through the woodwork. David Frum and Ari Fleischer, both former Bush staffers, have taken particular exception to the piece. Fleischer has all but accused Eichenwald of being a Truther, which of course is absurd. At no point does Eichenwald accuse the Bush Administration of orchestrating the 9/11 attacks, which is EXACTLY what Truthers claim happen.
Did Bill Clinton fail to get bin Laden when he had the chance? Yes. Did the American intelligence community fail to connect the dots in the months leading up to the attacks? Most assuredly. But the inescapable truth is that the Bush Administration had within their midst the resources necessary to make an attempt to do something and punted. No amount of Monday-morning quarterbacking and lame excuses can change that fact.
Not only did the Administration fail to capitalize on the available information, it added insult to injury by plunging the nation into an illegal and costly war in Iraq that resulted in thousands of innocent deaths. Of all the blunders that occurred in the eight years of George Bush's reign of terror, none have proven more damaging and lasting than the events which occurred directly before and after September 11th. And there isn't an apology big enough to eradicate that sad legacy.