Last Thursday, George W. Bush emerged from his “chat‰ with the 9/11 Commission and responded to questions in a 4 minute press conference. Bush announced that he had “enjoyed it‰, that he “was glad he took the time‰ to show the panel “how I set strategy, how we run the White House, how we deal with threats‰. Bush boasted he had “answered every question!‰ Although he declined to elaborate what any one of those questions were, he did mention that he thought it was important for the panel to see his and Dick Cheney‚s body language. Headlines worldwide proclaimed that Bush and Cheney had met with the panel “for hours‰. The panel members were ebullient, declaring that the event was “marvelous‰, “unprecedented‰, and “extraordinary‰, that the president was “candid‰.
When asked how he would respond to critics of his having demanded to meet alongside second in command Cheney, Bush responded, “…look, if we had something to hide we wouldn't have met with them in the first place". This disquieting comment must be weighed against the fact that he opposed the creation of the panel in the first place, has stonewalled providing access to critical materials needed by the panel to complete its mission, and demanded a series of extraordinary, unprecedented conditions for his appearance before, or as he called it, “visit‰ with the panel. These included the requirement that he and Cheney appear together, that it be out of the view of the public, that they not be placed under oath, and that no recording or transcript of the session be allowed. After the session, the notebooks of all members of the commission were confiscated by White House handlers “to review them for any classified information‰. And yet another condition of the meeting was that no member of the White House staff be called again by the panel for any further questioning whatsoever.
One might be tempted to take all of this in and proclaim on behalf of the president and his administration “Commission Accomplished!‰ For we have seen this technique before. Only a year ago Bush hook landed on an aircraft carrier anchored 30 miles from shore, within easy reach by helicopter, and strutted from an S-3B Viking aircraft to address the crew in front of a banner reading MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. ”Major combat operations in Iraq have ended‰ Bush announced via teleprompter to the congratulatory gathering. He basked gratuitously in self proclaimed victory for the world to adore as the cameras clicked away. Unfortunately for Bush, and tragically for the many who have lost their lives and received serious injury, reality belies that assessment as dangerously premature and thoroughly, fabulously, inaccurate.
As with the days and moments after the aircraft carrier incident, as with the days and moments after the 2002 State of the Union address, it is likely that Americans are digesting and weighing the statements of George W. Bush, or in this case, the lack thereof, against the factual backdrop. The path leads in one direction, to the disturbing unanswered questions surrounding 9/11 and the insidious secrecy and vacuous credibility and accountability of the Bush regime.
We know from the recent 9/11 hearings that the warnings leading up to 9/11 were dire, that there was a major and unprecedented threat spike the summer of 2001 and according to Condoleezza Rice, all were on high alert. We know that Ashcroft specifically de-prioritized terrorism and informed the Director of the FBI to no longer report on Al Qaeda threats in the US to him. We know that the former Head of the Anti-Terror division accuses the Bush administration of ignoring the terrorism threat. We know that Cheney, assigned the duties of leading a Task Force to prepare for a response to domestic terrorism in May, did not convene this commission. We know that Bush himself requested a report on domestic Bin Laden and terrorist threats and received a clear and indisputable headline report on August 6 indicating that a threat existed in the United States with observed hijack related activity. And yet, for national security reasons, we are barred from knowing what actions if any George Bush took in response to the information available and what explanation Cheney has for never conducting his own terror related role. Or are we? Perhaps the truth is self evident.
As the recent trend indicates, books by former Bush administration insiders and respected commentators flow unabated, whistle blowers like Sibel Edmonds bravely stand up and speak out, independent media such as Democracy Now and this publication counterbalance the biased and propagandistic PSYOPS of the overly consolidated mainstream press by reporting actual facts. And common citizens, activists, researchers, academics, and historians proliferate as 9/11 information sites and grass roots organizations flourish on the web and around the world. George Bush has made his choice to not willingly speak before, or even have his words recorded for the American people, for the world, and for history about his own actions and those of his Vice president leading up to and on the day of 9/11. This is despite the fact that the world is now mired in the crossfire of his chosen response to that day, his launching of an implausible war on terror, his decision to “change the world‰. It is now the choice of the people to decide whether this is acceptable, with silence and inaction a complicit endorsement of the status quo.
As the 9/11 Commission marches towards a June deadline, the next session, May 18-19, will be held in New York City and will focus on the day of 9/11, and the absolute failure of the FAA and NORAD to exercise established protocol and guard the American skies. The International 911 Inquiry meets for Phase II in Toronto May 25-30 (http://www.911inquiry.org), the Family Steering Committee and now familiar ŒJersey Girls‚ continue to raise awareness about the omissions and conflicts of the 9/11 Commission with noteworthy effect, and Ellen Mariani persists with her RICO suit against Bush & Co.
Bush and Cheney may have escaped scrutiny and accountability for the moment, but it is an illusive victory. Despite his warnings that “we are still vulnerable to attack‰ and disconcerting predictions by Bush and his neocon cabal that domestic attacks are imminent in the possibly near future, more and more are waking up to realize that the unseen threat is more visible than rumored.
Gregor Holland is an ordinary US citizen and proud member of the 9/11 Truth Movement, a friend of a 9/11 victim, and friend of an Army reservist now stationed in Iraq.