June 20, 2003
STONEWALLING....Glenn Reynolds links to a Salon article about George Bush's resistance to various 9/11 investigations and notes that he's been critical of this too. That's correct, and to his credit, but then he says this:
Rove should be thankful, though, for the screechily partisan note of
these calls for an investigation, which have so far made them easier to
ignore. But my advice to Karl is not to depend too much on the
shrillness of his enemies, and to remember that if you act like you're
hiding something, people will sooner or later conclude that you've got
something to hide.
Bush and his team have been
stonewalling for about a year and a half now, so I really have to ask:
how long does "sooner or later" last? Even if I were a Bush partisan I
think I'd be a little suspicious by now that maybe there's some fairly
damning stuff being hidden behind the national security smokescreen.
Unless, of course, "sooner or later" really means anytime after November 2004....
Posted by Kevin Drum at June 20, 2003 04:34 PM
Kevin writes: "Bush and his team have been stonewalling for about a
year and a half now, so I really have to ask: how long does "sooner or
later" last? "
Well, they've been stalling longer on Cheney's energy task force meetings, haven't they?
I think they're planning on stalling until the second Bush
administration is replaced by another GOP administration, at which time
Bush can fess up and be pardoned, secretly, without any actual
information being released about the mess.
That's the plan, anyway.
it sure is nice of professor instanitwit to give his blessing to all
of us simple shrill folk who would have thought that investigating 9/11
would be the president's automatic top priority and can't understand how
anyone could possibly imagine otherwise.
And i imagine that the 9/11 victim families must really appreciate
that the good prof thinks they are naught but "screechily partisan."
Why do we even discuss what prof nitwit thinks?
as for when will the bushies release something, jon h is much too
generous. If it's up to them, the answer is somewhere between 20 years
and never. Only the shrill voices of the screechily partisan that are so
upsetting down in knoxville stand a chance of embarassing the
essentially shameless bush team into no longer blocking release of the
congressional report, at a minimum.
Wow, imagine if the blogosphere actually advocated for democracy
right here in our very own country. Wait a sec...that might hurt Bush,
which is obviously never on Instasullykaus' agenda.
Heh, indeed, and that sounds about right to me.
How long have they been stalling on releasing papers from Daddy's administration?
Why isn't the SCLM asking about this every single day? Aren't they
breaking the law every single day that they don't release them?
Contempt contempt contempt for America, for legal process, for democracy, for the huddled masses yearning to vote cleanly.
I could not care less about this. Do we really need another investigation? Only two things can come of one:
1. It'll tell us what we already know (intelligence agencies should
stop having turf wars and start coordinating their efforts, we need a
new database, let's work with foreign governments, blah, blah, blah).
2. In the alternative, it'll give credence to wacked-out conspiracy
theories for decades to come (Did Roosevelt know about Pearl Harbor?
Was there a gunman on the grassy knoll? Were prominent Saudi friends of
the Bush family funneling money to Al Quaeda?)
I suppose we do need an investigation, but it's hard to get all
excited about it. It's not like it'll produce anything useful, and the
odds of it turning into a partisan football are depressingly high. I'm
certainly not going to be waiting for the blue-ribbon commission's
report with bated breath.
The one thing that does bother me is that Bush gave the kiss of death
to the original investigation by appointing Kissinger to head it. I
would like to know why. Still, it's not like we are going to find out
that Bush is really Osama Bin Laden.
I get mildly ill listening to Joe Schmoe and Instapundit carefully
minimize this topic, both of them knowing pretty well that there's
something stinky out there. Because, God forbid, the Democrats can't be
allowed to score any points. So we get Schmoe's eleborate not-caring,
Instapundit's custom snarky remark about screechy partisans. And they
both think they're being so cool.
What a bunch of lames we're stuck with in this country. Someone
should yell "affirmative action" really good and loud to wake them up.
If only we could all be as un-shrill as glenn.
If only we could all be as un-shrill as Republican partisans when they're out of the White House.
So you're saying we don't need an investigation because only two things can happen:
1. We won't learn anything new, or
2. We will learn something new
If it's such an innocuous matter, why does Bush resist it tooth and
nail? We won't find out he's Osama in disguise, but we might learn some
fairly unpleasant things about his Saudi ties, or his general
Seems to me the Right ought to be uttering shrill cries for an
investigation of 9/11. If indeed our intelligence agencies failed their
various missions, then we need to get to the bottom of it all and
identify the problems. Then the Right can make the case that we need to
increase the budgets for the intelligence and security branches.....
Also, an investigation will expose how woefully unprepared and
underfunded Clinton left the intelligence agencies, right? Because 9/11
was Clinton's fault. See, this is where the right is really losing it.
If they had ramped this thing up from the very beginning, the report
could have been made to coincide with Hillary's book release. It would
have been beautiful, and a marvelous tonic to the lingering
misapprehension that anyone but radical conservative Texas oil
millionaires can govern the country. So why didn't they want it? Won't
the 9/11 report show that it was all Clinton's fault?
We might also get some recommendations for actions that would
actually address the very real failures, rather than the band-aids that
the current administration favors.
Hasn't history taught us anything?
Political investigations are almost always useful. I mean, just
think of all the good that came of Whitewater, Travelgate, the Vince
Foster inquiry, the Henrey Cisneros investigation, the fundrasing
at-the-Bhuddist-temple hearings, the Waco hearings...the list goes on
Where would we be as a nation without these valuable investigations?
Investigations always produce such useful information, too. I mean,
look at how the Warren Commission conclusively solved the JFK
assassination mystery, putting the controversy surrounding it to rest
once and for all.
And let's not forget the valuable contributions that investigations
have made to our public policy. The recommendations issued by the Pearl
Harbor investigation ensured that never again would our nation fall
prey to a surpirse attack via air. The hearings into the bombing of
Cambodia stopped all future presidents from fighting secret wars without
Congressional approval. Thank goodness!
On a more serious note, there have been a few investigations that
have turned up some pretty serious stuff: Watergate and Iran-Contra
come to mind. But to me, this means that investigations are good for
ferreting out *intentional* wrongdoing.
There is no reasonable possibility that a 9/11 investigation will
discover any intentional wrongdoing. George Bush is not an Islamic
fundamentalist. Dick Cheney is not a member of an Al-Queada sleeper
cell. There was no sinister conspiracy here. 9/11 is not Iran-Contra.
The question then becomes what kind of neglignece is an investigation
likely to turn up. That we need to share intelligence? Well, no
kidding. Like we need an investigation to tell us that. That
intelligence agencies need to stop being so territorial? Duh. That
local, state, and federal law enforcement should form joint
anti-terrorism task forces? Again, we already knew that.
All this being said, I do think that we need an investigation, for
two reasons. First, it probably can shed light on some of the
bureacratic problems that helped impede the discovery of the 9/11 plot.
Most of them, like the need for sharing intelligene, we undoubtedly
already know, but maybe an investigation could turn up a few more.
Second, the fact that Bush appointed Kissinger to head the first one
does bother me. He was obviously trying to hide something.
But what was he trying to hide? His ties to Islamic terror groups?
The two weeks he spent at an Al-Quaeda training camp in 1997? I don't
know what he's trying to hide, but if I had to guess, he's probably
trying to politically embarrassing stuff that has absoultely no
substance but will provide limitless ammunition for his partisan
opponnents. Maybe Bush Sr. was on the board of a Saudi company that
funnled money to bin Laden. Maybe a Saudi prince who stayed overnight
at the Cheney family home sent money to one of the hijackers. None of
this will be of any use to the war on terrorism, but such "Saudi
Connections" will provide Bush's poltiical enemies with a big pile of
mud to sling at him. I don't see how that can be considered something
of vital national importance.
Again, I do think that an investigation is necessary. But it's crazy
to think that it should be our absolute highest priority, or that Bush
is somehow grossly irresponsbile for refusing to call for one. And yes,
I'd be saying the same thing if we were dicussing the Gore
administration. The history of politcal investigaitons has led me to
conclude that they are not terribly useful. We should have one of 9/11,
but the odds that it will provide helpful information is low, while the
odds that it will turn into a cheap partisan witch hunt are high.
Joe, saying we all know that "intelligence agencies need to share
information" is a starting point, not an end point. That's the primary
reason that we need a real investigation to what went wrong.
It needn't have become - although it certainly now is - a political
issue. Although studying success is useful, studying failure is even
more useful, in order to not make the same mistakes.
Had Bush appointed a real commission (headed by Hart and Rudman, who
had the background, expertise, and bipartisan support) by, say, 9/18/01,
who knows what benefits we might now reap.
At a minimum, we wouldn't have, willy-nilly, created a stupid
bureaucracy, the department of homeland security, in order to distract
attention from the fact that maybe the Bush Administration wasn't quite
the innocent victim on 9/11 that it claimed.
And just so i'm clear, what i mean by that is that the high bush myth
is that no one could possibly have anticipated 9/11, so there was
nothing that bush could have done to prevent it, and so we should all
just stand up and salute president backbone on his moral clarity in
response. A truer, more nuanced version would be (since we already know
some of this from the information that was coming out before the
administration changed the subject by pushing the department of homeland
security) that the bush administration didn't take the threat of
terrorism as seriously as it should have, caught up as it was in the
belief that the real security problem facing america was that we didn't
have a "rogue state missile defense."
Besides, joe, do you really prefer myths to facts?
Joe actually seems to agree with us. It's just that he feels
obligated to be sort of a shit about it. Otherwise he would seem to be
on our side for an instant, and that cannot be allowed to happen.
Dumping on us is his role in life
And he wonders why we call him a troll.
Howard, you are convincing me. A true bipartisan investigation would probably be ok.
Actually, I think there is a third reason why people are calling for a
9/11 investigation: it's psychological. People want to feel like we
can study disasters like 9/11 and, in doing so, prevent them from
happening again. I do not agree with this. I cannot imagine how we
could have prevented 9/11. Nor will we be able to prevent all future
terrorist attacks, even though we are doing everything possible to try.
Still, though, you are right, a serious bipartisan investigation,
headed by responsible people, probably is a good idea. You have
"Again, I do think that an investigation is necessary. But it's crazy
to think that it should be our absolute highest priority, or that Bush
is somehow grossly irresponsbile for refusing to call for one."
Er..."Refusing to call for one" and "fighting tooth and nail to stop
one" are not equivocal, sorry. As for the idea that 9-11 could have been
stopped, a couple of interceptors scambled to force the planes down
would have done the job nicely.
Al-Reynolds says there could never be any unbelievers in Washington DC! We will roast their stomachs in Hell, etc etc.