Aug 6, 2008

Memo: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."

The Threat of Terrorist Attacks in the US Was Ignored by Bush

Can you imagine the raucous the conservatives would be creating if president Al Gore had received an intelligence memo saying that Al Qaeda was preparing to attack the US by using airplanes, and that the 9-11 terrorist attacks occurred during a Democratic administration?

Just so we don't forget what happened seven years ago (on August 6th), president Bush and Condie Rice (then "in charge" of National Security) received a briefing titled, "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in the US." [click on link to read the whole memo in pdf]

Richard Clarke [Clarke's take on terror, on 60 Minutes, CBS]--who had been serving in the anti-terrorism task force since Ronald Reagan--tried repeatedly to convince the Bush White House that the greatest threat to the US was stateless terrorism, but was scorned. Condie Rice, (Ph.D. in political science), was to deliver a speech on 9-11 about the need for a missile defense umbrella that reflected a "cold war" approach. She, and the Bush administration, did not say anything about "two-bit terrorists" (as Bush would call them later) trying to inflict harm on the US.

George (recipient of a Bush presidential medal) Tenet was the CIA chief--who became the president's lap dog by working on marketing scenarios for Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction,"--didn't (or couldn't) alert the president of the seriousness of terrorism.

Based on the bi-partisan 9-11 Commission findings:

We have found no indication of any further discussion before September 11 among the President and his top advisers of the possibility of a threat of an al Qaeda attack in the United States. DCI Tenet visited President Bush in Crawford, Texas, on August 17 and participated in the PDB briefings of the President between August 31 (after the President had returned to Washington) and September 10. But Tenet does not recall any discussions with the President of the domestic threat during this period. [p. 262]

We now know that Bush and his neocon cohorts spoke about attacking Iraq in the very first cabinet meeting in January of 2001, as many sources have confirmed, including Bush's own then Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill. That was 9 months before the attacks on Sept. 11th.

We have to remember the facts. I understand that after a long train of abuses amnesia may settle in, that is, there are so many tragic mistakes, much incompetence, illegality, etc, that we may lose track of the particular events.

But, also remember that political regimes which depend on popular participation have governments that usually reflect the judgment of the citizens. The country made a big mistake by voting for Bush in such great numbers. The Repubs stole the 2000 election, but half of the country did vote for Bush & Cheney in 2000 and 2004! Have we learned from this mistake? And, perhaps more importantly, will we remember not to repeat it? Names & faces may change, but it is the underlying principles and intented policies that matter.