UQ Wire: Bush and the 9/11 Commission
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Unanswered Questions : Thinking for ourselves.
Bush and the 9/11 Commission: Dereliction of Duty - Denying Accountability
Editorial by Kyle F. Hence
& Unanswered Questions
President Clinton was forced to testify under oath about his sexual peccadilloes. This testimony was then publicly broadcast. And now nearly two and half years after the murder of 3000 people, the President of the United States appears to getting a free pass by the 9/11 Commission who refuses to insist that President be called to publicly answer the most serious of questions regarding the most serious collapse of our nation's security in our history. It appears that the 9/11 Commission will bow to White House insistence that Bush only meet with the Commission Chairman and Co-Chairman, and only privately in an 'interview'. The nation’s national security is the paramount issue here.
Should this come to pass it will represent a brazen and spineless dereliction of the Commission's duty to fully and transparently investigate the attacks of 9/11. What Commissioner in their right mind could, with a clear conscience, sign their name to a final report when the President and his top National Security Advisor refuse to come publicly UNDER OATH before the full body of Commissioners in perhaps most important investigation ever undertaken by our government? Especially when each has made very questionable, inexplicable, deceptive comments about the warnings and nature of the warnings received in advance of the attacks.
The White House has said on more than one occasion that "it does not feel that public testimony by the president would be needed."
Well, it's not up to the President. According to the Constitution which President Bush swore to uphold, he works for us, the American people. Ultimately, the President is accountable to the people of this country and he must answer to us through the Commission that was created by Congress and signed into law by the President himself. The Commission has subpoena power.
The fact is this President's behavior on 9/11 raises questions about the mettle and integrity of the man who represents himself as a "war president." In fact, per the Constitution he is 'Commander in Chief' and as President he is charged with the providing for the safety of the American people.
Given the professed 'failure' represented in the Administration's analysis of 9/11 the President has the obligation to submit to a public hearing to explain what happened under his watch and how he responded on that morning. After all, this is the man who now leads a global war on terror making decisions that puts the lives of Americans and others at further risk around the globe--who is insisting that despite even a modicum of 'shake-up' in the intelligence apparatus we must trust him to provide us with the intelligence-fed justification needed to wage and risk further 'pre-emptive' war.
He is also the man who was warned on August 6th, a little over a month before the 9/11 attacks, that Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden were determined to strike Americans here in the United States and that the attack could involve hijackings. Explain what you did in response Mr. President!
Despite this warning, he is the man who AFTER he had been told that a SECOND plane had struck the World Trade Center at 8:48AM EST continued to listen to children read a story in an Elementary classroom for at least 10 minutes rather than taking decisive action. Explain this to us Mr. President. How might National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice explain this 'deer frozen before headlights' lack of action?
He is the Commander in Chief who claimed that he immediately implemented the nation's emergency response plans and that on the morning of 9/11 he watched the first plane hit the tower and thought "what a poor pilot!"
Wait a minute! There was no publicly broadcast footage of the first strike until the next day and no emergency plans activated, at least not any that involved informing the American public about the attack or scrambling D.C. fighter jets to defend the Capitol and the Pentagon. Explain this to us Mr. President.
For his behavior alone on the morning of September 11th and for statements about what happened that morning, he must be called to account. There can be no compromises here.
How can the President explain on two separate occasions that he saw the first plane hit the WTC tower?
Why when he had received a specific warning about an Al-Qaeda attack and the threat of hijackings did he remain listening to children read a story after he was told the country was under attack?
The fact that he did not immediately act the part of Commander in Chief, especially in light of the warnings of the Spring and Summer months including the August 6th briefing which warned of an imminent by Al-Qaeda and the possibility they would hijack airplanes, needs to be clearly explained to the American people and to the victim families.
Perhaps his refusal to publicly testify can be easily and clearly explained because he simply does not believe in accountability. In business he has never been held accountable for his failures and now as the nation's Chief Executive he has not held anyone accountable for 9/11, for what they claim is a failure. Perhaps it can be explained because he has something to hide?
Bush should come before the American people and explain why he has held absolutely no one on the team he hired to help him protect the nation accountable for what happened on 9/11!
How confident can we be we are any safer now when the same team, including Condoleeza Rice, George Tenet, Secretary Rumsfeld, General Myers, Director Mueller and many others are still in the same positions they held on the morning of September 11th. Where is the outrage in this nation that these people have not been held accountable nor been forced to answer the hard questions that 9/11 family members and many others have for them?
Bush may not believe in accountability but surely the Commission must be driven by a higher standard. Whether or not they apply that standard may depend upon whether the American people and the Fourth Estate open their eyes to the failing and compromised Commission bowing to an irresponsible Administration hiding behind power plays and claims of executive privilege. I’m afraid that given their track record thus far we can’t count upon their good consciences to do the right thing despite the shame that will come when history deems their investigation a farce and brazen whitewash. So it’s up to us to force the issue.
If you share our outrage please join us in demanding full public testimony by all top level Bush Administration officials and the President before the 9/11 Commission, a public hearing in the Senate regarding the failings of the 9/11 Commission; and if you can please come to D.C. in late March (dates to be announced) for the Commission's next scheduled hearings.
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