The court scholar serving Hermann of Thuringia.

The court scholar serving Hermann of Thuringia.
The scholar


Poll on 9-11 and Bush Administration foreknowledge

Firedoglake points out that two-thirds of Americans believe that the Bush Administration knew that 9-11 would occur before it happened. Author of the post doesn't really believe it, but concedes that Americans have excellent reasons to consider that to be the truth.

The Bush Administration had the Patriot Act ready to go by 19 September 2001. The written-out act clocked in at 83 kilobytes (Personal letters are about three to seven kilobytes, a newspaper editorial is about eight to 12 and 20 kilobytes constitutes a lengthy article) and it had 51 sections. There was nothing in a Houston Chronicle article of 7 October 2001 about the Patriot Act existing in draft form before being introduced. Why was the draft rejected as it stood? "However, due to Congressional opposition [to] its broad powers, the act is revised and reintroduced on October 2." And yes, comparisons have been drawn between that and Germany's Enabling Act of 1933, passed a very short time after the Reichstag Fire.

What is President Bush's general attitude towards democracy? See Mary Shaw's description of Bush's relationship to Pakistan's General Pervez Musharraf where Musharraf appears to take very strong actions against democracy in Pakistan and yet, according to Bush "hasn't crossed the line" and My reproduction of a US News paragraph where I highlighted several pertinent passages, all of which suggest democracy is a tremendous bother and really, just too boring and restrictive for Bush's taste. In other words, he doesn't think much of it.

NSA warrantless surveillance began about half a year before 11 September, indicating that 1.) The Bush Administration was interested in engaging in intense surveillance long before their alleged provocation occurred and 2.) This broad and intense surveillance, strangely, did NOT prevent 9-11 from taking place.

And remember, Bush fought the creation of the 9-11 Commission:

Kristen [Breitweiser]: "With regard to the 9/11 Commission, President Bush fought the creation of the commission, fought the legislative language to make sure the commission was set up in a bipartisan manner, fought the funding of the commission, fought an extension for the commission, fought access to individuals and documents."

And refused to publicly testify on his recollections of that day and before for the public record:

The two leaders [Bush & VP Cheney] were not under oath and no recording was made of the private session at the White House.
"I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I took the time... I enjoyed it," Mr Bush said after the conversation lasting more than three hours.

Three years after Bush's & Cheney's behind-closed-doors testimony, the public still has no idea as to exactly what anyone in his administration did to stop the attack before it occurred or what they did when they realized that the attack was underway. Notably, the then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice also refused to testify publicly and under oath.

When reading the following passage, keep in mind that it only takes a nuclear missile 30 minutes to make it from Russia to the US. It is EXTREMELY important for the President to be kept informed of threats on an immediate, real-time basis:

Two accounts explicitly state Bush was told while in the motorcade. "The President was on Highway 301, just north of Main Street… [when] he received the news that a plane had crashed in New York City." [Sarasota Magazine, 11/01] (See adjacent map for the location where he is told.) Another account states, "Bush was driving to the school in a motorcade when the phone rang. An airline accident appeared to have happened. He pressed on with his visit." [Observer, 9/16/01]
The first media reports of Flight 11’s crash into the World Trade Center began around 8:48, two minutes after the crash happened. [New York Times, 9/15/01] CNN broke into its regular programming at that time [CNN, 9/11/01], though other networks, such as ABC, took a few more minutes to begin reporting. [ABC, 9/14/02] So within minutes, millions were aware of the story, yet Bush supposedly remained unaware for about another ten minutes.

Sorry, but the idea that Bush was unaware of the attack as it was taking place well before he arrived at the Emma Booker Elementary School is very, very hard to credit.

Nah, sorry, but it's been my belief for quite some time that the Bush Administration knew full well that the 9-11 attack was on the way and consciously and deliberately decided to do nothing to stop it.


Various outrages

Dan Froomkin has some goodies today. He quotes the statement to President Bush from departing Presidential Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend:

"In 1937, the playwright Maxwell Anderson wrote of President George Washington: There are some men who lift the age they inhabit, til all men walk on higher ground in their lifetime.
"Mr. President, you are such a man."

Erm, not exactly. First off:

Washington felt that public appearances were important for the president -- and his appearances were indeed open to the public. . . . Washington was intent on establishing the precedent that the president was chosen to represent the whole country, not just his partisan supporters. . . .

Bush, on the other hand:

...traveled to the historic Berkeley Plantation in southeastern Virginia yesterday for an event carefully calibrated to emphasize his compassionate side. In his remarks, he encouraged "all Americans to show their thanks by giving back."
But, as usual, he wasn't talking to all Americans. At least not in person. Admission to the event was tightly controlled by White House and Republican party officials.


George Washington believed that America's credo required that prisoners taken in time of war be treated with dignity and respect. He forbade torture and other acts of abuse. He required that the religious convictions of the prisoners be respected. "Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to complain of our copying the brutal example of the British Army in their treatment of our unfortunate brethren who have fallen into their hands," he wrote in a famous order on January 8, 1777.

Do I even need to mention Abu Ghraib?

And just how does our esteemed President feel about the give and take and intricate negotiations that democracy involves?

US News reports that Bush advisers say "that President Bush's spirits are getting a lift because of his new focus on unilateral actions to circumvent Congress. He is described by these advisers as delighted that he can move beyond butting heads with Democratic leaders and can get things done through executive orders and administrative actions.
"'He is always 'up' but he's been in a very good mood lately," says a senior White House official. "He likes the feel of things right now." At a meeting last week to discuss his use of unilateral actions to get around Congress,"This is the kind of thing we should be doing" -- a particular reference to his moves to reduce aviation congestion over Thanksgiving. He feels it's important to address such "kitchen table" issues that affect Americans in their daily lives, rather than get bogged down with endless battles with Congress, an aide said. [emphases mine]

And I have to agree that Bush's speech on the general theme of giving thanks got pretty darned offensive:

"Today, the men and women of the United States Armed Forces are taking risks for our freedom. They're fighting on the front lines of the war on terror, the war against extremists and radicals who would do us more harm. ... we vow that their sacrifice will not be in vain."

About two thirds of Americans do not agree with this statement. The Iraq War has nothing to do with freedom and the occupation of Iraq has nothing to do with the problem of terrorism, a tactic used by the weak against the strong. The Iraqis that the US armed forces are battling are natives of the country, defending their homeland against foreign invaders who apparently want to steal their oil. As for sacrifices not being "in vain," does that mean Bush is vowing to stay until a probably-unattainable "victory" is achieved?

And finally, a comment on his close adviser Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:

"The rock star diplomat has become the workaday American secretary of state..."

Whuuh?!?!? Excuse me, but since when did Rice ever deserve to be accorded "rock star" status? Isn't "rock star" status something one reserves for successful government servants who, you know, like, actually accomplish things?!?!


Gauging seriousness

Various bloggers are suggesting that perhaps Bush & Cheney aren't panting and lusting and whining and scratching at the door to start a war with Iran. Patrick Poivre d'Arvor of French TF1 Television interviews Bush:

Poivre: "So to a certain extent, you did contribute to giving greater power to Iran, because it no longer is facing its hated enemy on the other side. So now is there a true threat in Iran, and are you ready now to invade Iran as you did with Afghanistan and Iraq? So it is indeed true that Vice President -- is it true that Vice President Cheney has a plan for that?"
Bush: "I don't know where you're getting all these rumors -- there must be some weird things going on in Europe these days -- because I have made it abundantly clear, now is the time to deal with a true threat to world peace -- that's Iran -- and to do it diplomatically and peacefully. And that's what I'm going to spend a lot of time on with President Sarkozy. But of course we want to solve these problems peacefully. . . ."

You see, when the President is unable to answer serious questions seriously, or even to acknowledge plain and obvious facts, I just can't help but be suspicious as to what he's up to. Of course the US has, by removing a "hated enemy" of Iran from their Western border, made Iran more of an expansionist threat (Iran is still a "regional power" as compared to the US being a "hyper power," several levels more powerful. "More of a expansionist threat" does not mean a "serious expansionist threat.") The idea that the US has, whether accidentally or not, aided and abetted the growth of Iranian power is not a "rumor," it's a fact.

Reporters from the RTL and N-TV German television networks then had an interview with Bush.

Question "Do you think that the nuclear threat that Iran poses right now is larger than the threat Iraq posed about five or six years ago?"
Bush: "I think they were both dangerous. I think both of them could have been solved diplomatically. Saddam Hussein chose to ignore the demands of the free world and Security Council 1441 -- which, by the way, Germany voted for initially. And I think they're both dangerous. And I think therefore the lesson of Iraq is that we can work together and solve questions peacefully now. . . ."

But Saddam Hussein did NOT "ignore the demands of the free world and Security Council 1441." Saddam Hussein, in December 2002, turned in a 12,000 page document detailing all of the weapons that Iraq possessed at the time. It was met with considerable scorn, skepticism and derision, but there was never any proof that anything in that document was even questionable, let alone that it was in any way inaccurate. And in response to another question:

"I've committed our troops into harm's way twice, and it's not a pleasant experience because I understand the consequences firsthand. And so I owe it to the American people to say that I've tried to solve this problem diplomatically. And that's exactly what I intend to do."

Actually, I got the impression that Bush enormously enjoyed sending soldiers off to war.

Minutes before President Bush's solemn announcement that the US military were in action against Iraq he vigorously pumped his fist and declared: "I feel good". [Mirror]

"There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on," Bush said. "We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation."

And "firsthand"? In November 2003 "Mr Bush spent two hours having dinner with about 600 stunned US troops at Baghdad airport before leaving Iraq." Bush snuck in, remained at the Baghdad airport and snuck out. All of his following visits have been equally surreptitious.

Granted, his wife Laura thinks that she's endured a harsh lot in life, apparently right alongside the troops:

ANN CURRY: Do you know the American people are suffering… watching [Iraq]?
LAURA BUSH: Oh, I know that very much, and, believe me, no suffers more than their president and I do when we watch this. And certainly the commander-in-chief who has asked our military to go into harm’s way.

Nah, the idea that Bush & Cheney won't attack Iran is a bet that I won't put any money on. It seems entirely plausible they will and no, I can't believe for one minute that Bush takes war with anywhere even close to the seriousness that it requires.