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Democratic Voices

March 26, 2004

The Bush Administration and 9-11: Open Eyes Required

The recent controversy swirling around the Bush White House, the 9-11 Commission and the Richard Clarke book, Against All Enemies has been very enlightening. Sensing that Bush has almost nothing else to run on in the 2004 elections, the Bush Republican attack machine and their fellow travelers in the Corporate Media have been vigorously trying to change the subject away from their competency in dealing with terrorism before and after the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

Instead of publicly dealing with the serious issues involved, the Bush Republicans have been attacking the character of anyone who raises any questions about their poor performance on national security issues. This has been the Karl Rove approach to anyone standing in the way of Bush obtaining and retaining political power. This tactic was key in defeating John McCain in the 2000 South Carolina Republican Primary Election. The tactic was used in the 2002 Congressional Elections to give the Republicans control of Congress. The tactic backfired when used illegally by someone highly placed in the Bush Administration to out the CIA agent wife of Ambassador Wilson over the false “African uranium-nuclear weapons” claims that helped Bush sell his invasion and occupation of Iraq. Most recently, the Republican attack machine went after former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil, when the book The Price of Loyalty was published. This book confirmed many of the charge made against the Bush White House in the Clarke book.

While Clarke did his job in our government under Reagan, Bush (the Senior), Clinton and the current Bush very well, the Bush Republicans are now blaming their failings on him. As part of any White House team, any highly placed team member will publicly highlight the best-case scenario for the Administration’s performance while downplaying their failures. Clarke did this while serving in the Bush Administration. The Bush White House and their allies in Congress are trying to make these comments into a serious contradiction with the Clarke book and public statements of today.

Clarke left to Bush team because they were failing to meet the threat posed by the Bin Laden terrorist network both before and after 9-11. The former FBI lead investigator of Islamic terrorism and Bin Laden, John O’Neill resigned just weeks before the 9-11 attacks because he claimed the Bush Administration was blocking his investigation of Saudi ties to Islamic terrorists attacking the United States. This hero took the job as head of security for the World Trade Center and died in the 9-11 attack. Clarke to his credit tried to work within the system first. He was probably the only member of the Bush White House effectively doing their job in dealing with the Islamic fundamentalist terrorist threat.

Meanwhile, the Bush team along with Bush and Cheney were using the 9-11 attacks to launch an unrelated war with Iraq. Military and national security resources were diverted to this Oil War in Iraq just when America had a real chance of eliminating the Bin Laden organization in Afghanistan and the Taliban forces. Our enemies in Afghanistan have shown signs of renewed strength while the bulk of our military is tied down in another war in Iraq. The Iraq War has turned into both a terrorist training ground and a recruiting goldmine for our enemies.

Before the 9-11 attacks, the Bush Administration was simply asleep on the job. Instead of planning military actions against Afghanistan, they were negotiating with the Taliban for an oil pipeline designed to financially profit American oil companies. It has been reported by French intelligence experts in the book Bin Laden:The Forbidden Truth that these negotiations included military threats if the Taliban refused the oil pipeline deal. These negotiations and threats were just before the 9-11 attacks.

The role the Republican attack machine played in undermining public support for Clinton’s strong efforts against the Bin Laden network. Republicans chanted, “Wag the Dog” when Clinton took military action against Bin Laden. Republicans claimed Clinton was trying to divert public opinion away from the important threat to national security posed by Clinton having an affair outside his marriage. The Republican “get Clinton” mania trumped national security. The Republicans smelled political gain and political power in the Clinton sex scandal and would not let a little thing like terrorist attacking American embassies get in the way.

In our opinion, this approach to Islamic terrorism and Bin Laden became part of the conventional Republican mindset until after the 9-11 attacks. They downplayed the threat in their own minds because their had been great domestic political advantage in this way of looking at the issue under Clinton. The long and financially profitable ties between the Bush organization and Saudi business interests likely played a role in mentally dismissing the urgency of the terrorist threat coming from that nation.

The American people deserve an open investigation and debate on the 9-11 issue! While the public has been calling for Rice to testify publicly, we really need both Bush and Cheney to testify publicly before the 9-11 Commission. We need a real debate on Bush’s role in 9-11 controversy and the terrorist threat in the 2004 Presidential Election. We should have many debates between Bush and Kerry. One entire debate should be on the 9-11 issue and terrorism.

Column written by Stephen Crockett and Al Lawrence (hosts of Democratic Talk Radio which is nationally syndicated on the ieAmerica Radio Network). You can hear them via the Internet several days a week from 2-4pm Central at You are invited to visit the Democratic Talk Radio site at They can be reached by mail at: 7A Planville Drive, Fayetteville, TN 37334. Reach DTR by phone at 931-438-1500 or 443-421-0287.

Stephen Crockett
Al Lawrence
Co-hosts: “Current Affair” News Talk Program
WEKR 1240 am radio
(931) 433-3545

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