- When people first raised questions about President Bush's
scared-chicken behavior on September 11, they were buried in patriotic
abuse. But think about it. Consider the bare facts: The attacks happened
on George Bush's watch. He was in charge. And he now admits to having known
in general what was going to happen. Terrorists were slipping into the
country. They were studying at American flight schools. They intended to
hijack planes. They were financed by Osama bin Laden.
- Knowing all of this, Bush still left us totally undefended.
And for this performance, his approval ratings soared.
- If the president got an intelligence warning during the
summer about what might soon happen, how come he didn't do something then?
He could have:
- 1. Told Congress.
- 2. Improved airport security, which had already been
criticized as inadequate.
- 3. Alerted the airlines. As it was, the airlines never
raised any questions when the hijackers started laying down thousands in
cash for one-way tickets.
- 4. Warned the FAA. The FAA control center in New Hampshire
knew 10 to 15 minutes after takeoff that an American Airlines flight from
Boston had been hijacked. It was more than half an hour later when it crashed
into the World Trade Center.
- 5. Ordered improved security for the nation's nuclear
power plants, the untended thousands of miles of natural gas pipelines,
the harbors into which a terrorist could sail a liquid natural gas tanker
and unleash a holocaust equal to a nuclear explosion.
- If Bush knew so much, how come he did so little on September
11? Instead of letting his handlers move him from place to place in an
utter fog, he could have returned to Washington immediately and, as commander
in chief, taken charge. He could have alerted the military, which ought
to have had planes in the air moments after the FAA control learned of
- Bush was much more careful when it came to defending
his political power. He and his managers managed to spin his response to
the attacks so well that approval ratings soared to all-time highs. Clutching
his halo, the president then began pushing for various rollbacks of freedom
and constitutional process. They were old ideas for him, but he wrapped
them in patriotic banners and sold them to the nation. Consider what he
- 1. He set in motion the installation of a secret Congress.
- 2. His administration marched far forward with its program
for restricting civil rights and tightening immigration rules.
- 3. He started a shooting war in Afghanistan against a
group of peopleóthe Talibanówith whom the administration
was quietly negotiating last summer. He advanced immeasurably the interests
of those who want to go to war against Iraq. That's not to mention those
of the Israeli war hawks who assert they are part of the campaign against
terror and that their invasion of Palestinian cities and towns is thus
- Bush protected himself and his friends. What he left
uncovered was the rest of us.