Cool and way-comfortable this mid-day Saturday in California’s Central Valley after a week of triple-digit temperatures and real-heavy air — a day of national remembrance of horrific airliner attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, along with Flight 93 ending up in a Pennsylvania field.
A way-historic day, maybe right up there with Pearl Harbor — what would have the Japanese bombing look like if seen in real-time TV — and began a new century with death and destruction, which didn’t stop with the Twin Towers. There will be a shitload of 9/11 featured stories today, reports on ceremonies — Biden, Obama and Clinton were in New York, Kamala Harris and GW Bush outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania — and stories on the last 20 shitty years of warfare, supposedly to both avenge 9/11 and fight the terrorists in their own backyard, and eventually failing at both.
(Illustration: ‘The Three Amigos‘ — Dick Cheney, GW Bush, Donald Rumsfeld — found here).
Everyone alive two decades ago — at least those then teenagers or older — have their own 9/11 stories. As Americans, we all do, as the event was massively shattering in its scope and impact. You don’t see people jump from skyscrapers every day. Nearly the whole world was just as shocked, even our supposedly worst enemies — from Gallup in July 2002:
Like much of the world, Iranians were shocked by the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Despite widespread public antipathy toward the United States — only one Iranian in seven expresses a favorable view of the United States — reaction to the attacks within Iran was overwhelmingly negative.
Only a small minority of Iranians interviewed for Gallup’s poll of nine predominantly Islamic countries saw the attacks as morally justifiable, while the vast majority disagreed with this assessment, and at least half said there could be no moral justification for the attacks whatsoever.
In that context, the real legacy of 9/11 is with that trio of assholes pictured above, along with a shitload of others, who used a nation’s mourning to grab everything not tied down and lied about it — the culmination of the Project For The New American Century into the war on terror.
On that fateful day 20 years ago, and the ways and weeks to follow, we had no idea GW Bush’s people had been warned numerous times about the possibility of an exact-same situation — 9/11 commission member Bob Kerrey in April 2004 probably spoke to the bottom line: “My conclusion is that it could have been prevented. That was not my conclusion when I went on the commission.”
Worse still, less than a month before the attacks, GW got the real brief — from Salon in June 2006:
We’ve known for years now that George W. Bush received a presidential daily briefing on Aug. 6, 2001, in which he was warned: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”
We’ve known for almost as long that Bush went fishing afterward.
What we didn’t know is what happened in between the briefing and the fishing, and now Suskind is here to tell us. Bush listened to the briefing, Suskind says, then told the CIA briefer: “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.”
Noted from Ron Suskind’s book, “The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America’s Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11” (2006). Due to the tragedy, American life and its culture shifted, and the assholes picked-up on it and played us like a fiddle — a good recap of our society shift at Mother Jones yesterday:
“After the attacks of September 11, traditional forms of entertainment had to reinvent their place in US life and culture,” Lynn Spigel a professor of screen cultures at Northwestern University wrote in her 2004 American Quarterly essay “Entertainment Wars: Television Culture after 9/11.”
“[I]n the weeks following September 11, the industry exhibited (whether for sincere or cynical reasons) a new will toward ‘tastefulness.’”
Our pop culture reoriented its messaging around 9/11 in a way not seen since the World War II era when splashy posters, radio celebrities, and movie stars would urge Americans to do all they could to support the troops abroad and root out potential enemies at home.
“It became unpatriotic to suggest that there was anything wrong with the United States,” Spigel told me.
And also yesterday, another insight into the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld snatch of 9/11 to open the floodgates into Saddam Hussein’s insert into the attack and the national grift to make it so.
Bruce Riedel, formerly of the CIA and now at Brookings, claimed GW had Iraq on his brain just days after the Twin Towers attack:
"9/11 and Iraq: The Making of a Tragedy," the latest from Bruce Riedel: https://t.co/qNRy3LwSC8
— Lawfare (@lawfareblog) September 11, 2021
Comments Riedel made yesterday at a forum discussion on 9/11 (at Raw Story):
“It shows that, on September 14th, I was in the Oval Office with the president when he talked to Tony Blair,” he said. “And in the middle of the conversation with Tony Blair about 9/11, George Bush says,
‘We’re going to attack Iraq too.'”
Riedel then added that Blair was not expecting his American counterpart to say such a thing.
“Tony Blair was stunned,” he said.
“You could tell, listening to the phone call, that the British prime minister was completely taken aback!”
Blair would eventually come around to supporting an attack on Iraq, he notes, but at the time he did not see what Iraq had to do with the days-old attack on the United States.
Video at the link.
Riedel himself this morning with a short piece at Lawfare on horrible lies and using 9/11 to get at Iraq. Go read the whole thing, won’t take long, worth it — highpoints:
I was in the White House on Sept. 12, 2001, on the staff of the National Security Council. I recently came across my pocket diary for 2001. In it, I wrote brief notes on each day’s activity in the White House where I was senior director for the Near East.
I met with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice every day and Bush almost as frequently because of the second intifada.
We were constantly trying to contain the violence and prevent a wider regional conflict. In reviewing the diary I was intrigued by two notes.
On Sept. 14, I was with Bush when he had his first phone call after 9/11 with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Bush immediately said he was planning to “hit” Iraq soon.
Blair was audibly taken aback. He pressed Bush for evidence of Iraq’s connection to the 9/11 attack and to al-Qaeda.
Of course, there was none, which British intelligence knew.
On Sept. 18, a week after 9/11, Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan came to the White House to see Bush. The meeting took place on the Truman Balcony.
Vice President Richard Cheney and Rice were there as well.
My note says the president “clearly thinks Iraq must be behind this. His questions to Bandar show his bias.”
Bandar was visibly perplexed. He told Bush that the Saudis had no evidence of any collaboration between Osama bin Laden and Iraq.
Indeed their history was of being antagonists.
Afterward, Bandar told me privately that the Saudis were very worried about where Bush’s obsession with Iraq was going.
The Saudis were alarmed that attacking Iraq would only benefit Iran and set in motion severe destabilizing repercussions across the region.
The Saudis pressed Bush to come out publicly in support of a Palestinian state as he had privately promised Crown Prince Abdallah al Saud.
Consequently, the United States went to war in Iraq on a false pretense that it was somehow avenging those killed by al-Qaeda.
A Washington Post poll conducted two years after 9/11 dramatically illustrated the story: 69-percent of Americans at the time believed Saddam Hussein was “personally” involved in the 9/11 attack.
Even more staggering 82-percent believed Saddam provided assistance to Osama bin Laden.
Both were utterly false.
Just to add the reality of the times — in June 2008, the Senate intelligence committee on Iraq finished its job and GW and the boys were called out as asshole liars, and without saying, murderers.
Commission Chairman John Rockefeller:
“The president and his advisors undertook a relentless public campaign in the aftermath of the (September 11) attacks to use the war against al Qaeda as a justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein,” Rockefeller said in written commentary on the report.
“Representing to the American people that the two had an operational partnership and posed a single, indistinguishable threat was fundamentally misleading and led the nation to war on false premises.”
Just like a lot of Americans, I figured the initial invasion of Afghanistan less than a month after 9/11 was justified, but quickly lost any positive spin after a few weeks and the Taliban had been routed — the lying started at the Tora Bora escapade and continued unabated until forever.
Real justice would be to send ‘The Three Amigos‘ (minus the dead one) to a prison cell.
Yet, once again, here we are…this time, 20 years later…
(Illustration out front: ‘Self Portrait,’ by GW Bush, and found here).