Dean Ripped on 911 comment
December 6, 2003 2:21 AM   Subscribe

Howard Dean reamed by RNC chairman after his 911 comment on the Diane Rehm show "Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie blasted Democratic presidential frontrunner Howard Dean on Friday for suggesting that President Bush may have been warned in advance about the 9/11 attacks." Perhaps Mr.Gillespie didn't take the time to read the Newsweek article suggesting the same thing or perhaps he hasn't read of these predominately major media stories that call into question the administration's no prior knowledge claim. Just wondering?
posted by thedailygrowl (37 comments total)
 
Whether or not Bush "knew" will remain, alas, unknown since the administration is not releasing all the info concerning 9/11. But if he "knew," was it from the same sources that "knew" that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or not--ie, the CIA?
posted by Postroad at 3:53 AM on December 6, 2003


And yet, and the sun sets on yet another empire in time, it's inhabitants bristling and jivving about, the air of truth dawns across the sky in hues of cerulean blue, almost as if the gods had planned everything in the first place.
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:53 AM on December 6, 2003


Or maybe this is just another rigfht wing webpage. I mean, they are selling Ann Coultier dolls that talk.
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:59 AM on December 6, 2003


Poor President Bush, he shrouds everything in secrecy and won't release requested documents to the 911 commission and can't seem to answer simple questions and then can't understand why people won't just trust him on this.
posted by bas67 at 6:56 AM on December 6, 2003


It's clear that they all were warned that it would happen (it's the specifics that they didn't know about, i think)---are the Repubs now scared of Dean? (Don't forget what they did to McCain during the primaries--this is the beginning of it for Dean)
posted by amberglow at 7:03 AM on December 6, 2003


Several Clinton Admin folks have gone on record as saying they were aware of the threat and had devoted substantial resources to the problem. When they tried to key the incoming Bushies to this, they were met with complete disinterest.

What more evidence does one need than that?
They aren't scared of Dean, they fear the issue. Instead of "Lets Roll", its "We got rolled"
posted by Fupped Duck at 7:36 AM on December 6, 2003


Postroad - Well, no. The Bush Administration was warned by the outgoing Clinton people, by a number of different US agencies including the CIA, as well as by members of Congress and the Senate and - in the six weeks before the attacks - by a wide range of US allies including Russia, France, the UK, Egypt, Israel, Jordan...... some of these warnings from allies were through high level diplomatic channels and were quite emphatic as well as fairly specific (although lacking the exact target and date of the impending attacks) ........shall I go on?

Amberglow - Maybe, but the dynamics are different in this race, and Dean is displaying bigger balls than Gore in '2000.

For Dean to use this line of attack - questioning whether the Bush Administration, knowing that some sort of major terrorists attack on US domestic targets was immanent, dragged it's ass in dealing with the threat and even perhaps threw some wrenches into ongoing antiterrorism investigations here and there (to guarantee that the attack would be successfully carried out because Karl Rove's political calculus showed a net gain for Bush from a "Pearl Harbor"-like terrorist attack) - is to have the tiger by the tail. It is a high risk strategy which is sort of like riding an enraged bull for a big prize pot of money - stay on the bull and win the money, or fall off and get Gored !

The balance of the evidence seems to be on Dean's side. To successfully pull off this attack, though, he must be extremely deft and judicious. Dean's best chance, I'd say, would be to pick up Wesley Clark's cunning approach which asks the question -

"In the US armed forces, we always conduct a review of a major operation after it has concluded, and we do this regardless of whether that mission has been a success or a failure - because we always aim to learn from our experiences so we can be even more successful in future operations. So [ here comes the punchline ] why can't we hold the US government to the same standard as the US military? 9-11 might have been the worst intelligence and defense failure in US history - so why don't we conduct a review to see what what wrong so we can prevent another September 11th from happening? This sort of review should be routine. Soon after Pearl Harbor, there were multiple investigations seeking to discover why the Japanese were able to achieve such a dramatic surprise attack. Why shouldn't we do the same in the case of the September 11th attacks? Why is the Bush Administration being so secretive about this and stonewalling an investigation? I'm not talking about assigning blame, I'm talking about safeguarding Americans from future attacks - To not investigate 9-11 is just plain irresponsible."

That's a very hard attack for Rove to counter, except by wagging the dog. But Rove's been doing this so constantly that there's a risk that, during the 2004 campaign, the dog maybe too tuckered out to wag at the appropriate time.
posted by troutfishing at 8:53 AM on December 6, 2003


I think this a non-starter for the Dems. If they just throw it out there, now and again, and not push the matter very far, it has very little political utility other than to anger those who already are angered. If they seriously push it, it plays right into the Repubs hands about Dems more concerned with attacking Bush, and then it might actually hurt the Dems.

One thing is for certain, it can never be proved that Bush knew that al Qaeda was going to hijack 4 planes on 9/11 and fly them like missles into major US locations. That can never be proved because it isn't true. Surely there isn't any thinking individual alive who can say with a straight face that our government knew for certain that 9/11 was going to happen the way it did, knew how to stop it, and let it happen anyway.

What is likely, is that Bush was briefed in a general way that there were terrorists that hated the US and wanted to hurt us, and they might use hijacking (a very typical terrorist technique). So the question is, what makes such a warning any more credible than the other thousand warnings that the US State Dept. gets each year?
How does being briefed generally about terrorists, in any way equate to knowing that 9/11 was going to happen?

Should the president taken each percieved threat and acted on it? That seems to be the thrust of the Newsweek article: that the president ought to have gone to war over the US Cole bombing. Surely that can't be the argument to beat Bush. Had Bush come into office, geared up the military and immediately set out to dismantle terrorism without the justification of 9/11, the Left would have screamed bloody murder.

There is no way that Bush could have, even if he knew of the threat, acted in a pre-emptive war way to prevent 9/11. So it seems completely disingenuous to say that Bush had some intelligence and should have militarily and pre-emptively acted to disarm and destroy al Qaeda and the Taliban, when those, such as the author, would never have permitted such action. (Or better yet, Bush could have acted to pre-empt it by profiling and forbidding Arabs on airplanes. I'm sure those who are so much against the Patriot Act would have loved that action taken before 9/11!)

It took 9/11 to change the world. It took that tragedy to see that we can no longer ignore threats as being fringe concerns. That isn't a fault of the government; the whole country had to be awakened to the dangers before supporting action to remove the threats.
posted by Seth at 9:06 AM on December 6, 2003


So the question is, what makes such a warning any more credible than the other thousand warnings that the US State Dept. gets each year?
How does being briefed generally about terrorists, in any way equate to knowing that 9/11 was going to happen?

But isn't it that these weren't just one out of many warnings, but a greatly increased level of chatter about something coming down soon, that along with the briefings and past actions of al qaeda, should have increased security at airports, if nowhere else? Until the administration completely releases all relevant info about what they knew and were told about before 9/11, we'll never know exactly how specific or not the info they had was. The Clark quote is exactly right i think.
posted by amberglow at 9:15 AM on December 6, 2003


9/11 did not change the world.
This time is not special.
You are not special.
The United States is not special.
Iraq is not special.
Our government is not special.
Our people are not special.
Neither Saddam Hussein nor George W. Bush are special.

People in power are no different than people without power: They will do what they can to who they can whenever they can. Wake up you idiots. We are as human as insects to the rich and powerful. Do you think Saddam Hussein "cared" about the average Iraqi? Why is George W. Bush any different? Statecraft. Bush and his ilk wield power with an ancient mind-set. The masses are there to follow. I sincerely doubt that Bush believes in democracy. It's obvious that he thinks the American public cannot handle the truth. And I can't trust anyone that wont tell me the truth. |

What's that got to do with anything? oh, yeah, the very original notion that "9/11 changed everything". Where'd I hear this? Originally from the Bush Administration and repeatedly from our major news sources. A bunch of crap, I say.
posted by chris0495 at 9:30 AM on December 6, 2003


Newsmax.

Really. Come on now. Did you really need to make an FPP explaining how Newsmax said something inaccurate?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:57 AM on December 6, 2003


The one thing that should and could have been done was to question the Saudis who were known to be taking flying lessons at locations around the U.S. They weren't interested in learning how to take off or land, just how to fly. The FBI had been made aware of this activity well before 9/11 by more than one source and these leads were never followed up on. That is one thing that could have prevented 9/11.
posted by wsg at 10:16 AM on December 6, 2003


Chris0495 puts it much clearer than I could, so I"ll just agree with him.
posted by damnitkage at 10:18 AM on December 6, 2003


For some reason I think we can expect to see a lot more of this type of journalism.
posted by moonbiter at 10:50 AM on December 6, 2003


It's obvious that he thinks the American public cannot handle the truth.

That's a very generous interpretation. Another would be that he knows very well that we can handle the truth, but that we would handle it in a way that wouldn't be at all to his liking. Such as, for example, holding his administration responsible for incompetence at best, wilful negligence in the middling case, or much worse.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:52 AM on December 6, 2003


Karl Rove has ended the Democratic primary. That's what the Gillespie and Moore attacks are about. They're pulling a reverse Gray Davis. Instead of wading into the opposition primary to character assassinate the most worthy enemy before the battle had begun, Rove is going after the person he wants to face. They read the news. They understand the way to make Dean bigger is to attack him.

Fools. They're playing a risky game. I don't think Rove's prognostical skills are what we thought they were a few years ago. Rove is going to go down in history for three mistakes--the steel tariffs, the war in Iraq, and underestimating Howard Dean.
posted by jbrjake at 10:58 AM on December 6, 2003


One thing is for certain, it can never be proved that Bush knew that al Qaeda was going to hijack 4 planes on 9/11 and fly them like missles into major US locations.

a rather disturbing knee-jerk response to the topic (just ask Cynthia McKinney) - asking questions about how much was known in advance leads immediately to highly indignant outrage over the insinuation that Bush personally knew everything in advance. Actually, no. We're just asking is all.

But the question of what Bush *knew* is irrelevent - lets take a look at what he *did* on that fateful morning: please examine the frighteningly banal video footage of Bush doing absolutely nothing after hearing about the second plane hitting WTC2 - whatever spin one wants to put on this, one thing is obvious - this guy *is not the boss* - he does not even appear to be curious, much less fired up for action. Looks to me like someone waiting to be told what to do...

For more details see An Interesting Day: George Bush on 9-11.

posted by dinsdale at 11:00 AM on December 6, 2003


I absoutely agree with chris0495 as well, and I think it's a point worth addressing again. Why do people persist in believing that the world changed on 9-11-01, when it is so clear that it didn't?
posted by psmealey at 12:01 PM on December 6, 2003


Karl Rove has ended the Democratic primary. That's what the Gillespie and Moore attacks are about. They're pulling a reverse Gray Davis. Instead of wading into the opposition primary to character assassinate the most worthy enemy before the battle had begun, Rove is going after the person he wants to face. They read the news. They understand the way to make Dean bigger is to attack him.

"Are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet, or his enemy's? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I'm not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool; you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

"Iocane comes from Australia, as everyone knows. And Australia is entirely peopled with criminals. And criminals are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me. So I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. You must have suspected I would have known the powder's origin, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me. In studying, you must have learned that man is mortal so you would have put the poison as far from yourself as possible, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me!"
posted by waldo at 12:02 PM on December 6, 2003


Gillespie would be more convincing if the White House wasn't constantly stonewalling the 9/11 commission. Max Cleland is so fed up it looks like he's going to resign.
posted by homunculus at 12:08 PM on December 6, 2003


Rove is going to go down in history for three mistakes--the steel tariffs, the war in Iraq, and underestimating Howard Dean.

Yeah, but underestimating Dean seems to be a real cottage industry at this point. What else does Rove have in common with the Democratic Establishment (don't answer that; I prefer to pretend)? Much of the talk on Dean's blog, which seems to stay a few days/weeks ahead of the campaign's more public face, has been about hammerinh home Dean's fiscal conservatism as part of the "Southwest Strategy." The best the RNC can do with that one is to tell you about the Gov. Dean's evil social programs while leaving out the small detail that when enacting those programs he was in the middle of 11 years of a blanced budget.

The "fiscal conservatism meme" is going to be what brings swing voters and centrists to Dean. It can't be spun by the Republicans, and the Democrats will stop withn the "Dean hates Medicare" garbage when he gets the nomination. From "it's the economy, stupid" to "it's the economy, you stupid, lying sack of crap."
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:17 PM on December 6, 2003


Why do people persist in believing that the world changed on 9-11-01, when it is so clear that it didn't?

Because people want to feel important. And because a shockingly large (to me) number of people seem to prefer to live in a culture based upon fear and uncertainty, even if they have to help manufacture it.
posted by rushmc at 1:01 PM on December 6, 2003


But the question of what Bush *knew* is irrelevent - lets take a look at what he *did* on that fateful morning: please examine the frighteningly banal video footage of Bush doing absolutely nothing after hearing about the second plane hitting WTC2 - whatever spin one wants to put on this, one thing is obvious - this guy *is not the boss* - he does not even appear to be curious, much less fired up for action. Looks to me like someone waiting to be told what to do...


Yeah, that's some great analysis. I'm glad you can tell so much from someone's facial reactions.
posted by gyc at 3:08 PM on December 6, 2003


Quotes from page 50 through 51 of the "Project For A New American Century" (PNAC)

“A transformation strategy that solely pursued capabilities for projecting force from the United States, for example, and sacrificed forward basing and presence, would be at odds with larger American policy goals and would trouble American allies.

Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new PEARL HARBOR.”

Also written around the same time as the PNAC document

is Zbig Brezinski's book The Grand Chessboard he makes the statement that the American public would be unwilling to support the military requirements of America's new global role unless it felt under attack as the result of an event of similar or greater magnitude to Pearl Harbor.

9/11 How terribly convienant for extending Empire ......................Yikes
posted by thedailygrowl at 3:22 PM on December 6, 2003


'm glad you can tell so much from someone's facial reactions.

It's not the facial expressions pal, it's the lack of activity. Why doesn't he want more information? I find it very scary that "the leader of the free world" just sits there and does nothing. How do you interpret this?
posted by dinsdale at 3:42 PM on December 6, 2003


Seth, great post. You made some very valid points

That being said, 911 didn't change the world, it just changed how the US and some other countries viewed terrorist threats. We went on the offensive, and some people don't like that.
posted by WLW at 4:58 PM on December 6, 2003


It did more than that, though WLW. Yeah, the US changed it's view of terrorist threats, but there's also very strong evidence that, at the same time, they greatly broadened their view of what makes a terrorist and how to respond to such an imminent threat. The fear is that the definitions and the methods have become so over-extended that the new laws and policy are being used to carry out massive agendas, like the PNAC, above and beyond the mission of defending the nation.
posted by kaibutsu at 5:09 PM on December 6, 2003


Does anybody else feel like this would be better posted on SoWhatFilter?

Gee, the Republican National Committee chair criticizing the front-running candidate for the Democratic nomination? It's not like that ever happens or anything.

I'm not trying to slam the Oposter in particular, but I feel like a) I don't ever want to read NewsMax.com, because I find tinfoil hats strangely uncomfortable and unflattering, and b) if someone is going to try to get me to read NewsMax.com, I don't think it should be MetaFilter.

If this is too bitchy, I apologize. I'm snowed in and may already be delirious from cabin fever. Should I be worried that my husband is Googling the Donner Party?
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:15 PM on December 6, 2003


As a Donner family descendant, I'd like to point out that you're probably right to be worried.
posted by cookie-k at 7:30 PM on December 6, 2003


Sidhedevil - I have mixed feelings about it. But beware the winter storm winds which somehow - shrieking in the background - tonight compelled me to chase down verse after verse until I found I'd written a personal answer to Yeat's "Second Coming" : and it was good enough to be no good at all. No indeed. We all have our demons, says my favorite sufi saint, and demons love howling winds above almost all else.

Boo!

Tomorrow is another day.
posted by troutfishing at 8:32 PM on December 6, 2003


Just make sure your husband has eaten well before he goes to bed, regardless of who actually cooks dinner.
posted by troutfishing at 8:34 PM on December 6, 2003


I absoutely agree with chris0495 as well, and I think it's a point worth addressing again. Why do people persist in believing that the world changed on 9-11-01, when it is so clear that it didn't?

...and when in fact the current administration would appear to be doing everything in its power to increase the likelihood of more terrorist attacks against its people and those of other western nations, which is no change at all.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:36 PM on December 6, 2003


It is worth pointing out that the major damage of 9/11 -- the collapse of the WTC -- was completely unpredictable. Even Bin Laden is reputed to have been shocked and awed (heh) at the level of damage wrought. Remember, the last time a jet flew into a building, it made a hole and that's about it. Nobody could have predicted the level of damage caused.

This is the main reason I'm sure people had some pretty specific knowledge about this event occuring. Think about it: You've got a steady stream of information coming in about plans for Nuclear/Biological/Chemical attack, but no political capital available to really do anything about it. The same people appear to be planning a relatively weak opening strike -- kill a few planeloads of people and symbolically bruise a building or two (not the Pentagon, though, or else some AA would have been discretely deployed and armed). Why not let this go through, so as to acquire the political means to prevent a coming nuclear catastrophe?

If they weren't supposed to hit the Pentagon, and the WTC wasn't supposed to collapse, this has acceptable losses (acceptable to those who aren't suffering losses) written all over it.
posted by effugas at 9:06 PM on December 6, 2003


this has acceptable losses (acceptable to those who aren't suffering losses) written all over it.
well, it's been a goldmine for many friends and contributors of the administration, and was forecast as necessary by the PNAC, but is the price we've been paying (in jobs, in dead and wounded soldiers and overextended military, in going from a surplus to incredibly massive deficits, in lost status around the world, etc) worth it? I don't know anyone who's better off now than they were before bush got in, and most think we're less safe than we were before 9/11.
posted by amberglow at 11:14 PM on December 6, 2003


"We are repeatedly told that we have entered a “new” age of terror, in which a handful of willing fanatics with a few thousand dollars can negate sophisticated power and the investment of billions of dollars. Yet neither bin Laden nor terrorism is new, and so the solutions to their threats are not only known but time-honored. Our steep initial losses—$100 billion in property, a trillion in capital stock, and of course the dead—resulted far less from any intrinsic weaknesses than from the laxity and naiveté that characterize free democratic societies during times of peace. And we should remember that aroused consensual societies usually find ways to thwart unconventional challenges of terror, be they from Stuka dive-bombers, kamikazes, V-2 rockets, or the burning of oil wells, and that those societies annihilate rather than merely defeat their enemies".

I suggest some of you folks read this article.
posted by clavdivs at 4:22 PM on December 7, 2003


But that would ruin all the fun!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:51 PM on December 7, 2003


"It is worth pointing out that the major damage of 9/11 -- the collapse of the WTC -- was completely unpredictable...."

Strong assertion - substantiation?
posted by troutfishing at 9:40 PM on December 7, 2003


« Older Did you die on 9/11? If so, the government would...   |   Makola Market Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments