Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Five Unanswered Questions About 9/11

by James Ridgeway


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We're great admirers of Village Voice journalist James Ridgeway -- and he puts his talents to use in this excellent analysis of what the 9/11 Commission failed to tell us.

In essence, the 9/11 Commission was a set-up job to protect those responsible for not making a serious effort to stop 9/11 from happening; it was not a Commission that was empowered to go wherever the truth took it. In fact, it set up as one of its primary goals not to "point fingers at" anyone for the failures that led to 9/11 or hold anyone responsible. The Commission was very clear about this: "Our aim has not been to assign individual blame."

So, the Bush Administration has used the 9/11 Commission as a convenient tool to absolve the White House of any malfeasance in letting 9/11 happen. But, as BuzzFlash has noted ad nauseam, Bush and Rice were notified in August of 2001 of imminent likely Al Qaeda hijackings in the United States. And they did nothing -- we repeat, once again -- nothing to prevent such hijackings from occurring. If they had acted (instead of Bush going off on a month-long vacation), then 9/11 might have indeed been prevented from occurring.

Ridgeway's analysis of how the 9/11 Commission was created to insulate the Washington status quo from blame is astute and damning. The refusal of Bush or Cheney to testify under oath or in public -- and Bush's insistence that Cheney and he speak to Commission members together -- was indicting in and of itself. What kind of president would only answer softball questions with his vice-president present? One who had something to hide -- or wasn't capable of lying to a Commission on his own, we venture.

"The 5 Unanswered Questions About 9/11: What the 9/11 Commission Report Failed to Tell Us" will not satisfy those who believe that the attack was "an inside job." That's not at all where Ridgeway is coming from.

Instead, he sees 9/11 coming about as a result of Bush's incompetence and disinterest in terrorism prior to the Twin Towers and Pentagon attacks, as well as chronic institutional failures in D.C. "The Intelligence Community, in many ways," Ridgeway writes, "took blame that rightly should have been levied against the Bush Administration." But, Ridgeway also notes, that doesn't mean that the intelligence community was without blame. Nor does it mean that they fully cooperated with the 9/11 Commission (the White House certainly didn't).

Ridgeway concludes his query of the 9/11 Commission's failings with this observation: "Surely even the most cynical among us believes that a betrayal of such magnitude must carry consequences. Without consequences, there is no justice for the dead and no safety for the living. Why has no one been held accountable?"



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