Monday, June 23, 2003

9/11 Commission Watch/Cynical Use of 9/11 Watch

Did you look twice when you read that title? I hope you did, because yesterday I read two things that made me howl with rage. I didn't post because I wanted to calm down first.

First, and I'm aware this is a real old story (but for some reason I was praying it was that awesome Republican humor we read so much about) but this September Showtime will be showing a movie that has the day of 9/11 all tailor-revised to make the President into a god.

Trapped on the other side of the country aboard Air Force One, the President has lost his cool: "If some tinhorn terrorist wants me, tell him to come and get me! I'll be at home! Waiting for the bastard!"

His Secret Service chief seems taken aback. "But Mr. President . . ."

The President brusquely interrupts him. "Try Commander-in-Chief. Whose present command is: Take the President home!"

Was this George W. Bush's moment of resolve on Sept. 11, 2001? Well, not exactly. Actually, the scene took place this month, on a Toronto sound stage.

The histrionics, filmed for a two-hour television movie to be broadcast this September, are as close as you can get to an official White House account of its activities at the outset of the war on terrorism.

Uh, that isn't what happened. I know it, and the White House better know it. Unfortunatly, it was a friend of the White House who wrote the movie.

I found that little item above over at Eschaton. Upon surfing through the comments section, I read the following and upon agreeing with the commenter, I got angry.

What is so wrenchingly stomach turning is how cynically this administration uses the horrific deaths and unendurable suffering of thousands and thousands of Americans to enhance Bush's image.

Commenter Shaw is correct. Absolutely correct. How dare they.

Then, I paid a visit to Nitpicker, who wrote on the lack of press for a certain commission I've been writing about for months. He cites a maddening Salon article.
(Yes, you have to watch the stupid little commercial first, but it is worth it.)

While the administration of President George W. Bush is aggressively positioning itself as the world leader in the war on terrorism, some families of the Sept. 11 victims say that the facts increasingly contradict that script. The White House long opposed the formation of a blue-ribbon Sept. 11 commission, some say, and even now that panel is underfunded and struggling to build momentum. And, they say, the administration is suppressing a 900-page congressional study, possibly out of fear that the findings will be politically damaging to Bush.

As I continually ask...WHY? And then. . .

Adding insult for some family activists was the fact that Bush used the 9/11 attacks as a justification for the war on Iraq. "I sat and listened to the State of the Union speech [last January] when Bush mentioned 9/11 12 or 13 times," recalls Kristin Breitweiser, whose husband, Ronald, was killed when United Flight 175 slammed into Tower 1. "At the same time, we were having trouble getting funding for the independent commission."

Gabrielle was equally upset: "Bush has never personally met with the [9/11] families to discuss any of this, so for him to use Sept. 11 and its victims to justify his agenda, I myself am disgusted."

What bullshit. And . . .

Adding to the general confusion that day was baffling testimony by Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta. "I don't think we ever thought of an airplane being used as a missile," he told the commissioners. But it was widely reported last year that several government studies had warned of just such a scenario.

For months, the commission was struggling to get by on a minuscule budget of $3 million. That low funding and the yearlong delay in creating the commission stand in stark contrast to previous panels formed to investigate momentous disasters in American history.

For instance, on April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg, killing approximately 1,500 of its 2,200 passengers. According to historians, Titanic survivors began disembarking in New York at 10 o'clock on the night of April 18. The next morning at 10:30, a special panel of the Senate Commerce Committee was gaveled into session inside the ornate East Room of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.

Last year, when Cheney called Daschle to urge him to limit any hearings into 9/11, the V.P. argued it would drain sources away from the war on terrorism. By contrast, just 11 days after Japanese bombers hit the U.S. with a sneak attack killing nearly 3,000 people, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order creating a commission to "ascertain and report the facts relating to the attack made by Japanese armed forces upon the Territory of Hawaii on December 7, 1941 ... and to provide bases for sound decisions whether any derelictions of duty or errors of judgment on the part of United States Army or Navy personnel contributed to such successes as were achieved by the enemy on the occasion mentioned." It was the first of eight government-led investigations into the Pearl Harbor.

The Warren Commission, headed by Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, was formed just seven days after President Kennedy was assassinated. Last February, after seven astronauts died when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated 200,000 feet above Texas, NASA's Columbia Accident Investigation Board was created 90 minutes after the incident; $50 million was immediately set aside for the probe. And in just four months, the board has already made public significant findings about the crash investigation.

By contrast, nearly two years after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the 9/11 commission only recently opened up its New York City office. The commission's budget has been increased to $14 million, but many experts say that's still far short of the sum needed to do the job right.

Given that perspective, there's a growing sense among some 9/11 advocates that the news media have let them -- and the nation -- down. "I'm very disappointed in the press," says Breitweiser. "I think it's disgusting the independent commission is doing the most important work for this nation and it's not even reported in the New York Times or on the nightly news. I've been scheduled to go on 'Meet the Press' and 'Hardball' so many times and I'm always canceled. Frankly I'd like nothing better than to go head to head with Dick Cheney on 'Meet the Press.' Because somebody needs to ask the questions and I don't understand why nobody is."

Among frustrated family members of Sept. 11 victims, there's a feeling they're losing the battle of time in their struggle to get answers from the Bush administration. "There's a very, very small window to effect changes," says one 9/11 widower, Bill Harvey. "And unfortunately, that window is closing."

Xymphora has an excellent post about what we do not know about that day. (although xymphora continues to hold on to the theory that a 757 did not strike the Pentagon, which is bunk.)

Read that, and perhaps, just perhaps, you'll understand why I get so angry about this. The silence of our so-called liberal media infuriates me. What is happening to our country? The most important and historically decisive day in American History is probably September 11, 2001. Why doesn't anyone want to talk about it? Three Thousand Americans died, murdered, and why doesn't the government want it investigated? Yet all we get is silence. Unless, there's a war to be had, then it's 9/11 all over the place.

My God, that pisses me off.

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