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9/11: The Bitter Lessons of Four Years

9/11: The Bitter Lessons of Four Years
By Joe Conason

Sunday 11 September 2005

Standing among the wreckage of two national disasters, it is no longer possible to deny the plain truth: Bush and his administration are unfit to wield power.
It would have been almost impossible to imagine, during the days and weeks that followed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that we might someday look back on that depressing time with a tinge of nostalgia. For Americans, and especially for those of us who live in New York City, those autumn memories are filled with rage and horror, fire and smoke, loss and death; but they are also filled with a spirit of courage, community and real patriotism. United we stood, even behind a government of dubious legitimacy, because we knew that there was no other way to defend what we valued.

In a strange way, Sept. 11 - despite all the instantaneous proclamations that things would never be the same - represented a final moment of innocence.

Now catastrophe has befallen another American city, with horrors and losses that may surpass the toppling of the twin towers. And while many people in New Orleans have shown themselves to be brave, generous and decent, this season's disaster has instilled more dread than pride, more anger than unity. Why is the mood so different now? At every level, the vacuum of leadership was appalling, but especially among the national leaders to whom all Americans look at a time of catastrophic peril. As rising waters sank the city, summer vacations in Texas and Wyoming, and shoe-shopping on Madison Avenue, appeared to take priority over the suffering on the Gulf Coast.

Four years after 9/11, we know much more than we knew then about the arrogance, dishonesty, recklessness and incompetence of a national government that was never worthy of its power.

We saw how the White House squandered, all too quickly, the uplifting national response to 9/11. Within a few months, Karl Rove was heard telling the Republican National Committee exactly how he planned to betray the Democrats who had unanimously lined up behind President Bush in the aftermath of the attack by using the "war on terror" as a domestic political weapon.

Rove replayed his cynical maneuver at the GOP convention last year, when New York served as the backdrop for more patriotic posturing - while the Republicans in the White House and Congress refused to provide adequate funding to protect New York from another, possibly even more devastating attack. Disproportionate millions went from the Department of Homeland Security to rural towns that will never be threatened, while city and state officials continue to lack the money and manpower to protect ports, power stations and chemical plants. The same neglectful and perverse priorities withdrew funding from the levees protecting New Orleans.

We learned how the Bush administration misled the nation into invading Iraq to suppress a nonexistent threat from "weapons of mass destruction," while assuring us that the war would be cheap, easy, and almost bloodless. The administration's predictions have proved uniformly false and its prescriptions entirely useless, costing thousands of Iraqi and American casualties and hundreds of billions of dollars. The resulting damage to our national prestige, among both allies and enemies, may well be irreparable. And after all the sorrow and destruction, Iraq may end up as a hellhole of warring ethnic and religious groups, a haven for Islamist terrorists, and an instrument of the mullah regime in Iran.

We found out why the president, the vice president, and their aides wanted no investigation of the circumstances leading to the 9/11 attacks. For nine months they'd ignored the warnings of danger, first from the former officials of the Clinton administration, then from White House national security officials, and finally from the CIA itself in the notorious presidential daily briefing of Aug. 6, 2001.

More recently, we have discovered how they failed to act on an ominous report from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, just weeks before 9/11, that pointed to the grave likelihood of a terrorist attack on New York City - and of a deadly hurricane destroying New Orleans.

And we can have no doubt now, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, that critical agencies of the United States government are staffed by patronage hacks unable to fulfill the most basic responsibilities of the modern state. The outstanding example, of course, is Michael D. Brown - apparently known as "Brownie" to the admiring president - the FEMA chief whose resume contains nothing to recommend him to one of the most critical positions in government, although he had amply padded it with unearned honors and bogus titles. He claimed, for instance, to have worked as an assistant city manager, when he was actually a glorified intern. (The holder of a degree from an unaccredited law school, Brown's most significant lifetime work experience was as a "commissioner" for a horse show association, a position he departed involuntarily and left off his official biography.)

In his pathetic insufficiency, Brown evidently was not alone at FEMA. The deputies and acting deputies and various other high-ranking pork-choppers - many of whom had landed at the agency from positions with the Bush-Cheney campaign - showed up with no experience in the hard work of saving lives and restoring communities.

But the FEMA phonies stand as symbols of far broader trouble in the Bush administration. When the Republicans first took over in 2001, and for many months thereafter, they assured us that they were the "grown-ups," and that they were "in charge." After 9/11, their flacks returned to this self-congratulatory theme, boasting that all Americans felt more secure and protected by Bush than they would if Al Gore were in the Oval Office. Their standard of accountability is to award the nation's highest decoration for public service to George Tenet and Jerry Bremer, as if nobody had noticed their notorious failures.

Pretenders such as these cannot extricate us from a debilitating war, nor can they rebuild the nation they destroyed; they have no idea how to allocate resources against terrorism, nor how to prepare for the disasters that will surely come. What the Republicans in power can do is set up photo ops, repeat spin points, concoct hollow slogans about "compassionate conservatism," and sidestep responsibility by whining about "the blame game."

On this anniversary, surrounded by the wreckage of four years of disastrously bad government, we must confront a profoundly disturbing reality. The performance of George W. Bush as president has proved to be far worse than even his most alienated critics could have predicted. His administration is far less concerned with our security than with its own self-serving ideology and its petty abuses of office.

Four years ago, as we contemplated potential threats from the enemies of civilization, it was impossible to conceive of the vast damage that our own government would inflict upon America before those enemies could strike again. The danger from the perpetrators of 9/11 has not abated, and suddenly we know how vulnerable we remain - because the federal officials who have sworn to defend us, beginning with the president, have neither the character nor the competence to fulfill that oath.



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Bring on Al Gore...he really won in 2000 they proved it after the recount...he has experience and a vision...We need someone of his caliber to help clean up the horrible mess that George Bush has rendered at home and in the world...time to change is now

We are not safer. This is a point that should be driven home now. One of bush’s strongest selling points was the belief many held that his resort to war made us safer. “We fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here

Great Commentary Citizen G. Thank You.
WMDthefilm on the Independent Film Channel tonite was an excellent showing of what is going on in the MSM controlled by the government. ALL LIES are that which they are guilty of themselves...Government and Mainstream Media as their mind-controlling propagandists.
Even worse...if you search 9/11 in Plane Site and Loose Change,
Marvin will find what I hate to believe but find it hard not to, that 9/11 was an inside job. There is even strong implication
that this inside job of all 3 hijacked planes were the BIGGEST DECEPTION IN HISTORY: noted by many scholars, scientists etc. I have seen link to this at last on a post here on afterdowningstreet. Thank Heavens people who know how to move amidst this madness may be able to
bring forth the truth and reach the masses. Wouldnt it be wonderful if special prosecution brings ALL the crimes of the administration and the Bush Crime family to justice. I wish someone would organize class action of We the People to try them all for Treason and Crimes against humanity. I have written and asked for this with no replies from various different hopefuls capable of doing this. Its NOT rocket science. I know how to, and would gladly participate.



George W. Bush was out jogging one morning along the parkway when he
tripped, fell over the bridge railing and landed in the creek below.
Before the Secret Service guys could get to him, three kids, who were
fishing, pulled him out of the water. He was so grateful he offered the
kids whatever they wanted.
The first kid said, "I want to go to Disneyland." George said, "No
problem. I'll take you there on Air Force One." The second kid said, "I
want a new pair of Nike Air Jordan's." George said, "I'll get them for
you and even have Michael sign them!" The third kid said, "I want a
motorized wheelchair with a built-in TV and stereo headset!! " Bush is a
little perplexed by this and says, "But you don't look like you are
The kid says, "I will be after my dad finds out I saved you from drowning!"

I'll pass these warm fuzzies on!



Three ideas - Three solutions.
From a citizen of the United States of America.

1. We are Americans, not Red or Blue.
We all want to be safe, to stop fighting each other, and need each others support.
We must acknowledge the absolute necessity of healing the wounds of separation and the fundamentally unreal barriers between Democrats and Republicans. These so called "barriers" have been amplified, directed, and solidified to serve those in power. As long as we bash each other, the government is safe. They do NOT have the well being of a unified American soul as their priority. Divide and conquer has been at work.

2. We must replace terms such as "limited" or "big" government for "competent, accountable, and honest government." We all want safety, unity, and peace. Ask this of the country straight on and ask it often: Are you tired of lashing out in fear at your neighbors? Is it a good feeling? I sense most are getting very tired of this divide and energy it takes to feed it. We only need the idea and bridge for Right to walk over to Left and Left to walk over to Right.

3. Question the politics of fear continually. We must restore Americas respect in and by the International community by joining with them in partnership as opposed to fearing, bullying, and ignoring them.

So, knowing a message has to be logo like to get across, my offering of a Progressive Democratic vision is:



Sunday, September 11, 2005

Bush's Katrina dawdling should offend conservatives

By Nolan Finley / The Detroit News

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It was suggested last week that I turn in my conservative credentials because I thought Michael Brown ought to be fired for the way he bungled the initial response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
If hanging on to those credentials means I have to blindly defend everything President Bush does, then, fine, I'll give them up. That's a bigger job than I want.
If being conservative means I have to turn a blind eye to government mismanagement and incompetence just because a Republican is running the show, then I'll take a hike.
Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, screwed up the response to the New Orleans tragedy. He caught a bad case of the slows. His dawdling and the ineptitude of local and state officials cost lives. Friday, Bush yanked him back to Washington, but the damage was done.
It ought to be OK for conservatives to say that. But the conservative movement's principles have given way to partisanship. The words "conservative" and "Republican" are now interchangeable, and it's more important to protect the party than to hew to core values.
One of those principles for conservatives is that government ought to be as efficient and responsive to customers as private business. What private business would excuse the level of indecisiveness Brown displayed to blind-side the chief executive?
Brown allowed the Katrina mess to bite the boss in the backside, and that's unpardonable. But Bush's initial response was to do what he always does -- stubbornly stand by his man. Loyalty is a terrific quality. But loyalty to incompetence is inexcusable.
Republicans ought to think twice this time before falling in line behind the president in defense of the Katrina response.
The country watched firsthand the images of the suffering people of New Orleans waiting, waiting, waiting for help. Excuse-making and blame-spreading won't mitigate the damage done to Bush, but it will increase the likelihood of the taint covering everyone else in the party.
Bush claims to be a buck-stops-here guy. He can't be that and continue to dodge responsibility for the screw-ups of his administration.
The failure of leadership following Katrina could well cost Republicans the Congress in 2006. Those in the GOP who will face voters next year must be careful about circling the wagons in defense of the president, lest it cost them their seats when the true scope of the Katrina mismanagement unfolds.
Bush will try to spend himself out of this mess, burying the Gulf Coast in federal dollars in hopes the cash will make people forget that while he dawdled, people died.
The fine fiscal conservatives in Washington will rubber-stamp every funding request, without regard that their previous five years of unholy spending has maxed out the nation's credit card, leaving nothing for emergencies.
So forgive me for breaking rank. But I don't see anything particularly conservative in the bumbling going on in Washington. If that's what conservative looks like, count me out.
Nolan Finley is The News' editorial page editor. Reach him at or (313) 222-2064. Watch for Nolan Finley on "Am I Right?" at 8:30 p.m. Fridays on Detroit Public Television, Ch. 56.

Bush said how could we know the levees would break. He had a conference with Max Mayfield, Chenny, and Chertoff BEFORE THE EVENT. Look it up. They all knew the gravity of the situation. Bush has bypassed the Davis Bacon act, and the people of New Orleans, Wwill work for a no bid contract with Haliburtin. They will pay them less then the wage that has been protected by this act 4.75 dollars. This is cruel and we need to impeach the BASTARD!

Max talked to this administration and Bush was vacationing. We can only blame Bush, he has to go!!!!

I am disturbed by the issue I point out in the next few paragraphs.....considering the fact if an honest mistake was made we deal with it on a different emotional and intellectual level..........but the news blackout on this issue speaks volumes to those who are discussing the following:

I, myself witnessed: approx three/four days ago on one (either CNN or MSNBC) there was a live interview of a husband and wife who stayed in New Orleans (yet sent their four kids to Baton Rouge grandmother's house when Katrina was on her way) ...the husband mentioned his job forced him to stay behind. The interview was being held in Baton Rouge where they finally were able to reunite with their kids.

In the interview they stated that seconds before the 17th St. levy burst they heard seven explosions. They mentioned something about the fact that breaching the levy would protect the better neighborhoods. They did not state it as if it was a complaint, they (oddly to me) seemed rather cavalier about it.

What was even more odd (translate - obvious) that for days all the news channels would repeat film footage and interviews over and over and over during the days and nights............yet THIS particular interview was NOT repeated after the original broadcast of their comments.

NOW....I've dug up separate statements repeating the same thing "there were seven explosions." One in particular . . which I will link to you . . . is a personal blogger telling friends and family via her blog.........what they experienced and where she was now and how she is. Link: (MY NOTE: she has posted contact numbers so she can discuss her Katrina experience)

Since I've been on a quest to find more about these explosions someone emailed this link that ALSO discusses the explosions (from victims trapped at the Super Dome)

and here: Many of the evacuees have been relating stories regarding hearing explosions between the late hours of Aug. 31, 2005 to the early AM of Sep.1, 2005, which precipitated the flooding of New Orleans. FBI agents are in the process of seizing the seismic recordings from regional seismic monitoring stations. Evidence may exist that shows "unexplainable" earth noise that preceded the levee breaks. View Forum - Hurricane Katrina - Forums
(my note: FBI did same thing with 9/11 seismic reports)

THEN THIS: Several witnesses observed the explosions and a local police officer who reported seeing the explosion on 17th street actually committed suicide (or is accused of having done so.) link: Amateur/Fan Films Forum -> Hurricane Katrina

(my note: two officers have committed suicide as reported by Mayor Nagin and news outlets)

MORE: ..."the water you see here was the result of FEMA blowing the levees in 7 places symmetrically placed around the city ... Bush on Saturday night before the storm arrived had already signed an executive order giving FEMA overall authority over New Orleans ..." : Home Page (my note: this guy seems focused on the paranormal issues in his other writings but his "blowing the levees" blurb popped up when I was doing internet search)

Since there seems such a news blackout on the levees being blown............and considering this administration's policy of hiding truth (to say the least).....there is probably more to be known on this issue.

It seems to me that if in fact an engineering error was (innocently/negligently) made Bush would want the information freely discussed UNLESS it was worth hiding to this administration-- translate: unqualified FEMA staff -- they are hiding the blame for in this issue. After all, Mike Brown does hold the cards over Bush, et al simply because of his deep connection to the Florida vote recount scam.

Old Persian saying: NEVER tell your best friend your secrets because your best friend has a best friend too!

but Outrage...
Altho I dont know for certain what truth "Lies" in the explosions at the New Orleans levees before they broke; I have been all too concerned about the "reports" that 9/11 was an inside job.
Search MARVIN BUSH; Dubyas little bro in charge of the WTC Security
leading up to 9/11.
"Reports" of explosions going off in the WTC's before the collapse.
First Reports on CNN never to be heard again...of explosions and the
appearance that the planes that hit the Towers did NOT appear to be
commercial airliners.
Search 9/11 and 9/11 in PLANE SITE and LOOSE CHANGE documentaries:
Review of any photos of the Pentagon and Shanksville Pennsylvania of
The information is overwhelmingly heinous. The WAR ON TERROR is
our very own government against the people.
I hate to admit it is all Devastastingly Believable; I just dont know how "they can continue to conceal their horns and tails".

We must NEVER forget the lessons of September 11th!

Bush-Cheney vehemently fought against investigating the brutal murders of 2800 Americans.

When allegedly being informed that "America is under attack", Mr. Bush did not have the competence to even turn his head and ask for a clarification.

Bush and Cheney could not even give reasonable explanations for their own actions on that fateful day. Their only "testimony" to the 9-11 Commission consisted of unprecedented (rather: never-before-heard-of) tandem "testimony", not under oath, with no recording or transcript or note-taking allowed.

Bush-Cheney took advantage of a grieving nation to pursue their radical agenda of pre-emptive war, usurption of powers into the executive branch without any qualifying checks and balances, tax breaks for their rich "have mores" and corporate sponsors at the expense of the working class and genuinely needy.

B-C also used the attacks to quash, marginalize and stigmatize all forms of dissent, especially from the so-called "mainstream" media, which quickly complied and became nothing more than corporate infotainment.

Although no one was ever held accountable for the huge failures that allowed the terrorist attacks to be carried out (somehow it was a failure of the "system" and of "bureaucracy", but not actually of anyone), B-C foisted the Orwellian-titled "Patriot" act upon us. Although the FBI and CIA could not "connect the dots" before the attacks, somehow the key to preventing more terrorism lies in knowing what library books you and I check out.

To the Bush-Cheney neocon cabal, the 9-11 terrorist attacks were not a "tragedy" but instead they were an "opportunity".

And those, my friends, are the true lessons of September 11th. We must never forget!

Great article from Salon and it is so true. Bush lied, thousands died in Iraq and perhaps thousands more from Katrina. Mr. Bush, please resign! For the sake of the people of the world.

The President can be taken to task for neglect, and murder. Why do you think he has hired a non governmental lawyer?

Visit their website and read their "Statement of Principles". Notice the names at the bottom of that page. You will know most if not all of them. Then go to their "Publications / Reports" page, and read "Rebuilding America's Defenses", written in September 2000 (you'll need a PDF reader). Scroll to page 51 of that report (using the numbers on the actual pages) read the first complete sentence, and ask yourself whether or not there are some very serious questions that Congress should be asking the entire Bush administration.


John Perry

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