A thing we didn’t know about Bush, we know more now
Was his failure to act on his Presidential Daily Brief, received a couple weeks before 9/11, with the dire warning “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”, negligence, or just one of those things that, for example, could have happened to Clinton?
Americans, in supporting him in the Iraq War and re-electing him for a second term, obviously gave him the benefit of the doubt. Now, for the first time I believe, we learn more about the context of the “determined to strike” Presidential Daily Briefing. It was not a one-time thing that could be dismissed as a vague general warning. According to the New York Times Op-ed The Deafness Before the Storm:
… the August 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it. The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the CIA told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. On June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible.
It’s time to tell it like it was. Bush’s inaction was the result of laziness, stupidity, or gross negligence. No reasonable President would have done nothing – who doesn’t know that the most important job of a President is to keep Americans safe? His inaction was inexcusable and irresponsible. There was a special, gross incompetence at work here.
I believe his fumbling of 9/11 helps to explain Iraq.
Other things we don’t know: we don’t fully know why Bush pushed so hard for this war, and why he went along with the growing conspiracy of lies and mendacity that ultimately led to the war. Theories abounded (oil, Israel, his dad, he was a Cheney dupe, etc.) but none sufficed. Why was it so goddamned important to him, first the war, and then to stay the course for five long years of occupation, civil war, torture, misery and death?
Wouldn’t it be to forget, and perhaps make up for, 9/11? In his head it was possible that the war would be quick and that evidence of WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction) could be manufactured or even found. In one stroke of apparent genius, he would go from the man who failed America to War Hero. It was the gamble of a desperate and condemned man.
Tony Blair is being hounded, hopefully to an early death, for his role in the war. Bush is holed up somewhere, a disgrace, a criminal, a traitor, a failure, trying to forget and be forgotten, but really waiting for hell.
(A version of this article was posted at http://www.reddit.com/r/bestofthefray/ )