Report: ‘Safer, but Not Safe’

Report: ‘Safer, but Not Safe’
Vol: 34 Issue: 23 Friday, July 23, 2004

The much-anticipated 9/11 Commission Report was finally released yesterday. Its conclusion, in a nutshell, is this: America is safer today than it was on September 10, 2001. Safer, but not safe.

Although the Commission itself is widely praised for being ‘bipartisan’, all the old promises not to politicize September 11th have been forgotten. Both John Kerry and George Bush will be campaigning on that equation — with George Bush focusing on the first part, and John Kerry focusing on the second.

Bush declared that America is safer no less than 11 times Wednesday night during a speech that aides signaled would encompass themes of his fall campaign.

John Kerry said the commission’s report “carries a simple message about our current state of security for every American who remembers that dark September day — we can do better. We must do better.”

Does anybody remember the somber promises in the dark days post-September 11? You know, when everybody promised to put partisanship aside when it came to protecting America?

“The 9/11 report is just one more issue that casts doubt on the truthfulness of this White House,” said Stephanie Cutter, Kerry’s campaign spokeswoman. “This White House is operating under a cloud of secrecy, and the American people have lost the ability to trust them.”

The panel had become “a tool for partisan politics,” Rep. Eric I. Cantor (Va.), a member of the House Republican leadership, charged in an interview last month after the Commission staff released a ‘preliminary report’ concerning Saddam and al-Qaeda.

“With the latest commission finding coming out that there were allegedly no ties between Hussein and al Qaeda, I think they are totally off their mission, and I think that’s indicative of the political partisanship.”

Ouch! Good point. Especially since the staff report got it wrong.

On the question of Iraq and al Qaeda, the final report is a marked improvement over the preliminary staff report.

In point of fact, the report issued yesterday strongly suggests that collaboration between Iran and Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda organization lasted for more than a decade and was more extensive than previously thought.

The 9/11 Commission report comes on the heels of the Senate intelligence report and the so-called Butler report published in London, both of which were mandated to look into intelligence failures before September 11 and in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

The picture that has emerged so far and now reinforced by the September 11 commission is that, overall, incompetence and lack of good information, not government duplicity, were the problems.

Even chief weapons inspector David Kay told the committee that he, too, would have gone to war on the available evidence at the time. However, in one instance at least the information seems to correct:

Both reports conclude that Saddam Hussein was indeed seeking to buy enriched uranium in Niger.

Assessment:

So much for ‘Bush lied’ — but the belief that he did is, by now, so embedded in the public consciousness that they still believe it, even after it has been proved by three separate, exhaustive investigations.

For example, John Kerry: “The Bush administration doesn’t get honesty points for belatedly admitting what has been apparent to the world for some time — that emphatic statements made on Iraq were inaccurate.” How’s that again?

Or that great bastion of truth and integrity, Teddy Kennedy: “It’s bad enough that such a glaring blunder became part of the president’s case for war. It’s far worse if the case for war was made by deliberate deception. . . .We cannot risk American lives because of shoddy intelligence or outright lies.”

In February 2002, Wilson had gone to the African nation of Niger to investigate claims that Saddam Hussein sought to purchase uranium in that country. Wilson claimed that he came up with no evidence whatsoever that Saddam had sought uranium, but that the White House had ignored his findings on the issue.

According to Senate Intelligence Committee Pat Roberts, “Time and again, Joe Wilson told anyone who would listen that the President had lied to the American people, that the Vice President had lied, and that he had ‘debunked’ the claim that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa . . . [N]ot only did he NOT ‘debunk’ the claim, he actually gave some intelligence analysts even more reason to believe that it may be true.”

The British investigation resulted in the release of the Butler Report, which concluded, “[T]he statements on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa in the government’s dossier, and by extension the prime minister in the House of Commons, were well founded.”

Having exonerated Tony Blair, the Butler Report went on to say, “By extension, we conclude also that the statement in President Bush’s state of the union address of 2003 that ‘the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa’ was well founded.”

None of this seems to matter. Most headlines about the Commission’s reports are along the lines of the New York Times headline; “Report Cites Lapses Across Government and 2 Presidencies” — which of course it does not.

Instead, the report concludes that neither president was well-served by their respective intelligence services.

Here’s how the Times characterized the Commission findings;

“In the end, the commissioners reached no definitive verdict on whether Mr. Clinton or Mr. Bush deserved greater blame for the lapses and inaction. The report seemed to portray Mr. Clinton as better informed and more intensely engaged than Mr. Bush.”

The Times’ next paragraph is a textbook example of liberal doublespeak; “In contrast to Mr. Bush, the report said, Mr. Clinton and his national security adviser, Samuel R. Berger, had “a special daily pipeline of reports feeding them the latest updates on bin Laden’s reported location.”

(The Times doesn’t mention another contrast between Clinton and Bush — eight years vs. eight months.)

So the partisanship continues, pretty much guaranteeing that all America will get in return for its investigation is a lot of hot air.

The three thousand Americans killed by al-Qaeda are largely forgotten as people — instead, they’ve become just another partisan symbol to be used as political currency to buy votes.

This entry was posted in Briefings by Pete Garcia. Bookmark the permalink.

About Pete Garcia

Christian, father, husband, veteran, pilot, and sinner saved by grace. I am a firm believer in, and follower of Jesus Christ. I am Pre-Trib, Dispensational, and Non-Denominational (but I lean Southern Baptist).

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