Thursday, January 8

Bush Farewell Tour, Part 145: Paying Armstrong Williams Is Like Buying The Cow When Cows Are Free

ONE thing most everyone to the left of the American center can agree upon--excluding any who've been elected to Congress, that is--is that George W. Bush was given the biggest Free Pass in History after 9/11; any of several of his responses would have led to a Bill of Impeachment for Carter or Clinton, if not right away, then certainly as soon as the initial supply of warm, pants-drenching urea was exhausted. (In fact, if I'm not mistaken, by the time they'd been eight months in office both Carter and Clinton had been impeached.) And Lord knows, given the enormous popularity of movies featuring the madcap antics of People Who Weren't Really All That Funny When They Were Doing Teevee Sketch Comedy, it's understandable how a country like ours would still find Splooge-Stained Blue Dresses and What the Definition of "Is" Is a continued source of merriment, but My Pet Goat not so much. In fairness, of course, at least Clinton Scandals, Inc., were something we could laugh off; the big problem there being that we didn't, not for seven years or more, anyway.

Which reminds us that at this respective distance, the attack on Pearl Harbor had been investigated by The Roberts Commission (a Presidential commission set up days after the attack, which reported a year later); the Hart Inquiry (a one-man Navy investigation undertaken in 1944 so that important information [including courts-martial evidence] would not be lost); the Army Pearl Harbor Board; a Naval Court of Inquiry; one-man expert inquiries supplimental to those two ordered by the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy, respectively; The Clarke Investigation (into the handling of pre-attack intelligence and communications, also ordered by Secretary Stimson); and the Joint Congressional Committee investigation, which delivered its 40-part, 23 volume, 25,000 page report July 20, 1946, after eight-months' investigation; compare the 9/11 Commission, which took a year and a half to produce the bi-partisan slush it was designed to, having previously taken a year of bad publicity just to begin the formation process. Of the above, all were completed in less time after the event than it took for the single investigation of 9/11, excepting the two supplemental Services inquiries and the Congressional investigation, which did not begin until after the War.

And again, in fairness, that War was over a lot quicker, too, giving them an unfair head start.

You might recall, despite the Mass-Market Media's expressed desire that you not, that on 9/11 Acting President George Walker "Interesting Day" Bush basically turned tail and ran at the news, stopped by the nearest Air Force Base with a broadcasting facility to tape a message, before donning a flight suit and jetting off to land on an aircraft carrier that had been cunningly turned so terrorists couldn't see the San Diego skyline in the background. [on edit: sorry, I got my chronologies mixed up there!] Bush came in for some criticism for the long delay in his return to Washington.

Now, look: I don't think that just because Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who at the time was a) under fire and b) legless still ordered his driver to back up, and managed to lift the mortally-wounded Anton Cermak into the car, that every President of the United States should play the hero, nor even that it's a good idea; I just think Bush hagiographers ought to have the decency to shut th' fuck up about Roosevelt. And I realize that there are bound to be conflicting stories whenever a) there are fast-moving, highly-charged events, or b) Dick Cheney is involved. Personally, I would like to imagine a President who would either dive under the nearest mountain range for protection, or begin talking about Everlasting War, but not both at once. In the end Bush is said to have acceded to the demands of that same Secret Service he had overruled on the matter of departing Emma E. Booker Elementary School just a brief time before. Thus Bush's vigorous leadership was forced to make itself known through videoconferencing, though whether he inquired if the NYFD had been provided with Bibles the Washington Post has not chosen to let us know. Though it is sure that they had more use for 'em than that spy plane crew.

One of the little details that may have settled into the detritus of Time deserves to be dusted back up. It took about twenty-four hours for the shock to wear off enough that people began seriously to ask Just Where Th' Fuck The President Had Been While All This Was Going On (it is, as usual, a process which would result, not in demerits for Bush, but plaudits for Rudy Giuliani, thus prolonging that national agony for six fucking years). It occurred, in of all places, the New York Times, later such a skeptical analyst of White House spin. Bill Safir(e) questioned his Commander-in-Chief's absence; two days later a front-page story with the byline of R.W. Apple, Jr., and Safir(e)'s own column revealed the truth: that credible threats to Air Force One had been intercepted, their credibility resting on the fact that "code words" had been transmitted, along with the message "Air Force One is next".

Now, let's be fair: these people are predisposed to hero worship and Sky-Is-Falling insanity on the sunniest of days. So the fact that this was the first piece of real Breaking With the Compact piece of political bullshit I'd heard since the attacks (under such circumstances I'm supposed to be tacitly supportive, and you are not supposed to take the time to Cover Your Ass. Of course, we all know who breaks first.) should not be reflected on the ink-stained wretches of the Lapdog Press. It is only in retrospect that the average American has come to understand that Islamic extremism was not the only Evil unleashed on the country in those days; there was information from Dick Cheney's Office, too.

But the thing about Safir(e) was not just that he stovepiped it (apologizing, in the process, for ever having doubted), but that he claimed this suggested the presence of a high-level mole inside the White House, a claim which apparently became inoperative once a frightened nation decided a couple days later it had better pretend to admire whatever idiot was nominally in charge of giving empty bullhorn-spouted platitudes at Ground Zero.

Which reminds us: the heroic fireman standing next to him on the rubble turned out to be a Republican prop, the battered Port Authority badge George Howard's mother "presented" him in remembrance was actually wrested from her by the Secret Service, and when the men on duty denied ever having passed on that "credible threat to Air Force One" message to Cheney, his office simply invented someone who couldn't be traced. The code name, by the way, was "angel". A-N-G-E-L. Someone saying "angel" somewhere was hard evidence of a threat. I shop some places online where they won't let you use something that simple as a password to buy socks.


Anonymous said...

Glad you remind us of the blatant egregious lies they were already perpetrating in those few numb days after. And thereafter, and thereafter, and thereafter.

I was so numbed, it took the lack of protection and consequent looting of irreplaceable antiquities of Babylon some all-too-soon time afterward to grasp how truly greedy and uncaring of anything or anyone these criminals against humanity were showing themselves to be ... of course, they did secure the Oil. And only the oil.

We must never forget. I want to live to see them all pay for what they cynically started out to accomplish. That in the end they couldn't attain their hegemonic goal is not enough.

We must never, never forget.



Buttermilk Sky said...

Now I know why Obama is getting a new Air Force One. Seven years of scrubbing couldn't remove the smell of Bush's pants-pissing from the old one.

Anonymous said...

What's the deald with referring to Safire as Safir(e)? Just asking.

Doghouse Riley said...

Safir(e) was born William Safir; he changed the spelling for reasons of pronunciation, although some have suggested it was due more to its Arabic appearance. We're agnostic, but have been spelling it Sarir(e) since the first time he mentioned "Gary Hartpence".

nanute said...

A-N-G-E-L. There's got to be an acronym in there somewhere.