Was 9/11 a Failure of A, Intelligence or B, Policy? (Answer: B)

Middle EastUS Politics
on 5 Comments

Tonight I caught C-Span’s Book TV, Philip Shenon of the New York Times talking about his 9/11 Commission book to Michael Duffy of Time Mag. Shenon’s argument is that there was massive bungling in the intelligence agencies that resulted in 9/11 and has never fully been addressed. His reporting uncovers phone calls between former 9/11 executive director Philip Zelikow, now a prof at the University of Virginia, and Karl Rove, with the suggestion that the Commission tailored its findings to exonerate the Bush administration for doing nothing about the many warnings of a terrorist strike that it got in the months before 9/11.

At the end of the show Duffy brought up all the conspiracy theories that exist around 9/11, that it was an American plot, etc. The men scoffed at these, as they should.

But there was something absurd about the dialogue. The dichotomy between intelligence bungling/a conspiracy as causes of the attack is a false one. The real dichotomy is between intelligence bungling and policy bungling. The people who were truly responsible for 9/11 are Al Qaeda, a potent and vicious force, and who could have stopped them striking?  No one, I think.  Yes we can hamstring them and chase them and throw them all in prison, but if people hate you, they are going to break through. Look at the Israelis. They have the best intelligence in the world, and they don’t care about Palestinian civil rights. They build walls on the Arab world. Then an Arab driver shoots up a school. Al Qaeda was going to get thru here at some point. Turned out to be 9/11.

The real business of the 9/11 Commission that Shenon ignores is, Why they hate us? Of course, the 9/11 Commission also gave short shrift to this question, though I seem to remember that it did offer some compromise language about bin Laden’s grievances about American policy, from the occupation by the U.S. of the Prophet’s birthplace in Saudi Arabia to the Palestinian struggle for freedom from a country that holds 78 percent of historical Palestine and is now colonizing the choice bits in the remaining fifth. As (Ron Paul advisor) Robert Pape has explained, occupations that involve religious differences will result in acts of
suicide terrorism that are supported by the terrorists’ community.

This is the gaping hole in Shenon’s analysis. Bureaucracies will always break
down
; the notion that they are perfectible is some meritocratic
fantasy.  The effort to blame Bush or Clinton for 9/11 is akin to the efforts to blame Rumsfeld or Cheney or Bush for bad execution of the Iraq war. (It was the policy stupid). The true causes of the attack were American policies, some of which we actually should change.

5 Responses

  1. Jim Haygood
    March 10, 2008, 8:24 am

    "The true causes of the attack were American policies, some of which we actually should change."

    No kidding, Dr. Einstein. Let's not forget that the 9/11 attack was foreshadowed by the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen; the August 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia; and the Feb. 1993 first attack on the World Trade Center. Those who don't believe the 'center fuel tank' theory would also include the July 1996 explosion and crash of TWA 800.

    Chalmers Johnson has amply documented that U.S. interventionist foreign policy leads to blowback. The blowback is concentrated in the middle east, or involves middle eastern actors.

    The Lobby's unrelentlenting insistence on interventionist foreign policy — supporting Egypt and Israel; attacking Iraq; cruising the fleet offshore from Lebanon; threatening Syria and Iran on behalf on Israel; etc. — guarantees a future of conflict and terrorism risk for the United States. Even as a side effect of pro-Israel advocacy, such predictably disastrous results are profoundly opposed to America's best interests.

    Zionists who mindlessly dismiss their opponents as anti-semites are deluding themselves. It simply does not occur to them that Americans might want to put their own country's interests first. They react with rage to Walt/Mearsheimer's unexceptional assertion that U.S. support for Israel is hard to justify on any moral or factual basis. Zionism is headed for history's scrap heap because it is based entirely on false premises, lies, distortions and delusions. And that will be a great day for America, if the country survives financially to see it.

  2. liberal white boy
    March 10, 2008, 9:14 am

    "The people who were truly responsible for 9/11 are Al Qaeda, a potent and vicious force, and who could have stopped them striking?"

    That wonderful intelligence service (Mossad)that you talked about could have stopped them Phil. The ones that were sitting on top of the hijackers for a year before 9/11. No conspiracy theory needed here either. Five of them were arrested by the Bergen County Police on 9/11. These men were seen video taping themselves in Liberty Park as the towers burned behind them. They were held by our FBI for several weeks before being returned to the country of their employment, Israel. They had maps in their van with markings indicating foreknowledge of the attack according to a local newspaper. They failed their lie detector tests. Their boss Dominick Suter abandoned his business and skedaddled back to Israel the next day. The video tapes of the Mossad guys is now classified by our Government even though we were told they were not involved. No conspiracy theory required in any of this Phil. Much of this was originally reported by the Forward(a highly anti-Semitic news source).

    But in case you missed it or the subsequent reporting on it because no one in our media would acknowledge the story let alone report on it here are some posts on it.

    The Greatest Story Never Told

    link to homo-sapien-underground.blogspot.com

    Or if you want to see a map of the locations of the hijackers and the Mossad spies here it is.

    If Israel Knew About 9/11 In Advance And Did Not Tell Us Should We All Still Love Israel?

    link to homo-sapien-underground.blogspot.com

    Or:

    Why Do We Let Israel Get Away With Murder?…Literally
    link to homo-sapien-underground.blogspot.com

    I'll bet if Chinese or Russian intelligence were monitering the hijackers for a year before the attack we probably would have had a serious investigation. But bottom line it seems that our shock and awe was directed at the wrong country.

  3. samuel burke
    March 10, 2008, 9:42 am

    "The people who were truly responsible for 9/11 are Al Qaeda, a potent and vicious force, and who could have stopped them striking? No one, I think."

    phil, i dont know who was responsible for 9/11 but i would like for someone to explain how tower seven came down in the manner of a controlled implosion without being hit by any plane and with only a few small fires in the building. we're talking about a 47 story building collapsing at free fall speed here.

    ill concede to towers one and two being caused by the planes…..just for arguments sake, but tower seven is another animal altogether, if anyone can create a valid argument for tower seven i'm all ears.

  4. MM
    March 10, 2008, 8:04 pm

    There are legitimate doubts about the official narrative offered for 9/11.

    I can bel;ieve WTC7 got "pulled" due to legitimate concerns, and they had to tiptoe around that for insurance reasons?

    I am baffled that Fidel Castro, a guy with his own intelligence service (one clearly a step ahead of their American counterparts who tried unsuccessfully to kill the man a mere 638 times), would publish an article only this year, admitting that he had been duped, and that the object that struck the Pentagon could only have been a missile.

    I'd also like to know why the money trail was never divulged. I looked in the 9/11 Commission report–there isn't one. Don't Americans have the right to know exactly who and what financed the operation?

    If Bin Laden's guilt for 9/11 is proven, why doesn't the FBI list the 9/11 attacks on his Most Wanted page? (They have been asked: their answer: no proof).

    (The whole "it was an inside job" line is yet another absurdity of our "meritocratic" gatekeeper media. Pretty good strawman, but I think few people are actually arguing that American leaders actually conducted the operation, as opposed to allowing it to happen.)

  5. samuel burke
    March 10, 2008, 10:14 pm

    for building seven to have been pulled the explosives would have been in place well before the "attacks"…meaning that there was foreknowledge, but how could anyone have known that towers one and two were going to implode also.

    if building seven was imploded ( and who can contest this) then the explosives were there well before sept 11, how much planning has to go into the bringing down of a building and how long does a building that size take to be fully charged and ready to go….certainly more than a few hours.

    tower seven defies logic in more ways than one and those who refuse to look into it are deluding themselves and are afraid of the questions it will raise.

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