Sunday, April 11, 2004


The testimony of Condoleeza Rice reminded the nation that it was visited with tragedy in 2001, owing to "structural problems" that preceded the catastrophe in New York. The National Security Advisor appeared poised because the staging and time-constraints worked in her favor, as she sat before the 9/11 Commission. The broken skyline of Ground Zero was still represented by the 9/11 families, who made up a segment of her audience.

Dr. Rice, a self-possessed raconteur, demonstrated that the lie, per se, is not important; it is the packaging of the lie that matters most of all. David Corn, writing for The Nation, reported her repetition of this lie before the Commission:

"She also took the occasion to cheerlead for the war in Iraq, claiming that by striking Iraq the administration attacked the threat of terrorism "at its source"."

The interested public understood that the 9/11 Commission was gathering testimony, and other evidence, in order to reconstruct the events that led up to the September 11th attack. The central question pointed to the lack of effectiveness of President George W. Bush and staff, in evaluating and acting upon the al-Qaida threat. The secondary and unspoken questions were conjured up in the minds of the better informed, like a stairway that leads only to a wall of secrecy. But through a crack in the masonry one must examine, for instance, the political and commercial ties between the Saudis and the Bush Family, or the positioning of corporations to leech away Iraqi resources, or the confederation of appointees set aside to govern Iraq, or the labyrinth into which ordinary Iraqis disappear, as they resist occupation and seek legitimacy and sovereignty.

Rice testified that the Administration had no "actionable" evidence prior to 9/11. And she underlined this by saying "I know that, had we thought there was an attack coming in Washington or New York, we would have moved heaven and earth to try and stop it." The Aug. 6 memo (Presidential Daily Briefing), which was a subject of prolonged discussion, was described by Dr. Rice as primarily historical in context, and not outlining any precise threat.

In a Salon article by Joe Conason, titled The Artful Dodger, the reporter writes:

"The pertinent question is not whether the president would have tried to stop an attack whose details were thoroughly placed under his nose. The real question is whether the Bush administration paid sufficient attention to the stream of warnings it received about al-Qaida, or whether, due to its preoccupation with Iraq, missile defense and other matters, these officials simply failed to act."

Commissioner Bob Kerry resisted Rice's attempts to charm him, and said this to her: "In the spirit of declassification"..."this is what the Aug 6 memo said to the president: that the FBI indicates patterns of suspicious activity in the United States consistent with preparations for hijacking."

And in the conclusion of his article, Conason added, "The true narrative is seeping out, and the hidden facts are leaking out."

A transition from these proceedings to the theatre of Iraq, is not an obscure one, by any means. The ground of desolation moves from South Manhattan to Iraq. This new disaster is unnecessary; and the people of Iraq did nothing to provoke it. People who are still dealing with grief can grasp this solidarity, soldiers killed and broken, civilians dead and wounded, a young Iraqi man weeping in solitude, standing at the bottom of a bomb crater. Whoever we are in this conflict, it is possible to know that desolation surrounds us; and if this keeps up, the bitter tears will even invade our dreams.

Here is a depraved war, a war waged in utter contempt of democracy. And from the point of view of the American system, a corrosive betrayal of democratic process. And here is a corrupt war.

Even dedicated religious adversaries, like the Sunni and Shi'a, are driven into each others arms by the American subjugation of their resources and landscape, their politics and culture. The Bush Administration's denials are finally implausible. The dislodging of Saddam Hussein was not the end; and everyone can see that the proposal for holding elections was rejected in the early stage of the Occupation.

The Iraqi scene is being prepared to accommodate permanent US military bases, without regard to Iraqi opinion. And already the wall of a mosque has been knocked down, to deal with a single insurgent. Reprisals are to be visited on towns and communities, and desolate, broken landscapes will multiply throughout Iraq. This unmitigated monstrosity, this blood-spattered offense to everything we cherish, was an institutional objective of the Bush Administration, preconceived and premeditated. What then will we say, as Americans? What will we say in November, as we vote? What must we do when we have wept and the tears will no longer come?

There should be a consensus among all who mourn.

Sources via Orcinus and Zizka. Image via efflog.


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