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What George Bush Didn't Do On His Summer Vacation
Stop terrorism when it potentially could have been stopped, for one, according to the contents of the Presidential Daily Briefing entitled, "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US" (PDF file to your right at the link above).

There's the argument that Clinton let stuff slide, too -- and sure, Bush and Clinton both could have, in hindsight, known better, and done better on a number of fronts. It's not a surprise that people -- be they Republicans or Democrats -- had a little trouble, before 9-11, mustering the imagination to understand the magnitude of our vulnerability within our own country.

Then again, this memo seems a pretty definitive statement of our internal vulnerability, noting "Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York." You're president, and you get a memo like that, and your response is go home to Crawford, Texas, and tool around in your pickup truck? Remind us to elect you for a second term as a reward for all your industriousness.

But that Bush administration argument again? There was nothing that suggested that an attack was coming on New York or Washington, D.C., said Condoleezza Rice, in her recent Senate testimony. Yes, again, "nothing" in Condoleezza-speak reads like so:

"Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York."

Aren't you glad a woman of her interpretative genius is in charge? Then again, she was a poly sci professor at Stanford. Is it possible she's not that dumb; merely, shall we say...mendacious?

Take your pick -- after you take a peek at a little more "nothing" from that memo:

Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate Bin Ladin since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US. Bin Ladin implied in US television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and "bring the fighting to America."

After US missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, Bin Ladin told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington, according to a ...(redacted portion) ... service.

An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told an ... (redacted portion) ... service at the same time that Bin Ladin was planning to exploit the operative's access to the US to mount a terrorist strike.

The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full field investigations throughout the US that it considers Bin Ladin-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our Embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group of Bin Ladin supporters was in the US planning attacks with explosives.

Yes, all that, and the loudest sound from the Bush White House? "Yawwwwwn!"


UPDATE: And here's a little tidbit from a New York Observer story by Gail Sheehy. It's a quote from an "all-source" intelligence review ... given to top officials on June 28, 2001the same month that Ms. Rice listed the administrations priorities":

"Based on reporting over the last five months, we believe that UBL [Osama bin Laden] will launch a significant terrorist attack against U.S. and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks. The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties . Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning. They are waiting us out, looking for a vulnerability."

Hmm, sounds kinda serious to me -- then again, I'm just a girl who writes in the newspaper about love, not one in charge of "national security" whose actions (or inaction) have life-and-death impact on millions of people.

Posted by aalkon at April 11, 2004 8:42 AM

Comments

Kaus reduces the memo to this quintessence:

> ...too-vague-to-freak-Bush-out warning of
> suspicious activities ("consistent with"
> hijackings "or other types of attacks")...

For a smoking gun, this metal feels chilly.

And be careful what you say about Dr. Rice, she may well be our next POTUS.

Posted by: Crid at April 11, 2004 8:13 AM

Well, she at least seems smarter than the religious fanatic currently heading the team.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 11, 2004 5:36 PM

"There was nothing suggested that an attack was coming on New York or Washington, D.C.," said Condoleezza Rice"

Ok, so if Seattle or Los Angeles or maybe Chicago had been reduced to a pile of smoking rubble that would have been okay as far as 'Dr.' Rice is concerned? That was my first reaction.

And actually, if anyone with half a brain, which you really don't have to have to get a doctorate, the first attack on the WTC in New York was a clue that terrorists had that as a specific target.

Like most Americans I was stunned by the attacks, by terrorists, on our soil. I've been to many countries where terrorism is more or less a way of life: Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Colombia, Peru. Frankly, many countries all over the world have lived in the shadow of terror for decades. Until 9-11 we were blessed to live in an atmosphere free from the fear of terror. But we were lucky. It was bound to happen and I for one am not surprised that the Bush administration fiddled while the World Trade Center burned.

Posted by: Sheryl at April 11, 2004 9:03 PM

That "nothing suggested" phrase will hound this woman for eternity. But saying the "Bush administration fiddled" is beyond the pale. The entire western world fiddled for ten years after the fall of the wall. Remember "The End of History," and all that? Many of us are awake now, and on the case.

Posted by: Crid at April 12, 2004 5:41 AM

Crid: And be careful what you say about Dr. Rice, she may well be our next POTUS.

What in heaven's name are you smoking? And why aren't you sharing? You're even less adept at supporting your conclusions on this discussion than you were on the homosexuality issue (and quite frankly, I didn't think that was possible).

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 will be remembered as a time when partisan bickering (the dozen or so hostile investigations against Clinton while he was trying to do his job) was more important than national security.

Prior to September 11, Clinton focused more on terrorism than any previous president, in CONTRA-distinction to Ray-gun and King George the first who actually ARMED terrorists like bin Laden.

Reagan's appointees to counterterrorism actually PRAISED Clinton's anti-terrorism efforts, one faulted him for focusing on bin Laden, which (he claims) allowed him to grow stronger, while the second appointee said that Clinton was correct to focus on bin Laden.

Bush, by contrast, was barely out of the gate and spent one of the longest presidential vacations in history. Wouldn't you all love to have a job that allowed you three months vacation when you haven't even been employed at it for six months?

Here's a good article that pretty much covers George Bush's anti-terrorism efforts prior to 9/11. http://www.blythe.org/nytransfer-subs/Covert_Actions/W's_Mind_Was_on_Vacation

And Condoliar Rice has about as much chance of becoming president as you do, Crid.

Posted by: Patrick at April 12, 2004 7:38 PM

The Goddess Writes: Well, she at least seems smarter than the religious fanatic currently heading the team.

Patrick replies: A trained ape seems smarter than Bush, for that matter. What's your point?

Posted by: Patrick at April 12, 2004 7:40 PM

Just weary and worried about the mess we're in, with Bush and Co. running this place.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 12, 2004 8:26 PM

Pattykitten: I can tell I got under your skin.

Posted by: Crid at April 12, 2004 11:46 PM

>> Bush and Co. running this place.

Why do liberals always regard government figures as leaders rather than servants? Bush ain't Daddy, neither was ClintonTrumanHooverEtc....

Posted by: Crid at April 12, 2004 11:58 PM

Oh, Bush is doing some serving alright, serving up the alternative minimum to the middle class.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 13, 2004 12:49 AM

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 13, 2004 12:51 AM

The slender polemic behind the link doesn't specify *when* the 85% of taxpayers will move to AMT, or what compensating structures might be in place. In fact, every graf on the page contains a hedge ("largely, "many," [unidentified] "experts,") etc.

Meanwhile, I bring a request from the WLA office of the VRWC, in conjunction with the Republican National Committee: Please keep telling yourself that the guy is stupid. Just like Carter did in 1980. And Mondale did in 1984. And (to a lesser extent) Dukakis did in 1988. Like Ann Richards did in 1994. And Al Gore did in 2000. GWB got better grades at Yale than Gore got at Harvard, but keep mixing your own kool-aid.

Also, where possible, try to have your candidate names linked to press releases titled "misery index." That'll cheer the hearts of voters...

'Cause Daddy Kerry will take care of everything!

Posted by: Crid at April 13, 2004 7:05 AM

Actually, Crud (misspelling intended) your infantile use of names (re: Pattykitten) is more deserving of a response than anything you suggested on your post. Of course, exposing your hatred of gays is a little pointless now. You've already done that in spades.

The only thing that annoys me about your posts (actually, it's more about you as a person, really) is that you can't support anything you say. I post on a good deal of message boards on AOL, and the most useless posters I've encountered are ones such as you. They say things that they want to be true, and can't support anything they assert with references. In short, they're bigots. And your homophobia underscores that point. Moreover, they can be proven wrong, many times over, but they just persist in saying what they want to believe is true, over and over. Had this blog a filter feature, you would have met it long ago.

But hey, Crud. When all else fails, you can certainly hurl a gratuitous homophobic insult my way, right? Nicely done, Crud. You discredit yourself with far more efficiency than I could have. Thanks for saving me the trouble.

And by the way, Gore's SAT scores were higher than Bush's. Even Ann Coulter admits that.

Posted by: Patrick at April 14, 2004 6:59 AM

> ...your hatred of gays is...

Naw, I loves the gays.

"...a gratuitous homophobic insult..."

How on earth was it "homophobic"? It was a blunt diminutive. It was a *straightforward* insult, and there was nothing gay about it.

Y'know, being tolerant does not mean embracing every idea a person holds... The world is not all about you and your feelings, or me and mine.

Posted by: Crid at April 14, 2004 7:18 PM

Oh, so referring to a guy named Patrick as "Patty" wasn't a homophobic slur? Yeah, right. And I'm the freakin' Church Lady.

Posted by: Patrick at April 15, 2004 4:16 AM

While I (probably) haven't tried it out on EVERY gender/color/faith/height/NFL affiliation, I'm pretty sure it would annoy anyone! Really, it's not ALL about you.

You do AOL? In the 80's I did BBS's, which were the same thing but with better parties. There are several guiding principles to participating in threads, but one of the most important is: If you ignore someone, they essentially cease to exist.

Posted by: Crid at April 15, 2004 9:10 PM