Powell and Rummy Trot Out A Pathetic Misdirection Defense As Well
In their testimony today at the 9/11 Commission hearing, both Powell and Rumsfeld gave remarkably coordinated justifications for why the Clinton Administration is at fault for not dealing with Al Qaeda. And using the same bogus tactic that Bush used earlier in the day of issue misdirection, both used straw men to prove that they should be exonerated of blame.
"Killing bin Laden would not have removed al-Qaida's sanctuary in Afghanistan," Rumsfeld said. "Moreover, the sleeper cells that flew the aircraft into the World Trade towers and the Pentagon were already in the United States months before the attack."
Powell said that even if U.S. forces had invaded Afghanistan, killed bin Laden and neutralized al-Qaida, "I have no reason to believe that would have caused them to abort their plans."
Like Bush earlier, who said he had no evidence of an imminent threat to New York, now both Rummy and Powell are saying that even if they killed Bin Laden it wouldn’t have caused Al Qaeda to abort their plans. But again, that wasn’t the question at hand, was it? The question isn’t what the Bush Administration did overseas in the eight months it was in office to deal with Al Qaeda, the question is what if anything did you do here at home to deal with the threat from Al Qaeda?
Again, by setting up a straw man, the Bushies are hoping to turn attention away from themselves about what they didn’t do domestically with the information from Clarke and Berger in January 2001, the Hart/Rudman report from February 2001, and the warnings from Tenet during the Spring and Summer of 2001. No one realistically expected the incoming administration to take the Berger and Clarke reports and go invade Afghanistan and kill Bin Laden before 9/11. But was it too much to expect that more could be done than taking eight months to get a Cabinet meeting and presidential attention on a matter that your CIA director had been telling you was of great urgency for months? Was it too much to expect that your NSA would direct all departments and agencies to share information on suspect Al Qaeda members inside the country, including alerting the FAA and all law enforcement to grab these guys? And wouldn’t have grabbing even 2-4 of these guys have done more to mess up the 9/11 plans and stop four planes from being used, than invading Afghanistan and killing Bin Laden? Yup.
But it’s good to see that even Powell and Rummy think that killing Bin Laden would have made no difference. I guess that means they can’t beat Clinton up anymore for not doing it as well. Oh, wait…..they still are beating him up for not doing it.