Why Is Bush Back-Pedaling On 9/11 Commission?
April 18, 2003, 05:00 AM
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In his April 11th remarks at the Army and Navy Medical Centers in Bethesda, Maryland, a glowing George W. Bush said, "The Iraqi theater was a part of the war on terror, and we continue to fight the war on terror."

What he meant is that he is willing to do the easy thing – comparatively - by conquering Iraq. That is a political no-brainer. Trounce the enemy, make countless patriotic speeches and watch your popularity soar.

But deal with our wide-open borders, our flawed legal immigration system, and our crazy visa scams—no way! That's tough, ugly business. (See Bill Gertz's recent Washington Times story "Terrorists said to seek entry to U.S. via Mexico" which reported that 14 Al Qaeda terrorist tried to enter the U.S. through Mexico.)

If you think I'm exaggerating, then explain Bush's tepid endorsement of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the U.S.

White House support for the Commission has been luke-warm from the beginning. Perhaps hoping that the Commission would just push papers around, Bush first appointed the fossilized Henry Kissinger to head the investigation.

But disgusted victim family members booted Kissinger, tight with Saudi Arabia, out before he got in.

Then money became the issue. When it looked like Congress was going to pull the funding plug on the Commission after the $3 million start-up money was spent, even the New York Times wrote a critical editorial titled "Undercutting the 9/11 Inquiry."

After a week of haggling, Congress finally came through with an additional $11 million. But prying minds want to know why the shuttle disaster (seven deaths opposed to 3,000) has a $40 million budget - or why $30 million was wasted on the Whitewater inquiry (no fatalities).

Figuring out why Bush wants the Commission to disappear is easy. The Commission will certainly find—and we hope widely report—the same things that Michelle Malkin, Dr. Steven Camarota and Mindy Kleinberg already know: that the U.S. heeded no warning about the consequences of letting anyone into America for any reason at any time.

And the Commission will doubtlessly conclude, as have Malkin, Camorata and Kleinberg, that nothing much has been done since 9/11 to make America safe from future terrorist attacks.

VDARE.COM.com readers know Malkin and her best-seller, Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores.

And many of you know the in-depth research reports by Dr. Camorata of the Center for Immigration Studies. On terrorism and 9/11 read his "How Have Terrorists Entered the U.S.?" (Full report, Op-ed based on the full report.) 

But Mindy Kleinberg's name may be new to you. Kleinberg, who testified  during the first day of National Commission hearings, lost her husband at the World Trade Center.

Kleinberg asked: "Where was our government, its agencies, its institutions prior to and on the morning of 9/11?"

She comes up with interesting answers.

While naming the usual suspects - the I.N.S., the State Department and overseas consular offices—Kleinberg adds new villains.

  • Where was the Securities and Exchange Commission? The S.E.C. monitors the domestic and overseas security markets for irregularities that might tip-off criminal activity. Yet it didn't catch the largest dollar volume of put options purchased on United and American Airlines at the Chicago Board Options Exchange.

A week before 9/11, someone gambled that the value of United and American shares would drop dramatically. The $5 million in profit from those trades is still unclaimed and the names of the investors still undisclosed.

  • Where were the FAA and NORAD? According to the FAA and Department of Defense manuals, the FAA is to notify NORAD immediately in emergency situations. NORAD then scrambles fighter jets to intercept errant planes. But NORAD was not contacted until 20 minutes after AA Flight 11 out of Boston had become non-responsive to ground control. And the fighter jets were not deployed until 32 minutes after loss of contact. 

Directly relevant to VDARE.COM, Kleinberg concluded her testimony by pulling out copies of U.S. visa application forms filled out by the terrorists with incomplete or evasive answers, (Q: Destination? A: Hotel).

At the end of the two days of hearings, one of the Commissioners, former White House Counsel Fred Fielding said, "Your stories are very compelling. Please stay with us. Please keep giving us guidance."

I spoke to several family members who attended the hearings. Most came away with the sense that the Commission would like to do the right thing.

But some feel that Bush may not share the Commission's enthusiasm for the unvarnished truth.

Said Peter Gadiel of the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License and 9/11 Families For A Secure America:

"As a lifelong Republican I can only say that George Bush's fervent attempts to block the legislation that created the commission and now his attempt to starve it of funds give the strong impression of a man afraid of what an effective commission would disclose.

"With Bush's truly incredible refusal to make any effort to bring realistic forces to the country's border with Mexico for the purpose of reducing the flow of illegal immigrants, terrorists and drugs, how can you conclude that he is serious about making America safe?"

Concluded Gadiel:

"Bush may be riding high now but he could wind up back in Texas sooner than he thinks.  If he believes that the 9/11 families are going to settle for a cover-up, then he is nuts. If we come to believe that he has betrayed us, and we start going around the country in 2004 and send out the message that the Commission's cover-up is Bush's cover-up, he is finished."

Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.