During the festival of falsehood held by Republicans in Tampa two weeks ago, perhaps the very biggest lie emanated from the mouth of Jeb Bush, the Florida politician, entrepreneur, and potential heir to the GOP presidential dynasty.
“My brother, well” began Jeb, referring to former president George W. Bush, “I love my brother” — and then went on to add, more arguably: ” He is a man of integrity, courage and honor. And during incredibly challenging times, he kept us safe.”
That those words – “he kept us safe” – could be uttered in public about that leader is a testament to our national affliction of historical amnesia. The harsher truth, long known but now reiterated in a startling report on the New York Times op-ed page, is that the Bush administration’s “negligence” left us undefended against the disaster whose anniversary we will mark again today.
New documents uncovered by investigative journalist Kurt Eichenwald show that despite repeated, urgent warnings from intelligence officials about an impending Al Qaeda attack, Bush did nothing because his neoconservative advisers told him that the threats were merely a “ruse” and a distraction.
Recalling the evidence compiled by the 9/11 Commission – which Bush, his vice president Dick Cheney, his national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, and numerous other officials sought to stymie and mislead – it has been clear for years that they ignored many warnings about Al Qaeda.
Specifically, as Eichenwald points out in his op-ed report, CIA officials sought to warn Bush with a glaring headline in the famous August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” That memorandum represented the culmination of many months of attempts to awaken a somnolent White House to the impending threat of a terrorist attack.
None of that is news, although Republicans like Jeb Bush continue to behave as if the facts uncovered by the 9/11 Commission had never emerged.