“… In other words, we said to Osama bin Laden we think getting rid of Saddam Hussein is seven times more important than dealing with of you. – President Bill Clinton
So, after Bill Clinton got through ripping ABC and Republicans, with a little help from his lawyers, I started thinking. What does John Kerry think about “Path to 9/11″? So I emailed my contact in Kerry's Senate office.
Then I'm working this morning, in the middle of a conference call actually, when my cell phone rings. It was John Kerry.
After quick pleasantries, Kerry took off. If Iger's office door was open at the time he could have heard Kerry all the way from Massachusetts. Talk about ticked. He let rip. Let's just say Kerry's fed up and he's not going to take it anymore. After our conversation, which lasted around 15 minutes, I got a statement from him that says it all.
What I find most stunning in all of this is that now five years after the real 9/11 â€“ as if any fiction could somehow make more searing what each and every one of us lived with our own eyes and ears â€“ is that we need less revisionism about the past and a hell of a lot more reality about what’s going on now. Right now.
Instead of the fiction written to excuse the invasion of Iraq by exploiting the 3,000 mothers and fathers, sons and daughters who were lost that day — they were attacked and killed not by Saddam Hussein but by Osama bin Laden â€“ we need the truth.
Here’s a little truth: The President pretends Iraq is the central front on the war on terror. It is not now, and never has been. His disastrous decisions have made Iraq a fuel depot for terror â€“ fanning the flames of conflict around the world.
The terrorists are not on the run. Worldwide, terrorist acts are at an all-time high, more than tripling between 2004 and 2005. Al Qaeda has spawned a vast and decentralized network operating in 65 countries, most of them joining since 9/11. The Taliban now controls entire portions of southern Afghanistan, and just across the border Pakistan is just one coup away from becoming a radical jihadist state with nuclear weapons. The Middle East is more unstable than it has been in decades. Hezbollah flags fly from rooftops in Shiia slums of Sadr City and Iran is rebuilding Southern Lebanon. We have an Iraqi Prime Minister sustained in power by our forces, who will not speak against the Hezbollah terrorists, who will not say that Israel has a right to exist, and who will not condemn the Iranian nuclear program, who will not even as a national leader support the national army over the Shiite militia. In other words, the Iraq government that the administration cites as the front-line force in the fight against terrorism won’t even take our side when we are fighting terrorists. No American soldier should be asked to stand up for an Iraqi government that won’t stand up for the values and interests that draw them into battle every day. Oh, and the 9/11 commission recently gave our government a failing grade on implementing intelligence reforms.
I love watching movies, but with the world looking the way it is right now I think this is a good time to stick with just the facts. After Iraq, we've all had enough fiction to last a lifetime.
Senator John Kerry
“Path to 9/11″ intends to blame President Bill Clinton and his administration, not only for 9/11, but for not catching Osama bin Laden. Never mind the Republican Congress that was focused on Bill's zipper.
I don't know if you saw Kerry on “Hardball” yesterday, but after slamming Bush on his torture policies, Kerry nailed George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Tommy Franks yet again for letting bin Laden get away at Tora Bora. The facts about Tora Bora are no longer up for discussion, because it's been documented time and again. Gary Berntsen was the “guy on the ground” (emphasis added below).
BERNTSEN: We had locations on him, we had human source reporting which had proved reliable throughout the war. And that is why we won the war so rapidly. We had picked up a radio off of a dead al Qaeda member and we're listening to bin Laden pray with his people, apologize to his people for bringing them in there.
I had CIA's top Arabic linguist with me, who had listened to bin Laden's for four years. We threw a 15,000-pound Blue 82 at them and then we had B52's conduct strikes on the same areas where he knew he was. He was willing to constantly sacrifice the lives of young Muslims to save his own skin.
O'DONNELL: You have said, “I knew exactly where he was.”
BERNTSEN: Yes, we did know exactly.
O'DONNELL: So why didn't you and his team go get him?
BERNTSEN: Well of course there was quite a bit of fighting going on.
We had about 2,000 Afghan allies that were the Eastern Alliance, which was created. There were gun fights, there were gun battles. We were trying to . we moved up the mountains, you know, with these Afghans.
The Afghans were less than reliable and this is why I was calling for ground forces. And I called for, you know, 600-to-800 rangers to be inserted in there, and had 600-to-800 rangers been inserted, we probably would have ended the thing.
O'DONNELL: So you called for backup and you didn't get it?
BERNTSEN: Well the point was, that wasn't my call in the end. I made the request in the first two or three days of December. We initiated that operation. We inserted our team in late November into Jalalabad there.
O'DONNELL: So did General Tommy Franks, the four-star commander, did he deny you those rangers that you requested?
BERNTSEN: Well, I requested the rangers directly from the commander of JSOC, who was on the ground out there. And of course, their decision was not to do that. They were pleased with the fact that we were killing several hundred of them a day.
The problem is this: when you are fighting terrorists, success for the terrorists is not defeating us on the battlefield, it's escaping. And I was trying to make sure that we eliminated every single one of them. And in that case, we didn't.
We killed quite a large number of bin Laden's force. We killed 75 percent of the people there. He did cross the border. You may recall that 130 of them were captured by the Pakistanis on the back side of Tora Bora, but bin Laden and his element were able to escape.
O'DONNELL: You were on the ground, Gary, and we understand that, but General Tommy Franks, who's now retired, says that you are wrong.
BERNTSEN: Well, I was the guy on the ground.
“Path to 9/11″ is yet another chapter in the ongoing fictional saga we've been fed over years of the Bush administration's reign and the Republican Congress's rule. The worst of it started with 9/11, but continues into Iraq. It always leads back to the lies coming from the Republicans in power, starting at the very top. As Daniel Ellsberg once said, “You don't have to be an ichthyologist to know when a fish stinks.”
…In his bunker under the White House, Vice President Cheney was not notified about United 93 until 10:02â€”only one minute before the airliner impacted the ground. Yet it was with dark bravado that the vice president and others in the Bush administration would later recount sober deliberations about the prospect of shooting down United 93. “Very, very tough decision, and the president understood the magnitude of that decision,” Bush's then chief of staff, Andrew Card, told ABC News. Cheney echoed, “The significance of saying to a pilot that you are authorized to shoot down a plane full of Americans is, a, you know, it's an order that had never been given before.” And it wasn't on 9/11, either.
President Bush would finally grant commanders the authority to give that order at 10:18, whichâ€”though no one knew it at the timeâ€”was 15 minutes after the attack was over.
But comments such as those above were repeated by other administration and military figures in the weeks and months following 9/11, forging the notion that only the passengers' counterattack against their hijackers prevented an inevitable shootdown of United 93 (and convincing conspiracy theorists that the government did, indeed, secretly shoot it down). The recordings tell a different story, and not only because United 93 had crashed before anyone in the military chain of command even knew it had been hijacked.
At what feels on the tapes like the moment of truth, what comes back down the chain of command, instead of clearance to fire, is a resounding sense of caution. Despite the fact that NEADS believes there may be as many as five suspected hijacked aircraft still in the air at this pointâ€”one from Canada, the new one bearing down fast on Washington, the phantom American 11, Delta 1989, and United 93â€”the answer to Nasypany's question about rules of engagement comes back in no uncertain terms, as you hear him relay to the ops floor. … …
9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes (emphasis added)
Kerry is pissed about “Path to 9/11″, which gets down to another attempt to swiftboat the Democratic Party on issues of national security in an election year, something he knows a bit about. Kerry will be giving hell to Republicans all weekend, first in a speech tomorrow, then on “Late Edition” with Wolf Blitzer, where Dick Cheney will be in his sights, as will ABC's desperate docudrama, “Path to 9/11.”
If you haven't heard, Cheney will be Tim Russert's “exclusive” guest on “Meet the Press” on Sunday. I've got one question for Dick: Why did you lie about the decision to shoot down Flight 93?
From the tone of our conversation today, if Kerry had just five minutes with the vice president I bet he'd get a straight answer and he wouldn't have to use waterboarding to get it.
UPDATE: Please consider using the “Digg It!” feature and the “Spotlight” features below. It makes a difference.