Disturbing developments on 9/11 and in Iraq
If anyone needed more proof that the worsening situation in Iraq and the 9/11 Commissions probing of administration officials are taking a devastating toll on the credibility of George Bushs presidency, there was Bushs appearance on TV on Tuesday evening.
Bush frankly looked lost and his speech and answers to reporters questions failed to inspire confidence that this administration has a grasp of either what could have been done to prevent 9/11 or what should now be done to confront terrorism. The presidents insistence that we will stay the course in Iraq sounds increasingly hollow and frightening.
Former Senator Bob Kerrey, New School Universitys president, has been one of the most aggressive members of the 9/11 Commission. His questions have been pointed and on target. Although Kerrey brought the animus of the New Schools graduate faculty and graduate students upon himself by strongly backing the invasion of Iraq, at this point, he no longer supports the administrations handling of the situation there.
And Kerrey now seems to acknowledge that Al Qaeda, not Iraq, is the real enemy. He states its time for the administration to swallow its pride and appeal to the United Nations for help on making decisions to turn over power to a legitimate government in Iraq. In other words for help in getting out of Iraq.
Kerrey has apparently recognized how the situation has evolved, and adjusted his view accordingly. Bush and his administration dont seem capable of doing so. Bush said hell send more troops to Iraq if needed, though the plan remains to transfer power to an Iraqi government in June. Who this government will be is still unclear. Meanwhile, the U.S. injecting itself into rival religious leaders quarrels has shattered six months of building good relations and created conditions for civil war.
Bush and his aides have been completely silent on the question of what the president did after he was warned Aug. 6, 2001 about the domestic threats from Al Qaeda a good indicator that he did little while vacationing in Crawford, Texas.
Testimony this week before the 9/11 Commission by Attorney General John Ashcroft, C.I.A. director George Tenet and current and former F.B.I. directors was also quite disturbing.
Bush was so concerned about Al Qaeda that he only met with his C.I.A. director twice in August 2001. And those meetings were so substantive that Tenet couldnt even remember they occurred when he testified. Tenet also said it will take five more years to fix all of the agencys problems.
We wish we could wait that long. We cant.
And in Iraq, it is time to start openly discussing and pressing for not plans for a beefed-up U.S.military presence in Iraq to fight a mounting insurgency but a real strategy that calls on U.N. experience and legitimacy and other nations commitment to aiding the transition. And yes, its time to talk about a real exit strategy for U.S. troops. However, it seems the only way to extricate our troops from Iraq and bring in real international support is to extract Bush from the White House. The administrations policy is fearfully unsound, and arrogant, and from the looks of Bush last night, he is at a loss as to where he is heading this nation and this world.