New York Times Re-Writes 9/11 History

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As for the Bush White House, one wonders how much it could have done before the attacks —hamstrung as it was by the deeply divisive 2000 election and by the complete lack of political support for military or intelligence operations. The 9/11 Commission made clear that intelligence and law enforcement agencies were stove-piping information, that agencies were not allowed to look for certain things or in certain places, that the federal government lacked many of the tools needed to connect the dots. We need not imagine the howls the left would have unleashed if Mr. Bush had taken precautionary steps in July or August of 2001, if he had ordered tightened security and additional screening at airports or mass-transit facilities, if he had sought to detain suspected terrorists, if he had tried to seek authority to wiretap bin Laden’s agents. We don’t need to imagine the reaction because the left attacked all of these policies after 9/11.

The left also attacked the doctrine of preemption, which Eichenwald’s critique of the Bush administration implicitly—and ironically—endorses.

It’s ironic because, by definition, preventing 9/11 would have required some sort of preemptive action. Yet Eichenwald criticizes “the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon” for ignoring the al Qaeda threat and instead focusing on the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. The left’s revisionism notwithstanding, “the neoconservatives” were not the only ones concerned about Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998—which passed the House with 360 yea votes and was signed by Mr. Clinton— earmarked $100 million for Iraqi opposition groups and declared that it would be “the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.” Moreover, it was Mr. Clinton who warned during his presidency, “If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future…Mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.” And in the run-up to the Iraq War, when confronted by critics who argued that a war against Saddam Hussein and a war against bin Laden was an either-or proposition, it was Mr. Clinton who argued, “I think we can walk and chew gum at the same time. That is, I think we can turn up the heat on Iraq and retain our focus on terror.”

As to Eichenwald’s implication that the Bush administration devoted too much focus to Iraq after 9/11, he forgets that the attacks altered the very DNA of U.S. national-security policy. “Any administration in such a crisis,” as historian John Lewis Gaddis has written, “would have had to rethink what it thought it knew about security.” Was deterrence possible? Was containment viable? Was giving repeat offenders like Saddam Hussein the benefit of the doubt responsible? The Bush administration’s answer to each question was “no.” And Congress concurred. The Iraq War resolution passed the Senate 77-23 and the House 296-133. Saddam Hussein’s associations, behavior and record with weapons of mass destruction fueled a presumption of guilt that, when mixed with America’s profound sense of vulnerability after 9/11, created a deadly combination. This is perhaps the most fundamental way 9/11 is linked to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq: The latter did not perpetrate the former, but the former taught Washington a lesson about the danger of failing to confront threats before they are fully formed. In the same way, the appeasement of Hitler at once had nothing and yet everything to do with how America waged the Cold War against Stalin and his successors.

Of course, none of that matters to Eichenwald and the left. They have books to sell and history to rewrite.

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  • 70sbuff

    Uh….blame Clinton? The all-encompassing answer that the right pulls out anytime, anywhere.

    • tagalog

      Yeah, why should we let the lefties always be blaming Bush?

    • RoguePatriot6

      People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

    • 70sbuff

      9 negative votes? You can do better than that!

  • Jim_C

    Pretty sad you're still running this stuff 11 years later.

  • skeptick

    How did building 7 collapse so neatly? Which of the 19 whose passports were amazingly found in the rubble did that from which airplane?
    /sarcasm off

    • tagalog

      It was built that way; the architects and contractors who designed and built it were working with al-Qaeda. Who knew, so far in advance? It was a conspiracy. Probably by right-wingers. Those Republican jihadists, dang…

      • objectivefactsmatter

        That or terrorists always have the advantage in being able to study architectural plans and then strike at will. Notice the 1993 bombing took place in the basement. They were trying to take the building down for many years and failed in their first active attempt to do so.

        Ignore all evidence that doesn't fit your emotionally-derived views and you can come up with any theory you want to.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "How did building 7 collapse so neatly?"

      What makes you think it's not possible to happen as reported? Popular opinion, or engineering studies? What did you conclude would happen if a plane did strike such a building? "Neatly" means simply that it didn't meet your expectations (probably after you read too many conspiracy theories targeting people you already hated).

      "Which of the 19 whose passports were amazingly found in the rubble did that from which airplane?"

      Please be more clear what your point is. Using "sarcasm" is often a weak excuse for failing to make a clear point. Now that your "sarcasm" is "off" perhaps you can be more clear?

  • Sonshine Patriot

    We blame the left and the left blames the right but the Islamist are not paying attention to our political discourse; they have goals they wish to achieve and they are getting US help in doing so. We need a new direction that puts the entire Islamic world on notice that any attack emanating from there countries will be viewed by the US as an attack by that nation on the US. We are a super power; act like one. Our policy of non-state players has given cover to the Muslim radicals; obviously it is a mistaken idea. Just the logistics required pulling off terror attacks on the US and its interest should eliminate any idea of innocence standing on the sidelines.

  • Andy

    The New York Times sinks lower and lower by the day. Their censor filters out all comments by readers who do not take the leftist point of view on any issue. If you read these comments you would get an impression that all NY Times readers support Obama and all his garbage. The polls indicate that the country is quite evenly divided at this point. Thus one would have to assume that only left-leaning readers read the NY Times. One cannot fairly describe the NY Times in this space since Front Page Mag asks us to avoid profanities or foul language. I look forward to their comments when their African Socialist Idol is voted out of office.

  • Mencken

    This article is lame.

  • arishsahani

    Arabs game plan of 1400 yrs is bringing great results for them .THey will just convert your poor ,criminals and uneducated masses to their belief ,give them a war manual how and why to kill who don't believe in you ,
    Plan has given them 56 nations and 1.4 billions bodies to fight for them .One call ( in danger ) and all are ready to die and kill .Arab don't have to send arms and soldiers .Local do the job for them
    When an educated class will get it.
    Converts are destroying their own nation.
    Educated class helping them in many ways to destroy them selves.
    What a foolish world. Arabs plan no one gets it.
    Solution is simple Kill the Cat..

  • miguel

    Come on people, it's an election year. The New York Times is trying to butter up the party they think will win the election. They have no credibilty so they are not worth getting upset over. Napoleon once said that history is written by the conqueror and America is no exception. Every year researchers dig up the truth about many aspects of American history. The truth cannot change and it will lie hidden and preserved until many years from now it rises in a book written by some researcher. The truth about the Clinton, Bush and Obama years will be 'uncovered' years from now and written about and there will be no one to 'offend' so it will be placed on the shelves of libraries for all to read. But for now the lies of the will have to suffice.