The Guardian June 23, 2004


Editorial:

Bush's credibility on the line

The US commission investigating the events of 9/11 has brought 
down a damning report of what happened and has totally 
discredited the claim that the regime of Saddam Hussein had 
connections with al-Qaida. The intended implication of this 
charge was that Iraq had some involvement in the destruction of 
the World Trade Centre.

However, the commission found no evidence of any such connection. 
This did not stop President Bush from claiming that because there 
had been some connection there must have been a connection. His 
manipulation of words is breathtaking but it is in accord with 
every other justification that has been advanced for the invasion 
and occupation of Iraq.

As to the events on the day itself, the commission revealed that 
the airforce's handling of the task to intercept the hi-jacked 
planes was chaotic. But was it chaos or was it internal sabotage 
by high officials? It appears that the commission has taken good 
care not to ask or seek answers to such awkward questions.

Bush, who was taking a reading lesson at a school at the time, 
was unmoved when informed of the hi-jacking and the planes 
hitting the World Trade Centre yet in an article on the 
commission's findings in the Weekend Australian of June 19-20, it 
is asserted that amid the confusion "Bush was clear". It is 
claimed that the "White House ordered the military to shoot down 
planes but the pilots were not told."

If such a command was given, when was it given? Was it after the 
hi-jacked planes had been flown into the World Trade Centre and 
the Pentagon? What is known is that Bush continued to listen to 
children during a reading lesson for about 20-30 minutes after 
being informed of what had happened.

The whole treatment of these vital questions suggests that 
despite its findings of incredible irresponsibility and 
incompetence among those responsible for acting in the event of 
hi-jackings, it is still prepared to let those who are really 
responsible off the hook.

The same game is being played with the indisputably false 
"intelligence" that was used by Bush, Powell, Blair and Howard to 
stampede the world into the illegal and monstrous war against 
Iraq. The game now is to blame the intelligence communities 
whereas the invasion of Iraq was planned well before the events 
of 9/11 took place.

Despite the limitations of the commission's findings they are so 
sensitive and unfavourable to Bush that an offensive to discredit 
the commission has been launched in the United States. The 
commission is claimed to be biased. This is a normal response of 
the guilty to unfavourable reports coming from inquiries into 
their actions and responsibilities.

No less than 27 former diplomats and military commanders have 
branded Bush's foreign policies as "overbearing" "insensitive" 
and "disdainful". Words that they fail to use include "lying", 
"irresponsible", and "extremely dangerous" for the rest of the 
world.

* * *
Governor-General, "All the way with the USA"
The Governor-General, Michael Jeffery, has faced strong criticism for his statement backing US President Bush's criticism of Mark Latham's announcement that an ALP Government would bring Australian troops in Iraq home by Christmas. Bush described the ALP's decision as "disastrous" and his remark was regarded by many as interference in Australia's internal affairs. The G-G tried to pass off Bush's remark by saying that it was a straight answer to a straight question. The Governor-General's remark was in turn regarded as over- stepping the requirement that a Governor-General should stay out of an internal political debate. While the inappropriate remark of the Governor-General is one aspect of his comments, another is the fact that his very conservative political stand has once again become apparent. The G-G has become something of a front-man when it comes to the promotion of militarism in Australia. By coming to the defence of President Bush he shows his "All the way with the USA" outlook. But that, after all, is why Howard appointed him to the position of Governor-General.
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