George W. Bush – The Nero of 9/11 who golfed while New York burned

TWSP | 19 Oct 2015


GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, cast by fate in the role of the GOP’s resident wrecking ball, has this week repeatedly raised the issue of George W. Bush’s share in the responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. Trump’s move comes in response to rival Jeb Bush’s Orwellian mantra that his brother “kept us safe.” In theory, presidents are held responsible for all events occurring on their watch – unless a treasonous conspiracy by insiders can be shown, as in the case of secessionism in 1861 or Pearl Harbor.

On August 6, 2001, George W. Bush was given an intelligence community analysis entitled: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.” He returned to his golf game and did virtually nothing.

When Bush appeared before the Keane-Hamilton 9/11 Commission in 2004, the two chairs reported: “The President told us the August 6 report was historical in nature.” This would be perjury, except for the fact that Bush had refused to be sworn in as a witness. But there is no secret that George W. Bush’s behaviour in August-September 2001 had been lackadaisical, blasé, dilatory, distant, disengaged. He never lifted a finger in response to warnings from his own bureaucracy, nor in response to the two dozen and more foreign governments who claimed after the fact to have signalled to the US that an attack was coming.

The failure of Bush to respond in virtually any way to multiple warnings contrasts unfavourably, even within the paradigm of the official story, with the response of the Clinton White House to the Millennium or Y2K threat profile. As Congressional investigators concluded in 2002 concerning “Planned Attacks Around the Millennium Celebrations”:

‘U.S. customs, law enforcement, and intelligence officers successfully disrupted a series of attacks planned around the Millennium celebrations. On December 13, 1999, an alert U.S. Customs Inspector pulled over an automobile driven by a 33 year-old Algerian, Ahmed Ressam. Ressam panicked and attempted to flee; he was caught, and inspectors discovered explosives in his car along with a map on which two airports in California and one in Ontario were circled, according to Through Our Enemies’ Eyes (Brasseys, 2002), a book by an anonymous senior intelligence official. As Ressam was being arrested and questioned, planned attacks on tourist sites in Jordan were disrupted, and 22 Islamists were eventually convicted of terrorism charges. Ressam was convicted in the United States on terrorism charges in April, 2001. Following these discoveries, the Intelligence Community and the FBI coordinated a worldwide disruption effort to disrupt other possible attacks. The effort involved dozens of foreign intelligence services that detained suspected radicals in the hopes of gaining confessions or at least keeping them off the streets or intimidating them into aborting any planned attacks. Louis Freeh, the former FBI Director, also related that FBI agents also arrested suspected radicals in the United States for minor violations (often linked to visa problems) and tried to disrupt planned attacks in the United States. Following the disruption, the Intelligence Community clearly warned senior policy makers that the disruptions only bought time: they did not end the threat of future attacks. Of interest is another attack planned around the Millennium that went undiscovered — the planned January attack on another Navy warship. The plot failed because the terrorists’ boat sank, not because the Intelligence Community disrupted it, and a similar attack was carried out on U.S.S. Cole in October of 2000.’ [i]

Many of these issues were just below the surface in the 2004 election campaign; what follows is a short account of how Bush escaped accountability with the help of the politically corrupt 9/11 Commission and the controlled media. Will more of the truth emerge this time?


President George W. Bush addresses the media at the Pentagon on Sept. 17, 2001

Roman Emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burns

The Bush campaign presented the 9/11 myth as a new compulsory pagan civic mystery cult of which their candidate was the high priest. Bush unwaveringly built his entire campaign on the demagogic ethos of 9/11 and its related chauvinistic and racist themes. 9/11 was evoked in the majority of the most widely used Bush-Cheney television ads. The entire Republican National Convention was organized around the 9/11 motif. 9/11 was conjured up by Bush, Cheney, and their surrogates in every speech. Bush spoke about 9/11 in the televised debates, and returned to stress 9/11 in his campaign crescendo at the end of October. 9/11 was Bush’s chief alibi, his pretext, his escape clause; when Bush found that his back was to the wall, he invariably reached for 9/11. The weak and vacillating Kerry allowed Bush to use the 9/11 fiasco, in reality the moment of his greatest malfeasance, as a positive credential.

The veteran Democratic Party consultant (and habitual loser) Bob Shrum argued that, after 9/11, the American people would not tolerate divisive campaigning, and would only reward a positive and upbeat campaigner. Shrum therefore prohibited the obvious attack line against Bush — that he was the Nero of 9/11, the man who fiddled or otherwise dithered while New York burned. This, Shrum held, would represent sacrilege to the 9/11 myth and the oligarchical consensus that stood behind it. Kerry allowed himself to be dominated by Shrum until after the Republican convention, when it was already too late. These events presaged Kerry’s final surrender.

Even so, the 9/11 myth came under significant attack. Howard Dean noted in December 2003 that many thought the Bush administration knew about 9/11 in advance, and many Democrats objected to the phony terror alert designed to step on Kerry’s mid-2004 convention bounce. However, Kerry and Edwards failed to hold Bush systematically accountable for his passivity before 9/11, and for freezing in the “My Pet Goat” episode that day.

Former Senator Bob Kerrey, himself a 9/11 commission member, announced some days after the vote that he no longer felt bound by the nonpartisan pledge sworn by all the commissioners, and outlined how the 9/11 issue could in his opinion have been turned against Bush. In Kerrey’s view, this could have been done by stressing Bush’s inertia, passivity, and failure to act in any way in response to the many warnings the White House was receiving about the imminence of major attacks — the Nero of 9/11 argument. This would have amounted to an attempt to spin the 9/11 story against Bush from within the confines of the myth, and it can be debated whether such a strategy would have proven effective, but Democratic candidate Kerry was not even capable of this. This approach was also illustrated in the cover story by Benjamin DeMott in the October 2004 issue of Harper’s Magazine; here the 9/11 commission report a “whitewash,” a “cheat and a fraud.”

“There’s little mystery about why the Commission is tongue-tied. It can’t call a liar a liar. The most momentous subject before the 9/11 commission was: What did President Bush know about the Al Qaeda threat to the United States, when did he know it, and if he knew little, why so? Facing his questioners in April 2004, the President said he had not been informed that terrorists were in this country. Conceivably it was at or near the moment when Bush took this position that the members of the Commission who heard him grasped that casting useful light on the relation between official conduct and national unpreparedness would be impossible. The reason? The President’s claim was untrue. It was a lie, and the Commissioners realized that they couldn’t allow it to be seen as a lie. Numberless officials had … provided circumstantial detail about their attempts … to educate Bush as candidate, then as president-elect, then as commander in chief, about the threat from terrorists on our shores. The news these officials brought was spelled out in pithy papers both short and long; the documentation supplied was in every respect impressive. Nevertheless, the chief executive, seated before the Commission, declared: Nobody told me. And challenging the chief executive as a liar entailed an unthinkable cost — the possible rending of the nation’s social and political fabric.” (Harper’s, October 2004)

DeMott reviewed the much-touted Presidential Daily Briefing of August 6, 2001, the gambit employed by Richard Clarke, which was declassified in April 2004 as a result of the fracas generated by the 9/11 commission hearings. This document, it will be remembered, was entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US,” and contained the notation that “the FBI is conducting approximately 70 full field investigations throughout the US that it considers Bin Laden-related.” This is juxtaposed by DeMott with the 9/11 commission’s summary of Bush’s private testimony on this issue: “The President told us the August 6 report was historical in nature.”

DeMott’s article should have been used as a briefing paper for a series of attacks by Kerry which would have focused on Bush’s evident failure as a leader during the days and weeks leading up to 9/11, when no extraordinary meetings were held, no cabinet officers tasked, no agency heads instructed, no inter-agency process established, and in short nothing done to respond to so many urgent warnings from “clandestine, foreign government, and media reports” about imminent terrorism. This could have been done without challenging the central features of the 9/11 myth itself; it would have relied on what the non-witting part of the government, in other words the various Colleen Rowleys, were reporting about the invisible government rogue networks.

In April 2004, the Washington Post had carried a cartoon (repeated in “The Year in Cartoons” on December 19, 2004) which shows a tin man Cheney, a cowardly lion FBI, a scarecrow CIA, and a “Dorothy” Bush watching while a witch flies across the sky, tracing this message: “Surrender Dorothy! Or I’ll fly planes into buildings. — Osama.” The FBI lion comments: “What’s it mean?” “It’s too vague!” complains the CIA scarecrow. “Yeah … and who is this ‘Dorothy’ character?” adds Bush. Seconded by the ever-scowling Miss Rice, Bush acted as if measures to foil the 9/11 plot were some kind of debutante cotillion which he would never dream of attending unless he had received an engraved invitation with his name calligraphically embossed upon it. That Kerry was incapable of even addressing this mass of empirical evidence of Bush’s unfitness for office is a damning commentary on the Democratic challenger’s lack of intellectual courage; granted, he owed his candidacy to Dean’s immolation by the media on the 9/11 issue.

There would have been an adequate demographic base for an attack on the 9/11 myth. A Zogby International poll commissioned by Jimmy Walter in late August showed that just under 50% of New York City residents did not believe the official version, and thought the US had foreknowledge of the attacks; slightly fewer in New York state agreed. (From Webster G. Tarpley, 9/11 Synthetic Terror (Joshua Tree CA: Progressive Press, 2005-2011).

[i] Joint Inquiry Staff Statement, Hearing on the Intelligence Community’s Response to Past Terrorist Attacks Against the United States from February 1993 to September 2001; Eleanor Hill, Staff Director, Joint Inquiry Staff, October 8, 2002,

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