By Craig McKee
It’s a very tempting notion for a lot of people. Incompetence. Confusion. Bad luck.
For people who can’t bring themselves to believe that their own government would murder 3,000 people, it’s comforting instead to chalk up the attacks of 9/11 to a series of unfortunate mistakes. The Bush administration did not admit that catastrophic errors were made, but if 9/11 wasn’t an inside job, there’s no other explanation.
Somehow the idea that the terrorists were too fiendishly brilliant for anyone to be able to stop them just doesn’t cut it, even for “official story” believers. Claims by George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld that no one could have anticipated hijacked planes being flown into buildings have been discredited. We know for a fact that war games going on that very morning simulated this very scenario.
So that leaves people who don’t believe in official 9/11 complicity on the part of the government to settle on the idea that the country’s defences broke down inexplicably. It’s not a pretty theory if you believe in your government, but it has to do. The alternative, that the Bush administration planned the attacks, is unthinkable for many.
So how can someone make the case that it was a string of honest mistakes that allowed the attacks to succeed? Basically the scenario goes like this:
- Law enforcement agencies like the FBI had their eyes on some of the future hijackers long before 9/11 but didn’t follow up or somehow lost track of them.
- Airport security on 9/11 singled out the hijackers for additional screening but failed to notice that they were sneaking knives and box cutters on to the planes.
- Even though the FAA knew that Flight 11 was off course by 8:21 and hijacked by 8:25, it failed to notify the military until about 15 minutes later. By then it was too late to intercept it before it crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46.
- Due to multiple war games being under way at the same time, most fighters that could have been scrambled were either out of the area or were simply not scrambled at all. This failure was so complete that it offers one of the best reasons to suspect government complicity.
- Pilots on the four passenger flights all failed to set a four-digit code on the plane’s transponder that would alert air traffic control that a hijack was in progress.
- The White House was evacuated in frantic fashion because information existed that a plane was on the way there. However, no one thought to evacuate the Pentagon, which was actually hit.
- Surface to air missiles of the type installed at the White House were not thought of for the Pentagon, which is the nerve centre for the military.
- High-level officials, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, stayed in scheduled meetings even after both towers had been hit. Rumsfeld only found out what was going on when the Pentagon was hit almost an hour after the first tower impact.
- General Richard Myers, who was Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 9/11, heard about the first tower impact just before going into a meeting with Senator Max Cleland about Myers’ upcoming confirmation hearing. No one told him about the second impact, nor did they tell him they suspected a hijacked plane was headed for Washington. He emerged from the meeting around the time the Pentagon was hit.
- After the first tower was hit, people in the second tower started leaving the building but were encouraged to return to their offices where they would be “safer.”
- Fighters that were finally scrambled were accidently sent out to the Atlantic Ocean rather than straight to Washington to intercept Flight 77, which was on its way to the Pentagon.
- President Bush, after being told that the second tower had been hit and that “America is under attack,” asked no questions, did nothing, and continued to listen to grade school students read a story about a goat; he took his time at the Florida school, not leaving until at least 30 minutes after the second tower was hit – even though he could have been an intended target.
- The architects and designers of the World Trade Center intended to make buildings that could withstand multiple airliner impacts – but apparently they were bunglers too.
Oh, I forgot the best one – the American government let Osama bin Laden get away even though they were supposedly closing in on him. Later, Bush would state that he really wasn’t that concerned about apprehending the notorious “evil-doer.”
This is by no means an exhaustive list of “blunders.” There would have to have been many more. But to believe the government was genuinely taken by surprise you have to believe that all these errors took place. You have to believe that the nation’s defences were hopelessly inadequate to cope with a large scale terrorist attack.
I believe the evidence overwhelmingly points elsewhere. I believe the government deliberately cultivated the appearance of having screwed up. I believe the multiple war games taking place that day were scheduled to supply a plausible reason for many of these failures.
In upcoming posts, I’ll look at all of these and show where the evidence really leads, and how the appearance of incompetence served the official story very well.