Delayed Learnin’

Ken AshfordBush & Co., War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Bush Taking Bin Laden Threat Seriously reads the headline. Really.  I’m not kidding.  The fact that Bush is taking a bin Laden threat seriously . . . is news.

So 9/11 did change something.  Albeit belatedly.

Recall in March 2002, Bush said this in response to a bin Laden-related question from the press:

[T]he idea of focusing on one person is — really indicates to me people don’t understand the scope of the mission.

Terror is bigger than one person. And he’s just — he’s a person who’s now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed. He’s the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match. He is — as I mentioned in my speech, I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death and he, himself, tries to hide — if, in fact, he’s hiding at all.

So I don’t know where he is. You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you…

And then, in April 2004:

RICE:  First of all, yes, the August 6th PDB was in response to questions of the president — and that since he asked that this be done. It was not a particular threat report. And there was historical information in there about various aspects of al Qaeda’s operations….

BEN-VENISTE: Thank you.

RICE: I remember very well that the president was aware that there were issues inside the United States. He talked to people about this. But I don’t remember the al Qaeda cells as being something that we were told we needed to do something about.

BEN-VENISTE: Isn’t it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6th PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB?

RICE: I believe the title was, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."

It takes a long time for water to sink into rocks.