June 27, 2004

Questions, I Have Questions...

I wrote this post as reply to Fred's post on Moore's film...but decided not to roil his quiet backwater... a commenter remarks:

"...but some of the footage he shows is devastating, especially the scene were Bush sits like a deer caught in the headlights after he learns of the first plane striking the tower in New York."

Why do you think Bush just sat there?

Moore counts on his viewers knowing nothing about Secret Service procedures. It doesn't matter who is President, the Secret Service has complete control over him and his movement in what they decide is an unsafe situation. They will and have physically picked up and carried a slow moving Protectant. It's their task to insure the continuity of the executive branch; they do not care how it looks to the media. Bush was "contained" in that room until the immediate threat to that room was assessed and an alternate route to AF1 was secured.

One might opine that the only branch of the government that worked flawlessly on 9/11 was the Secret Service.

As for the dazed expression, weren't you stunned and dazed? Put yourself in his place, the country is under attack, you're in Florida with a school room full of children and under lock down, no one has assessed the situation fully yet or knows the scope of the attacks and you have zero usable information. What would you have him do? Stride about? Wring his hands? Bark useless orders into a cell phone?

A more useful and honest question might be why the hijack system failed, why the Clinton administration wasn't prepared after the first bombing of the WTC, the Cole and our embassies? Richard Clarke testified and elaborates in his book that they discussed the possibility of airliners being used as missiles, yet, no system-wide protocol was in effect. NAADC ran scenarios for two years before 9/11, but did not drill with the FAA.

"We have planned and executed numerous scenarios over the years to include aircraft originating from foreign airports penetrating our sovereign airspace," Gen. Ralph Eberhart, NORAD commander. "Regrettably, the tragic events of 9/11 were never anticipated or exercised."

The exercises differed from the Sept. 11 attacks in one important respect: The planes in the simulation were coming from a foreign country.

Systems only work if they've been drilled and everyone is on the same page, on 9/11 under what must have been horrendous stress and confusion no one even thought to ask if the NAADC was on the hijack line. I don't fault the men and women in the control centers they did an amazing job landing over 4500 aircraft safely in a completely unrehersed situation, but who was responsible for this system and why aren't they being charged with gross neglect of duty?

There are plenty of questions to ask about that day, it's a pity Moore didn't raise them as well as his critique of Bush. But then if you believe the 9/11 attacks were simply a result of a grudge against the Bushes and will disappear when he leaves office then you will be comforted by Moore's viewpoint.

Of course you might ask why the terrorists killed so many innocent people, hundreds of whom were not Americans, attacked our economy by choosing the WTC, attempted to destroy the Pentagon command and control and planned to kill the entire congress if they only had the hots for Bush.

But then that's another movie.

Posted by feste at June 27, 2004 09:35 AM | TrackBack

There was no "hijack system" to speak of. Any such system would have to involve some training for the pilots. And the only training we ever recieved before 9/11 was to cooperate when someone hijacks a plane.

Historically speaking, this seemed reasonable. Hijacked planes had never been used as weapons before except in the sense of holding those on board hostage. Therefore, the pilot's primary responsibility was to protect the passengers and crew.

Now it's just the opposite. As it relates to hijackings, the passengers, crew, and aircraft are expendable.

Posted by: Ron at July 7, 2004 12:14 PM
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