Swatting At Flies

Ever since it was first revealed by, I believe, then-National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice during the 9/11 Commission hearings, I've been bugged [no pun] by Bush's reaction to Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda's threat, that he was "tired of swatting at flies."

Or more precisely, I've been bothered by the wholesale acceptance of Rice's interpretation of that remark, with an emphasis on the "swatting." As CNN reported during the hearings, this swatting meant Bush wanted "demanded a more comprehensive strategy to attack the terrorist network." [Commission member Bob Kerrey took some issue, asking what flies had the administration swatted? None. But that still left the underlying assumption stand.]

Now that Bob Woodward's book reveals a previously undisclosed, urgent meeting that CIA director George Tenet and one of his analysts called with Rice on July 10th, 2001, where they discussed the imminent threat of attack in the US, isn't it way past time to re-examine the "swatting at flies" brushoff and put the emphasis where it actually, originally belonged, on the "flies"?

Judged on the actions of his administration and his own words George W Bush considered Al Qaeda to be flies--not even mosquitoes, flies--nothing more than a nuisance and certainly not a threat. And when faced with imminent attack, they chose to ignore it. Or they chose to let it play out because they had, as Cheney said in another context, "other priorities."

Condi Rice vs Bob Woodward: Let the Battle Begin
[e&p via tpm]

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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