Saturday, May 18, 2002

It starting to look like the U. S. government is going to have to change the Official Story with respect to the Pentagon 'crash', or face extremely dangerous criticisms. The Bush admission that he was aware of the danger of al-Qaeda hijacking U. S. planes, coupled with the fact that we know the U. S. government was aware of al-Qaeda plans to use planes as missiles, means that he knew prior to September of the threat to the United States of plane missile attacks against prominent targets. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, and we can't expect him to know exactly what would happen. His problem is that his administration did absolutely nothing. No real warnings were given to the FAA, the airlines, the security at the airports, or the air defence system. Contrary to what Rice has been saying, it would have been possible to give warnings that would not have unnecessarily shut down air traffic in the United States. The air defence system is where it gets interesting. Air traffic controllers were aware of a problem in one of the flights (Flight 11) that eventually crashed into the WTC at 8:25 (all these times have been reported slightly differenly in different places, usually within a minute or two). They should have been on high alert from that time on, and, in light of the warnings given to Bush, air defence jets should have been scrambled and in the air all along the Eastern Seaboard shortly thereafter. There was a problem noted on Flight 77 (the plane that supposedly crashed into the Pentagon) at 8:56 (the transponder was turned off), they were aware the plane turned around at 9:00, and the crash occurred at 9:43. That means before the Pentagon attack there were 78 minutes of warning from the time the first hijacking became apparent, 47 minutes of warning from the time that it was clear that something was wrong with Flight 77, and 43 minutes of warning from the time it was apparent it had turned around and was headed back to Washington. In case this wasn't enough warning, the first WTC crash occurred at 8:45, almost an hour before the Pentagon attack. Given all this time, why wasn't any timely effort made to intercept Flight 77? Unless you take the view that air defences were deliberately stood down, the U. S. air defence system was simply not prepared for any real threat. A warning from the Bush administration would have made it ready. Since such a warning wasn't given, at least the crash into the Pentagon can be directly blamed on the incompetence (or worse) of the Bush administration. The only way out of this is for Bush to admit that there was no Flight 77 attack on the Pentagon (perhaps the explosion was caused by a cruise missile fired by bin Laden from his cave in Maryland!), and therefore no reason for air defence to intercept Flight 77. This will still leave some big questions open (why have you lied to us up until now, where is Flight 77, etc.?), but it will stave off the immediate impeachment (or worse) that would occur once Americans figure out that the Pentagon attack can be directly blamed on Bush incompetence (or worse).