Monthly Archives: May 2014

Questions about Bengazi, and Sept. 11

Bengazi, and September 11.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, and “Pundit” Charles Krauthammer want a few questions answered about Bengazi. Me too. I’d like to know if Congress turned down requests from the State Department for additional resources to secure and defend the Embassy.

Four Americans were killed in the rioting in Bengazi. 4,000 Americans were killed in the attacks of September 11, tens of thousands were killed and hundreds of thousands were injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’d also like a few questions answered about September 11 and the Bush Administration’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why did President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary Rice ignore the intelligence memo of August 6, 2001? The memo that said “bin Laden prepared to strike in the US.” Why, in January of 2001, did incoming President Bush ignore outgoing President Clinton’s warnings regarding the threat posed by bin Laden and Al Queda?

I understand why we pursued bin Laden in Afghanistan – we thought he was there. And I understand why we went to war in Iraq – Alan Greenspan said, “It was a war for oil.” But I have a few more questions.

  1. Why did Bush, Cheney, Rice & Rumsfeld gave up the hunt for bin Laden?
  2. Why when they did so, didn’t we pull all troops from Afghanistan? And
  3. Why did the Bush Administration allow Saudis, including bin Laden’s family, leave the US on September 12, 2001?

All other flights were grounded on September 12, 2001. And it seems to me that by questioning various Saudis and various members of bin Laden’s family, in September, 2001, our intelligence community might have learned of the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden in 2001 or 2002 – before the wars.

Given that intelligence work found that bin Laden was in Pakistan, and that President Obama gave the orders to send a small, well organized commando unit to “bring him to justice,” which they did, and in so doing retrieved computers with gigabytes of actionable intelligence regarding Al Queda, I understand why Krauthammer wants to focus on Bengazi: It’s a distraction from questions about September 11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the utter catastrophe that was the Presidency of George W. Bush.

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May 1914

Writing in the May, 1914 issue of The World’s Work,  David Starr Jordan set out to explain to Americans what Europeans thought of them, and why. He quoted an unnamed German:

“We have an old tradition that ‘Germany is the land of the thinkers and the poets.’ We have in Germany everything well-ordered. The military training of the people gives them order and organization.  We have, therefore, fewer criminals, fewer accidents, no “American bribery,” no corruption of judges or public officers.

“Moreover, in Germany, we have more culture, more idealism.  Our science stands at the apex of the world.  Our philosophy, our music, our theatre, our army, our railroads, our order. Thus it goes: ‘Germany above all, above all in the world.”

And so it went. Just a brief summer away from the first cataclysmic event of the twentieth century, one  which not only shattered the self-regard of Jordan’s  complacent German, but of the entire pantheon of Powers of that composed the acme of the era, leaving F. Scott Fitzgerald to express the profound sense of loss through his character Dick Diver: ” All my beautiful lovely safe world blew itself up here with a great gust of high explosive love.”

Welcome to Cultural Forensics. It is not so much a history blog as a history-in-the-making blog. With the past a preamble of the future, we are as much interested in where we are going as where we have been. And so it goes that we try to grasp that future by examining, in a metaphorically forensic way, the past’s entrails. We are forever betwixt the two, past and future, an interesting place to be.

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