I know this is probably not a great surprise to many of us who were never Bush worshipers, but a new book by John Farmer, The Ground Truth, offers further proof that President Cheney lied about the events of 9/11 and that the FAA and NORAD altered critical documentary evidence to support the lies that Cheney told about the role he and other senior administration officials played on the day that “changed everything.”

As senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission, Farmer, who was the attorney general of New Jersey and is the dean of the Rutgers School of Law, investigated the derelict conduct of the national security apparatus. […] But the commission’s efforts to reconstruct the tragedy itself were, at best, resented and, at worst, impeded by the sprawling defense bureaucracy and the Bush administration, both of which had much to hide. Even two reports by the inspectors general of the Defense and Transportation Departments, released in 2006, whitewashed government failures. Now that numerous transcripts and tapes have been declassified, however, Farmer draws on them to assail the government’s official depiction of 9/11 as so much public relations flimflam.

Perhaps nothing perturbs Farmer more than the contention that high-ranking officials responded quickly and effectively to the revelation that Qaeda attacks were taking place. Nothing, Farmer indicates, could be further from the truth: […] it was the ground-level commanders who made operational decisions in an ad hoc fashion. […]

[B]oth Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Vice President Dick Cheney, Farmer says, provided palpably false versions that touted the military’s readiness to shoot down United 93 before it could hit Washington. Planes were never in place to intercept it. By the time the Northeast Air Defense Sector had been informed of the hijacking, United 93 had already crashed. Farmer scrutinizes F.A.A. and Norad rec­ords to provide irrefragable evidence that a day after a Sept. 17 White House briefing, both agencies suddenly altered their chronologies to produce a coherent timeline and story that “fit together nicely with the account provided publicly by Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz and Vice President Cheney.”

Farmer further observes that the Bush administration wrongly asserted that the chain of command functioned on 9/11; that President Bush issued an authorization to shoot down hijacked commercial flights; and that top officials at F.A.A. headquarters coordinated their actions with the military. Farmer’s verdict: “History should record that whether through unprecedented administrative incompetence or orchestrated mendacity, the American people were misled about the nation’s response to the 9/11 attacks.”

As I said no surprise. And the fact of the matter is that in order to spare themselves political embarrassment, crucial lessons about why our government and military failed to protect us on September 11th from a handful of mostly Saudi and Egyptian born terrorists have not been corrected. Farmer contends that this conspiracy to cover up the mistakes that were made in order to paint a false picture of competence, both by Bush administration officials and members of the Defense establishment, have prevented necessary changes that need to be made in order for our government to effectively respond to catastrophic events, both man made disasters such as 9/11 and natural catastrophes.

Clearly, the same failures of leadership and preparedness shown by the Bush administration on 9/11 were also evident in the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina. Indeed, the lies and attempted cover up about the government’s response to Katrina were all the more evident in 2005, because by that time the American public, and some media figures (though not all, unfortunately), we were no longer willing to give the Bushies the benefit of the doubt since its record by that time of massive corruption, incompetence and a continuous campaign to to mislead the public to advance its agenda had become so nakedly apparent that it was no longer possible for any objective observer to ignore.

This book should give the lie to the myth of the Republican Party’s preeminence on matters of National Security. Because any ideology or political party which views government as the problem, and privatization of government functions in order to funnel tax payer dollars to “friendly corporations” as rewards for campaign contributions, cannot be expected to understand, much less respond competently, the real threats we as a nation face. For all our complaints about Obama and the Democrats, at least they haven’t yet displayed the same level of sheer mendacity, corruption, ideological blindness and incompetence that the Bush administration and the Republicans in Congress displayed every single day during the years 2001-2009.

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