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In History, Politics, Social commentary on September 10, 2012 at 12:05 am

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 marks eleven years to the weekday since Islamic terrArabists slammed planes into the Pentagon and World Trade Center, killing more than 3,000 Americans.

World Trade Center – September 11, 2001

(They would have crashed a fourth plane into the White House or the Capitol Building–except for the heroic resistance of the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93.)

In the years since 9/11, Republican and Democratic politicians have used this anniversary to unfurl flags and patriotic speeches.

This was especially true during the administration of George W. Bush–which defined a “tratitor” as anyone who dared to disagree with its policies.

So here it is, eleven later.  And, once again, those who died are being remembered by friends and relatives who knew and loved them. Which is fitting.

They are also being “celebrated” by politicians who knew them only as potential constituents–and who think of them today as fodder for winning the votes of their surviving families and friends.  Which is disgraceful.

Yes, it’s well to remember the innocents who died on that day–and the heroism of the police and firefighters who died trying to save them.

But it’s equally important to remember those who made 9/11 not simply possible but inevitable.

And that does not mean only the 19 hijackers who turned those planes into fuel-bombs.  It means those officials at the highest levels of the administration of President George W. Bush.

Officials who, while profiting economically and/or politically from the tragedy, have never been held accountable for the resulting death and destruction.  Starting with the former President himself.

Even at the recent Republican National Convention in Tampa, Bush was hailed as the man “who kept us safe.”  Safe, that is, except for that small matter of 3,000 dead Americans on 9/11.

Obviously, such an indictment is not going to be handed down by TV commentators today–not even on such liberal networks as CNN and MSNBC.  And most definitely not by the right-wing Fox network.

Fortunately, British historian Nigel Hamilton has dared to lay bare the facts of this outrage.  Hamilton is the author of several highly acclaimed political biographies, including JFK: Reckless Youth, and Bill Clinton: Mastering the Presidency.

In 2007, he began research on his latest book: American Caesars: The Lives of the Presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush.

The inspiration for this came from a classic work of ancient biography: The Twelve Caesars, by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus–known as Suetonius.

Suetonius, a Roman citizen and historian, had chronicled the lives of the first twelve Caesars of imperial Rome: Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus and Domitian.

Hamilton wanted to examine post-World War II United States history as Suetonius had examined that of ancient Rome: Through the lives of the 12 “emperors” who had held the power of life and death over their fellow citizens–and those of other nations.

For Hamilton, the “greatest of American emperors, the Caesar Augustus of his time,” was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who led his country through the Great Depression and World War II.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

His “”great successors” were Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy–who, in turn, contained the Soviet Union abroad and presided over sustained economic prosperity at home.

By contrast, “arguably the worst of all the American Caesars” was “George W. Bush, and his deputy, Dick Cheney, who willfully and recklessly destroyed so much of the moral basis of American leadership in the modern world.”

Dick Cheney and George W. Bush

Among the most lethal of Bush’s offenses: The appointing of officials who refused to take seriously the threat posed by Al-Qaeda.

And this arrogance and indifference continued–right up to September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center and Pentagon became targets for destruction.

Among the few administration officials who did take Al-Qaeda seriously was Richard Clarke, the chief counter-terrorism adviser on the National Security Council.

Clarke had been thus appointed in 1998 by President Bill Clinton.   He continued in the same role under President Bush–but the position was no longer given cabinet-level access.

This put him at a severe disadvantage when dealing with other, higher-ranking Bush officials–such as:

  • Vice President Cheney
  • Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
  • Rumsfeld’s deputy, Paul Wolfowitz and
  • National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice.

These turned out to be the very officials who refused to believe that Al-Qaeda posed a lethal threat to the United States.

In a perverse travesty of justice, Rice appeared as a featured speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention that nominated Mitt Romney for President.

Without a hint of apology for her own neglectful role in making 9/11 not only possible but inevitable, she said on August 29:

“I will never forget the bright September day, standing at my desk in the White  House, when my young assistant said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center – and then a second one – and a third, the Pentagon.

“And then the news of a fourth, driven into the ground by brave citizens that died so that many others would live.  From that day on our sense of vulnerability and our understanding of security would be altered forever.”

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