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News - Dish up the crow

Savoring 9-11's sour aftertaste

So it finally comes out: Yes, Cynthia, the president did know al-Qaeda operatives were training in America to hijack planes for an impending terror attack. And yes, he lied about that knowledge — as did his spokesman and other high-level administration officials. Repeatedly.

Naturally, when Cynthia McKinney first spoke out, she encountered the customary response anyone gets who dares question the emperor: She was "unpatriotic." She was "aiding the enemy." Gracious in vindication, McKinney insisted that, all along, she only wanted a full investigation on the Sept. 11 attacks — as do a healthy number in Congress, who've lately come around "to my way of thinking," she says.

Of course, when McKinney made that request in April — along with the completely factual observation that well-connected insiders like Daddy Bush and his cronies are raking in billions from their defense contracts in the wake of the attacks — she was soundly thrashed across the country. "Outrageous." "Despicable." Even "loony" (this observation from Georgia's junior senator — the same one who recently baffled his Senate colleagues with the bizarre assertion that increasing fuel efficiency in pickup trucks would kill family farming in America. Talk about loony. So how's that crow taste, Zell?).

Right on cue, GOP rant-radio shills and the predictable parrots of the Official Party Organ, Fox ("We jerk off. You swallow"), leapt to condemn McKinney for even suggesting that the president had any inkling that airliners might be targeted, or that — horrors — self-interest might color any actions undertaken (or not) by his administration. Certainly, there's no evidence that the president may have actually known the details of the attacks and deliberately withheld that information, as McKinney herself pointed out. (Although, according to CBS News, the FBI did know enough a few weeks ahead of the attacks to advise Donald Rumsfeld to eschew commercial airlines and fly only leased jets for the duration of his term.)

But the steady stream of falsehood and deceit that flows through this administration — from the misrepresentations and outright lies of the Bush campaign, through his selection to office on a rigged vote, to the snowballing corruption scandal that has already implicated his vice president and several higher-ups in a scheme to steal billions of dollars from California rate-payers — have already cast such a cloud over the White House that one needn't be an outspoken member of the opposition party to demand answers.

This is the same president, after all, who threatened to veto a Senate defense bill if lawmakers tried to shift $600 million away from his prized multi-billion-dollar "Star Wars" boondoggle (with lots of cash for Dad and other pals of the prez and veep) in order to boost anti-terrorism programs — and just two days prior to the 9-11 attacks (and a few weeks after he'd been warned that an attack was imminent).

This is the same president who has cast such a shroud of secrecy over his administration's dealings that even public documents, such as records of Cheney's "energy task force" and Bush's tenure as governor of Texas, must be pried out of his clam-like clutches with court orders. This is the same president whose administration, heavy with convicted-and-pardoned reprobates and corporate bagmen, is busy funneling public moneys to the cartel that bought its admission to the White House.

But Americans always have tolerted skullduggery among their leaders. Perhaps we figure that even the rogues and scoundrels who seem drawn to elected office will, for the most part, look out for our best interests .

But if the perception takes hold that this administration is willing to barter the very safety and survival of its citizens for the short-term gain of well-connected cronies, even the intercession of its crooked Supreme Court won't spare it from the demands for justice. We need a full accounting. Now.

letters@creativeloafing.com

Greg Land is out of the loop (honest!) in Clarkston.??





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