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Commentary: What's Bush Hiding?

By Barbara Jezioro

Buffalo, NY – In his last monthly commentary, "Looking Outside The Box," Dan Lenard ranted and raved once again about the so-called "liberal media," the Clinton Administration, and the ultimate blame for 9/11. The "liberal elite" was accused of psychotic hatred but the real hatred in this piece was the kind that comes from the radical right.

The purpose of the 9/11 Commission is: "to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks. The Commission is also mandated to provide recommendations designed to guard against future attacks."

The Commission's purpose is not about blame, it's about truth, and from the beginning, the Bush Administration has thwarted this aim, first, by blocking efforts to form an early official inquiry into the attacks, then by under funding the Commission. At every turn, the Bush Administration has withheld important documents, only releasing them in dribbles and drabs, and then only when pressure from the 9/11 families becomes too intense. Initially, the President refused to testify before all of the Commission members and refused to allow national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice to testify under oath. After the testimony of Richard Clarke, who, by the way, served under 4 successive presidents, both Democratic and Republican, Condoleeza Rice found time for every talk show in town. The "liberal media" didn't seem to mind but it was certainly a slap in the face to the 9/11 families and the Commission members. When the White House finally did relent, it was only when a deal was made that allowed Bush and Cheney to testify together in return for Rice testifying under oath. All of this makes me wonder what the Bush Administration has to hide.

Meanwhile, the Bush re-election campaign persists in wrapping itself up in images of 9/11.

From the Bush Administration, forthrightness and honesty would be a refreshing change. The unnecessary war on Iraq, the Administration's centerpiece in the war on terror, has been a big mistake. To date, over 600 Americans have died and the numbers continue to climb. Yet, recently, at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association 60th annual dinner, President Bush joked about the fact that no weapons of mass destruction had been found. He joked about the reason for war and most of the 1500 so-called "liberal media" members present, laughed. Being lead into war by a lie is no joke.

Iraq, now in a state of chaos, is dangerously close to civil war. It has also become a breeding ground for terrorists. Yet, in April of 2003, Dan Lenard's favorite pundit, Daniel Pipes said:

"I expect that Muslim anger will likewise diminish after an allied victory in Iraq." Daniel Pipes, a well known Islamaphobe, is director of the Middle East Forum, a right wing think tank. He is a darling of the neo-conservatives and often cited as an expert by the major networks and newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, media that far from being liberal, are increasingly right wing.

Interestingly, just after the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in 1995, Pipes told USA Today: "People need to understand that this is just the beginning. The fundamentalists are on the upsurge, and they make it very clear that they are targeting us. They are absolutely obsessed with us." Just as he was wrong in this instance, Pipes was also wrong when he said in 2003: "The war in Iraq will lead to a reduction in terrorism."

Just ask anyone, from Bali to Madrid, whether terrorism has been reduced. In Britain, both the intelligence community and the police are saying not if, but when. But don't expect that kind of honesty from the Bush Administration. They're far too busy, too busy lying, too busy stonewalling, too busy blaming, too busy making excuses, and mostly just too busy trying to cover their own terrible mistakes.

Listener-Commentator Barbara Jezioro is an environmental engineering technician who lives in Buffalo.