The sheer volume of crimes that the George W. Bush administration committed will keep historians busy chronicling them for decade. Among them were: 1. Hiding the role that Saudi officials in not only Saudi Arabia, but the United States, played in financing and supporting the planning of the 9/11 attacks. 2. Keeping the relationship with Saudi Arabia status quo afterward. (Nothing to see here. Move on.)
Especially flagrant was that in 2002 the Bush administration removed the 28 pages that dealt with the Saudis from the report of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks. The Obama administration hasn’t been of much help in revealing those pages.
We revisited a 2014 article in the New Yorker by Lawrence Wright, in which he suggests that publishing the 28 pages could be helpful in helping to understand the Islamic State.
September 11th may be a part of history now, but some of the events that led to that horrible day remain veiled by the political considerations of the present. The intelligence community doesn’t want to light up its failures once again, and no doubt the Obama Administration doesn’t want to introduce additional strains on its relationship with the Saudis. In the meantime, the forces that led to catastrophe before are gathering strength once again [ISIS – RW]. Thomas Massie, a Republican congressman from Kentucky and a sponsor of the House resolution to declassify the material, told me that the experience of reading those twenty-eight pages caused him to rethink how to handle the rise of ISIS. It has made him much more cautious about a military response. “We have to be careful, when we run the calculations of action, what the repercussions will be,” he said.
“In some ways, it’s more dangerous today,” Timothy Roemer, who was a member of both the Joint Inquiry and the 9/11 Commission, observed. “A more complex series of threats are coming together than even before 9/11, involving ISIS, Al Qaeda, and cyber-terrorist capabilities. The more the American people know about what happened thirteen years ago, the more we can have a credible, open debate” about our security needs. Releasing the twenty-eight pages, he said, might be a step forward. “Hopefully, after some initial shock and awe, it would make our process work better. Our government has an obligation to do this.”
Meanwhile, for an idea of how treasonous this was on the part of the Bush administration, imagine if, to stay on good terms with Japan, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration absolved Japan of blame for it and attributed it instead to the air force of a rogue militia.