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Thursday, April 08, 2004

A Real-Time Response to Rice's Testimony Before The 9/11 Whitewash Committee:

I’m currently listening to Condoleeza’s testimony before the 9/11 commission, and she seems to be providing us with a textbook example of how not to answer a question.

The members of the commission are focusing on the lack of communication between the FBI and the CIA, and the inability of government agencies to “connect the dots”.

When Rice is asked by one of the commissioners what the administration had done to address these problems before the attacks, she launches into an elaborate response, and at no time does she mention a single thing the administration had done to rectify the situation. She does mention, however, what the administration had done after September 11th. Her spurious attempts to avoid questioning don’t escape notice: the crowd breaks out in applause when her evasiveness is duly noted.

Sen. Bob Kerry calls her evasive responses what they are: “Filibustering”. Each commissioner has a limited amount of time to ask questions, and if Rice is cagey enough to answer each question with effusive rhetoric, she can stave off her most vociferous critics.

John Lehman skewers her with a litany of questions that began with the phrase,
“Where you aware that…”
This drove her into a corner: If she answered yes, she would have had to explain why she didn’t act on the knowledge. Therefore, she responded with her first mantra:

Mantra One:

“I learned about that after 9-11”

—it’s better to plead ignorance than incompetence.

…Lucky us. With this administration, we get both.

Mantra Two:

“We only had 233 days”

Are we expected to swallow this tripe? 233 days isn’t enough time to defend the nation against terrorism? That’s the better part of a year. Dick Clarke was there, wasn’t he? Louis Freeh was there, wasn’t he? George Tenet was there. All the major players were there and many were holdovers from the previous administration. Why couldn’t you prepare during this time period?

Richard Clarke offers an apology to the families of the victims and the best Rice can muster is “we only had 233 days”. A child could poke a finger through her paper-thin defense, but the straw men of the commission demur.

What Rice should actually say is that they only had 198 days. While Saddam planned, Bush was vacationing in Crawford. Prior to Sept. 11th, Bush had already taken more vacation time than Clinton had in his entire presidency.

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