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Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Book Review
I just finished reading a book called "The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, and Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop It." It was written by John Miller of ABC News along with Michael Stone and Chris Mitchell. Not especially well written, it frequently reverts to the first person without explicitly telling you which author is speaking. It also has not one single footnote, nor does it have a bibliography. Where it touches on events that I have studied in some detail, like the TWA 800 explosion in 1996, the book glosses over lots of details and generally passes the government explanation off as fact. It also basically buys into the "war on terrorism" crap, believing that killing more people overseas is the way to stop people from getting killed here, whereas I believe the opposite is true. Just because Osama is wrong doesn't mean we're right.

On the other hand, it does offer some criticism of the Bushies, and points out that the Clinton administration was more on the ball with terrorism than the Bushies were before 9/11 (or probably since, all the bluster and wars notwithstanding). This quote was revealing (and properly attributed, unlike many in the book):

"Before September 11, I couldn't get half an hour on terrorism with Ashcroft," says Tom Pickard, former deputy director of the FBI. "He was only interested in three things: guns, drugs and civil rights."

Anyhow, I don't really recommend the book; I try to read the occasional item from the mainstream or even right-wing sources, as a reality check and to see what they're up to. I'd say this book was more bad because it was just bad than because of a particular slant.

The report from the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into 9/11 is due out any day now, and plenty of rumors are swirling about its contents. According to AP,

Blacked out in the report is a 28-page section that the officials say criticizes Saudi Arabia's government and details its lack of interest in tackling Muslim extremism.

That section probably also mentions the decades-long ties between the Bush family and the Saudi government, including close ties between George H. W. Poppy Read My Lips 41 Bush and Osama bin Laden's father. If any nation could be blamed for 9/11, it wasn't Afghanistan or Iraq, it was Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of the hijackers were Saudis; Osama is a Saudi. Most of the money probably came from Saudi sources. It's amazing and scary how the Bushies have been able to start two wars, killing thousands of civilians and wounding thousands more, while the country most closely related to the attack on America goes not only unpunished but unexamined.