I took month-long vacations in the stratosphere, and you know it’s really hard to hold your breath

Terror Threats, Month Long Vacations and Consequences

A reader alerts me to this story in Buzzflash. It begins reasonably enough, telling the story about how “senior government officials” received warnings two months before 9/11/01 that “spectacular” attacks “designed to inflict mass casualties” would be launched against the US and/or Israel within “the coming weeks”. While I’m more than a little skeptical of these reports, and not about to suspect intentional wrong-doing even if true, it certainly deserves to be looked into.

The story, however, goes on to insist that the “senior government officials” MUST have included President Bush.

it is hard to imagine that President Bush would not have been made aware of this briefing and thus considered one of the “senior government officials” mentioned in the report

Again, I say we look into it. The story then claims that Bush took a month’s vacation in Texas during August so that he would be out of action during the attacks.

The sequence of events are easy to follow and the facts are indisputable. There are no dots to connect or wild assumptions that need to be made in order to draw a conclusion. The President was allowed to — or decided himself to — be on vacation when a terrorist attack of significant consequence was likely to occur against the United States.

Is it not so plainly obvious?

That is a pretty significant leap to make, and one that I’m not willing to attempt based upon the “evidence” I’ve seen so far. (For the record, I also would not have made that leap while Bill Clinton was in the White House, but I will admit that I’d probably have thought about it for a bit.)

This is a problem that crops up all the time. It’s very similar to what a reader said about the “US created Iraq” debate:

Latch on to one statement by a political opponent, in this case “The U.S. provided some weaponry to Saddam and was complacent as he used chemical weapons on others in the past, so we must bear some responsibility for the situation there now”. Polarize that phrase by removing key words like ‘some’ – “The U.S. provided weaponry and bears responsibility for the situation there”. Provide facts to prove the polarized phrase wrong. “Russia and France and Germany did it too, and did it more”. Add all those facts up and balance them against the polarized phrase. You have now made your opponent look stupid and wrong.

The difference here is that it’s not the opponent that’s polarizing an issue and using it against the claim-makers. It’s the claimers shooting themselves with their own story.

To take the facts, at least as presented here, and then present your position as “Bush took vacation because he knew we’d be attacked – It’s indisputable.” isn’t going to convince anyone and it’s going to get you taken not-seriously by most rational thinkers.

Move on. Nothing to see here.


  1. Now, now, let’s take away some of the silly rhetoric and look at some the actual claims. Did W take a vacation to escape the attacks? That’s a bit out there. But what of the the claims that Al Qaida was showing some threat of an attack with airplanes sometime soon and that this info was in the intelligence that was making it to the White House? Conaleeza rice saying it wasn’t possible to know when there is some evidence to suggest that she had the materials to know of he possibility. Why does the admiinistration seem to not want to answer questions about who knew what when willing to concede the classified info in question? These seem like reasonable questions. And the administration doesn’t appear to be very wlling to actually answer the questions. I just got back from taking my shoes off at Dulles because of the ‘threat’ we are under. I’d like to know more about why we are doing this if administratiopn officials might have known of an Al Qaida attack using airplanes in June of 2001. The Wizard of Oz claimed that there was nothing to see, too. We know what kind of ‘wizard’ he turned out to be.

  2. Well, what you’re asking for then is pretty much what I meant when I said that the claims should be looked into. This article spends quite a bit of time working the ‘GW took vacation to skip the attacks’ angle. That’s pretty polarizing there, to borrow an over-used word. This article is not going to convince anyone except those that are already convinced. I’m currently listening to Michael Moore’s book. This article reads a lot like that book. It takes a legit question then pokes fun at it, makes wild claims, interprets any reluctance on the part of opponents to engage this level as proof of guilt, and calls it case closed. And comparing the President to the Wizard of Oz? No polarization there. I’m wondering if it’s only polarization and petty politics if *opponents* of the current administration are the targets.