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9/11 Commission Cooks with Rice

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Boy, what a ride.

First, she refused to testify. She refused to address the many contradictions between her recent statements about 9/11 and previous sworn testimony, including that of Richard Clarke. She refused to testify to the Presidentially appointed Commission investigating 9/11; she refused to appear in public and answer critical questions under oath.

Meanwhile, she was seen on every news interview show between here and the planet Mars, ripping her new nemesis, Richard Clarke; but folks like Katie Couric and Oprah Winfrey don’t have the power to file charges when a guest perjures themselves, so a bit of hypocrisy seemed to raise it’s gigantic ugly head like those two little black curly horns that jut out from the sides of her doo (I believe it’s hair?).

Then–after the majority of the American public awoke from their standard, self-induced somnambulant slumber and asked “WHAT DOES THE PRESIDENT HAVE TO HIDE?”– the administration quickly changed its mind (probably the only time in history) and decided to defuse the potential electorate time-bomb, allowing Rice to audition for “American Idol from Hell” before a special Committee made up of sedated Republican Paula Abduls and pissed-off Democratic Simons.

Boy, what a SHOW! All we’re missing is Janet Jackson, that little monkey-faced boy-band singer, and a costume malfunction!

Okay. Okay.

Well, it’s over for now. Condoleeza Rice finally appeared before America and, for the first time in three long years, an official of the Bush administration HAD TO TELL THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH! (mark your calendars, folks!)

As of mid-morning, Rice had spoken more words and been seen for a longer period of time by the American people than President Bush and Vice President Cheney COMBINED over a THREE YEAR PERIOD. (Guinness Book officials are currently searching their files to see if our National Security Advisor set a new record.)

It wasn’t a home run and it wasn’t a strike out; it was a draw, the kind we’re becoming used to in this incredibly divided nation that is ruled by a “uniter, not a divider”.

For true believers on both sides, (that’s all there are anymore), Rice’s testimony will surely prove whatever anybody wants it “to prove”: vague ambiguities will be seen as concrete pronouncements; concrete pronouncements will be interpreted as loose analogies.

That’s the way it is with true believers.

Republicans, Neo-Cons, Bush supporters, and reactionaries saw her as a combination of Madonna (the first divine version) and Margaret Thatcher on a bulimic binge.

Democrats, progressives, and liberals saw her as a combination of Medusa and Martha Stewart. (And what is it with Rice, Cheney, and Bush where they’re all able to smile when saying something incredibly serious, tragic, or hateful? I’ve never seen anything like it! It reminds me of the public speaking habits of Hannibal Lechter.)

As I watched the proceedings, it seemed to me that Rice’s main tactic was to try to fill each Commissioner’s TEN MINUTE time limit with meaningless, explanatory blather. After a while, it got to the point of absurdity, but when none of the commissioners seemed to notice or care, I thought it was perhaps just my impatience with the ass-kissing softballs thrown her way.

Finally, after interrupting and being interrupted, Kerry exploded:

KERREY: Let me move to another area.

RICE: May I finish answering your question, though, because this is an important…

KERREY: I know it’s important. Everything that’s going on here is important. But I get 10 minutes.

RICE: But since we have a point of disagreement, I’d like to have a chance to address it.

KERREY: Well, no, no, actually, we have many points of disagreement, Dr. Clarke, but we’ll have a chance to do in closed session. Please don’t filibuster me. It’s not fair. It is not fair. I have been polite. I have been courteous. It is not fair to me. (APPLAUSE) I understand that we have a disagreement.”

Yay!” I yelled! “Applause! Applause! It’s NOT JUST ME! She’s FILIBUSTERING! She’s trying to kill their ten minutes! Bee-atch!”

The Bottom Line: RICE SPENT 2 1/2 HOURS AND DIDN’T SAY SHIT. (Which– according to the Bush Administration, the most secretive in American history–can probably be seen as yet another major victory.)

The only dramatic, exciting moments came when partisan ‘audience’ members applauded when a Commissioner or Rice scored a point.

So — like everything else in American life — the investigation into 9/11 has turned into THEATRE. Pundits will score it like a gymnastics event: 9.9 for that question! 9.8 for that answer! Whoops, she fell off the beam of credibility! Uh-oh, he faltered with his partisan landing! 3000 dead angels watch from on high in disgust.

There weren’t a lot of surprises for either side; Rice did not negate or contradict the basics of Richard Clarke’s testimony. Words and concepts like “PRIORITY” are ambiguous and easily parsed and redefined to give advantage to whomever has the last word.

According to Clarke, Bush didn’t have Al Queda terrorism as a priority.

According to Rice, Yes, he did have terrorism as a priority, it’s just that it took EIGHT MONTHS to do much about it.

The one shocker came when Rice — having spent the last hour or so insisting that the administration didn’t have a CLUE about an attack on the US or an imminent threat from Al Queda — was asked about the title of the Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) from August 6, 2001:

BEN-VENISTE: Isn’t it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6th PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB?

RICE: I believe the title was, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.”

One could almost hear the air go out of the room when she answered.

Questions still remain, though, the 900 lb. gorilla that no one in the room seems to want to acknowledge:

* What WAS and IS the administration’s relationship to certain Saudi backers of the terrorists?

* Why was the Bin Laden family flown out of the U.S a few days after 9/11?

* Why hasn’t the Administration taken at least some responsibility for the massive failures that lead up to 9/11? And why hasn’t someone been fired for those failures?

A FEW GLARING PROBLEMS (from Center for American Progress report):

RICE: “I do not remember any reports to us, a kind of strategic warning, that planes might be used as weapons.” [responding to Kean]

FACT: Rice was the top National Security official with President Bush at the July 2001 G-8 summit in Genoa, where “U.S. officials were warned that Islamic terrorists might attempt to crash an airliner” into the summit, prompting officials to “close the airspace over Genoa and station antiaircraft guns at the city’s airport.”

RICE: “…We did not have…threat information that was in any way specific enough to suggest something was coming in the United States.”

FACT: Pg. 204, Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11: “In May 2001, the intelligence community obtained a report that Bin Laden supporters were planning to infiltrate the United States” to “carry out a terrorist operation using high explosives.”

RICE: “The Vice President was, a little later in, I think, in May, tasked by the President to put together a group to look at all of the recommendations that had been made about domestic preparedness and all of the questions associated with that.”

FACT: The Vice President’s task force never once convened a meeting. In the same time period, the Vice President convened at least 10 meetings of his energy task force, and six meetings with Enron executives.

This list of Claims vs Facts goes on for pages; read more here.

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About Mark Shark

  • she refused to appear in public and answer critical questions under oath.


    Your bias is showing through here. Dr. Rice was not allowed to testify. If you want to blame anyone on that point, you have to blame the President.

    As far as your points about people reading in what they want, I can tell you that we partisans, you and I, will most certainly do that. What I hope is that those who are yet undecided in this election season will see Dr. Rice for the intelligent and accomplished woman that she is.

    As far as her trying to fill the time up, I think that also has no basis in truth. Democrats praise Senator Kerry to no end for his ability to “nuance” issues, yet they accuse Dr. Rice of wasting time when she simply is trying to explain complex issues.

    If there was ANY doubt as to whether the 9/11 Commission was about politics, then I think it became very clear today how political this whole thing is as participants in the audience started applauding at various times while Dr. Rice was treated like some kind of criminal on a witness stand.

    I think going after Dr. Rice that way was a big mistake on their part because it made her into a sympathetic figure. There she was, calmly trying to answer, and they started snipping at her and cutting her off.

    It started to sound like a talk show with the host cutting off the guest, trying to force Dr. Rice into saying only what they wanted her to say at times. It was completely transparent.

    But thats just my opinion. 🙂


  • BTW – Should have mentioned before that I think the picture of Dr. Rice on the rice box diminishes every point you make.


  • …very much like the Bush/Cheney 04 logo at the top/right of viewpointjournal diminishes yours.

  • Shark

    David: “Dr. Rice was treated like some kind of criminal on a witness stand”

    I agree that this was wrong: since Bush, Cheney, and Co. are the biggest *criminals in the Executive Branch in American history, Rice should have been treated as an accomplice to crime.

    * history will bear me out on this point

  • Shark

    David: “It started to sound like a talk show with the host cutting off the guest…”

    You meant to say “a talk show ON FOX” didn’t you?

    Like Hannity? O’Reilly?

    Yeah. That’s better.

  • Shark

    David: “Your bias is showing through here.”

    I hadda laugh at that!

    Dave, ya know, I have no illusions: if anyone wanted “unbiased” reports, they wouldn’t be reading either one of us.

    PS: The name is Shark for a reason, mi amigo.

  • This was, I beleive, supposed to be a bi-partisan, if not non-partisan, Commission whose goal was to find out what went wrong in the months and years prior to 9/11 in order to prevent somethng like this from happening again.

    It has turned into a sideshow, a circus, and place for washed-up Senators and Governors to badger those whose testimony they don’t find ideologically palatable.

    Bob Kerrey, who once was a part of a massacre of Vietnamese villagers, has no moral platform from which to shout at, interrupt, or denounce anybody.

    This whole thing should have been a private, calm, rational, civil, fact-finding affair, not a sick piece of political theater in an election year. Oh, well.

  • Shark

    RJ, call me if you find a ‘bi-partisan’ anything.

    The only place you’ll find a bi-partisan opinion is in a cemetary.

  • Good point, Shark. But still, this Commission does not pass the “truth-in-advertising” test…

  • I thought Dr. Rice did a good job answering the questions put forth to her. She spent nearly three hours being questioned (a couple of times being drilled) and didn’t lose her composure even once that I saw.

    Yes, she clearly overused some words like “systematic” and “strategic” and she carried on too long, but if one doesn’t want to answer a huge number of questions, the best way is to ramble. Somebody taught her that and she used that technique.

    At least she rambled on somewhat intelligently making the commission appear unintelligent at times.

    I’m not saying though that I believed everything that Dr. Rice had to say, but I think she put on a good show. Dog and pony show is what I think of most of these hearings.

    Reminded me somewhat of the Clinton impeachment hearings.

  • Chris

    Kerrey couldn’t even remember to use her right name, kept calling her Dr. Clarke.

    Pre 9/11 there was an inability, legally, of the FBI to share information between the criminal department and counterterrorism department.

    That is why 9/11 happened.

  • …very much like the Bush/Cheney 04 logo at the top/right of viewpointjournal diminishes yours.


    Here is the difference; on my site, I am actively supporting President Bush. In most of my articles, I’m again supporting President Bush. In this article, Shark is demeaning Dr. Rice rather than SUPPORTING anyone.

    How does it help with such an important issue to post a picture of Dr. Rice on a rice box, with all it’s racist undertones, with her eyes crossed and looking silly? You may disagree with her, but this kind of attack HURTS any argument that Shark might make.

    I believe we should disagree with each other on the merits of our arguments, not mock the person who advances any argument.

    There’s the difference and that is why I think it invalidates anything Shark tries to say in this post.



  • Shark

    David, my team is laughing our way toward an Apocalypse created by your team.

    Laughter is the only thing we’ve got.

    (By the way, see also: Mark Twain as to the strength of mockery and laughter;

    (see also: various right wing sites that portray Kerry as some dickheaded, beret wearing French pussy.)

    re: racist undertones – jeesus, man, are gettin’ paid by whats-her-name to fuck with me? I’ve got an entire WEB SITE devoted to mocking these criminal bastards in every way I possibly can. You should see what I do to the White Boyz!


  • Shark

    David, Is it all right with your PC Monitoring Group that I called Justin Timberlake a “little monkey-faced boy” — or was that verboten, too?

    Buck up, man.

  • see also: various right wing sites that portray Kerry as some dickheaded, beret wearing French pussy.


    Here’s a rule I’ve learned in life:

    Don’t let the actions of others determine your own behaviour.

    Obviously, if someone attacks you, you have to defend yourself. At the same time, if they attack you so that they can kill your dog, you don’t have to kill their dog to defend yourself.

    If someone attacks a person you admire in a dishonorable way, then defend that person, but don’t lose your own honor in the process. Thats just my view of the world. I don’t always succeed in living according to that principle, but I try.



  • HW Saxton Jr.

    Yo Flanagan My Man,It’s called “SATIRE”.
    RE: Satire-1.the use of wit, esp.irony,
    sarcasm,and ridicule to attack the vice
    and follies of humankind. Get it NOW???

  • David, Is it all right with your PC Monitoring Group that I called Justin Timberlake a “little monkey-faced boy” — or was that verboten, too?

    I thought that one below the belt too. What use it is to label people this way? What do you accomplish?

    I think you are a good writer, but these kinds of ad hominem attacks take away from the content and the humor they offer is of the kind that requires the destruction of a human being. You’ve had people mock you and try to tear you down because of what you believe, how does it feel?

    Do you really want to be a writer? If so, then I think you’re going to have to learn to grow beyond this kind of thing.

    My two cents on the issue.



  • Shark

    David: Do you really want to be a writer?

    Dave, my first paid writing gig was in 1974.

    Thanks anyway! I can always use career advice.


  • Shark,

    I apologize. I thought that you were saying somewhere else that it was your goal to get into writing. You may have been joking. I believe it was the post: “I, ME, MAC: The Gospel of Blog.”



  • I was unsurprised that nothing of substance emerged and that Condi’s statements could be reasonably interpreted in ten-thousand ways. That’s what happens when you get a politician under oath; an emphasis on the specific task of being as non-specific as possible.

    I thought one comment I caught out of the corner of my ear on CNN was hiliarious, though. It may have been Dennis Miller, but I’m completely unsure… but putting Condi together with the Imperial Theme from Star Wars was hiliariously apt.

    I mean, the woman makes James Carville look warm, fuzzy and apolitical.

  • JR

    It may have been Dennis Miller, but I’m completely unsure… but putting Condi together with the Imperial Theme from Star Wars was hiliariously apt.

    I believe that was The Daily Show on Comedy Central. The best news editorial program on TV.

  • Debbie


    “Yo Flanagan My Man,It’s called “SATIRE”.
    RE: Satire-1.the use of wit, esp.irony,
    sarcasm,and ridicule to attack the vice
    and follies of humankind. Get it NOW???”

    How is this different that the ignorant Yeager’s comparison of Jackson and a gorilla? Was that just satire? Personally, that goes beyond satire, I think it was SICK!!!

  • bhw

    It’s different because Yeagley was making a direct comparison, as if it was truth. There was no satire involved.

  • BHW- I don’t understand about Yeagley not being satire per comment 16. He was using ridicule and sarcasm, and certainly intended the gorilla picture to be funny. The obvious point would seem to have been that Janet Jackson baring her breast as she did was exhibiting low, animalistic behavior- even a gorilla could do what she did.

    Understandably, most people did not take humor from that. As applied specifically to the case at hand- Jackson- it may have been fair comment, though harsh. Still she asked- BEGGED- for ridicule with that dumb stunt.

    The main problem really was how this gesture would be seen as a generalized statement about black folk. Other stuff on his site would do little to make you think otherwise. Bad on him.

    Nonetheless, the gorilla picture certainly did constitute SATIRE. You might reasonably judge it to be a poor use of satire, or a failed attempt- meaning that you didn’t find it funny. Still, it WAS satire.

  • bhw

    Oh god, not to relive *this* thread, but: he was not, in my opinion saying what you think he was. It was a visual metaphor comparing a black woman to a gorilla. He was saying that a black woman is as “naturally” sexually unattractive to him as a gorilla is. To him, they look the same and create the same “sexual aversion.”

    That doesn’t pass as satire in my book, sorry.

  • Debbie

    “That doesn’t pass as satire in my book, sorry.”

    Much like this shit doesn’t pass for satire in my book.

  • Shark

    David, if you mistook any aspect of my “I, ME, MAC: The Gospel of Blog” as true, then I’m not surprised that much of this goes, how can I say… right over yer head.

    That WAS SO FRIGGIN’ OBVIOUSLY meant as satire that I now seriously question whether you’re missing some elementary ‘satire gene’.

    Seriously, Dave, just skip my stuff from now on, ’cause, and I don’t mean this to be flippant, YOU’RE WASTING YOUR TIME AND MINE.

    Debbie, et al:

    I don’t know what’s wrong with ‘you people’! (spoken ala Ross Perot, btw) I guess it’s a generational thing. Maybe yall grew up on so much Saturday Night Live type of crap that you just don’t fucking get it.

    I’ll not assume that I’m the best satirist around, but for the luv of gawd, I’ve never had my stuff as mis-interpreted as I have on my month or so on BC.

    BTW: Don’t EVER EVER READ “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathon Swift, because he proposes, among other things, EATING THE BABIES OF POOR PEOPLE in order to reduce hunger in Britain.


  • Shark

    BOB KING: “…but putting Condi together with the Imperial Theme from Star Wars was hiliariously apt. I mean, the woman makes James Carville look warm, fuzzy and apolitical.”

    Bob, you’re so right, but be careful: compare anybody to anything around here– and they rustle up an ad hoc digital necktie party…

  • Shark

    Please, dear God, let this be about Yeagley, the gorilla comparison, and me as the current version of him… please please please…”

    (shark with visions of beating “Pirates of the Caribbean II” in overall comments and longevity!)

  • bhw

    you’re missing some elementary ‘satire gene’

    I can fix that!

  • Shark

    And while we’re at it, I’d like to ask a favor of everyone:

    In the future, would you preface your comment with one of the following:

    a) Yes, I grew up reading “MAD” magazine (in its heyday).

    b) No, I’ve never read “MAD” Magazine, but I think Will Farrell and Adam Sandler are a hoot.

    That way, I can easily determine THE VALIDITY OF YOUR COMMENT, (and whether or not I would seriously recommend that you go into your garage, start your car, and suck on the tailpipe.)

    Thanks – The Management

  • The Yeagley thing doesn’t really have anything to do with Rice, so I’m moving my extended response to my “Offense” column.

  • Jonathan Swift, believe it or not, was taken seriously by some of the idiots back in the day. “A Modest Proposal” went right over the heads of a lot of “Age of Reason” decorum freaks. A sign of good satire may well be that it goes over the head of the Church Ladies of the world and causes an “outrage” (I read Mad Magazine and watched Saturday Night Live–by the way, SNL skits aren’t satirical–they are parodies–they have no serious point).

    If such outrage is good enough for Jonathan Swift, then it’s good enough for you, Sharkie (if you have ever seen Cabin Boy, then you might be pissed about this nickname–but I’m only making fun–no ad hominem here). Maybe you should spend less time defending your satire and explaining it. Great comedians and satirists don’t explain their works. If you are lucky, others will do the arguing for you.

  • Shark

    Yeah, thanks AL!

    Now you’re in the running to beat “Pirates of the Caribbean II”!

    That was a low blow, ya bastid.


    BTW: I’ll probably blog on this later, but I want to point out that I WAS RAISED on nasty, curmudgeonly, mocking, poke-a-hole-wherever-there’s-a-soft-overinflated-spot SATIRE.

    Satire. It’s not what you see on MAD TV or Saturday Night Live; those are fart jokes for the retarded. It’s not Will Farrell and Adam Sandler; those are morons getting laughs from morons.

    My influences arrived WAAAAY back before everyone became so goddammed self-righteous and overly fuckin’ sensitive.



    Early influences that molded SHARK’S sense of humor and inspired his current writing:

    MARK TWAIN (!) (who, btw, was much nastier than the sanitized Hal Holbrook version would have you believe)
    Old Warner Bros. cartoons
    MAD magazine
    R. Crumb
    Richard Pryor
    Bill Hicks

    —- if you’ve never read and/or heard of any or all of those, then just stay the hell away from my essays.

    And good friggin’ riddance.


    ….Are they gone yet? —

    For those of you who chose to remain, tonight we’ll be working on the upcoming Mensa Newsletter and then we’ll do our ‘book circle’ talk on Maldoror.

  • Shark

    Maybe you should spend less time defending your satire and explaining it. Great comedians and satirists don’t explain their works. If you are lucky, others will do the arguing for you.

    Dirt, you’re so right. I know (and have said so in numerous other entries of mine) that if I gotta explain it…

    “…well, nevermind”

    I’m hoping that some of this might sink in, though, and a lightbulb might go on somewhere out there in between me and the EXIT sign.

    And as you say, I’m a friggin’ glutton for punishment.

    I’ve been waiting for someone to ‘defend’ me, but I feel like Travis at the Alamo sometimes.

    He died, ya know.


    PS: Disregard Comment #34

  • HW Saxton Jr.

    RE:Comment # 31- My answer is ‘A’.
    I’d also like to apologize to all of the
    little boys & girls on the BC playground
    for having a sense of humor.
    It won’t happen again OK?

    RE:Comment # 26- Perhaps YOU didn’t find
    it funny.So what.You cannot understand
    Satire w/o a sense of humor mon petite

    Q:What does the hateful post of some
    imbecilic racist have to do with this ?


  • bhw

    It boggles the mind that the comparison was made between this post and the other obviously not satirical stuff.

  • HW Saxton Jr.

    Yes,it sure does.It’s bad enough that
    the writers are constantly having to
    explain themselves.I feel for them,truly
    I do. Now the readers of the post are on
    the defensive as well. I GIVE UP!!!!!!!!
    “Hey Jane!!! stop this crazy thing…”