With US political leaders Democrat and Republican alike rushing to embrace the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, and an eager media receiving the Commission’s 567-page report as the whole story, the history we can stand upon forevermore, everyone who cares about the fate of American democracy will want to know something about what those pages actually say.
The Commission’s account, by popular reckoning, has made an impression with its heft, its footnotes, its portrayal of the confusion of that sobering day, its detail, its narrative finesse. Yet under the magnifying glass of David Ray Griffin, eminent theologian and author of The New Pearl Harbor (a book that explores questions that reporters, eyewitnesses, and political observers have raised about the 9/11 attacks), the report appears much shabbier. In fact, there are holes in the places where detail ought to be thickest: Is it possible that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has given three different stories of what he was doing the morning of September 11, and that the Commission combines two of them and ignores eyewitness reports to the contrary? Is it possible that the man in charge of the military that day, Acting Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Myers, saw the first tower hit on TV, and then went into a meeting, where he remained unaware of what was happening for the next 40 minutes? Is it possible, as the Commission reports, that the FAA did not inform military that the fourth airplane appeared to have been hijacked-contrary to both common sense and the word of FAA employees? Is it possible that the Report, upon which are based recommendations for overhauling the nation’s intelligence, fails to mention even in a footnote the most serious allegations made public by Coleen Rowley, FBI whistleblower and Time person of the year?
David Ray Griffin’s critique of the Kean-Zelikow report makes clear that our nation’s highest leaders have told tales that wear extremely thin when held up to the light of other eyewitness reports, research, and the dictates of common sense-and that the Commission charged with the task of investigating all of the facts surrounding 9/11 has succeeded in obscuring, rather than unearthing, the truth.