January 27, 2004

9/11 Commission Wants 60 More Days. The 9/11 Commission reported yesterday that the US fumbled repeated opportunities to stop many of the 19 hijackers. This sharply contradicts the FBI and CIA. On September 21, 2001, the Justice Department said all 19 hijackers entered the US with valid visas. However, the Commission said none of the hijackers filled out his visa application correctly, as many as eight of the hijackers' passports "showed evidence of fraudulent manipulation"; as many as five had "suspicious indicators"; at least six violated US immigration laws; and five were questioned by customs or immigration inspectors, but eventually allowed to enter the country.

The Commission also noted that intelligence blunders allowed two hijackers (Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar) to enter the US in early 2000 despite evidence suggesting they had ties to Al Qaeda and that "top officials in the US government" were advised about a terrorist summit meeting the two men attended in Malaysia. ... The Commission is seeking a two-month extension of its May 27 deadline. Any extension would require the support of Congress and the signature of George Bush and the White House has said it would not grant any extension.

Human Rights Watch: "The Bush administration cannot justify the war in Iraq as a humanitarian intervention, and neither can Tony Blair ... such interventions should be reserved for stopping an imminent or ongoing slaughter. They shouldn't be used to address atrocities that were ignored in the past. Humanitarianism, even understood broadly as a concern for the welfare of people, was at best a subsidiary motive for the invasion of Iraq." [Full Report]

I bought the latest issue of The Atlantic Monthly because I figured James Fallows's devastating (and quite lengthy) article ("Blind Into Baghdad") wouldn't be put online. I was wrong. This article is the very definition of a "must-read." ... The White House backs off its WMD claims. Ashcroft: Even if WMD never existed, the Iraq invasion was justified because of Saddam Hussein's past use of "evil chemistry" and "evil biology" justified the war. Thinking back to high school, I'd throw in "evil trigonometry" too. Powell: "What we demanded of Iraq was that they account for all of this and they prove the negative of our hypothesis." ... Dennis Miller on the slant of his soon-to-be-cancelled talk show: "I like him [Bush]. I'm going to give him a pass. I take care of my friends."

Oh, I had a letter to the editor in today's New York Times.

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