Perhaps nothing perturbs Farmer more than the contention that high-ranking officials responded quickly and effectively to the revelation that Qaeda attacks were taking place. Nothing, Farmer indicates, could be further from the truth: President George W. Bush and other officials were mostly irrelevant during the hijackings; instead, it was the ground-level commanders who made operational decisions in an ad hoc fashion.Indeed, the hawks in the Pentagon apparently had to change the official history to prove that they were manly men:
Yet both Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Vice President Dick Cheney, Farmer says, provided palpably false versions that touted the military’s readiness to shoot down United 93 before it could hit Washington. Planes were never in place to intercept it. By the time the Northeast Air Defense Sector had been informed of the hijacking, United 93 had already crashed. Farmer scrutinizes F.A.A. and Norad records to provide irrefragable evidence that a day after a Sept. 17 White House briefing, both agencies suddenly altered their chronologies to produce a coherent timeline and story that “fit together nicely with the account provided publicly by Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz and Vice President Cheney.”It is a pretty striking book and a review that is very critical of the Bush Administration. Which is kind of funny to me, since the author of the review, Jacob Heilbrunn, was President of Oberlin's College Republicans back when I was a student [if this is the same guy, and his pictures suggest that it is]. But Jacob was a Con perhaps, not a Neo-Con. Perhaps one of these days, I will plumb the depths of his blog to figure him out. Unless my readers can educate us all.
Anyhow, the punchline:
Farmer’s verdict: “History should record that whether through unprecedented administrative incompetence or orchestrated mendacity, the American people were misled about the nation’s response to the 9/11 attacks.”