Buencamino does foreign affairs analysis for the NGO Action for Economic Reform. This paper was published in the newspaper Today, page 11, 14 April 2004 edition.

I was provided with additional input that was radically different from
the truth. I assisted in furthering that version. – Col. Oliver North,
Iran-Contra Testimony

Dear Sister,

I watched your testimony before the 911 Commission. All three filibustering hours of it.

The 911 victims’ families were hoping you would provide the answer to why it happened. They were hoping that you would tell them who else could be held accountable for the tragedy, other than the perpetrators themselves. They wanted—to use pop psychology’s word du jour— closure.

And for three hours they listened to you repeat phrases like “But they don’t tell us when, they don’t tell us who, and they don’t tell us how”; “structural and legal impediments that prevented the sharing of information”; “only 233 days in office”; “historical vs. actionable intelligence”; “tired of swatting flies”, “we have to be right 100 percent of the time and they only have to be right once.”

For three hours, you insisted that no one, other than the perpetrators themselves, could be held responsible for 9/11. The system was to blame. There would be no apologies, no resignations, and no closure for
the 9/11 victims’ families.

It would have been nice if al-Qaeda discussed “when, where, who, and how” over telecommunications networks monitored by the National Security Agency (NSA); but they didn’t, they don’t, and they won’t. They came and will come uninvited and unannounced.

It would have been nice if there had been nothing else on your plate except the al- Qaida threat. But there were, as you said, “other responsibilities—weapons of mass destruction proliferation, improving US relations with great powers, changing our Iraq policy…and occasional crisis..” like the navy plane that was held by China for 11 days.

It would have been nice if Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was not busy selling a new missile defense system, if Vice President Cheney was not busy with Kenneth Lay of Enron and other energy industry bigwigs crafting a new energy policy for themselves and for America as well, if Paul Wolfowitz and his neocon cabal were not busy formulating a Middle East policy for Israel and for America as well, and if Colin Powell was not busy mowing the White House lawn.

It would have been nice if you were familiar with the underlying causes of terrorism, or if you had more than 233 days to familiarize yourself with terrorism and Middle East politics before your first big test.

Do you still remember your first big test? It was in your area of expertise—the USSR and the Cold War. I’m sorry I have to bring this up again but you do recall that you were the one who told the elder Bush that the USSR wasn’t going to shatter into pieces and you advised him to stick it out with Gorbachev because Boris Yeltsin was not going to get very far in Soviet politics. Remember?

It would have been nice if you were more forthcoming with the 9/11 Commission regarding Zalmay Khalizad, the expert you hired to help you with a strategic plan for Afghanistan et al. But all you told them was “America’s al-Qaeda policy wasn’t working because our Afghanistan policy wasn’t working. And our Afghanistan policy wasn’t working because our Pakistan policy wasn’t working. To address these problems, I made sure to involve regional experts. I brought in Zalmay Khalizad, an expert on Afghanistan, who as senior diplomat in the 1980s worked closely with the Afghan mujaheedeens…”

Maybe you could have mentioned that Zalmay Khalizad, according to truth-seeker Wayne Madsen, was a consultant for Cambridge Energy Research Associates and was negotiating with the Taliban for the TransAfghanistan Central Asia Gas Pipeline (CENTGAS). You could have mentioned that the consortium behind the project involved Chevron, where you sat as a member of the board of directors, and Halliburton, which Vice President Cheney headed. You could have also added that Enron did the project feasibility studies. And wait, there’s more. Khalizad was also the liaison between now Afghanistan President Hamid Kharzal and the Taliban leader Mullah Mohamed Omar, who was a good friend of both the al-Qaeda and the Pakistani chief of intelligence, Gen Mahmud Ahmed. You would have given me the opportunity to characterize your hiring of Khalizad as replacing the old “swatting flies” strategy with a “flypaper” strategy.

It would be nice to go on and on about how your credibility gap showed every time you smiled, but I have a fetish for gapped teeth so I will leave that to others.

Others can point out that credibility gap by making a list of Bush
administration claims vs. known facts. In fact, they can show that
credibility gap just from what you said then with what you say now with
a “before” (old claims) and “after” (new claims ) list.

All that matters for you and George Bush’s reelection is that many more Americans believed you than your detractors, at least according to polls cited by CNN.

I don’t know if the polls mean that Americans have forgotten or have to chosen to forget what you have said in the past or if your flag-waving
hypnotized them into believing you.

All I know is that in America, appeals to patriotism always triumph
over appeals to common sense, for patriotism is the staple food of American politics. It is to American politicians what rice is to Filipino politicians. Sorry for the cheap pun, but I say all this for love of country.

Your little brown brother,