Court-appointed commander
                     Editorial from the Northwest Arkansas Times, Fayetteville     May 24, 2002

                    People who said they were glad George Bush was leading the American
                    response to terrorist attack are choking on their words. Recent events confirm that
                    the founders knew what they were doing when they provided for the president to be
                    chosen by the voters, as Al Gore was, and not the Supreme Court, as Bush was.

                    (Those founders were smart cookies. They didn't use jargon like "market-driven" in
                    the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence either. Bush says we won't
                    stop squeezing the Cubans until they adopt "market-driven" reforms. Apparently
                    they'll have to turn their power plants over to Enron. If Bush demands "faith-based"
                    reforms, they'll have to take Jerry Falwell.)

                    We know now that the Bush administration received numerous warnings of
                    impending terrorist attacks, some arriving almost on the eve of the Sept. 11
                    disaster, and did next to nothing. Well, it did slip word to John Ashcroft, our
                    faith-based attorney general, and Ashcroft stopped flying on commercial aircraft.
                    Faith has its limitations. When Bill Clinton got a warning in 1999, he ordered an
                    attack on Osama Bin Laden's training camp. Congressional Republicans accused
                    him of picking on Osama for political reasons. Trent Lott hadn't developed an
                    interest in national unity at the time.

                    After the airplanes struck the towers, Bush spent the rest of the day darting around
                    the country, maintaining distance from the crash sites, ostensibly on the
                    recommendation of security advisers. Bush's press secretary defended this
                    behavior by saying terrorists had targeted the presidential plane. This was a lie, it
                    turns out. There was no such targeting, at least none that our government knew of.
                    Anyway, an army of security advisers couldn't have kept President Clinton from
                    Ground Zero, and indeed former President Clinton showed up there before Bush did.

                    And now Bush seeks to profit from that awful day. With his approval, the House and
                    Senate Republican campaign committees are selling, for $150 apiece,
                    photographs of Bush on Air Force One Sept. 11, talking on the telephone. They
                    don't tell us what Bush was saying, but we can make a pretty good guess: "Is it all
                    right to come home now, Mr. Cheney?" It says a lot about Bush that he looks up to
                    Vice President Cheney, a notorious chicken hawk who hid from military service
                    when he was of draft age, but doesn't flinch from sending other people into combat,
                    or declaring unpatriotic anyone who criticizes the administration. (The founders
                    had the right idea about free speech, too.)

                    To use the deaths of 9-11 for political gain is contemptible. And this is a man who
                    promised less partisanship in Washington.

                    Bush and Cheney will resist, but the most patriotic and nonpartisan thing
                    Congress, the media and the people can do is to demand a full and public
                    investigation of 9-11. Who knew what when? Did the FBI, the CIA and military
                    intelligence fail utterly? Does the blame belong higher?

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