June 17, 2004

As If I Needed Another Reason To Despise the 911 Commission

Listening to the 911 Commission hearings this morning on the way to work gave me radio rage. Again. Listening to a calm recitation of isolated and carefully chosen facts two years, nine months and six days later, all of which were undoubtedly true, to reach a conclusion that it was only incompetence of some members of the executive branch of our government that prevented us from shooting down the hijacked planes was a little too much to take.

I really enjoyed the number of times it was noted that there was confusion and people weren't sure what to do. I mean, why didn't those air traffic controllers at the FAA just reach up and pull their handy-dandy Emergency Procedure manual down from the shelf, turn to the appropriate section that gave the procedures for doing the right thing (whatever that may have been, since we don't seem to have agreement on that yet) immediately after two jumbo jets had just been crashed into buildings in a major metropolitan area? Of course, they would need to read quickly through the subsection on how to safely get every single commercial airliner out of the skies RIGHT F*CKING NOW. I think that subsection came after the subsection that indicated how to determine exactly how many more planes had been hijacked and where they were going to be crashing so fighters could be scrambled to shoot them down. I mean, it's not as if it hadn't all happened before and been fully documented. This is a an SEI CMMI Level 5 organization we're talking about here isn't it? At least that's what they expect of their contractors.

Of course, there is the little matter of how much time there was to read through these procedures and execute them. I mean, the clock couldn't have started until the second tower was hit. I remember the news reports from that morning with all the Talking Heads still speaking as though the first plane was a terrible accident, and we certainly can't expect our civil servants to be more on the ball than our Big Media celebrities, now can we? And as I remember, we got kind of pissed off when the Soviets shot Korean Air Flight 7 out of the skies, so I don't think our procedures would have been to scramble jets to shoot down civilian airliners just because they had been hijacked. Then again, maybe Al Gore's streamlining of federal regulations had inadvertently struck this subsection from the manual. It certainly wouldn't have been the Bush administration taking this kind of initiative, what with filing all the cabinet offices and undersecretary positions taking so damn long back in 2001. But I digress.

Anyway, United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the WTC at 9:03 AM EDT. Forty mintes later American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. It took the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey eighteen minutes after the second tower was hit to order all the bridges and tunnels in New York to be closed, and nobody was closer to it than they were. And yet, the FAA's air traffic controllers spread out in various places where supposed to figure out exactly what to do and do it in forty minutes. I seem to remember most everyone still trying to figure out exactly what had happened through the next several days as I sat in my hotel room in Chantilly, VA. Since United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in the fields of Pennsylvania twenty-seven minutes later after a heroic attempt by the passengers to take back the plane, we thankfully will never know what it would have been like for our fighters to have actually shot a civilian airliner out of the sky. That's just another reason to honor those that perished while preventing the bastards from completing their wicked intentions.


I am appalled and disgusted by the partisan spectacle of finger-pointing and myopic hindsight that is the 911 Commission. At least this phase of the (b)lamest show on earth is over. My only wish is that any terrorist acts they may be enabling strike them first.

Posted by Charles Austin at June 17, 2004 10:30 PM

And if the FAA had been 100% crisp and the planes had scrambled . . . what changes?

Posted by: Mike at 10:28 AM

9-11 Commission members continued to investigate charges today that President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld over-reacted in their orders to US Air Force fighters to shoot down a loaded passenger aircraft.

Senator X (D) commented that the tragedy of the attack on New York City was compounded by the "cowboy" attitude of the Bush Administration in its hasty reaction to order US fighters to start shooting down passenger aircraft.

Members of the Flight 93 Association gathered in silent protest on the steps of the Capitol. "Just as shooting down our husbands and our loved ones was done without our consent, so is this illegal invasion of Iraq," said Ms. SO-and-SO, later, a member of NION as well as the Flight 93 Association. "But the same shoot-first, ask-questions-later attitude prevailed."

In other news....

Posted by: Dean at 05:11 PM