An Invitation? [updated]

“Please attend our destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. No RSVP needed, but looks of shock, disbelief and mourning are encouraged.”

Is that what Bush was waiting for? It must be because he said:

“There was nothing there that said, you know, ‘There’s an imminent attack,’ ” Bush said during a brief news conference with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian leader visited Bush’s Texas ranch to talk about the Middle East.

I don’t think 9/11 was the strictly the fault of the Bush administration, but I believe they did ignore a risk minimization strategy.

Bush’s quote is a perfect example of this. The Presidential Daily Briefing clearly said there was a threat of hijackings. Whether he felt it was imminent or not, tweaking our airline security procedures should have been a priority. It was not. Nor was the threat as unimaginable as this administration would have us believe. It seems that the order of the day with this administration was that an attack on America was not important to it. And that’s what makes me mad.

The President has been on a regular vacation since he took office. In fact, he was technically on vacation on 9/11 and went on vacation just after being presented with the PDB. Condi Rice’s testimony was an exercise in evasiveness.

This entire affair would be much less problematic if they had just come out said we got this memo, but believed that the overseas threat was more pressing because of the pattern involving the USS Cole, the embassy bombings in E. Africa, etc.. As a result they stepped up domestic surveillance and put threat reduction on a lower priority. It would have been a mea culpa but an understandable one. I actually think by admitting to mistakes early on, and explaining their reasoning, they would be in a much stronger position. Instead, they dissimulate and that makes me trust them less. Everything they say now sounds progressively more foolish and dishonest.

Update: Here’s a link to an op-ed from the Boston Globe that gives a better historical sense of what an invitation would look like. It correctly notes that Bush did not wait for a similar invitation to go into Iraq, and in fact Bush argued against waiting for such an invitation.