Monday, December 27, 2004

Flight 93

It seems like too much is being made of Rumsfeld's recent quote while visiting Iraq, regarding the downing of Flight 93 on 9/11:

Here's what Rumsfeld said Friday: "I think all of us have a sense if we imagine the kind of world we would face if the people who bombed the mess hall in Mosul, or the people who did the bombing in Spain, or the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon, the people who cut off peoples' heads on television to intimidate, to frighten – indeed the word 'terrorized' is just that. Its purpose is to terrorize, to alter behavior, to make people be something other than that which they want to be."

My first thought was that if the plane had been shot down, that Rumsfeld would be equating the military pilots with terrorists carrying out bombings in Mosul and Spain, which is certainly not what he was intending. He meant the people who had hijacked the plane, of course. The suggestion of the article cited above is apparently that his reference of terrorists shooting down the plane could be a slip of the tongue caused by the supposed fact that the plane had been shot down by the military. This seems like a stretch not only because it is reading so much into a single quote, but also because the evidence surrounding the events of 9/11 does not support the idea that Flight 93 was shot down. The 9/11 Commission looked at the evidence and concluded that this was not the case. Cheney admitted that authorization had been given, albeit too late. This leads to an essential point: the administration was willing to admit that it had given the authorization, and had they used the authorization then I am convinced that they would level with the American people about it, as most people would find it completely understandable that a single plane be shot down to avoid potential catastrophe in DC. I give the administration the benefit of the doubt in this respect.

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