A Review of “The New Pearl Harbor”
By Marc Estrin
The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11
David Ray Griffin
Olive Branch Press, 2004
Paper, 214 pp, $15.00
The official story goes something like this:
With no actionable warning from intelligence agencies, four planes were hijacked by terrorists on the morning of September 11, 2001. Two crashed into the Word Trade Center, which then collapsed, and shortly thereafter, the third into the Pentagon. The last plane went down in Pennsylvania after a struggle between passengers and hijackers. Air defense arrived too late to stop the catastrophes. Responding to this attack on the homeland, the president declared a global war on terror which may last for generations until evil is finally eradicated, the security of America firmly established, and the world made safe for freedom and democracy.
In The New Pearl Harbor, David Ray Griffin compiles the evidence that every single assertion in the official story is implausible or impossible, and that something other must explain the inconsistencies and contra-factual assertions.
The implications of the accumulated evidence is that the Bush administration was complicit in the events of September 11th, and not merely a victim of structural problems or incompetence on the part of the intelligence establishment. In a nuanced discussion of “complicity”, Griffin distinguishes eight possible levels, from the lying about events to maximize political ends, through intentionally allowing expected attacks, to actual involvement in the planning of them.
Griffin does not make specific accusations, nor does he hypothesize a “true” version of what happened. But he does demand unflinching investigations of all the contradictions, clear reporting of the results, and most difficult, a courageous drawing of conclusions, no matter how “unthinkable” or outrageous they may appear.
Excellent review of Griffin’s tour de force by the intrepid Counterpunch crew, one of the few lefty journals willing to even look at that day.
In the months since the book was published, we have been swamped with news from the 9/11 Commission concerning both domestic and foreign intelligence which indicated a large and imminent attack on the United States. But the Commission, its members appointed by President Bush, is focusing on the future. According to Vice-Chair Lee Hamilton, “We’re not interested in trying to assess blame…” Their goal is to understand what happened so as to restructure intelligence so that such “a breakdown” may not happen again. Given this limited mandate, almost none of the contradictions Griffin raises is likely to be discussed, or its ramifications analyzed before the case is closed.
The first part of The New Pearl Harbor looks in detail at the timeline and events of 9/11 itself. How is it, Griffin asks, that even the first airplane was not intercepted — given standard procedures, operating normally many times a year, for off-course or otherwise anomalous aircraft? The FAA, NORAD, and the NMCC (National Military Command Center at the Pentagon) have a clear and working set of standard operating procedures which on September 11th, and on that day only, failed to operate. Griffin lays them out, along with the strange, and changing official excuses for their “failure”. Continue reading