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Bush Flip-Flop on Retaliation for Terror

Reported by Judy - July 22, 2004 -

Fox News has good reason to be skittish about covering much of substance regarding the 9/11 commission report. Although the bipartisan report does not directly blame either George Bush or President Clinton, not everything it has to say about the Bush administration is flattering.

After all its efforts to paint John Kerry as a flip-flopper, Fox News might be especially sensitive about the Bush flip-flop highlighted in the report.

The flip-flop concerns Bush's pre-election promise that he would retaliate for the bombing of the USS Cole. Appearing on CNN, 25 days before the election, Bush told CNN, "I hope that we can gather enough intelligence to figure out who did the act and take the necessary action. There must be a consequence." [See 9/11 Commission Report, p. 201.]

According to the commission report, National Security Adviser Condi Rice testified that there "was never a formal, recorded decision not to retaliate specifically for the Cole attack." Although the administration never thought the matter important enough to actually sit down and discuss, Rice said the consensus was that a "tit for tat" response would be counterproductive. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was not interested in punishing al Qaeda for the attack because, the report said, he "thought that too much time had passed and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, thought that the Cole attack was 'stale.'" (p. 202)

Too late to avenge the lives of 17 American sailors? Too stale? And so the Crawford cowboy who talked tough before the election just let the matter drop.

Amazing. Fox News can't say they don't have this information. It's right here on their web site:

9/11 Commission report