The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Sunday, May 19, 2002  

Alien Lacks Basic Grasp of American Democracy

As we approach Monday morning, May 20, we wait with great anticipation the words and wisdom of Andrew Sullivan, the Bush administration toady who has yet to lift himself from the servile crouching position into which he placed himself on or about September 11, 2001.

As of Sullivan's latest postings on "The Daily Dish" (Are we the only people who find this title trite, hackneyed, and pedestrian?) at, which date back to Friday, May 17 (The weekend off...Demands of the theatre, don't you know?), this soi-disant critic was acting more like the President's press secretary than anything resembling a journalist.

The sycophantic Sullivan was last seen brushing off any questions about the failure of the Bush administration and its appointees at the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency, the National Intelligence Council, the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and others with a dismissive tsk-tsk.

Under the heading "What Did Bush Know??" [Ed.: The double question marks are Sullivan's.], Sullivan had this to say:

"Several of you have written me asking why I haven't jumped on the story that president Bush was told of threats of al Qaeda hijackings before September 11. The reason is simple: it's not a story. So far as I can tell, there were no specific threats, no suggestion of commandeering planes to use as missiles, nothng [sic] that could be differentiated from any number of such warnings before or since....The real story here is the press's (and the Democrats') need for a story about the war to change the climate of support for the [P]resident." [Ed.: Emphasis added.]

Well, that puts the matter to rest, doesn't it?

Not in our opinion. And there's more, but it doesn't get any better.

"But I defer to Rummy [Ed.: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld] on Rush [Ed.: Blowhard radio hack Rush Limbaugh] yesterday: 'Limbaugh: You've got a limited amount of time. Let me just get into a couple of things real quick. Could you first give us your take on the controversy that erupted last night with this leak to CBS over the lack of information, or the information that came in, the supposedly lack of action following it concerning the terrorist attack September 11th?'

'Rumsfeld: Well I guess I'd begin by saying it's really much ado about nothing. To my knowledge there was no warning, no alert as to suicide attackers in airplanes. There's always been concerns about hijacking. That's been true for months and years as a possibility. Apparently the intelligence community, our intelligence community, the country's, did not have sufficient granularity [sic] to issue any specific warning. But I should say that through the spring and summer there was a great deal of threat reporting indicating on a variety of different things all over the world [Ed.: Can you follow that?], but without any specificity as to what might happen.'

'In my view all appropriate actions were taken according to the threat situation as far as it was known. There were times when the Department of State would send out cautions and warnings to their embassies. The Department of Defense had different threat levels for our various areas of responsibility around the world and took a whole series of steps at different times as we always do, but I think it's just grossly inaccurate to suggest that the President had any kind of a warning about September 11th.' "

We can barely make heads or tails of "Rummy"'s remarks and yet Sullivan takes them at face value. His knee-jerk acceptance of the party line out of the Pentagon is as sad as it is desperate:

"Ah, they say, but if this had been [P]resident Clinton, you would have jumped on it. Nu-huh. My point about Clinton was his record of eight years of not taking al Qaeda seriously as a real threat to this country and the world. Bush deserves criticism on this score as well, except that he ordered a real review of our efforts and was on the verge of transforming our policies against terror on the eve of September 11. [Ed.: Emphasis added.]

In response to this outrageous statement we ask: Details, please? What, exactly, was the Bush administration planning to do on September 10 or September 11 or September 12 that would have dramatically changed American foreign, defense, and anti-terrorist policy in response to the apparently non-existent threat from Al-Queda and the merely general possibility of a hijacking asserted by "Rummy"?

Sullivan, displaying an extraordinary degree of vapidity, defends Bush et al. with these supposedly rhetorical, yet easily answerable, questions:

"What exactly should Bush have done with this vague information at the time? Shut down the airports? Even then, the use of mere box-cutters to use as hijacking weapons was not anticipated. This is a non-story. It's being used by some to try and [sic] get some leverage against the massive support this [P]resident rightly has [sic] for his conduct of the war so far. It's pathetic." [Ed.: Emphasis added.]

A "non-story," says Sullivan.

If ever there were doubts that Sullivan has the journalistic instincts of a gerbil, this truly settles the matter.

And "pathetic"?

Is it pathetic for American citizens to question whether the federal government -- the Bush administration -- had prior warning of the possibility of a terrorist attack resembling that which occurred on September 11?

To dare ask whether the federal government -- the Bush administration -- did everything it could to prevent such an attack?

To inquire as to what the federal government -- the Bush administration -- knew and when members thereof knew it?

Now, we know that Sullivan is an alien of some sort or another. And we know that the country from which the stunted commentator hails has no Bill of Rights. But we would have thought that his hanging around and leeching off the American media and the gullible American public for the last, oh, 15 or 20 years, might have sparked at least a modicum of appreciation for the founding principles of American democracy.

Alas, on this score, we were wrong.

We eagerly await Sullivan's spin.

[Ed.: This article was edited on Monday, May 20, to correct several typos and an error in diction.]

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