Whitewash in the works: extension of 9/11 commission deadline unlikely

From the WaPo:
President Bush and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) have decided to oppose granting more time to an independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, virtually guaranteeing that the panel will have to complete its work by the end of May, officials said last week.

A growing number of commission members had concluded that the panel needs more time to prepare a thorough and credible accounting of missteps leading to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. But the White House and leading Republicans have informed the panel that they oppose any delay, which raises the possibility that Sept. 11-related controversies could emerge during the heat of the presidential campaign, sources said.

The commission has been beleaguered by organizational problems and fights with the Bush administration and New York over access to documents.
There is a pattern here: the Bush administration is attempting to get all of the bad news about its performance out of the way and hence off the public's mind before the presidential campaign really begins. The two big issues here are the 9/11 commission, since it involved the worst-ever attack on American soil, and Iraq, since it involves Americans being killed on a regular basis (one other "problem", the Plame/Wilson affair, may also be a problem, but it is difficult to know exactly what is going on on that front).

So the 9/11 commission, its work largely stonewalled by the Bush administration, will be forced to release a report that, at worst (from Dear Leader's perspective), will be inconclusive about anything like gross incompetence, and that will probably be largely exculpatory. Unless there is some sort of major smoking gun, the 9/11 report will be immediately overshadowed by news of the handover of power in Iraq from the CPA to the Iraqis (whoever they are), which Bush and Rove will point to as heroic "progress" and "getting the job" done. While US soldiers will remain there, in more or less equal numbers as at present, the frequency of troop patrols will probably be further reduced, at least until the election is out of the way, thus cutting down on the articles dealing with dead US soldiers in the American press. In addition, whatever soldiers come home, especially those who have not been maimed and are still pro-Bush, will receive major focus, thus further emphasizing that all is going well in Iraq and relegating whatever issues there are with the 9/11 report to the back pages.

Or at least that's one prediction.

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