Politics News Article | Reuters.com
Although fighter jets were airborne seven minutes after the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center, military officials received insufficient notice of the other hijackings to stop the planes, the staff statement said.
The civilian Federal Aviation Administration came under particular attack. “I think (FAA) headquarters blew it,” said panel member Bob Kerrey, a former Democratic senator.
Gen. Ralph Eberhart, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), said that if the FAA had immediately reported all it knew to the military command, jets could have shot down the planes.
Imagine if the military had shot down all these planes. Can you imagine the outcry? I have no doubt that if George Bush had known to a certainty that planes were about to crash into the WTC he would have ordered action, but I also have no doubt the impeachment drumbeat would have started within hours.
I actually find it a bit disturbing that Gen. Eberhart would have acted on orders to shoot down a US civilian airliner that day, before the first one slammed into the WTC. Thinking in pre-9/11 terms (and having just spent 8 years with a Commander in Chief who bombed aspirin factories), I would think that he would have paused to consider the orders possibly long enough that they would not be carried out in time. No, I would hope that he would have paused to consider them. I’m not even sure that today, knowing what we know, an order to kill that many civilians should be taken so lightly that it could be made in a matter of a few minutes. Frankly, an order to shoot down a civilian airliner killing American citizens ought to require the same sorts of confirmations as the order to launch a nuclear strike.