We Narrowly Avoided More 9/11 Casualties

This is jaw-dropping:

Newly published audio this week reveals that Vice President Dick Cheney’s infamous Sept. 11, 2001 order to shoot down rogue civilian aircraft was ignored by military officials, who instead ordered pilots to only identify suspect aircraft. […]

Cheney’s order was given at “about 10:15” a.m., according to the former VP’s memoirs, but the 9/11 Commission Report shows United flight 93 going down at 10:06 a.m. Had the military followed Cheney’s order, civilian aircraft scrambling to get out of the sky could have been shot down, exponentially amplifying the day’s tragedy.

Can you imagine if the military had taken Cheney’s orders seriously? There were jets all over the place behaving erratically as they attempted to find a place to land in the midst of unprecedented chaos. Some of them might not have made it — and they would have been shot down for nothing.

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  • Clancy

    My memory of 9/11 (at least as it relates to this) is a little murky, but under what authority did Cheney order the military to shoot planes down? Last time I checked, the VP doesn’t have that sort of power, correct? There are many reasons why it’s a good thing that the military ignored Cheney’s “order.” Chief among them is that it likely prevented a tragic day from becoming even worse. However, it also demonstrates that at least someone in the military knew enough about the Constitution to recognize that the Vice President isn’t the Commander-in-Chief.

    • http://twitter.com/gbeaudette Grant Beaudette

      The problem there is that Cheney has routinely shown he doesn’t give a good goddamn about what his powers are and aren’t supposed to be.

    • JMAshby

      Look up “continuity of government.” It was in full-effect on 9/11 and beyond.

    • D_C_Wilson

      Under continuity of government, the powers of the commander-in-chief transfer to the VP if the president is unable to carry them out. In other words, if he is somehow incapacitated or uncommunicative. According to the official narrative, after the attacks, Bush was taken on board Air Force One, a plane that is designed to keep the president in constant contact with the his advisers so that he can issue any emergency orders he needs to. The plane took him a safe command center (probably NORAD) where he could manage the crisis.

      So, unless Bush was hiding under a coffee table, curled up in a fetal position, and catatonic with fear, Cheney had no authority to issue any such order.

      Of course, given what a coward Bush is, it’s entirely possible that was his initial reaction to the attacks.

      • Sh0rtbus

        Actually, Air Force One went straight out into the Gulf of Mexico and flew around out there for awhile as it was determined by Col. Mark Tillman the commander of AF1 the safest place to be at the time.

        • D_C_Wilson

          True, but eventually they did land and AF1 was in constant contact with the ground the whole time.

  • JMAshby

    What this tells me is Dick Cheney assumed that, under “continuity of government,” he had the presidential authority to give such orders.

    The pentagon clearly disagreed that he was afforded that authority.

    I have no doubt there is much, much more that we don’t know about Mister Cheney.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Jrosario1701 Justin Rosario

    And we would NEVER have known there were no terrorists on board. Every single one of those flights would have had an “undefined threat to National Security” that necessitated their being shot down.

  • http://www.facebook.com/josh.dobbin Josh Dobbin

    I am convinced W was in an underground area of Offut, either having a full-on panic attack or medicated with tranquilizers.

  • trgahan

    This is an example of two things: 1) Cheney’s total disregard for human life outside of his own; 2) another supposedly “Shitkicker” Republican who cracked the instant the pressure was on and they had to back up all their talk.

  • crazytempura

    I almost wish someone had gone through with the order. Then Mr. Cheney would be charged, tried, and punished for treason and mass murder.

    Of course, he would’ve tried to pin it on Scooter Libby.