The anti-Bushco power brigade

You remember Scott Ritter? The former marine turned weapons inspector who made the news in early 2003 when he boldly declared that there were no WMDs in Iraq? At that time, a whole bunch of Bushco apologists on the airwaves had a good chortle and a half at Scott’s expense, insinuating that he was misinformed and maybe even traitorous for putting forth such trash, all the while reassuring their listeners that, of course, Ritter was completely wrong with his assertions.

Well, in review, Ritter’s credibility on that call hasn’t exactly shriveled up and died. I hadn’t thought of Ritter in months, but I saw his name pop up the other day in association with an event in New York. There was a rally being put on by Ellen Mariani and her lawyer, and they had corralled Ritter to be a special guest speaker. Mariani isn’t exactly well-known at this point, but her story is slowly getting out there. She’s the woman who lost her husband on one of the flights that plowed into the Twin Towers, and is now suing President Bush and all of his main honchos for being extremely slack and slipshod in terms of dealing with the threats leading up to 9/11.

I don’t know if she’s got much of a case, but I do know she’s got some serious chutzpah. She rejected the standard $1.8 mill buyout from the government in order to be able to carry on with this litigation. All the households who lost somebody that day had the chance to take the 1.8, but with a catch. To get that cash, one had to agree there would be no more lawsuits. Mrs. Mariani wasn’t comfortable with that arrangement and passed on the money. She is bugged by many questions concerning that hysterical day, and she’s figuring the best shot she has at getting any answers is by suing none other than the President of the United States. You certainly can’t accuse her of thinkin’ small.

One of the questions at the top of her list concerns the horribly sluggish performance of our fighter jets. It is supposed to be standard operating procedure: If there is a possible hijacking, fighter jets are to be scrambled immediately, and they should be on top of the troubled airplane, no matter where it is in the United States, within 15 minutes. Mariani and her supporters want to know why those four hijacked airliners cruised for at least a half an hour without even seeing a glimpse of a jet. She and many others have been hoping the 9/11 commission will get around to that question, but they aren’t especially optimistic.

Which leads, somehow, to Michael Moore’s triumph in France. From all indications, MM has made his best movie. Fahrenheit 9/11 positively slayed ’em in Cannes (where one long-time festival veteran said the 20-minute standing ovation given to the film after its showing was easily the longest such outburst in the history of the event. I mean, 20 minutes! Hell, even Metallica fans bail out after about eight to 10). Expect F911 to get here on the Fourth of July, but don’t expect it to be at the drive-in.