Being in the tank for my first week of work, I decided to hunker down and read some of the 9/11 Commission Report after one of the program leaders mentioned it in her talk about her experiences in the tank. I know this is kind of old news, but I believe that this book should be read by anyone who really wants to understand the enormity of 9/11.
Now, I’ve only read about the first 60 pages or so, but I can already give the book my two thumbs up of approval.
Let’s get this straight: the 9/11 Commission Report is not a binder of documents and exhibits like you might find in a courtroom hearing. It is a narrative compiled by 5 Democrat and 5 Republican Congressmen who researched and interviewed an extremely comprehensive amount of knowledge and assets available to the government. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is actually quite a compelling read. The authors work hard to distinguish between fact and speculation. They also make sure to point out any discrepancies that arose amongst government agencies and allow the reader to make a judgment for himself/herself on what the situation was on that morning. The report also ties in a lot of background on Islam and a wide range of associated persons that had some connection to the events of that day.
While I won’t get into the details of the book here, I want to offer my personal reaction to the material covered so far. To the best of my analytic ability, I have found that the reporting venues and administrative counsels involved in the handling of 9/11 were extremely disorganized and disconnected. There seemed to be a lack of trust to share information or consultation between agencies, and that was, in my opinion, a major obstacle to reacting quicker to the situation. The fact that military leadership was kept almost entirely in the dark about the situation was a huge blunder and that a lack of attentive security at checkpoints were significant contributing factors to the way events played out.
Reading about the methodology and thinking behind the organizations and persons involved in the 9/11 attacks has definitely sheds light on the public perception of the United States in the Middle East, more particularly to terrorist organizations.
All in all, the report offers some conclusion to the matter in that steps forward to actively prevent such catastrophes from occuring are to take place. If we ever see these steps in action, we might never know. However, the report definitely has a lot of information to consider, and I think it’s a must-read for anyone working in the defense industry or government agencies. Even if you’re not in one of those two, the 9/11 Commission Report is still something you should sit down with and seriously engage in. You just might learn a lot about how our government thinks and operates.