4 February 2018
911 BLOGGER — Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz had a crucial role to play in the military’s response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and yet he did nothing to help protect his country until the attacks were over and it was too late for him to make a difference to the outcome of the crisis.
As the second-highest-ranking official in the Department of Defense, Wolfowitz surely had critical duties to perform and should have promptly taken action when America came under attack. Furthermore, since he was at the Pentagon when the attacks occurred, he was in a good location to help the military respond to them. And yet he appears to have reacted to the catastrophic events with indifference.
He continued with a previously scheduled meeting after he learned about the crashes at the World Trade Center. Even when the Pentagon was attacked, 34 minutes after the second crash at the World Trade Center occurred, he initially made no effort to help the military respond to the crisis, even though more attacks could have been imminent, which he should have been trying to prevent.
Astonishingly, Wolfowitz has claimed that when he felt the Pentagon shake and heard a thud when it was hit, he did not realize an attack had taken place there. Instead, he said, he thought there had been an earthquake.
He only became involved in the military’s response to the crisis when, after initially being evacuated from the building, he went to the Pentagon’s National Military Command Center (NMCC). But it appears that by the time he reached the center the attacks would have ended and so any actions he took would have been inconsequential.
The indifference exhibited by the deputy secretary of defense when he learned of the attacks and his failure to take action when he should have been doing everything in his power to help protect America are quite chilling. And yet Wolfowitz has never had to explain his lack of response to the crisis on September 11. We therefore now need to look closely at his actions that day and contemplate why he behaved as he did.
It is plausible that Wolfowitz’s inaction was simply due to incompetence. However, statements Wolfowitz made in the years following 9/11 indicate that he actually felt the attacks were beneficial for the United States. We surely must consider, therefore, the disturbing possibility that he may have known in advance what was going to happen on September 11 and wanted the attacks to succeed. Consequently, when the attacks occurred, he deliberately avoided doing anything that might help stop them before all the intended targets were hit. […]