Mister Pterodactyl
Friday, March 26, 2004
Yesterday’s news on the 9-11 hearings focused more on specific failures in the intel chain, notably the disconnect both among various agencies and between analysts and politicians. I was going to leave this alone, but I saw Al Franken on the Jon Stewart Show last night and he kind of pissed me off (so does the entire media atmosphere brought on by the Clarke book, though thankfully that seems to be dying down). So, Once More With Feeling: I believed, as Bush and Clinton believed, that the only feasible response to terror attacks was the surgical retaliation strike, and that the rest was best left as a law enforcement matter. I believed this because I, and they, didn’t realize the magnitude of the threat. Had that been known, it would have been clear that a much more aggressive policy was needed. If Bush is to be faulted in hindsight for not doing more than he did, then Clinton must also be faulted. I am to blame as well, as is every other person in America who was not clamoring for bin Laden’s head.

One thing post 9-11 investigations have made me aware of is the extent of the aforementioned disconnect. If law enforcement is going to be effective, it needs timely and accurate information which, in this case, only the intel agencies could have provided. Furthermore political officeholders have to remember that their subordinates are in place for a reason; ignoring experts and sticking to preconceived ideas (and thus favored policies) is not just a recipe for failure, it is failure. However, the determination of Bush’s opponents to make it his failure alone indicates both desperation and intellectual bankruptcy on their part. If they can’t do better, nothing good will come out of all this.
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