Man, there’s nothing like watching George Bush squirm, is there? I begin to understand how much Republicans must have relished the Lewinsky debacle. Of course, there are two differences here: 1) This matters. 2) Bush is being let off the hook.
Who is asking him the tough questions? Who’s accusing him of failing at his most important job–making sure we’re safe? Richard Clarke, obviously, but why isn’t he getting any backup–from Kerry, e.g.? The liberal media is letting us down. All the editorializing has taken the tone that it’s too bad Bush isn’t being more up-front, and that he probably should have done more (rather than, say, going golfing [thanks, Tom Tomorrow])–though obviously, even if he had done everything in his power, 9/11 probably couldn’t have been prevented.
9/11 could have been prevented, if there had been more communication between intelligence and law inforcement, and if more warning had been given to those agencies (and the FAA, and the pilots themselves) of the very specific (whatever that monkey says) nature of the threat, and if those suspicious flight students in Arizona who weren’t interested in learning how to land had been taken in for questioning, and if screening had been increased, and on and on and on. Maybe, for once, “Terror Level Orange” could have done some damn good. Instead, Condi Rice was playing politics and ignoring everything useful the Clinton administration had to say about Al Qaeda, far too busy to swat flies.
The absolute most infuriating thing people are saying about the revelation that the 9/11 threat was out and out ignored is that it’s time to move on. “Well, sure, it’s all very upsetting,” this line goes, “but what’s important now is that we all work together to make the country safer, rather than blaming this guy or the other guy.”
No. Ari Fleisher couldn’t hail a cab in 2002 and 2003 without mentioning 9/11. “The lessons of September Eleventh” were used as justification for every miserable policy of the administration, from drilling in ANWR to tax cuts to that little police action in Iraq. Now that it turns out it was their fault, they want us all to work together and pretend that the whole thing never happened. I don’t want to hear the Republican Party talking about “politicizing” September 11. And I can’t wait to see the city of New York receive them with open arms when the Republican Convention comes there in…let’s see, is it September?
You hear the same line about Iraq, too. “What matters is not who was right, who was wrong, if there were weapons, whatever. What matters is looking towards getting out of this mess and handing over the government on June 30.” Sorry, guys, but I don’t think Iraq will be ready for a Constitutional Convention in eighty days. Maybe you should have done your Looking To the Future back when some of us were in Washington, explaining that this was a shitty idea. Maybe that was the time to think about exit strategies. Now you’ve gotten troops stuck there, and if you’re not the one who has to die at least you can lose your jobs.