You Failed, I Failed, We All Failed
Some years ago the recreational hockey team that I was playing on was getting pasted badly. Deep seated animosities and hidden grudges among teammates were coming to the surface, and the squabbling and finger pointing threatened to boil over into intra-squad fisticuffs. Suddenly one of the more reserved, soft spoken members of the team stood up on the bench and screamed, "Everybody shut up! You suck! I suck! We all suck!"
The unexpected outburst brought some much needed perspective to the situation and instantly defused the tension. I still play with some of the guys from that team today, and at least once a year we end up fondly retelling the tale.
So now Condi has testified. Clarke's book is out there and Woodward's is to follow shortly. I expect between now and November there will be no shortage of former Bush staffers coming forward with revelations about the administration not taking terrorism seriously enough before 9/11. If only they had listened to me, or done this, or not done that, then...
Shut up! To steal the catch phrase from my favorite lefty organization, can we please just MOVE ON?
Almost two years ago I opined that to blame any one president or administration for 9/11 was silly. It wasn't because of what Bush did or didn't do. It wasn't because of what Clinton did or didn't do. The failure is a collective one, stretching back to at least Jimmy Carter and including every administration from his until the present. You can quibble about who should bear a larger share of responsibility (eight years vs. eight months, etc.), but at the end of the day, does it really matter?
The truth is that no president in the last twenty five years did enough to fight terrorism before 9/11. No president understood the threat. No president foresaw the consequences of the chain of inaction that each of them added at least a link to. They all failed in some way manner or another.
So we can get an across the board "mea culpa" and get on with the business at hand?
After all there is a war that still needs to be won.