Just yesterday, Richard Clarke of the Washington Post wrote a hand-ringing article on how the Bush Administration overreacted to 9-11.
Basically, he, like all liberals, can’t see the forest before the tress and are unable to bring themselves to realize that our response to 9-11 was quite measured and very, very retrained.
I’ll get into that in a minute. But first let’s have Mr. Clarke pontificate.
Top officials from the Bush administration have hit upon a revealing new theme as they retrospectively justify their national security policies. Call it the White House 9/11 trauma defense.
"Unless you were there, in a position of responsibility after September 11, you cannot possibly imagine the dilemmas that you faced in trying to protect Americans," Condoleezza Rice said last month as she admonished a Stanford University student who questioned the Bush-era interrogation program. And in his May 21 speech on national security, Dick Cheney called the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, a "defining" experience that "caused everyone to take a serious second look" at the threats to America. Critics of the administration have become more intense as memories of the attacks have faded, he argued. "Part of our responsibility, as we saw it," Cheney said, "was not to forget the terrible harm that had been done to America."
I won’t bore you with the rest of his introduction. Here’s the meat of his issue.
Yet listening to Cheney and Rice, it seems that they want to be excused for the measures they authorized after the attacks on the grounds that 9/11 was traumatic. "If you were there in a position of authority and watched Americans drop out of eighty-story buildings because these murderous tyrants went after innocent people," Rice said in her recent comments, "then you were determined to do anything that you could that was legal to prevent that from happening again."
I have little sympathy for this argument. Yes, we went for days with little sleep, and we all assumed that more attacks were coming. But the decisions that Bush officials made in the following months and years -- on Iraq, on detentions, on interrogations, on wiretapping -- were not appropriate. Careful analysis could have replaced the impulse to break all the rules, even more so because the Sept. 11 attacks, though horrifying, should not have surprised senior officials. Cheney's admission that 9/11 caused him to reassess the threats to the nation only underscores how, for months, top officials had ignored warnings from the CIA and the NSC staff that urgent action was needed to preempt a major al-Qaeda attack.
Thus, when Bush's inner circle first really came to grips with the threat of terrorism, they did so in a state of shock -- a bad state in which to develop a coherent response. Fearful of new attacks, they authorized the most extreme measures available, without assessing whether they were really a good idea.
Shock? Lack of coherent response?
Well, Mr. Clark, let me tell you how non-liberal most Americans felt after 9-11. It wasn’t debilitating shock. It was revenge!
I remember it oh so well when my good old friend called me and asked me how I felt about the attacks. I send kill ‘em. He showed his true colors, and like Mr. Clarke, wanted to know what we must have done to them for them to do such a terrible act.
It was time to sit down and talk. I told him that was insufficient and hung up.
Now, Mr. Clarke, let me tell you what Bush and Cheney IN SHOCK did not do. What this country and its citizens DID NOT do.
We DID NOT have incidents where Muslims were attacked on the streets.
We DID NOT burn down Muslim establishments
We DID NOT close down Muslim organizations.
We DID NOT find and export Muslims here illegally back to their country.
We DID NOT find and send back Muslims preaching hate in this country back to their country for arrest and execution.
We DID NOT arrest and jail Muslims preaching sedition in this country.
We DID NOT demand that all Muslims be rounded up and put in concentration camps.
We DID NOT demand that Saudi Arabia close all its Muslim schools and mosques in this country.
We DID NOT burn down mosques in cities around the country.
We DID NOT demand our government nuke Medina or Mecca.
We DID NOT demand that we nuke Afghanistan.
You see, Mr, Clarke, Bush and Cheney were successful in restraining the American people from doing what many wanted to do. That kind of measured thinking does not come from reacting in shock.
Reacting in shock is a liberal trait. An inability to act, caught in the self-imposed restraint of your ideology with your eyes in the headlights like good little sheeple.