Sunday, April 11, 2004

The last word on the 9/11 hearings

With the release of the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing, which some had claimed was proof of Bush's forewarning of the September 11 attacks, I think we can say that there is no smoking gun. I struggle to understand how any reasonable person could read this document and believe that it implicates Bush as negligent (or worse). The brief is little more than a page long and says little more than any decent magazine article on Al Qaeda from that time would have said. There's nothing new, nothing we didn't already know.

I could say more, but it's already been said better by others. So, I direct you to read two brilliant posts. First, read Gregg Easterbrook's alternate history of the Bush presidency. After reading it, ask yourself if alternate-universe Bush could have saved his presidency by pointing to the August 6 PDB. Answer: No.

The second thing for you to read is Did Bush Do Enough? from Grim's Hall. The answer: Not enough to stop the attack, but as much as any president could have been expected to do. I agree. Think of any of the presidents in this country's 200+ year history. You can even think of Al Gore, if you like. Imagine what they would have done, or could have done, in Bush's position. Would it have stopped the September 11 attacks without getting us to the Easterbrook scenario? (If any of your imagined presidents lead you to a 'Yes,' I would be happy to hear about it.)

Okay, then. You're done. You don't have to pay any more attention to the hearings. There's nothing else for anyone to say, other than, "Clinton rulez, Bush droolz."


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