A thought experiment: How often do you come away from a meeting with an impression of what was said, when someone else who attended the very same meeting recalls something different? Happens often, no?
Ok, now let’s say that meeting concerned what seemed like relatively routine matters (at the time) but subsequent events show that the contents of that meeting were in fact critical. Now, let’s say that one person at the meeting screwed up in a significant way in the handling of those critical matters. Wouldn’t it make sense for that person to say, long after the fact and without any concurrent proof, that he gave ample warning of impending doom and was ignored at that meeting?
That’s what we have with the latest “expose” from Bob Woodward — and nothing more. In the corporate world, this would be solved through a review of meeting minutes and contemporaneous notes, not five-years-after-the-fact recollections of feelings and emotions. Not only is there no factual content to the outrageous charge implicit in Woodward’s book — that the National Security Director ignored clear warnings of an impending megaterror attack — but the essential facts of 9-11 are the same: Of course we knew Al-Qaeda wanted to attack the U.S. in a spectacular fashion, but we had no idea when or where. To argue otherwise is to build a conspiracy theory that is not only false, but self-defeating to the many who would believe it.
If you want to believe that pre-9/11 intelligence was enough to justify some massive preemptive act — the heart of the Woodward/Tenet storyline — then you could conceivably argue that what we are doing in the War on Terror is in fact not enough — that we should be more aggressive in attacking Islamic Fascism, more aggressive in restricting the civil liberties of anyone remotely resembling a potential terrorist, more reactive to any perceived acts of treason, espionage or support of terror-enemies, and so on.
Is that what the “Rice/Bush lied” crowd wants? Because that’s the natural outgrowth of their position.
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