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More Dot Connecting
09/23/2002

Inspired by a comment by somebody with the blogging pseudonym of Hesiod to this post, which has received more than usual attention thanks to mention on Instapundit, I looked into whether "As we are now discovering [via the Congressional investigations] Bush is not exactly LOW on the exculpatory meter when it comes to preventing the 9/11 attacks."

Of course, the sitting President must ultimately take responsibility for attacks on his country and for moving forward from there. However, I don't believe that Bush deserves more blame for September 11 than do any number of government officials from the past decade-plus — and much less than others. Based on this AP report about the public Congressional hearings, I'd say that nothing new has come out that was not addressed, without specifics, by the arguments using the "connecting the dots" metaphor in the months after September 11. Of course, there was information, some of it shockingly on target, but much of it was vague, much of it was likely buried under scads of other reports, and much of it was of a nature that Americans (or at least politicians as a class) were unwilling to address. Take this statement by Kristin Breitweiser, whose husband died on 9/11:

"How many victims may have taken notice of these Middle Eastern men that were boarding their plane?" said Breitweiser, of Middletown, N.J. She is co-founder of September 11th Advocates.

The problem is that we're still being discouraged from doing this. And considering our pre-9/11 conception of what it meant to be hijacked, in order for the government to have given citizens' impetus to have taken sufficient action, it would have had to release information in a way that our multiculti society never would have accepted.

There's no doubt that September 11 represented a monstrous failure on many fronts, from specific lapses in the government to broad cultural trends. However, we have to be realistic about those failures — less to decide who to blame than to discern how to act now.

Posted by Justin Katz @ 02:05 PM EST