Friday, July 23, 2004

Fred Kaplan Does My Homework

From Swopa over at Needlenose, I first saw a reference to this article in Slate by Fred Kaplan. Kaplan went through the 9/11 Commission's Report (which I DID download, but haven't gotten around to looking at yet).

The biggest puzzle about the 9/11 commission's report is why Thomas Kean, the panel's chairman, said at the start of his press conference this morning that the U.S. government's failure to stop the attack on the World Trade Center was, "above all, a failure of imagination."

It was a strange comment because the actual report—a superb, if somewhat dry, piece of work—says nothing of the sort. The failure was not one of imagination but rather of incentives. It turns out that many individuals, panels, and agencies had predicted an attack uncannily similar to what happened on Sept. 11, 2001. The problem was that nobody in a position of power felt compelled to do anything about it.

Kaplan cuts the heart out of the Bush position that 9/11 was a bolt out of the blue. In fact, warning signs abounded in the days prior to the event; however, Bush's obsessions were with tax cuts and Iraq (with a side dish of pandering to the religious right regarding stem cell research). Now, it's just a guess on my part, but something tells me the blank look on the Dauphin's face that particular Tueday morning was at least in part due to his too-late realization that the memos, meetings, and whatnot before his month long Texas vacation actually meant something. I've seen that face before--and yeah, I've had it myself at times. You wake up, run off to class, and realize you completely blew off the assignment due that particular morning. Yeah, the prof told you a month in advance, but that was so long ago, and a month seemed so far away. Now, you're sitting there like the goal in a slam dunk contest, hoping that no one notices you haven't even done the reading, much less written the paper. That's the Dubya stare. No, the dog didn't eat HIS homework, because he didn't even know there WAS homework to be done.


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