When is a first strike not a first strike?
When it's Anticipatory Retaliation.

April 09, 2004

The Blame Game

Charlie Victor Echo

So itís over. The long feared and anticipated Condi Rice testimony hit the world...and as expected, nothing's changed. If you support Bush, then this just shored up your opinion that all that could be done was done. If you dislike Bush, you believe even more that his administration dropped the ball.

Personally, I find myself in an interesting place. On one hand, I'm not the president's biggest fan. On the other, I can't help but get a HUAC or Pearl Harbor Investigation type vibe out of the whole thing.

We live in a society obsessed with liability. Everything is someone's fault. Our lawyers are trained to think that way, and we seem to personalize everything from sports to war. There are arguments on sports talk radio about whether the Cubs are still "Sammy's Team." The first thing we ask about a movie is "Who's in it?" We go to war not against Iraq, but against Saddam Hussein.

And so on.

But when we look back at political investigations in particular, so often we find they aren't really about the actual issue so much as a quest to find someone...anyone...to blame for what went wrong. McCarthy's infamous House Un-American Activities Committee was certainly about that, a witch-hunt to find the "hidden Communists" that McCarthy was sure were infesting America.

Perhaps a closer correlation to the 9/11 Commission would be the Joint Congressional Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack where Admiral Husband Kimmel and General Walter Short were rung up for Pearl Harbor. The problem with that verdict, and with assigning too much blame for 9/11, is that it automatically assumes that we have total control of our destiny and that those who oppose us are incapable of extraordinary actions themselves.

Let's reverse the equation. Who on Mullah Omar's staff was to blame for the Taliban getting kicked out of Afghanistan? Which of Tojo's generals "dropped the ball" when Hiroshima was nuked? Couldn't it be that with the resources available and the information at hand, no one could have prevented those American victories?

Why then must someone on our side be to blame for our defeats?

Learn from our defeats? Certainly. Try to make sure they never happen again? Absolutely. Find a scapegoat to roast just because of a perverse desire to have one? Let's not.

There are plenty of reasons to dislike the Bush Administration and many legitimate justifications for voting to replace him with John Kerry.

I don't think that 9/11 is one of them.

Launched by Charlie Victor Echo at April 9, 2004 07:03 AM

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