Darren Kaplan points out that Bush had only 234 days between his inauguration and 9/11. Richard Clarke charged on 60 MINUTES that Bush should have done more to prevent the attacks, but it isn’t really clear what should have been done differently. The 9/11 hijackers were already in the US. The plan was in motion.
Maybe following some leads more vigorously, of course, might have nabbed a couple of the bad guys, and from there who knows what we might have prevented. It’s not completely unrealistic to expect more to have been done. I would hope that we will do much more in the future.
But to charge Bush seems a little much, especially since his predecessor on the Oval Office more or less encouraged terrorist attacks with his responses to the World Trade Center bombing, the attack on the USS Cole, and the African embassy bombings. And the signal we sent to the rest of the world when we pulled out of Somalia certainly didn’t dissuade any potential attackers.
And I’ve pointed out in conversation that if twelve of the 9/11 hijackers would have been arrested on 9/10, charges of racism and comparisons to the internment camps for Japanese-Americans during WW2 would have been all over the front pages. Don’t tell me that they wouldn’t have been.
Certainly Bush and his people could have done more. We all wish that they would have. But this one was dropped into their lap, and if blame is going to be served, make sure everyone gets their fair share.