The what-did-he-know and when-did-he-know-it storm regarding President Bush and a terrorist briefing he received in August has hit Washington and the country hard.
I've gotten a ton of email saying that if this were President Clinton we were talking about, we'd have him crucified by now.
I don't think that's true. For one thing, Clinton had at least three attacks that served as warnings — not to mention the original World Trade Center attack, which should have been a warning.
I don't think Clinton was concerned enough with Usama bin Laden, and Bush probably wasn't either.
But we know how much both should have been concerned with him through hindsight, which is always perfect, while foresight is not.
I don't think Bush should be expected to have foreseen the events of Sept. 11 with the information he had. Even if I had been told that terrorists were planning to hijack a plane, I wouldn't have foreseen attacks on the World Trade Center with planes being used as missiles.
I would have thought — as Bush did, I presume — that terrorists must be planning to hijack a plane in Greece, or somewhere overseas… with Al Jazeera doing live shots from each plane as it landed
I wouldn't have foreseen what was going to happen until it did happen. The people on Flight 93 were quick to figure it out, and they did something about it. We all figured it out in an instant as soon as it happened, and then we did something about it.
Things might have been different had Bush's briefing included the Phoenix memo, had someone reminded him that Al Qaeda's Ahmed Ressam told the FBI that the terror group was planning to hit American targets, had there been a reminder that there was an Al Qaeda plan to run a plane into the Eiffel Tower.
Maybe Bush could have been expected to figure out what was in the envelope had the intelligence agencies drawn together all of the pieces.
In reality, it sounds like the president was just like the rest of us... flabbergasted at the evil audacity of the attack.
If the Democrats decide their enemy in the war on terror is going to be Bush, there better be some better evidence.
That's My Word.
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