9/11 Panel Blaims Inaction

Salon.com News | 9/11 panel cites Clinton, Bush inactionBush officials, meanwhile, failed to act immediately on increasing intelligence chatter and urgent warnings in early 2001 by its counterterrorism adviser, Richard A. Clarke, to take out al-Qaida targets, according to preliminary findings by the commission reviewing the attacks.

The 9/11 panel has criticized both the Bush and Clinton administrations of inaction regarding terrorist threats. In the absence of 9/11 however, I wonder what the reaction of Americans going out and abducting the citizens of foreign nations would have been. Even with the tragedy of the WTC bombings, many have argued that international terrorism is a problem to be solved by police, exactly the approach which is being criticized as too slowly acting.

In many ways the whole 9/11 incident seems to reflect yet again the fact that Democracies are poor at planning for the unexpected. There seems to be too much of an impulse to fritter our attention on popular demands, at the expense of things that will “never happen.”

Perhaps it’s just something we should accept as an inherent weakness in our form of government. Stability and individual protections are the benefits. It stands to reason that there would be tradeoffs. I think the real question is what kind of systems can we put in place to deal with future potential situations?