AND WHAT OF MS. RICE AND THE 9/11 COMMISSION: “THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY”
With the real story on the battle fields and streets of Iraq the focus temporarily shifted to the testimony of the National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, before the 9/11 Commission
. The Commision was clearly, and sadly, exposed as the useless organization it is. This development was both good and bad. Watching the evening news shows and watching various members of this commission get their face time in on television pleading their case for declassifying memos and offering their opinions about testimony was ridiculous. Isn’t this like letting a jury talk to the press as a trial is going on?
Worse than that, I wonder who is writing the planning memos for the dead ending terrorists watching this live. I wonder if Osama’s terror advisory board was busy taking notes in the cave on what they can do in 2005. And I ask because whether this is classified or not, is it only me who thinks airing this on national television – specifically the talk of what structural state the intelligence and homeland security was and quite possibly is – is a huge mistake?
As Clifford May suggests today at National Review Online
, “Its mission is to learn lessons — not to lay blame. Its mission is to come up with recommendations for a more effective antiterrorism strategy.
Its mission is not to stage a reality-TV show, not to hold an inquisition, not to promote books (and, no doubt, movie deals), not to scold Rice as though she were a student who claimed her dog had eaten her homework.”
I thought that Ms. Rice did an excellent job today
. I think we should thank President Bush for having Rice on the job and not somebody like Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former NSA. And don’t get me wrong I like Mr. Brzezinski – I think he is quite brilliant and capable. But his reaction on Aaron Brown’s ”Newsnight”
on CNN tonight was almost unbelievable. “It seems to me,” says Brzezinski. “That everyone was missing the point, to some extent. It was a plot that really shouldn't have succeeded.” He’s right about one thing, it should never have happened. But that is rich considering that this war on terror can arguably said to have began on his watch.
Let’s just say some of the members of the commission –are completely uninterested trying to fix the problems that allowed 9/11 to happen, and are instead relished their short time fantastically bathing in the limelight that participating in a commission with television time allows.
1. Here’s one exchange with Richard Ben-Veniste trying to capitalize on the title of a declassified memo to make him look clever:
BEN-VENISTE: Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6 PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB?
RICE: I believe the title was, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."
BEN-VENISTE: Thank you.
RICE: No, Mr. Ben-Veniste...
BEN-VENISTE: I will get into the...
RICE: I would like to finish my point here.
BEN-VENISTE: I didn't know there was a point.
RICE: Given that -- you asked me whether or not it warned of attacks.
BEN-VENISTE: I asked you what the title was.
And let me just say that when Peter Beinart says this about you serious concerns should be raised (Via Hugh Hewitt
): "I thought ben Veniste was terrible. I thought ben Veniste really made a fool of himself....Ben Veniste is the most partisan Democrat on the Commission, and I frankly wish he wasn't on the Commission."
2. And what about Bob Kerry who cleverly used his time on the 9/11 commision to talk about the events in Iraq:
KERRY: You needn't comment on it, but as I said, I'm not going to have an opportunity to talk to you this closely.
And I wanted to tell you that I think the military operations are dangerously off track. And it's largely a U.S. Army -- 125,000 out of 145,000 -- largely a Christian army in a Muslim nation. So I take that on board for what it's worth.
AND THE UGLY:
The reaction by some was one predictable if not completely outrageous. Josh Marshall
clearly went off some small cliff during the day. I like Mr. Marshall but I can’t figure out what would possess him to say this about Condi Rice: “I go into it with a dim view of her and b) I knew many of her statements to be falsehoods or thorough distortions of what happened.”
That is a pretty bold assessment, one in which he calculatingly doesn’t not qualify. Which statements? What distortions?
wryly concludes after watching the testimony today: “I now believe that if Al Gore had been president, he would have invaded Afghanistan right away, fortified the cockpit doors, issued an executive order that made the CIA and FBI share intel, grounded all planes the moment “chatter” started mentioning “a winged victory, like the bird of righteousness,” and subjected all young Arab males to full-body searches in airports. Pakistan would have come around to our point of view right away.”