Observations on the world today.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Hindsight is 20/20 

The Washington Monthly
Madeleine Albright, testifying before Congress today, says the Clinton administration "did everything we could, everything we could think of" to fight al-Qaeda during their time in office.

This, of course, is the party line for everyone, but you know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see just one person fess up and admit that, in retrospect, we obviously didn't take them seriously enough.
I disagree. Here's why.

When they made the movie version of Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears, they changed the bad guys from Islamic terrorists to Neo-Nazis. This was a calculated move to take into consideration the very real concern that many Arab-Americans had at the time that they were more often than not the goat in movies that had to have a distinct villain. But many reviewers said that the Nazi angle was not convincing.

But suppose that it had been Nazis or - say - Timothy McVeigh who had organized the plans to fly those planes into the World Trade Center. Or suppose Klebold and Harris had followed through on their plans to do it. (Yes, they had the same plans.)

If there was a problem, it was not that everybody failed to take Islamic fanatacism seriously enough. It was that they failed to take the threat that anybody could have done this seriously enough. But what was the alternative? We had the Gore commission and Hart-Rudman. The republicans shot them down. Don't ever forget that.
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