Former CIA officer Thomas Patrick Carroll indicates that there was little that could have been done to stop the tragedy of 9/11 ("Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda and 9/11," Commentary, April 9). I disagree. What do you think the actions of FBI agents in Minneapolis and Phoenix would have been on Aug. 7, 2001, had they awakened to headlines that said "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."?
Of course we will never know, but it seems clear based on what is already in the record that they would have made more noise, perhaps causing their superiors to take more concrete action on their suspicions. I am tired of the "we did all we could" answer; it certainly seems to me that the president's daily brief of Aug. 6, 2001, should have been taken more seriously. We were never told its title until yesterday.
After watching national security advisor Condoleezza Rice's performance before the commission on April 8, it should be obvious to all that the administration's determination to stonewall the 9/11 investigation is undiminished. Rice provided not one word of apology or responsibility -- nothing but blame-shifting. Although we will surely get more of the same from the president and vice president, we should apply pressure to have them do it in public, so we can all see, hear and make our own judgments.
I was disgusted watching the Sept. 11 commission hearings. First, I think they should be in private. Why show our enemies the anguish we are going through and the weaknesses in our government? Second, I hated to see the worst disaster in a century being politicized.
This commission should be looking for the truth. In fact, the Democratic members were trying to push the blame on the Bush administration and the Republican members were trying to make the Clinton administration look bad.
Rice showed much class among a group of pompous, self-serving politicians looking for their 10 minutes on television.
John A. Rayment
Rice gave a masterful demonstration in front of the 9/11 commission on how to not answer a direct question. Her vague and repetitive responses created a battle of semantics with the commission and threw up yet another smokescreen. However, if her intention was to protect the president, she succeeded. I am now convinced that President Bush would have had no idea what she was talking about with regard to national security before 9/11. So, in an effort to decipher "Condi-speak," I would like to offer the following translation of her testimony: Richard Clarke was correct. We ignored the repeated warnings that Al Qaeda would attack within our borders.
Darrell S. Breckenfeld
Let's face it, the Democrats have got to try to destroy Rice because she is presidential timber. Imagine, the first woman president of the U.S. being an African American Republican.
Rice's detailed, substantive testimony was absolutely splendid before this (often quite rude) 9/11 commission. I would vote for this accomplished woman of character, intellect and courage in a heartbeat.
Laurella A. Cross
Rice's testimony showed a consummately closed-mouth political hack with corresponding deficiencies in both national-security competence and sense of possible culpability -- the sort of staff Bush has generally selected. Yet her testimony unwittingly reveals that Bush and company were always more concerned about global politics rather than the minor issue of Americans' immediate security.
I think that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are making a mistake by not testifying in public before the 9/11 commission. Their reelection campaign is investing millions of dollars for media access to get their message to the American people. These proceedings would provide an excellent opportunity for them to explain their positions on major issues that concern Americans. They would be guaranteed the public's attention.