Re "A Long Look at Response to Brief," April 12: It is ironic that President Bush saw nothing in the Aug. 6, 2001, presidential daily brief that was actionable. The document was simply a historical account of intentions and not a warning, he insisted recently. Yet this same president found sufficient reason in a crudely forged document warning about uranium transfers from Niger to Saddam Hussein's government and in false information about stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction offered by a source connected to Iraqi exile leader Ahmad Chalabi to unleash a preemptive war on Iraq.
Bush sees only what he is looking for; he is obviously incapable of weighing evidence and drawing logical inferences. Such are the ways of the true believer, the ideologue and the simplistic "with us or against us" mentality. The results of this mind-set can be seen in the quagmire of Iraq -- our sons and daughters in harm's way, and their families, are paying the price for Bush's war.
Recently, albeit belatedly, our president saw the need for reorganizing our intelligence and law enforcement agencies (April 13). I don't dispute that need, but such reorganization rings hollow so long as basic intelligence data are distorted and miscast by ideologues of any persuasion in order to serve or enhance some political agenda, as appears to have occurred repeatedly in our current administration.
Yes, the Aug. 6 memo raises credibility issues. Not with Bush, but with the 9/11 commission and the news media that have demagogued for the last three weeks. Based on the flimsy "intelligence" in the memo, was Bush to have rounded up Arab men in the U.S.? Attacked Afghanistan? Been preemptive? Where? How?
Bush's 9/11 critics are the same chorus who accuse him of lying about Iraq's WMD. The intelligence on Iraq was much more detailed and ominous.
Just imagine if Bush had backed off on Iraq and then Hussein had sponsored an attack on U.S. soil. The dire warnings of Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Al Gore, John Kerry, etc., would be trotted out to prove that Bush failed America. Remember this the next time Democrats whine about Bush's "partisanship."
When I read or hear Bush or national security advisor Condoleezza Rice insist that there were no specific threats prior to 9/11 that they could act on, I apply the same criteria to their war in Iraq, and I find that by their own argument they should not have initiated this war.
This war will almost certainly lead to civil war in Iraq, increased terrorism and further instability in the Middle East. At a cost of what, $200 billion? There are 25 million people in Iraq. Wouldn't it have been better to have just given each Iraqi the same amount we're spending on them? That would be around $8,000 apiece, right? We could have bought democracy, stability and regime change for that amount.
If Michael Ramirez could think half as clearly as he draws, his editorial cartoons might be less predictable and superficial. His April 13 attack (Commentary) on the 9/11 commission notes the commission's cost, suggesting that it is already too expensive.
Yet this investigation into the nation's preparedness has so far spent but a small fraction of the $78 million that independent counsel Kenneth Starr's investigation wasted in its harassment of Bill Clinton, a president who actually won his election.
Oh, sure, every reasonable American knows that Bush would have done everything possible to prevent 9/11 if he had had solid information that it was going to happen.
We also know that the president was given information that warranted preventive measures, and what he did was to yawn and continue clearing brush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
The recent 9/11 hearings on who knew what and when are all too reminiscent of the search to prove that President Roosevelt knew Pearl Harbor would be attacked and did nothing.
Even after more than 60 years, there are still conspiracy groups that swear that Roosevelt did know but wanted a war to help Britain in its battle against Germany. All of this despite the lack of any evidence to support the theory.
Will we still be looking for a 9/11 "smoking gun" in 2064?