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9/11 Hearings Did Not Make Anyone Look Good

March 26, 2004

The 9/11 commission's hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday sounded like Monday-morning quarterbacking to me. It's like asking if we could have stopped Hitler before World War II. Could we have sent in a crew and assassinated him? Sure, we could have. Would the world have been better off? Sure, it would have. Things look a lot different in hindsight.

Bill Simpson

Rancho Palos Verdes

My conclusions formed from the testimony: Clinton administration, incompetent. Bush administration, grossly incompetent and mendacious.

David Bazil

Los Angeles

So in December 1998, reports put Osama bin Laden in Kandahar, but with only "50% confidence" in the intelligence and a risk of 300 casualties. We decided it was too great a risk to go after him. So we lost 3,000 citizens on 9/11. I hope that next time someone in a position of power will have the guts to pull the trigger.

Daniel V. Shannon

Winnetka

Who investigates Congress, which collectively was so preoccupied either in exposing or defending President Clinton's sex life that it abdicated its responsibility to the nation? It is no surprise that Al Qaeda planned while Congress slept.

Major A. Langer

Rolling Hills

When Richard Clarke, a respected terrorism expert and veteran of four administrations, tells his experiences with the Bush administration's lack of interest, pre-9/11, in terrorism and Al Qaeda and of its plan to blame everything on Iraq, it gives credence to what many of us already felt. Americans must demand a true investigation into what President Bush knew and when he knew it -- one that will really delve into the White House's actions and those of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans and will give its results before the November elections.

Amy Schwab

Los Angeles

The reason for the current smear campaign against Bush regarding 9/11 is simple: It's an election year. Bush is the only president who has stood up to terrorists for the last 40 years.

Charles K. Sergis

Calabasas

While the White House does its viciously personal damage control against Clarke's assertions, it's worth noting that there is one good reason why Bush failed to act on Clarke's urgent recommendations and the CIA's report to the president (entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."), delivered a month before 9/11:

After less than eight months in office, Bush was taking the entire month of August 2001 off. That sums up his sense of urgency, doesn't it?

Ken Narasaki

Venice

Let me see if I can get this straight. The White House refuses to let national security advisor Condoleezza Rice give televised testimony before the 9/11 commission, then puts her on the network morning shows to ruthlessly badmouth the administration's former counterterrorism chief for criticizing the way the boss handled 9/11.

Oh, right. Nobody is under oath on the "Today" show.

Ken Wheat

Studio City

If Rice wanted to refute what Clarke was saying, I suggest that, instead of calling press conferences and appearing on talk shows, she should have done what he did: Appear publicly before the 9/11 commission, face the cameras, take an oath and set us straight. Condi, you blew it.

Barbara B. Miller

La Habra

The whole Clarke story seems to be washing out for the political ploy that it is. How much of a terrorism guru could the guy be? World Trade Center I, the Cole, the African embassies, endless terrorism in Israel (supported by Iraq) and WTC II -- all on his watch.

Paul Carter

Long Beach

Someone should alert Vice President Dick Cheney to the fact that declaring Clarke to have been "out of the loop" isn't a defense -- it's an admission of breathtaking incompetence and negligence. It also runs counter to Rice's insinuations that 9/11 was Clarke's fault. One cannot be both out of the loop and responsible for failing to thwart the tragedy.

Linda Cordeiro

Los Angeles

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