Re "Bush Defends His Stance Before 9/11," March 26: As a result of the 9/11 commission hearings, President Bush has been forced to address charges that he did not grasp the danger posed by Al Qaeda terrorists before 9/11. But his statement that he would have "used every resource, every asset, every power of this government to protect the American people" if only he had known about the specific attack reveals all that he still does not grasp.
Even Bush's most ardent critics do not believe he would not have acted to protect Americans. The question is why he and his advisors did not know about or appreciate the risk of such attacks.
Lee K. Crawford
Regardless of then-White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke's criticism of preparation against terrorism, it is a time-tested and bipartisan fact of life that stop signs are placed at dangerous intersections only after the accident.
Robert L. Sharp
During two days of public hearings regarding 9/11, I heard many witnesses testify about failed efforts to disable Al Qaeda by way of military options. I don't believe I heard a single person suggest that it might have also been wise to examine some of the ways in which this nation's international comportment actually spurred the rise of Islamic extremism and how it continues to do so even now.
An honest, soul-searching examination of our nation's failures leading up to 9/11 and the development of strategies designed to prevent such disasters in the future must include not only a review of all appropriate defensive options but all diplomatic options as well. It is time we put aside some of our righteous indignation and find the moral courage to begin addressing the legitimate grievances of our enemies.
We are the only country in the world that would think of blaming ourselves for 9/11. What we say among ourselves is broadcast for all in the world to hear and is fodder for their unrest. They don't complain about their own countries; they complain about the U.S. If Clarke was so concerned and convinced of the impending attack, why didn't he tell the world about it before? Why is he blabbing to the media now, making himself out to be the lone voice of warning that fell on deaf ears? Do I hear book sales? Political agenda? Exaggerated self-importance?
I was not a Clinton fan, but I don't blame his administration, nor do I blame Bush's. Let's put the blame where it belongs -- in the hands of the terrorists themselves.