Friday, October 22, 2004

Asleep at the wheel

So Team Bush is once again trying to suggest that terrorists want Kerry to win with an unintentionally hilarious ad comparing terrorists to wolves.

Without any hint of awareness of the blatant hypocrisy, its text argues that Kerry voted to cut intelligence funding "after the first terrorist attack on America" (referring, in fact, not to 9/11 or Oklahoma City, but the 1993 World Trade Center bombing). This from an administration that, in the late summer of 2001, presented a budget that cut funding for counterterrorism work.

Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming that before Sept. 11, this administration was asleep at the wheel when it came to terrorism. And its competence in confronting the problem since then has worsened exponentially. This was confirmed in devastating detail by both Richard Clarke and the 9/11 commission.

Thomas Bonsell, an intelligence veteran, chimed in recently in a Seattle P-I op-ed titled "Blame the 'leadership' failures" that's well worth reading, because it points out where the real blame for 9/11 lies:
Had leaders combined the discoveries by the two FBI agents with the CIA report, a clear picture of the 9/11 attacks would have emerged. Not doing so was leadership failure, not intelligence failure.

To be valuable, intelligence from domestic sources must be coordinated at the top; that would entail U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft at the Justice Department. Intelligence from foreign sources must be coordinated at the top at the Pentagon by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The coordinated intelligence then must be combined at the highest level-- the White House.

All three failed. That is leadership failure, not intelligence failure.

... Americans should know that so-called strong and steady leadership in the war against terror is of no value when the leaders are incompetent.

We deserve better.

The Kerry campaign needs to respond by pointing this out, time after time.

Of course, I'm still waiting for them to start running ads featuring the 9/11 widows who provided the final impetus for overcoming Team Bush's attempts to prevent the formation of the 9/11 commission in the first place. Or doesn't anyone realize that these are the ultimate "security moms"?

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