I heard Richard Clarke say something yesterday that people from our government never say:
We failed you…I failed you…
Politicians and government officials, particularly in this administration, are notorious about saying
Mistakes were made…the government isn’t working
But it’s very rare to hear people admit their mistakes. I don’t blame 9/11 on Richard Clarke (there’s plenty of blame to go around); I’m not convinced that terrorists can always be stopped. However, in order to have any hope of stopping terrorists, everyone needs to be more careful.
Most importantly, the branches of the government need to cooperate. When government agencies were cooperating during the run-up to the Millennium, the government foiled at least two different foreign terrorist attacks. People were being careful; they took the possibility of attack seriously. We didn’t need a civil-liberties-inhibiting Patriot Act to track down real terrorists. But once the year 2000 was ushered in safely, people went back to being on auto-pilot.
I normally don’t run out and buy the latest “government scandal” book, but I probably will go out and buy Richard Clarke’s book, Against All Enemies, on his time in the Bush administration.