Bill Kristol discusses what we knew would happen this week once the bloviator extraordinaire testified:
I also welcome the hearings because it is finally a forum where I can apologize to the loved ones of the victims of 9/11. To them who are here in the room, to those who are watching on television, your government failed you, those entrusted with protecting you failed you, and I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn’t matter because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask–once all the facts are out–for your understanding and for your forgiveness.”
–Richard Clarke, testifying before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, March 24, 2004
RICHARD CLARKE can apologize to anyone he likes. He could have done so sooner. And he could have done so privately. The names of those killed on 9/11–and, for that matter, of those killed by al Qaeda in our African embassies, on the USS Cole, and on other occasions–have presumably been available to Clarke. Would the families of those who died have appreciated a personal letter from Clarke asking for their understanding and forgiveness? Perhaps a few would. The vast majority no doubt would have thought such an apology utterly unnecessary and inappropriate.
Clarke, who worked tirelessly against al Qaeda during the 1990s, is not responsible for the deaths on 9/11. Indeed, the families of those who died surely appreciate Clarke’s great efforts, first to thwart al Qaeda, and then to bring the killers of their loved ones to justice. Surely they know of Clarke’s sympathy for their loss. Surely the only apology that is owed–though it would presumably be rejected by the families–would be an apology from Osama bin Laden, just prior to his execution.
But Clarke’s grandstanding did please its true intended audience. The writers at the New York Times loved it. After all, when Clarke apologized, they wrote, “it suddenly seemed that after the billions of words uttered about that terrible day, Mr. Clarke had found the ones that still needed saying.” Indeed, “the only problem with his apology was that so few of those failures really seemed to be his.” So presumably, according to the New York Times, everyone else in government who “failed” should also apologize.
No. In fact, what government officials owed the memory of those who died on 9/11–to ensure that they did not die in vain–was a greater determination to prosecute the war on terror than had been shown in the preceding eight months, and in the preceding eight years. *snip*
Right on, Bill.