Thursday, July 22, 2004

Bravo for the 9/11 Commission

So sometime in early April, the 9/11 commission began holding public hearings, coinciding with Richard Clarke's book release. I listened to most of that day's hearings and there was a subdued sense of politics throughout the day; especially as people on both sides of the aisle attacked or counterattacked based on Clarke's accusations. I felt disappointed that, as usual, our leaders couldn't rise above the fray.

Over the weekend, the acting CIA Director, John McLaughlin, attacked the morning shows; proactively trying to undermine the Commission's recommendations to form a central intelligence head within the White House.

On Tuesday, the Sandy Berger story broke; clearly a case of a political leak by the Republicans to defer attention from the Commission's report. At the same time, the leadership of the House (Delay and Hastert) began to do two things; blame and defer. They repeated the talking point "Clinton had 8 years, Bush had 8 months" and they took the typical Washington answer to a call to action (reforming intelligence); they prepared to drag their feet. (As I was writing this, I saw footage of Delay mention that we did nothing before 9/11 to punish our attackers and Hastert say that we can't change things overnight).

Amid all this backdrop, the Commission rose to their responsibility today. They paired off for all sorts of media request; a Dem and a Republican, each time. They decried partisanship and refused to talk about individuals. They said that they knew it would be tough on Congress, but challenged them to step up to this task.

They have essentially inserted themselves into the BS continuous debates over process and power in DC; and said "DEAL WITH US NOW". Might they make our leaders relearn to act like they have a huge responsibility on their shoulders?


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