Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Grow Weary of Being Right

Ever since the late '80's I've found that my pronouncements on things political are startlingly prescient. So far my only mistake was a conservative one, when arguing with my sister over the first Gulf War, that we might end up being at war with Iraq as long as 7 to 10 years. Last time I checked we're coming on year 20.

In any case, over the last two years I've been saying with more and more certainty that if Gore had become President of the United States, 9/11 wouldn't have happened. I've been saying things like "you know, Vice President Lieberman would have had the head of the CIA and the head of the FBI in his office in August of 2001, and would have known that Osama bin Laden wanted to attack inside the United States and he would have made both the CIA and the FBI tell him what they knew about it."

The fact is that at the time the FBI knew who they were looking for (because they were investigating the Cole bombing) and the CIA knew those same guys were in the country. It just required someone bothering to make it a priority. One little nudge from the V.P. and the F.B.I. would have picked up some crazy Saudi guys in Boston and we'd have heard that these guys had some zany plan to fly a couple planes into some buildings. Most people wouldn't have thought it would work but a couple engineers would say "you know, it might have worked"...

And now there's a new book called "The Dark Side" by Jane Mayer. From The New York Times:

Jack Cloonan, a special agent for the F.B.I.’s Osama bin Laden unit until 2002, told Ms. Mayer that Sept. 11 was “all preventable.” By March 2000, according to the C.I.A.’s inspector general, “50 or 60 individuals” in the agency knew that two Al Qaeda suspects — soon to be hijackers — were in America. But there was no urgency at the top. Thomas Pickard, the acting F.B.I. director in the summer of 2001, told Ms. Mayer that when he expressed his fears about the Qaeda threat to Mr. Ashcroft, the attorney general snapped, “I don’t want to hear about that anymore!”
I seriously doubt the AG picked by Al Gore would have ever said something as stupid as that. The only way Al Qaeda was successful was because of the need of the Bush Administration to not do anything that the Clinton Administration had been doing. Clinton was concerned about terrorism, therefore Bush was not. And as much as I think Leiberman is a jerk-monkey, he certainly would not have been complacent in the face of the clear and credible threat of an attack within the United States.

Wow. If Al Gore had become President we honestly wouldn't have had 9/11 and all that went with it. We wouldn't have a torture State. We'd be doing something about greenhouse gasses and alternative energy. Ironically, gasoline would be a couple dollars cheaper a gallon.

We'd never know how bad it could get.

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