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Friday, April 09, 2004

Condi Rice and MORE! 

So, Jesse seems to have a good take on yesterday's testimony:
Condi Rice gave us one of two portraits of herself yesterday. Either she knew exactly what was wrong and sat passively by while the system failed, noting in detail its failure while forgetting that she had the power and the responsibility to affect it...or she didn't realize any of this, and is just saying she did to provide an excuse for Bush's pre-9/11 policy.
She kept repeating that doing x wasn't her job, or knowing about y wasn't her job, etc., to the point where she was basically saying, "Well, frankly coordinated national security really isn't the responsibility of the National Security Advisor." Yeah, sure, lady. Whatever.

I had another (unrelated) point to make, but I seem to have forgotten it. Whatever it was, you may assume it was brilliant.

UPDATE: I still think there's something else I wanted to post on, but I now remember that I wanted to point your attention to this op-ed in today's Times by Robert Wright, a scholar at Penn, who for years has been warning about asymmetric threats. The column is great, and here's an excerpt:
Throughout the public phase of these hearings, attention has centered on a pseudo-scandal: could 9/11 have been prevented? Probably not. Even a quite vigilant administration would have needed some luck to catch wind of Al Qaeda's plans. Moreover, President Bush was hardly alone in the central confusion that kept him from being quite vigilant: the idea that "rogue states" are a bigger threat than terrorism per se, and indeed that terrorists can't do much damage without a state's help.

More scandalous, as some have noted, is that the administration didn't change this view after 9/11, when terrorists based in places like Germany killed 3,000 people using weapons (in this case airliners) acquired in America. Hence the war in Iraq.

The polar opposite of a preoccupation with state support of terrorism is the view that, in the modern world, intense hatred is self-organizing and self-empowering. Information technologies make it easy for hateful people to coalesce and execute attacks--and those same technologies can also help spread the hatred. That's why opponents of the Iraq war so feared its effect on Muslim sentiment.
These BushCo guys just can't wrap their heads around this.

Oh, and things are really turning a corner in Iraq. Or not.

UPDATE II: Spencer Ackerman has a spledid article in TNR today about the very thing I mention above--the inability of BushCo to understand that state sponsership is not the end-all and be-all of an anti-terror policy.
But reconfiguring the terrorist threat to focus mainly on state sponsorship is problematic: It treats the terrorists themselves as a subsidiary concern. And, as the Bush administration has demonstrated in Afghanistan, this strategy can lull the U.S. government into ignoring the ongoing presence of terrorists in a country even after their state sponsors have been defeated.
Of course, read the whole thing.
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