Let me offer some friendly advice to the Bush White House. And, no, I'm not being facetious. I'm really not. The best thing -- really the only thing -- for the White House or the President to do now is to come out and say ...
Look, in hindsight, there are connections maybe we should have made. Communications should have been better between various intelligence and law enforcement agencies. But hindsight is 20/20 and these things were not as clear then as they are now. Our people did the best they knew how. But I'm the Commander-in-Chief. And I'm responsible. The buck stops here. Let's move ahead now and make whatever improvements we can.
In other words, make your stand on the basis of the obvious, and these drip-drip-drip revelations won't be nearly so painful or costly.
Will this open the president up to political damage and fallout? Messy, uncomfortable investigations?
But as us Clinton folk learned, this is the uncomfortable thing about having the presidency. When the American military -- the strongest in the world, but an institution you had nothing to do with creating -- goes out and wins a war, you rock.
When something terrible happens and in retrospect you maybe should have or could have done more to prevent it -- even if the other guys probably wouldn't have done any better -- you take a hit. Maybe a big one.
Those are the rules. Deal with it.
Otherwise you will end up with situations like this. Yesterday Ari Fleischer and Condi Rice said that no one before September 11th imagined that plane hijackings would equate to using the planes as guided missiles. That certainly sounds right. That is, until you read this new AP story which says inter alia ...
"Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al-Qaida's Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the White House," the September 1999 report said ... The report noted that an al-Qaida-linked terrorist first arrested in the Philippines in 1995 and later convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing had suggested such a suicide jetliner mission.
So you really can't say that it never occurred to anyone. It definitely did.
Also, arrogant trash talk from Dick Cheney accusing the Dems of taking political advantage will likely prove counterproductive.
It's called the responsibility era. Get used to it. And you'll be better off in the long run.