Some trenchant observations from William Webb:
Richard Clarke started his testimony before the commission investigating 9/11 yesterday by stating, “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,” he said. “And for that failure, I would ask once all the facts are out for your understanding and for your forgiveness.”
Unfortunately, there are going to be many more apologies, failures and laughably titled “bipartisan” commissions in the coming years, while a religiously-motivated enemy uses our own freedoms, political correctness, government inefficiencies and the politicization of the war on terror against us.
You have not seen the end of grieving relatives and 24-hour coverage of devastation. If you strip all the spin from the current commission testimony, all the political interests from media outlets, campaigns and pundits, the horrible truth was uttered in an exchange between former Republican Senator Slade Gorton. He asked Clarke if there was “the remotest chance” that the attacks could have been prevented if the Bush administration had adopted his aggressive counterterrorism recommendations upon taking office in January 2001.
“No,” Clarke said.
For all those posturing for political results or a kind footnote in history, the awful truth is that we weren’t prepared for 9/11 and we couldn’t have stopped it anyway.
I predict you will hear similar testimony yet again.
It’s time to quit criticizing those in the government administrations and agencies in this newest manifestation of Islamist terror and conquest, begin to accept the unpopular realities, make the hard choices necessary to minimize death and destruction of innocent American civilians, and maximize the death and destruction of the radical Islamists.
At the end of the day, you as an American are going to be only as safe as you force the government to make you. Policy is driven by politics and homeland security has become as politicized as Medicare reform. Most Americans still don’t really understand either the true nature of the threat or the hard decisions that must be made.
Unfortunately, we are approaching the time for the next wave of attacks with the predictable next wave of hand-wringing and attempting to place blame for political or historical vindication. This time the death toll will be far greater.
As a society, we have still not come to grips with several “essence” issues and the nature of our society is such that we will have to lose 30,000–300,000–or heaven forbid–3 million before we begin to make the real changes in our counter-terrorism and homeland defense strategy.
Those essence issues follow and will be discussed separately in a series of articles:
“¢ We must acknowledge the politically incorrect and admit that we truly face a religiously-motivated war that has both a shooting element (Madrid, 9/11) and a more subtle, yet much more dangerous religious insurgency funded by rich Muslim individuals and countries.
“¢ There is only one way to truly prevent terrorists from striking–find the terrorists and kill them first. To do this means we must have a policy to strike them wherever we find them. This is an unpopular policy for most of the world.
“¢ Prevention of terrorist actions in the United States means identifying and investigating people or groups before they have attacked. As Lou Scanlon, Director of Homeland Security for the city of San Diego, told me in an interview for my upcoming book: “Common sense tells you that prevention is really our big gap in the war on terror. We must be able to identify and investigate to prevent terrorist acts before they occur. The entire clamor over first-responder inadequacies is for the after-event response. It does not make you safer. Only identifying, investigation, and prevention makes you safe. Everything else is about body bags and cleaning up the rubble.”
This means surveillance and intelligence gathering within the United States. Many people from all political persuasions are working to defeat various homeland security initiatives that would block identifying and investigating terrorists at home.
It is time to for you to understand the basic issues stripped of political correctness and political machination. You must re-evaluate the delicate balance of living safely with the clash of counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism operational necessities. Basic views concerning privacy, freedoms of religion and expression, and the role of government in identifying, tracking, and stopping terrorists who practice violence and subversion must be reevaluated.
You must influence policies that truly deal with preventing terrorism and you must stand fast when the inevitable criticism starts.
Otherwise, there will be a long line of apologizing Richard Clarkes and grieving family members.