Thursday, December 18, 2003

Process Failures

Daniel Drezner, the highly respected university professor and conservative blogger, has a fascinating article up at Slate called "The Real Trouble With the President's Foreign Policy". It's a fascinating read, although I think he too quickly breezes over the questions surrounding "foreknowledge" of 9-11-01. On that particular issue I think there tends to be a problem of "degrees": while I certainly don't think anyone in the Administration knew specifically when and what was going to occur, I do think that a lot of warning signs were either ignored, misperceived, or simply not followed up. It's rather like the person who ignores the progress of the odometer on their car, even though it's been eight thousand miles since the last oil change. Sure, they might not know specifically when the engine's going to seize up, but they are ignoring actions they could well take to prevent it. It is entirely reasonable to wonder just what warning signs were missed in the nine months between the Inauguration and the attacks (especially since so many on the right insist that a big part of the blame belongs, inexplicably, on the shoulders of Bill Clinton), and one doesn't need to entertain scenarios involving Fox Mulder and the Cigarette Smoking Man meeting in a DC parking garage after midnight to follow this line of inquiry. I also think Drezner goes a bit far in his implication that the criticisms he is leveling against the President are rising exclusively from the right. But all in all, it's an excellent article.

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