Apr 122004
 
Authors: Stacey Schneider

My mother always taught me that it was impolite to point.

Apparently, some mothers missed this chapter in the guidebook to

motherhood, and this is the reason we have politicians. In recent

weeks, the government has seen so much finger pointing that it is a

wonder an eye has not been poked out. With a presidential election

looming in the near future, it is unfortunate that President Bush

and his administration are at the end of these fingertips.

The surge of the current blame game can be attributed to Richard

Clarke, the former White House terrorism adviser. Clarke went

public with information and a book to discredit the president’s

role in fighting terrorism and preventing the Sept. 11, 2001,

tragedy. Since this uprising, the media have been anxious to ravage

any inkling of information supporting this claim and have called

vehemently for the testimony of National Security Adviser

Condoleezza Rice at the Sept.11 committee hearings.

Just last week, Rice testified before the committee

investigating the Sept. 11 attacks and stated that the Bush

administration did not have any specific warnings that al-Qaeda was

planning this attack on the United States. Meant to be an

information-gathering session, the questioning took a more

political turn as Democrats grilled her about the information

received in 2001. The recent outcome of this testimony is the

public release on Sunday of a confidential briefing from Aug. 6,

2001, titled “bin Laden determined to strike in the U.S.” In this

memo, the public is presumably supposed to find clear-cut evidence

that the Bush administration knew enough information to take action

and avoid the Sept. 11 occurrences.

Although the Democrats will attack this document and dissect it

for evidence of their case, the information they are looking for is

just not there. The information in this briefing did not warn of

the attacks but rather referred to the possibility of occurrences.

Of the statements made in this briefing, much of the information

provided to the president was from the past and discussed

intentions, such as Osama bin Laden’s desire to attack the United

States. The FBI had already been handling dozens of bin Laden

investigations, the statements inside this briefing included. There

were also two statements that indicated more recent findings

regarding threats, such as an anonymous call to a U.S. embassy

warning of a bomb possibility. These, too, were under investigation

and did not provide any information related to the date of the

Sept. 11 attacks. As this information was known to the president to

be under FBI investigation, and no information leading to an attack

on Sept. 11 was found, a full-blown search did not seem warranted

at the time.

It sure is easy now to look back and say, “The president could

have done more.” As they say, hindsight is 20/20, and in this case

many pointing fingers are accompanying hindsight. This blame for

lack of attention and action in the summer of 2001 is ridiculous.

The government receives thousands of tips regarding national

security, and it does its best to investigate those that pose a

serious threat. It is obvious that there were investigations into

bin Laden and his activities, and it is unfortunate that the

government was not able to stop the horrible tragedy.

Would Bush and his administration let threats go without

investigations or let an attack of this magnitude occur if the

information was there? The answer is a resounding “no.” Blaming

Bush is not going to make this tragedy disappear. Instead, it is

being used as a diversion tool to help the Democrats in the

November election.

If we want to continue this blame game, let us point our fingers

at bin Laden, the leader behind Sept. 11, or at al-Qaeda, the

executor of these attacks. Or better yet, let us turn those fingers

around and point them at those who have to stir up trouble in order

to gain popularity and always seem to have an answer after the

fact. It always is easier when you have the answer key in front of

you before a big test. Best of all, let everyone drop the finger

pointing; it is, after all, rude.

 

Stacey is a senior majoring in marketing. Her column runs every

other Tuesday.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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