The events of Sept. 11, 2001, forever changed this country. In future years, when we are old and gray, we will be telling our grandchildren exactly where we were, what we were doing and how terrible it was. Hopefully, we will not be telling them the president knew it was going to happen, and even worse, did nothing about it.
For some time now, a Congressional committee has been investigating whether the Bush administration had prior intelligence about the attacks and failed to act on it.
Richard Clarke, formerly of the National Security Council, admitted he and the government failed the American people. The commission is still questioning high-ranking officials like National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, because they are looking for someone to blame.
I am no fan of President Bush and disagree with many of the decisions he has made while at the helm of this great country. Surely you all must have heard jokes about Bush’s intelligence, or lack thereof. I actually heard him say “sufficientification” in a speech on TV a few weeks ago and immediately grabbed a dictionary. Guess whether or not it was in there.
Even after all the jokes at his expense, the man is still only human. What kind of person would receive information warning of a terrorist attack that would claim thousands of lives and do nothing? If for nothing else, he would be remembered as the president that could not protect our country.
While I sat listening to the news on my headphones, waiting with hundreds of other students for trains that were not running, I remember thinking that I would hate to be President Bush at that moment. Let’s be honest, there are few people in this world that could stand up to that kind of pressure, let alone face their job every day after that.
Aside from what other people think of him, it had to have an effect on him. These are the kinds of things that haunt people and give them nightmares.
I am choosing to err on the side of humanity in this case. I prefer to give Bush the benefit of the doubt instead of wondering where he is hiding the smoking gun that shows he is responsible for those lives.
Even if he had seen a memo warning of a potential terrorist attack on U.S. citizens, and still ignored it, I still cannot really blame him. The Sept. 11 events reminded all of us that we are not invincible. For the one memo that was right, how many crossed his desk that were just idle threats? Granted, no warning should be ignored when it threatens innocent lives.
Until that day, Americans had this idea that we safe and protected here. Few, maybe even including the President, believed something so terrible could actually happen. Instead of pointing fingers at each other, we should remember who is really responsible for all those lives.
Torin Sweeney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.