Thoughts on today's main event

Local news amuses me. I don't usually watch it, because I find most of the stories trite and/or sensationalistic, but we had it on at Granny's house this evening because she likes to see the weather, etc. They were doing man-on-the-street interviews of people around the area asking them how they had perceived Dr. Condoleezza Rice's testimony before the 9/11 commission today. There were some answers on either side of the issue, but one man they spoke to who didn't fully believe her had his name at the bottom of the screen with the caption "Blames Others." In context, you'd probably guess that he blames the government in general, not Rice, for not preventing the attacks, but I just looked up at the screen in time to see that he blames others. I want that to be the caption under my name when they interview me. Blames Others. Apparently, he takes no responsibility for his problems and likes to blame other people in general. Who knows? I was giggling for about ten minutes, and I've started laughing again now as I'm re-telling the story.

I've decided something that I'd like to share in hopes that it will affect others; The West Wing has made me smarter. At the close of the first season and beginning of the second (it was a cliffhanger episode), President Bartlet was shot as he was coming out of a speaking engagement by two teenagers from a tall building across the street. Toby Ziegler, his Director of Communications, felt immediately guilty because, at the start of their administration, he had drafted a memo to the Secret Service saying that the President would not leave buildings under a tent, as the custom had been before. Toby's thought had been presumably that the President should appear out in the open and unafraid, and the Secret Service complied with the memo. Toby blamed himself for the assassination attempt and was ready to take the heat for not having prevented it, but he ended up speaking to the head of the Secret Service just before he would have gone public with the fact that it had been his idea to get rid of the tent. The Secret Service director said it was absolutely not Toby's fault, that they never would have complied with a wish like that if it would endanger the President's life, and most importantly, that the shooters would have found another route no matter what barricades they had put up to protect him. That last point in particular has resurfaced in my mind lately. I do believe that the terrorists of 9/11 found something they could infiltrate easily, but if it had not been so easy to hijack a commercial airplane, they would have made other plans. I dare not speculate as to the other methods they could use, but I know they must exist. It would be lovely to think that if the Bush administration had acted on the scant threats and information they had, the 9/11 attacks would not have happened, but Al Qaeda would have found other routes. The fact is that they hate us, and most of us can't begin to understand why. I'm not a staunch supporter of President Bush and would like to see him replaced in a few months, but hatred and ill-will as strong as that we have already been victims of does not easily subside, and I don't think we can quash their desire to see us suffer simply by thwarting individual attacks.

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