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Friday, May 21, 2004

Rudy Can't Fail

Not to get too much like Matt Yglesias by stealing the post title from a Clash song, but that's a good description of my Giuliani 9/11 commission criticism, which is echoed today by E.J. Dionne:

Rudy, no one is asking you to be perfect. No one, and I mean no one, is taking anything away from the bravery of those who selflessly gave their all that day. But the Sept. 11 commission has the responsibility for making us more ready if a dreadful event of this sort happens again. They can't overlook what went wrong.

Alas, most things are personal for Rudy. "Our enemy is not each other," he told the commission on Wednesday, "but terrorists who attacked us, murdered our loved ones and continue to offer a threat to our security." Of course that's right. But no one says you're the enemy, Rudy. Yet none of us, certainly not you, would want systems kept in place that threaten the very men and women whose bravery protects us.

Dionne is absolutely correct that the mythologizing of 9/11 is standing in the way of a vital effort to boost our preparedness for future terrorist attacks. If anything, that is what is defiling the memory of the dead, not the raising of questions about what occurred that day.