Wise Men


Reason writers around town: At the Daily Star, Matt Welch wonders why the President and George W. Bush both waited so long to give non-public, unsworn testimony about 9/11.

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  1. …around town ???!!!

    Such a quaint way of describing Beirut….

  2. an excellent and reasoned article from Matt Welch (nit: Dick Clarke may or may not be a Republican – he voted for Al Gore in 2000 – and this article didn’t need that prop anyway)

    I am not sure if Tim C’s “…president and George W. Bush both…” line is a typo or if he is trying to be the court jester at Reason.

  3. What is it about Bush and 9/11 that suddenly has the alleged libertarians around these parts calling for the formation of government commissions?

    I think this is pre-emptive defensiveness. Welch seems to insist that the horror of 9/11 be linked to the underhandedness of those in power in order to avoid the sensible conclusion that, in a free and open society, shit like this will happen sometimes.

    Yes, having liberty leaves us vulnerable.

    Are these pointless articles motivated by a concern that the public will move quickly in a statist direction in an attempt to meliorate their fear? Or, as I suspect, is it possible that sober reflection on the price that comes with liberty might reveal the hypocrisy of folks like Matt himself over the matter.


  4. Mandrake Ethos — Huh? I’m not asking for linkage to any specific person or party, just a timely investigation into what went wrong, so that we hopefully don’t get attacked again on that scale. If what went wrong was all Gorelick’s and Clinton’s fault, then fine, let’s discover that in a timely manner, and quickly fix the problem. If we discover that it was truly a one-in-a-million unlucky shot, then let’s discover that too. What I don’t understand, and find contemptible, is the idea that there is nothing to learn from a tragedy on that scale. Indeed, I cannot see how anyone could read all the transcripts of the Commission hearings, and come away with that conclusion.

    As for “statism,” all in all, I think investigatory commissions are quite a bit less statist than forming enormous new bureaucracies, expanding secrecy & executive privilege, and giving the feds the power to hold people indefinitely without trial and in secret.

  5. It’s a weak article. The commission was nothing but a political tool for an election year from day one, and the (at least public) performances of more than a few of the members have been even worse than might have been expected. I think the final report will go down in history as being not even worth the toilet paper it’s written on.

  6. Douglas,

    I the good point of the article that I took away is the timing of its hearings. The fact that this circus is taking place now (in an election year) added to its flavor. But Bush is to blame (primarily) for delaying it. You know that an event such as 9-11 will have to have a commission. If it is inevitable (as Bush should have known), why not get it over with asap? It would have been over in 2002.

  7. zorel, the obvious answer is that G.W. was hoping to avoid it altogether.

    Matt, you may not be “asking for linkage to any specific person or party”, but the Democratic establishment is. What they want is for G.W. to take the blame for an attack on America during his watch.

    This is all about electioneering. I appreciate your sentiment regarding a search for truth, but you being exceptionally naive in hoping for truth from the political process.

    The sobering reality is that this insane drive to affix blame and imagine solutions will only create justifications for further reductions of American civil liberties.

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