Dowd: Condi 'Instrumental in 9/11 Blunder'

April 9th, 2008 6:27 AM

As accusations against Americans go, surely there's none more serious than that of responsibility for 9/11. Yet Maureen Dowd has seen fit to level just such a charge against Condi Rice en passant: as a simple afterthought, no explanation offered.

There I was this morning reading Maureen's musings on yesterday's hearings with Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. Pretty standard Dowd fare: a couple Shakespearean quotes pressed into service, a snippy sobriquet [dubbing Petraeus and Croker the "Surge Twins"], when suddenly came this [emphasis added]:

A confused Chuck Hagel asked the pair: “So, where’s the surge? What are we doing? I don’t see Secretary Rice doing any Kissinger-esque flying around. Where is the diplomatic surge? ... So, where is the surge? What are you talking about?”

Condi is too busy floating trial balloons about being John McCain’s running mate to bother about the fact that she was instrumental in two historic blunders: 9/11 and Iraq.

Condi Rice was "instrumental" in the "blunder" of 9/11? Can one decently make such a charge and move on? Dowd did. That was the sum total of her discussion of the matter.

So just what did Maureen mean? I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she's not a lunatic of the Loose Change variety. Dowd is likely alluding to the August, 2001 memo entitled "Bin Laden determined to attack inside the U.S." For all its ominous title, this was a two-page document that contained no specifically actionable intelligence. But if Rice didn't see the handwriting on the wall, what about Bill Clinton--and a certain close advisor now running for president--who failed to act on the threat when Islamist extremists first bombed the WTC in 1993 and carried out a string of other terror bombings over the course of his administration?

Dowd's nasty little deposit was hit-and-run journalism of the wost sort.