Man Without Qualities


Friday, May 17, 2002


Missing the Point Again!


President Bush has said: "Had I known that the enemy was going to use airplanes to kill on that fateful morning, I would have done everything in my power to protect the American people."

But the Associated Press reports: "Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said the President was missing the point. 'I think the question is, why didn't he know? If the information was made available, why was he kept in the dark? If the President of the United States doesn't have access to this kind of information, there's something wrong with the system.'"

Is that George Bush a bumkin, or what?! There he goes making poor Tom Daschle explain that he isn’t making his current big fuss because of concerns over what the President knew. NO! The fuss is all about what the President didn’t know!

Now, to be fair to poor under performing George, a few other people in the country seemed to also get the impression that Mr. Daschle’s question WASN’T “why didn't he know?” but “what did he know.” Just like the President.

The New York Times, for example, seems to have got the silly impression that the Administration was: "Confronting a political uproar over its disclosure that President Bush was cautioned last August that Osama bin Laden may have been planning a hijacking …”

Also missing Mr. Daschle’s point was the Los Angeles Times, which in a misdirected excitement rather similar to the very same misdirected excitement for which Mr. Daschle had to correct Mr. Bush’s, tendered the cliched: "Suddenly, President Bush is confronting questions that bedeviled one of his predecessors: What did the president know and when did he know it?"

The Washington Post was yet another newspaper tragically misunderstanding Mr. Daschle’s point - and its just down the street: "The aura of invincibility that President Bush has enjoyed since Sept. 11 received a sharp jolt with the revelation that he had been told that Osama bin Laden's followers might try to hijack American airplanes.

The Washington Times, in its usual haste to defend the White House, also entirely missed Mr. Daschle’s point when it said: "Vice President Richard B. Cheney yesterday warned congressional Democrats against trying to score political points by making 'incendiary' assertions about what the White House knew about terrorist threats before the September 11 attacks."

And, of course, failing to grasp the basic fact that the fuss was NOT over what the President knew was the New York Post, which actually went out of its way to irrelevantly state that NBC had contributed to the fuss by also missing the point and reporting that two days before Sept. 11, Bush was given a 'detailed war plan' to dismantle bin Laden's al Qaeda network.".

And The Boston Globe reported that "Congressional Democrats yesterday demanded that the Bush administration turn over documents showing what warnings it had last summer of a possible terrorist hijacking and called for a new investigation of what the White House knew and when," which surely the Globe wouldn't have printed if they had known they were just embarrassing themselves by so badly missing the simple point the Congressional Democrats were trying to make.

And Salon cut right to the missing point by foolishly running the headline: "What did they lie about, and when did they lie about it?"

If only Mr. Daschle had been there to explain!


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