Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Long-Awaited Document

The 9-11 Commission issued it's long-awaited report today with much political fanfare.   They did the only thing they could do given the partisan rancor of the times.  They blamed no one personally and cast wide aspertions on the government as a whole.   The money sentence read...
"Rather than finding that there was a failure at the presidential level, what they find though is that there are failings and that there were deep institutional failings within our government," an official said. "And that's what they really examine at some length over a long period of time — that there were a variety of factors spanning many years and many administrations that contributed to a failure to share information amongst agencies for both legal and policy reasons."

9/11 Panel Blames 'Institutional Failings'
By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer

Like most accurate, general statements, this tells us almost nothing we didn't already know and satisfies no one.  Well President Bush and Citizen Clinton will breathe a sigh of relief, but the agency heads at the CIA and the FBI will not. 
The officials also gave details about the criticisms of the government's performance before 9/11, saying one passage of the report found that Al Qaeda and the 19 hijackers exploited "deep institutional failings within our government" over a long period. The officials said the report did not directly blame the Bush or Clinton administration for the failures, even as it harshly criticizes several agencies, especially the C.I.A. and F.B.I.
The report also lambastes the manner in which Congressional oversight of intelligence operations is conducted. 
Although Congressional oversight was not a focus of the commission's public hearings, officials said Congress's management of intelligence will also be a target of criticism in the final report, with the commission's urging lawmakers to scrap the watchdog system now used for intelligence and domestic security.

The s report will propose that both the House and Senate establish permanent committees on domestic security to oversee activities that are the jurisdiction of dozens of competing committees, officials said. The report will also reportedly recommend that the existing House and Senate intelligence committees be given much broader discretion over intelligence policy and spending, or alternatively to establish a joint House-Senate intelligence panel.
9/11 Panel Is Said to Sharply Fault Role of Congress

The report itself appears to have much more value and heartfelt effort involved than the circus-like hearings that were held in Washington, D.C. and New York.  The Commission's analysts and technical writers have put together a number of reccommendations for how the US can be better prepared for the inevitable next attempt. 

The process by which this commission did its work was often both partisan and sickening.  However, the final product has a legitimate value.  It serves both as an historical refernece and as a warning to future leaders never to fall asleep on guard duty. 
President Bush accurately gives the Commissioners credit (Bush Praises 9/11 Panel's Report) for setting the petty differences aside.  The executive summary (click post tile for link) gives an excellent description of exactly why the attack succeeded.  This is the sort of thing our country needs to pay close attention to. 

Like the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, this event changed the entire way our country looks at itself and the world.  The Final 9-11 Commission Report provides an invaluable wealth of knowledge on how never to have this happen to us again.


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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