My response to Mark Helprin’s

My response to Mark Helprin’s article “Failing the Test of September 11” is this — I don’t think we can know at this point whether or not President Bush has failed that test. As I said a few days ago, we don’t know what opportunities to attack or disable Al Qaeda, if any, have been missed. We do know that, other than Afghanistan, we have not yet toppled any regimes. And it seems to me that we should have attacked Iraq months ago. Again, however, we don’t whether there are valid reasons for not having done so yet, nor do we know whether our failure to attack earlier will matter in the end. I share Helprin’s instinct that Bush should have been tougher on Saudi Arabia, but there too I don’t think we know enough about what is going on behind the scenes to conclude that our policy towards Saudi Arabia has been inadequate, much less to conclude that it makes our overall response to September 11 a failure. I do agree with Helprin that Bush should be doing more to restore the military inasmuch as the military was already significantly underfunded before September 11. I agree with Rocket Man, for the reasons he states, that Bush was correct during the days after September 11 not to ask Congress for a declaration of war.

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