Now This Log

Wednesday, 12 December 2001 : "frank rich on treason"

Frank Rich, on target and worth reading all of:

Confessions of a Traitor [NY Times]
...on Monday, ... Tom Ridge issued the administration's third urgent announcement to date of a heightened terror alert. Why even bother? His vague doomsday warning didn't lead every newscast and didn't rouse the public or even law enforcement. On ABC, John Miller reported that the three F.B.I. field offices he canvassed had neither been advised of the threat nor "told to batten down the hatches any more than they were." What's that about? Under Mr. Ashcroft's dictum, asking such follow-up questions is aiding and abetting the enemy. In any event, no one did.

Mr. Ashcroft said that he wouldn't release the names of the hundreds of people he's detained since Sept. 11 because the law forbade it, even though, as his own deputy later pointed out, the detainees have the right to publicize their names on their own through their family or counsel. His other excuse for keeping the names secret was to prevent Al Qaeda from learning if any of its operatives might be locked up, as if our enemy were not cunning enough to figure out on its own which members he might have apprehended (if any). Then, when he couldn't take the heat, he released some of the names anyway. Mr. Ashcroft doesn't even have the courage of his own wrong convictions.

If questioning our leaders' competence at a time of war is treason, take me to the nearest military tribunal. But the one thing we learned on that Tuesday morning, I had thought, is that it's better to raise these questions today than the morning after.

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