My 9/11 Update

Every year, I avoid doing/writing anything on (or about) 9/11.  I had my say in 2001 (mirror here).

I hate the entire maudlin retrospective “event” each year: The roll call of lost colleagues and friends; the tragedy porn that the media rolls out; I especially detest the terror tourism down at the WTC site.

But as a life long New Yorker, I am still angry over how the 9/11 event was mishandled — the ignored warnings, the invasion of the wrong country after, the bastardization of what the USA stands for, the lack of accountability for all these major errors of incalculable incompetency.

A few people complained about Doug Casey’s critique yesterday about Bush as president. One asked, “Why today of all days to post this?”

Perhaps this will explain it. I wrote the following on Election Eve 2004:

On September 11th, George W. Bush was presented one of those rare and horrible historical moments. The terrorist attacks united the country and the world around the President: His approval rating skyrocketed to 90%. Even the French Prime Minister announced, “Tonight, we are all Americans.”

The historical opportunity was laid at the feet of the President. With a unified country behind him and a sympathetic world willing to cooperate with him in just about every imaginable way, he could have achieved monumental greatness: He could have asked for great sacrifices from the populace, and they would have willingly made them. At that moment, any reach across the aisle would have been fruitful on a number of vexing issues. A bipartisan approach to any political problem at home – cutting pork out of domestic policies, reforming Social Security, renovating the tax code – could have been accomplished in a bipartisan spirit of strengthening the economy and defending the country. He might have even done something about our education system so, in truth, no child would be left behind.

One would imagine that a man elected under what can be charitably described as “inauspicious circumstances” – with nary a mandate in sight – might have taken the 9/11 tragedy as an opportunity to move to the center, putting aside partisan political differences, and governing “all the people.” To be, in fact, truly a “uniter,” not a “divider.”

Alas, it was not to be.

When people ask why I dislike the presidency of George W. Bush, it was that colossal failure to rise to greatness on that occasion, and indeed, to engage in a series of decisions that not just in retrospect, but at the time, simply reflected terrible judgment.

Unlike many others, I only blame W in small part for ignoring the warning pre-9/11. But for the catastrophic series of decisions that followed, I hold him 100% accountable.

Indeed, my feelings about 9/11 have morphed from sadness over the tragic loss of loved ones into frustration and beyond. Even now, the anger rises over the unwillingness to hold the past administration accountable for their many sins.

Many of you asked, and now you know . . .

>

Previously:
A Personal Recollection From a Day of Horror (September 12th, 2001) http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2001/09/a-personal-recollection-from-a-day-of-horror/

The Tragedy of the Bush Administration (November 2nd, 2004)
http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2004/11/the-tragedy-of-the-bush-administration/

Baby Bush: The Worst President in History?
Doug Casey, September 11th, 2009
http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/09/baby-bush-the-worst-president-in-history/

Reflection on 9/11
David Kotok, 9/12/09
http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/09/reflection-on-911/

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:

Read this next.

Posted Under

Uncategorized