The Bush Administration will be remembered, in part, for how it handled two enormous catastrophes on U.S. soil.
Will it be remembered favorably?
An argument can be made that with regard to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the devastation caused several days ago by Hurricane Katrina, the Bush Administration chose to be reactive, rather than proactive.
This is not to say that the administration, even if it had acted perfectly, would have been able to stop the terrorist attacks, or greatly changed the outcome of Katrina.
But at the same time, questions are being raised as to how the administration acted prior to each event — questions that lead JABBS to wonder whether this administration is capable of true "homeland security."
Americans learned during the 9/11 Commission hearings that the Aug. 6, 2001 presidential daily briefing contained a two-page section titled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US."
Then National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice — in defending the administration failing to be proactive in response to the briefing — told the commission that the briefing contained mostly "historical" information. Critics of the administration charge that the briefing laid out Bin Laden's current gameplan — including his desire to hijack airplanes — which was ultimately executed on Sept. 11.
Rice, of course, was to give a speech on Sept. 11 regarding U.S. security. The speech, never presented, only mentioned terrorism in passing, and did not reference Al Qaeda. For critics of the administration, there was perhaps no greater piece of evidence to show that the administration was not acting proactively on the Al Qaeda threat.
Had the administration acted proactively — taken measures to intercept a terror cell within the U.S., tracked down known Al Qaeda members (including ones who were listed in telephone books) — perhaps the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks would have been averted. There's no way to know for sure, of course.
But by not acting proactively, the administration gave itself no chance to stop the course of events.
Fast forward to the Katrina catastrophe. The massive hurricane — predicted to be the worst in four decades — was not a secret. It had been forecast for several days. New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin had ordered a citywide evacuation.