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Monday, January 12, 2004

Bush knew

Isn't it weird how often presidential politics look like ignorant armies clashing by night on slippery and rugged terrain carved by the force of the epistemological problem of other minds? What did he know? When did he know it? How could he not have known? etc. The relation between the president and the nation so often devolves into the nation's obsessively arguing over what is, or was, or isn't ever, in his head. (Having been ensorcelled by Wittgenstein and Stanley Cavell at an impressionable age, I count the problem of other minds as one of my--in Frankenfurter's phrase--favorite obsessions. For a time I considered it the fount of all narrative. Now considering anything the fount of narrative (Hero w/1000 Faces) seems to me a cute waste of time.)

When the reports came out that in early August of 2001 Bush had received reliable information that Bin Laden was planning a terrorist attack involving hijacking commercial airliners, I wasn't surprised. Nor was I especially outraged (above my customary level of blinding outrage at anything Bush, that is). Tragically, terrorists had hijacked planes before and made demands. But who knew they might use them as bombs to blow up buildings? This, of course, was the Bush administration line, as well.

Well, it turns out, the administration knew, for one. Please read this (via Bad Attitudes). Bush's vacation in Crawford that August, the longest by a sitting president, looks more and more like willful negligence.
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