I don’t blame George W. Bush or his advisers for making what, in retrospect, look like mistakes in the months before 9-11. The Oval Office doesn’t come equipped with a crystal ball in which the President gets to see the future.
But the only way to avoid repeating mistakes is to figure out how they were made and fix the systems and processes that produced them. That is something this Administration has been stubbornly unwilling to do.
They’re far more interested in discrediting Richard Clarke — a fine, nonpartisan civil servant of three decades’ service, who was closer than almost anyone else to being right about al-Qaeda before 9-11 — than in understanding what he has to say and incorporating those lessons into new systems and processes.
Making mistakes is human. Refusing to learn from mistakes is unforgiveable.