Donald Sensing has a post asking "Why wasn't anyone fired?" for America's lack of response to al Qaeda before 9/11/2001, but there's something missing from his post: names. He talks about failings by military "top brass" as well as civilian leaders, but other than President Clinton he doesn't give us any names. I don't know enough to know who was involved, and I probably wouldn't even recognize most of the names, but I want to know them.
It seems clear to me that many of the military and civilian officials who spoke with him were engaging in covering their own rears. And in defense of the generals and admirals whom Schultz cuts up pretty rough, I point out that Bill Clinton was not a man of steadfast purpose. His reputation for applying band-aids to sucking chest wounds was well deserved. To strike back effectively and enduringly would have required a very large and continuing commitment of resources and deployments that I personally doubt Clinton and his own top staff had the backbone to see through. ...I'm a huge supporter of our military, but I think people should be held accountable for their failures. I'm hoping Rev. Sensing and any other folks with more millitary/political insider knowledge will see this post and name some names of the people who failed to protect us.
That being said, the Pentagon brass should have been much more eager to kill al Qaeda's leaders than they appear to have been. Al Qaeda had a track record of attacking and killing American military members, starting in Mogadishu, continuing through the Khobar Towers and culminating in the attack on USS Cole (and other attacks on non-military targets).
When soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines come under fire and are killed and wounded, they have the right to expect that their services' leadership will demand retribution. All of these acts, particularly the attacks on Cole and the Khobar barracks, were by any definition acts of war and should have been treated as such. And the chiefs of staff should have seen it that way and pressed for it. Their fundamental obligation to protect their troops demanded it. In this they failed and failed morally, the worst failure a military officer can commit.
Here are some I can do on my own. I don't know the level of their personal involvement -- and I welcome any further information -- but here are the names of the people who were in charge of our security between the first time the World Trade Center was attacked (1993) and the second (2001).
- President Bill Clinton, President from 1993 to 2001; he was the top dog, but I don't think all the blame rests with him.
- Les Aspin, Secretary of Defense from 1993 to 1994.
- William J. Perry, Secretary of Defense from 1994 to 1997.
- William S. Cohen, Secretary of Defense from 1997 to 2001.
- General John M. Shalikashvili, Chairman of the JCS from 1993 to 1997.
- General Henry H. Shelton, Chairman of the JCS from 1997 to 2001.
- Admiral David E. Jeremiah, Vice Chairman of the JCS from 1990 to 1994.
- Admiral William A. Owens, Vice Chairman of the JCS from 1994 to 1996.
- General Joseph W. Ralston, Vice Chairman of the JCS from 1996 to 2000.
- General Richard B. Myers, Vice Chairman of the JCS from 2000 to 2001 (when he became Chairman).
- General Gordon R. Sullivan, Army Chief of Staff from 1991 to 1995.
- General Dennis A. Reimer, Army Chief of Staff from 1995 to 1999.
- General Eric K. Shinseki, Army Chief of Staff from 1999 to present.
- Admiral Frank B. Kelso II, Navy Chief of Staff from 1990 to 1994.
- Admiral Jeremy M. Boorda, Navy Chief of Staff from 1994 to 1996.
- Admiral Jay L. Johnson, Navy Chief of Staff from 1996 to 2000.
- Admiral Vern Clark, Navy Chief of Staff from 2000 to present.
- General Merrill A. McPeak, Air Force Chief of Staff from 1990 to 1994.
- General Ronald R. Fogleman, Air Force Chief of Staff from 1994 to 1997.
- General Michael E. Ryan, Air Force Chief of Staff from 1997 to 2001 (September 6th, good timing).
- General Carl E. Mundy, Jr., Marine Corps Commandant from 1991 to 1995.
- General Charles C. Krulak, Marine Corps Commandant from 1995 to 1999.
- General James L. Jones, Marine Corps Commandant from 1999 to 2003.
I was remiss in not including the Directors of the CIA and FBI:
- R. James Woolsey, Director of Central Intelligence from 1993 to 1995.
- John Mark Deutch, Director of Central Intelligence from 1995 to 1996.
- George John Tenet, Director of Central Intelligence from 1996 (acting) to present.
- Louis J. Freeh, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investication, 1993 to 2001.