Each year as 9/11 comes and goes, there is less added to the perspective. An entire generation is now politically aware, who cannot remember that horrible day. Bizarre, to me.
We forget that Bush, like Trump, was in the infancy of his presidency. I remember thinking that he was over his head — partly because it was unprecedented, and partly because it was, frankly, Bush.
But at least he was surrounded (mostly) by smart people (mostly) and the crisis was handled deftly in the immediate days… until it became a war against Iraq (who did not attack us).
One wonders if the Trump Administration is prepared for something on that level. I suspect not, and I say that knowing that he has the benefit of a 9/11/ type attack no longer being “unprecedented”. But consider this:
- The White House is in constant disarray as key personnel are hired and fired at an unprecedented rate. One cost is that most basic measure of experience: days on the job. Another is an inability to forge sustained working relationships as colleagues are summarily dispatched in the manner of a reality-TV show. And how can those who remain do their best work when the boss at the top exhibits a management style that is as volatile and erratic as it is petty? Many dignified people have simply refused to consider working for him.
- Huge numbers of important State Department positions are still unfilled, including key undersecretary positions; and the ability of the United States to conduct diplomacy or to draw on country-specific expertise seems to have atrophied.
- The United States is crazy divided. And according to a recent Fox News poll, it isn’t just that a majority of Americans disapprove of the job Trump is doing—56 percent say that he is “tearing the country apart.”
- The Trump Organization’s murky asset portfolio, with heavy investments in numerous foreign countries, and the Trump family’s refusal to divest from it, makes it impossible for congressional overseers or the public to adequately discern when the Trump family’s business interests diverge from America’s interests.
And none of this gets to Trump’s incompetency.
One HOPES that there is enough institutional competency such that a terrorist attack would not flummox us. After all, at this very moment, Texas is still reeling from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma just trampled Florida. And FEMA seems to be doing fine (Trump’s role seems to be limited to tweeting).
So maybe we can get by without Trump’s leadership, even in a 9/11-type event.
I just would prefer not to test that theory.