The New York Times editorializes:
No reasonable American blames Mr. Bush for the terrorist attacks, but that’s a long way from thinking there was no other conceivable action he could have taken to prevent them.
I absolutely agree. There were a great many actions the government could have conceivably taken. It could have conceivably grounded every plane in America. It conceivably could have announced it was going to scrutinize every Muslim and Arab living in America without citizenship, and every single one which didn’t have his or her papers in perfect order would be deported. It is conceivable that George W. Bush could have championed measures even stronger than those in the Patriot Act before 9/11. It is conceivable that he could have bombed Afghanistan, issued orders to assasinate every Jihadist terrorist it could get in the crosshairs. It is conceivable that he could have told Americans that civil liberties would have to take a backseat to security and that tourism would have to suffer.
The only thing that is inconeivable is that the New York Times would have condoned any of these measures or measures which fall far short of these. Indeed, it is inconceivable that the Times would have done anything but denounce the President as a would-be dictator. Indeed, it is difficult to find very many examples of things President Bush did after 9/11 to prevent terrorism that the New York Times did not sneer at in some way.
Applying the standard of “conceivability” is not only intellectually dishonest for the Times it is hypocritical since it is something approaching this standard which the Administration applied to its decision to go to war with Iraq — “are we doing everything conceivable to make sure this never happens again?” — and we all know how much support the Times has offered for that effort.