Witch hunt or reality TV? - Greg Gelpi

At best, it's the latest reality television hit. At worst, it's a mere modern day witch hunt.

The 9/11 Commission has done little more than provide great sound bites, quotes and an opportunity for commissioners to grandstand and take shots at big name politicians.

The classic image of a carnival dunking booth pops into my mind. Politicians sit down and let commissioners fire away at them.

I sincerely hope that the commission proves me wrong, but, if things continue, the commission will do little more than find a place they feel appropriate to place blame.

News flash: There is more than enough blame to go around and everyone knows it. The "bipartisan" commission is playing pin the blame on the elephant. Bipartisan resides in the land of unicorns and other mythical ideas.

Most of the players in this television drama know they share some of the blame, but the world will come to an end the day that a politician actually admits and accepts blame.

When all is said and done and the well of one-liners and accusations runs dry, what will be left? Nothing that will make any of us safer on the terrorism front, I assure you.

Frankly, no one, not even a politician, is perfect, but despite their imperfections and failings leading up to Sept. 11, 2001, their faults pale to the pure hate and bloodlust of the actual killers.

I liken it to blaming the victim of rape for what she was wearing, rather than blaming the criminal.

The flashiness and media hype of the commission has detracted from addressing the concerns of our current and future national security.

The show appears to be an audition for commissioners looking to better themselves, rather than bettering the country. How many will land gigs on the next Celebrity Mole?

Peppering National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice with questions, Commissioner Bob Kerrey cared less about the answers and more about the showboating and positioning himself in the political scene.

His interrogation speaks loads of the commission as a whole. He frequently interrupted Rice's answers and numerous times addressed her as "Dr. (Richard) Clarke," the former White House terrorism adviser. Kerrey continued to do so, until Rice pointed out that she looked nothing like Clarke.

The commission should spin information forward and take advantage of their opportunity to mold the future security of this country.

Without being clich?, history is important and knowing what got us to where we are today is crucial. I understand that.

Living in the past, though, does little to prepare us for the future unless we take that a step further.

I'll spare you the $2.95 a minute call to your favorite telephone psychic. The commission's final report will say that lots of people screwed up. The report will not say, however, what these fatal screw-ups mean for the future security of our nation.

Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at ggelpi@news-daily.com or (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247.