Pattern Recognition

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“I’ve asked why nobody saw it coming,” explained Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice regarding the striking victory by the militanto· group Hamas in the recent Palestinian election.

Good question. It’s not like Ms. Rice’s department was blindsided by a surprise election in Botswana or some other place of no consequence in the administration’s battle to neutralize the evildoers of this world. This was front-line territory grabbed by a top terrorist group.

Gallup could have probably called the election correctly to within a point or two with ten pollsters in the field for two days. The State Department, in contrast, couldn’t see it coming with a $30 billion budget and 30,000 employees.

It was the same with Katrina. Three days after the storm hit, the official word from the White House was that the storm’s horrendous damage was unexpected and unpredicted. “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees,” President Bush said.

In fact, detailed warnings about Hurricane Katrina’s probable impact, including forecasts of breached levees, massive flooding and major losses of life and property, were steadily flowing into the White House for 48 hours before the storm made landfall.

Go back to Aug. 6, 2001, five weeks prior to the Sept. 11 attack. President Bush received a “presidential daily brief” at his Crawford ranch that specifically pointed to the threat of al Qaeda hijacking airplanes within the United States.

In Senate testimony eight months after the attack, Secretary of State Rice declared, Ul don’t think anyone could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center.”

And who could have predicted that Hamas would win, or that the levees wouldn’t hold? Anyone see a pattern?

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