News vs. Our Need To Know

Does the chief of police have to explain what he might have do to prevented it every time there is a murder?

Does a highway patrolman have to tell what action he or she might have taken to prevent a person from violating a speed limit?

When a military officer is confronted with a type of warfare never known does he have to explain what he might have done to avoid it?

When a president is faced with a terrorist plot never conceived of by healthy moral minds does he have to explain what he might have done to prevent it? Had he known he would have done anything within his power to prevent it.

What President Bush was confronted with on 9/11 had never been experienced or envisioned. How could he have done anything to prevent it when he nor any one else knew what it was in advance?

Is the President alone supposed to make ours a perfect world? Some persons are treating him as though he, not Osama, is responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Towers.

We are subjecting our president to unprecedented demands to know what he knew. There are times and things heads of state need to keep confidences. Consider the response to the following had the press of the time had the same attitude as today.

At a critical moment during World War II our allied forces broke the German secret code. This major breakthrough enabled our forces to decode and read all the enemies’ secretly coded messages regarding troop deployment, defense placement, and other information vital to our planned invasion of Europe. This gave us tremendous advantages.

One message received chilled British intelligence and was relayed to Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. It told of plans to bomb the beautiful British city of Coventry. This lovely old city was one of England’s crown jewels.

The Prime Minister knew that with the insight gained they could evacuate the city and prepare air defenses to give it greater protection. He also knew that if he did so the Germans would know their secret code had been broken. In order not to reveal knowledge of the secret code in hopes to interpret further messages and have greater advantages in preparing for the invasion, the Prime Minister left Coventry unwarned and unprotected.

On the night of November 24, 1940, nearly 500 German bombers bombed the historical English city of Coventry. Over 600 tons of explosives and thousands of incendiaries were dropped. Over 70,000 homes were ruined and 400 people killed. The centerpiece of the city, their magnificent 14th Century cathedral was destroyed.

What did the Prime Minister know and what might he have done to prevent it? Having to answer would have resulted in an even greater disaster on D-Day. Like Churchill our President is entitled to certain respect and confidences.