October 21, 2015 Washington Post, Washington DC

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump accused competing candidate Jeb Bush of wrongly defending his brother’s reputation regarding protecting the United States from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The situation does not have an easy answer. Some agencies did not effectively handle information they had regarding the terrorists.

The “captain of the ship” stands responsible for the success or failure of those who serve under him. President George W. Bush did not cause Hurricane Katrina, but he is responsible for the ineffective government response to it. Similarly, President Obama is responsible, good or bad, for this government’s response to events in Syria. The complexity of these major decisions mitigates the captain’s accountability.

Jan Polissar, Bethesda