A reader writes:

Well, Greenspan admitted that his trust in the markets, in their ability to protect their own shareholders and equity, was mistaken. He called his mistake ""a flaw in the model ... that defines how the world works." That's taking somewhat less than personal responsibility for his actions.

Moreover, I would suggest that he has done so specifically because he was "different, and uniquely important," as Kwak says.

He was outside of the system, managing it to a large degree by fiat. The only controls on Greenspan himself (and indeed any Fed Chief) were self-restraint, and "the pleasure of the President." He can admit a mistake because there is no way to hold him accountable. When someone working within the system, like an "agency/lender/bank/CEO," admits to their mistakes, they are generally held accountable, take the hit, and lose much of their standing. Especially in times like these. That's why they don't do it. They're cowards. The fact that Greenspan has made his admission with nothing to lose doesn't make him that much better.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.