Tuesday, March 23, 2004
This whole Clark thing is really fascinating to watch. I view this whole thing as a blatantly political plan to somehow try to blame Bush for 9/11. I've been doing a little reading, and this really is a lot of fun.
From Rich Lowry:
About the Clarke book: "Clarke adds a dash of tendentious partisanship in insisting that President Clinton was an antiterror stalwart even though he rejected Clarke's most-important ideas, and that Bush was too soft even though he took Clarke's ideas a step further."
"Some Clinton partisans have claimed that the Clinton team handed an anti-al-Qaeda war plan over to the Bush administration during the transition that was ignored. It is worth noting that this false claim appears nowhere in Clarke's book"
"After 9/11, Clarke complains about a Bush obsession with Iraq. Clarke says that the president said to him, "I want you to find whether Iraq did this." The conspiracy theorizing about Iraq has thus dwindled down to this: Bush wanted to know whether Iraq was involved in Sept. 11 or not. The alleged obsession with Iraq in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11 lasted all of six days, as Bush approved targeting Afghanistan on Sept. 17."
Finally, I agree with Lowry: Bush and his adminstration could have done more to prevent 9/11. But to blame Bush for the event is sick.
A dilemma is posed here. Critics of Bush rail against the Patriot Act and the Guantanamo detentions and Homeland Security as impinging on First Amendment freedoms. Meanwhile, other critics are saying that Mr. Bush has not done enough. The two camps have in common only their disapproval of George W. Bush.
A second preoccupation of Clarke seems to be the focus we placed on Iraq, instead of al-Qaeda. But we went promptly to war, and successfully, against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the terrorists' principal provisioner.
From Jim Geraghty
Clark changes his spots; "Not too long ago, Clarke was once a far-sighted, hard-nosed, aggressive counterterrorism official, just the kind of guy you want fighting Osama bin Laden. "
Geraghty points out that "Richard Miniter reported in his book Losing bin Laden, and Robert Novak verified, that on Oct. 12, 2000, the day of the devastating terrorist attack on the USS Cole, Clarke was the only member of Clinton's inner circle urging an attack on al Qaeda." So why is Clark all over Bush for taking his advice and giving Clinton a free pass for ignoring it?
Geraghty's article goes on to highlight all kinds of sound, good advice Clark gave to Clinton that Clinton promptly ignored. He announced — repeatedly — that America's policy included preemptive attacks and making no distinction between terrorists and their host nations.
This is rich: "But while Clarke was laying out what would eventually become the Bush doctrine, the Clinton administration was, as far as the public record can show, not backing up his words with action. The Taliban consolidated its grip on power. Osama bin Laden's training camp kept churning out jihadists. The al Qaeda network kept recruiting and establishing new cells."
In short, the Clarke guy is full of crap.