March 22, 2004

Reading Against All Enemies

Tim Dunlop at The Road to Surfdom is reading and commenting on Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies. He's going slowly and thoughtfully...


Also going slowly and thoughtfully are Mark A. R. Kleiman: Slime & defend hits Richard Clarke: "Just checked in with one of my pro-war, pro-Bush national security expert friends. Here's what I learned: 1. Clarke is the real deal. 2. What he says is convincing. 3. What he says makes the Bush team look very bad. 4. What Cheney says about Clarke is a pack of lies. My friend's parting comment: 'Do I really still have to be for these guys?'"

Phil Carter also has things to say: "Regarding the Vice President's comments, I think Laura Rozen gets it right. Don't you think it's odd that the White House counter-terrorism czar would be out of the loop when it came to meetings about counter-terrorism policy? And doesn't it say something about the war with Iraq that the counter-terrorism advisor was not part of the decisionmaking process?... To me, it says... Ron Suskind's reporting is right -- this White House really is run by its political offices... the opinions of professional policy people are probably less valued in this White House... terrorism per se was not the raison d'etre for Operation Iraqi Freedom -- and that it never was a significant part of the decision to go to war. White House spokesman Scott McClellan still isn't rebutting any of the assertions made by Mr. Clarke -- he's merely trying to impeach his credibility. The White House has yet to make a defense of its actions on the merits.... The only credible White House charge is the one about why Mr. Clarke didn't speak up sooner. But maybe he did... he resigned in March 2003 from the White House, just as Operation Iraqi Freedom was being launched. What message do you think Mr. Clarke intended to send by his resignation?"

It is certainly true that there are enormous synergies between Against All Enemies and The Price of Loyalty. They describe the same craven political White House.

Posted by DeLong at March 22, 2004 07:15 PM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post
Comments

I'm no Bush fan, obviously, but one (unsayable) motive for going into Iraq was that we needed a foot print in that strategic part of the world, and were losing our welcome in Saudi Arabia. Israel was out of the question, so they (we) needed a big hunk of desert real estate to station troops in for emergency use (such as Saudi revolution, threatening a radical take over of the oil fields). These are elementary considerations, even if they cannot be publicly articulated.

Posted by: Luke Lea on March 22, 2004 08:24 PM

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didn't we already have said footprint in the multibillion-dollar base in Qatar? Qatar's central enough, and has the advantage of not containing either Mecca, Medina, Najaf or Karbala. putting aside just war and even if you accept the argument that you sometimes have to lie to the people to take strategically correct actions, I still don't see invading Iraq as having been good policy.

Posted by: wcw on March 22, 2004 08:30 PM

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Well, make that two footprints, then. Redundancy counts.

Posted by: Luke Lea on March 22, 2004 08:32 PM

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Look I am sick to death of justifying this nonsense with the fact that the middle east is a strategic part of the world that we need (because of energy concerns) to maintain a presense in. Of course that is true.

But the last time I checked, I lived in a democracy (2000 not withstanding). The Bush people could have made a credible argument, an honest argument, about why we needed to take out Hussein. The guy was an unpredictable blood thirsty creep who just happened to be sitting on the only spot in the world with enough untapped oil production capacity to delay the inevitable decline in the resource.

Realistically, our modern industrialized society is so depended on fossil fuels and oil in particualr that we simply couldn't allow this guy to control this vital resource. Ten years from now, whoever controls the flow of oil from Iraq will be able to effectively set the world price. Much like the Texas railroad commission did in the 50s. There is no way we could allow Saddam to exercise that sort of control over the entire industrialized world.

If the bush people would have made that argument they would have had a lot of receptive ears. There is no reason why this shouldn't have been a part of the campaign in 2000. Clearly given the number of PNACers appointed to his government Bush intended to "deal with Saddam" before he was even elected. So why weren't we given to opportunity to vote on it?

Instead, they decided to, in Breslin's phrase, "reach down and molest the dead" by exploiting our fear and anger over 9/11 to pigback their desire to deal with Hussein onto the "war on terrorism". These people have utter contempt for the democratic process. And with any luck at all, this fall the democratic process is going to return the sentiment.

Posted by: SW on March 22, 2004 08:47 PM

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Perhaps if the Saudi people to depose the crooks and liars that currently rule them the US should be helping the revolutionaries rather than propping up the most oppressive regime in the region by a long way. The women in Iran and Iraq were never forced to wear the veil, they were never prevented from driving or holding a real job.

The strategy of propping up the dictator and suppressing democracy is what has caused the problem. In 1953 there was a democratic government in Iran, the CIA decided that they should not be allowed to nationalize their oil industry (even though it is well established that Anglo-Persian oil was robbing them blind). So they replaced Mosadeq with the Shah, a ruler who was every bit as bad as Saddam. There is little dispute that the Iranian revolution that deposed the shah was a popular movement. The mulahs could never have gained power if the CIA had not meddled.

The other reason to treat this proposal with great suspicion is that if you strip away the religious guff, Bin Laden's real complaint against the US is that they prevent any replacement of the House of Saud, regardless of how corrupt they are. We take notice of Bin Laden only because he murdered 3000 odd people trying to intimidate the US into withdrawing. What folk do not seem to have taken much notice of is the fact that this was a logical calculation when you consider the US response to the bombing of the marine HQ in Lebanon where a single suicide bomb caused Reagan to order the US to retreat. It was also a correct calculation, not only is the US going to leave Saud, it is very clear that the US will no longer underwrite the House of Saud at all costs.

Posted by: Phill Hallam-Baker on March 22, 2004 09:07 PM

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A week ago I wrote a friend I had a premonition that something earthshaking was about to happen.

Monday, after Sunday's testimonial by Clarke to the venality and depravity in the Oval Office, I wrote to him again, saying Monday was the lowest point in US political history. I was wrong.

Tuesday was. Tuesday AM, just hours before dawn, a call went out from the Oval Office to Hebron.

"Kill the Hamas cripple."

The Israeli's, dutifully doing as they were bid, sent helicopter gunships to blow a quadruplegic Islamic cleric and Hamas founder out of his wheelchair. There was nothing left but two smoking wheels and a metal seat. They could have had Sheikh Ahmed Yassin anytime. But Tuesday, Emperor George washed his hands, and turned away, and Charon (Sharon?) set forth to ferry us all to the underworld.

I wrote that same friend awhile back that the real threat of fundamental Christianity in power in the Federal government wasn't their dancing on pinheads over gays and fetuses and your kids education. That's not it. Their curse is the fundamentalists' willingness to bring Hell to Earth, to serve their own devilish purposes.

The Hounds of Charon have just been unleashed.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/407535.html

"Close your eyes, and calm your thoughts. Let your mind go out into the world. A wind blows cold across the land. Leaves, torn from the trees, swirl about like battling dervishes. A chill night is falling on the Earth, and we must be ready. Samhain is come again, and the whole world dies. Ourselves included. Of our own free will, we must take now the path to the Underworld, so that, of our own free will, we might be reborn again.

"Let your spirit seek across the land for that path. At Samhain, we see the signs of the last harvest. Once fertile fields, now empty of all but the decaying remnants of the crops. A tattered scarecrow looks down, image of dying Dionysus. He knows the secrets of death and rebirth.

"Seek farther for the path. Look in the cities, for death is there too. At Samhain, people even celebrate it. People dress themselves as spirits, in hopes of blending with the real spirits that walk on this night. The graven faces glowing from pumpkins tell the tale. Death can be a blessing or a curse.

"Back now again into the country. Here you see the truth. All around you plants die. The summer sun has gone, and the plants die for lack of warmth. Follow the dying sun, for near its home lies the path. Send your spirit into the west, where the waves hurl themselves against comfortless rock. The waves have carved a passage, and down it you must go.

"Each of you now take a coin for Charon, the ferryman. For Cerberus, take a cake as Psyche did. Like all hounds, he is fond of treats. Come now, the path is before us."


Posted by: Sam Hain on March 22, 2004 09:11 PM

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It all makes perfect sense. When your position on the battlefield is tenuous at best, and your right flank is breached by a traitor, exposing your rear guard and your sole modus op flag to complete and utter annihilation, what else could Bush-Cheney do? Throw out a smokescreen of slime and lies, and then launch a diversionary attack.

What might that be? The economy? Hardly. The Fed can no more affect our economy now than the Man in the Moon can harness the winds of Uranus.

The battle, the vote, will be won in the hearts and the minds of America. The diversion must be pure as the song of a lead crystal vase when struck. Sing out for Terrorism one more time.

Kill the Hamas cripple! Bring on world upheaval! Grudge Match of the Century! Bush'll easily draw out this diversion and Islamic counterreaction until the final votes are cast in November. The means justify the ends, says the Rovian Gospels.

To which I'd add, Gary Kasparov, where are you when we need you! The *sole* difference between the two Iraq strategies of George the Elder and George JR is just Dick Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rove, Krystol, all fundamentalists, and Halliburton.

The US House of Representatives voted Monday in an overwhelmingly Republican tally an Official Declaration that the United States and the World are now safer since Saddam has been toppled. There, now you know. Code green. We were free to move about the cabin for all of **one day**.

Think what you'll know tomorrow.

Posted by: Gary Lund on March 22, 2004 10:28 PM

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Gary

So you're the one who bought the unabomber's shed. I see you've indulged in the reading material. "kill the cripple". That is precious. Poor man won't be able to plot the murders of women and children. My heart goes out to the young palestinian males deprived of a role model. I mean whose going to teach them to grow up and be productive citizens for their civil society.

I wonder how Arafat slept last night. His just deserts can not come soon enough for me. He lived much longer than he would have if he had signed Clinton's peace agreement. Yassin would not have stood for peace.

Hey Luke

Don't listen to SW. Those on the left will not stand for a restructing of society unless they are in charge. Bush has never said democracy in Iraq would drastically change the situation in the region- Wake up SW. Why do you think he calls it the front on the war on terror. I thought you lefties were supposed to be smart well except for the 70% of high school dropouts who vote democrat.

Posted by: Brian on March 23, 2004 04:42 AM

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" Why do you think he calls it the front on the war on terror".

Because he's a crooked liar!

But don't listen to me! It might make you think.

Posted by: SW on March 23, 2004 05:14 AM

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Brian-

It is difficult to know what this administration thinks because it is secretive and obviously dishonest. So many of the reasons given for their policy do not make sense. If they have valid reasons, lets hear them. This is a democracy after all. My usual assumption when people are secretive and/or dishonest is that they are doing things that are not in my best interest or I would find objectionable.

I am one of those who believes that our embargo/containment policy against Iraq was not viable over the long run and that we needed another policy to move Iraq forward. I am not that opposed to toppling Saddam. However, I find the lack of post-war planning, the failure to send enough troop to stabilize Iraq after SH and the lack of control, troubling. Clearly Mr Bush acted too hastily because we were ill prepared.

A successful invasion and occupation requires complete domination by the occupying force. Order needs to be restored promptly. People need to return to their daily routine. It is easier to prevent a rebellion than to stop one. Had we established a clear, commanding presence from day one, ordered the Iraqi army to report to duty to restore order under the new command of the US, confiscated and secured the vast arsenals of small arms, prevented the looting from destroying much of the infrastructure, we would be far better off today.

At the same time, I do not view Iraq as in any way shape or form related to the war on terror. I think war on terror is a bad slogan, at least as bad as war on drugs. Covert activities require covert methods to reign them in. It is not a war. It is a police investigation. It is internation and requires international police efforts. With the exception of Afghanistan (a basket case) there are few countries that want al qaeda around. It is as much danger to their own country as to anyone else. This is why there never was a link between SH and bin Laden. SH knew they would prefer him and his secular government replaced with their own religious leader. It is also clear that our involvement in Iraq has harmed our ability to fight bin Laden and his organization. Iraq has drawn military resources away from the hunt for bin Laden and the resources necessary to help Afghanistan convert from a failed state to a modern secular state as it was in the 70s. Much of the criticism of Mr Bush is justified. This is because Mr Bush knows he is right and accepts helpful advice from no one.

Posted by: bakho on March 23, 2004 06:22 AM

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Note that Al Quaeda bombed the Twin Towers and Pentagon in order to intimidate the US into withdrawing its troops from Saudi Arabia -- and the US promptly withdrew its troops from Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones on March 23, 2004 06:42 AM

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Al Quaeda attacked the Twin Towers and the Pentagon in order to protest the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia -- and the US promptly withdrew its troops from Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones on March 23, 2004 06:48 AM

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Hmmm. So there's a delay loop in this ISP's posting mechanism, hunh?

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones on March 23, 2004 06:52 AM

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David L-J,
So does that make Bush-Cheney pretsel eating surrender monkeys? Are the Republicans the party of appeasement?

Posted by: Scott McArthur on March 23, 2004 07:18 AM

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"Hmmm. So there's a delay loop in this ISP's posting mechanism, hunh?"

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones on March 23, 2004 06:52 AM

David, what you're seeing is the speeded-up version. It used to take several minutes to let you know that it posted. The actual posting was fast, but feedback took a loooooooong time.

Posted by: Barry on March 23, 2004 08:01 AM

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David-there's another delay loop in the system. Are you saying our footprint in the region is smaller now. hee hee.

Bakho- What the hell do you know of the post war planning. Are you an expert in post war planning. That is a tired argument. Iraq, a country of multiple ethnic groups, recently agreed to a constitutional framework encompassing liberal ideas in short supply in the region much sooner than comparable situation in Japan and Germany which did not have ethnic tensions. So much for post war planning.

I firmly believe Iraq was involved in terror. Mylroie and others have documented the evidence. Bergen's rebuttal does avoid key aspects of Mylroie's case. Let me ask you this. Why is it that new administrations do not air the dirty laundry of previous administrations? The two party system for one and an unwillingness to undermine the public confindence in the gov't. The Clinton administration avoided the evidence of state sponsorship of terrorism like the plague. Bush is not going to rehash all of that, because Presidents simply don't do it. But even if you feel Iraq is as pure as the driven snow, a democratic and economically vibrant Iraq is surely a way to undermine the "root" causes of terrorism. The window of opportunity was quite obviously there to remove a horrendous regime so all the carping about no WMD is quite hollow.

Afghanistan is no longer a safe haven for Al Qaeda. It is a tribal region and will probably remain so. Massive infusions of US capital is a waste. Massive amount military assets would be wasted on a manhunt when the enemy is dispursed.

You know the liberal argument is weak when they champion a personal failure in the war on terror as their new Deep Throat.

Posted by: Brian on March 23, 2004 08:01 AM

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Luke, a foreign footprint in [insert any region here] involves "elementary considerations" which "cannot be articulated."

That's why so many Viet Nam war protesters became Iraq war protesters. Same protestors? Well, same policy of "elementary considerations", same "cannot be articulated" defense.

Posted by: J Edgar on March 23, 2004 08:32 AM

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Well I've got to read Clarke's book now. Could this urge I feel have something to do with his media appearances? Sure.

And please read this morning's Washongton Post piece, "The Book on Clarke." (Registration required.) The man has his own motives.

Still, his description of the Bush White House just rings so true that I accept it.

Another subject: anybody who thinks the plot to kill Yassin originated in Washington doesn't know how things work here. The NSC lawyers would have put an end to any such thinking before the idea got out of the crib...

Posted by: Jim Harris on March 23, 2004 08:32 AM

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"I firmly believe Iraq was involved in terror. Mylroie and others have documented the evidence".

This statement make you an idiot! No further efforts to communicate with you are worth the time or pixals.

Posted by: SW on March 23, 2004 08:45 AM

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10 questions for Clark and you other Dems:

Question number 1: Mr. Clarke, the first time the Sudanese government offered bin Laden to the United States, exactly what advice did you give Bill Clinton?

Question number 2: Mr. Clarke, the second time the Sudanese government offered bin Laden to the United States, exactly what advice did you give Bill Clinton?

Question number 3: Mr. Clarke, the third time the Sudanese government offered bin Laden to the United States, exactly what advice did you give Bill Clinton?

Question number 4: When Al-Qaeda attacked our barracks in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Clarke, what exactly advice did you give Clinton for striking back at them?

Question number 5: Mr. Clarke, when Al-Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center in 1993, what advice did you give Clinton for striking back at them?


Question number 6: Mr. Clarke, when Al-Qaeda attacked the USS Cole in 2000, what advice did you give President Clinton for striking back at them?

Question number 7: Mr. Clarke, when Al-Qaeda attacked the two U.S. embassies in North Africa, weren't you one of the experts who advised Clinton to bomb the pharmaceutical factory in Sudan?

Question number 8: Mr. Clarke, when Clinton was slashing the defense budget in the face of these Al-Qaeda attacks, did you advise him against it?

Question number 9: Mr. Clarke, when Clinton undermined the CIA in the face of all these takers, did you advise him against doing that?

Question number 10: Mr. Clarke, isn't it true that you and your colleagues in the Clinton administration generally were complete and miserable failures in defending this nation for eight years, and isn't it a little weak of you to now come forward and say that what Bush didn't do in the first nine months of his term, is pathetic?

Posted by: Adrian Spidle on March 23, 2004 09:24 AM

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I knew it -- it's all Clinton's fault!

Posted by: joe on March 23, 2004 09:34 AM

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Our Answers to your 10 Questions:

Please remove your cranium from your posterior before posing further questions, thank you.

Posted by: Arian Spittle on March 23, 2004 09:38 AM

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Brian sez:

"I firmly believe Iraq was involved in terror. Mylroie and others have documented the evidence. Bergen's rebuttal does avoid key aspects of Mylroie's case."

For those who haven't read Bergen's excellent article about the neocons favorite conspiracy theorist, Laurie Mylroie, here's the link:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2003/0312.bergen.html

Mylroie is a wack job. I don't think even the neocons believe her nonsense, but she's a "useful idiot."

Brian, what part of Laurie "tinfoil hat" Mylroie's case did Bergen fail to deal with?

Posted by: Kosh on March 23, 2004 09:38 AM

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"Here's what I learned: 1. Clarke is the real deal. 2. What he says is convincing. 3. What he says makes the Bush team look very bad. 4. What Cheney says about Clarke is a pack of lies."

Truly funny. Clarke is the guy who put the kibosh on the plan--accepted by Madeleine Albright, of all people--to work with the Sudan to have OBL arrested and turned over to us in 1997.

Then he did it again in 1999-2000 when the Abu Dhabi royal family offered to intercede with the Taliban to get OBL for the U.S.

Read all about it:

http://www.washtimes.com/commentary/20040322-082826-7678r.htm

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on March 23, 2004 09:42 AM

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" White House spokesman Scott McClellan still isn't rebutting any of the assertions made by Mr. Clarke"

Oh yes he is, I saw him briefing the press over and over on a simple chronological point that they didn't get. Clarke's story has a huge factual hole in it, i.e. we attacked Afghanistan PDQ.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on March 23, 2004 09:46 AM

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Arian,

Good questions -- maybe you could buy his book, read it, and let us know. Please note that Ramzi Yousef the key figure in the '93 trade center attack is in jail. (Interestingly, he was housed at one time with the Unabomber and McVey).

If I remember correctly many right-wingers pretty much opposed anything Clinton did including stiking at terrorist orgs.

Just imagine if Gore were president and bin Laden was still at large...what would you be saying?

Posted by: Mike on March 23, 2004 09:53 AM

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Just imagine if Gore were president and we had a half trillion dollar deficit -- what would the wingers be saying?

Posted by: joe on March 23, 2004 09:58 AM

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Kosh,

Yousef left New York on a Kuwaiti passport. She claims travel information in the file of the kuwaiti was dated 3 weeks after Iraq's invasion. I don't think kuwaiti clerks were doing filing at that time. Yousef's and the Kuwaiti finger prints were identical according to the FBI. Either he was the Kuwaiti which seems highly unlikely(experienced terrorist traveling on his own passport) or the file was altered in order to get Yousef's fingerprints in the file.

The FBI admittedly did not follow up on this angle.
Now she may or may not be right, but Clinton avoided serious confrontation at every turn and state sponorship of a domestic terrorism would have been most unwelcome. We suffered many attacks during the 90's and Iraq would have to be a prime suspect. We know Yousef is the nephew of a top Al Qaeda operations guy and one of Yousef's co-terrorists found refuge in Iraq. No tie huh. In fact, many say OBL and Hussein would be antagonists. Why put up an Al Qaeda terrorist on the run. He stayed there for at least 5 years.

This business of no ties is silly. Clinton's CIA head Woolsey wrote the forward to Mylroie's book. Yes yes I know Clarke is bullet proof and Woolsey is a wingnut.

All Bergen says about Yousef and the Kuwaiti is to laugh at Myroie pointing out an obvious heighth difference of 4 inches. He says nothing about the matching fingerprints and Post invasion notations in the Kuwaiti file. Why not? Bergen's covering for the Clinton's with a hatchet job.

Posted by: Brian on March 23, 2004 11:27 AM

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Brian, what in heaven's name makes you think that afghanistan isn't still a safe haven for Al Qaeda? It may no longer have training camps, but safe haven goes further than that.

Adrian, what a silly series of questions, and what a silly conclusion your draw. Your questions don't even deserve the time of day, but your conclusion is ridiculous: we already know virtually eveerything that Clarke is telling us. That's why his story is credible; it fits much other information available through a variety of sources to anyone who has bothered to keep up.

Patrick, really, it must be grand to be you. Everyone who disagrees with your world view is a liar. Makes life very simple, i'm sure.

Posted by: howard on March 23, 2004 11:31 AM

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Brian, i used to be friends with some deeply entrenched Kennedy conspiracy theorists, and frankly, that's exactly what myroie is in her own way. Stunningly enough, life isn't a detective novel; there are loose ends and errors and misjudgements. To seize on every loose end as proof that you're right and ignore the preponderance of the evidence weighing against you is the sign of a deluded mind, which is what my friends possessed in those days, too.

Posted by: howard on March 23, 2004 11:34 AM

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Brian sez:

"Either he was the Kuwaiti which seems highly unlikely(experienced terrorist traveling on his own passport) or the file was altered in order to get Yousef's fingerprints in the file."

Not sure what this proves if anything.

Bergen claims:

"U.S. investigators say that "Yousef" and Basit are in fact one and the same person, and that the man Mylroie describes as an Iraqi agent is in fact a Pakistani with ties to al Qaeda."

"In addition to ignoring Yousef's many connections to al Qaeda, Mylroie is clearly aware that in 1995, he gave what would be his only interview to the Arabic newspaper al Hayat since she alludes to it in her book Study of Revenge. "I have no connection with Iraq," said Yousef to his interviewer, adding for good measure that "the Iraqi people must not pay for the mistakes made by Saddam." "Yousef," who traveled under a variety of false identities, confirmed that his real name was indeed Abdul Basit and that he was a Pakistani born in Kuwait, and also admitted that he knew and admired Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, one of al Qaeda's spiritual gurus, whom the U.S. government would later convict of plotting terror attacks in New York. Yousef went on to say that he wanted to "aid members" of Egypt's Jihad group, a terrorist organization then led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is now bin Laden's deputy. Yousef's interview has the ring of truth as he freely volunteered that he knew Sheikh Rahman, the cleric whom the U.S. government had by then already identified as the inspiration for several terrorist conspiracies in New York during the early '90s and also explained that he was part of an Islamic movement which planned to carry out attacks in Saudi Arabia to avenge the arrests of Sheikh Salman al-Audah and Sheikh Safar al-Hawali, radical clerics who have profoundly influenced both bin Laden and al Qaeda. Yousef knew that he was likely facing a lifetime in prison at the time of this interview, and so had little reason to dissemble. In Study of Revenge, Mylroie is careful not to mention the substance of what Yousef said here as it demolishes her theory that he was an Iraqi agent."



Posted by: Kosh on March 23, 2004 12:18 PM

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"Clarke's story has a huge factual hole in it, i.e. we attacked Afghanistan PDQ."

Are you saying Clarke denies we attacked Afghanistan? Can you give a page/paragraph reference?

Posted by: ogmb on March 23, 2004 12:48 PM

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Kosh,

Why would he leave on his own passport if he traveled under a variety of names? He would burn his own identity. Seems careless for someone plotting future attacks doesn't it. While Yousef may be telling the truth about Iraq, I'd be careful taking his comments at face value.

Why would Sadaam put up Yousef's co-conspirator?

Let's be clear, I have proof of nothing, but I know Sadaam harbors great enmity towards the US with good reason. He would have great motive to strike the US. Gladly we will not have to worry about that any more.

Posted by: Brian on March 23, 2004 01:29 PM

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Brian asks: "Why would he leave on his own passport if he traveled under a variety of names? He would burn his own identity."

His real name was Abdul Basit. What was the name on the passport? Yousef was just one of his many aliases according to Bergen.

Posted by: Kosh on March 23, 2004 03:12 PM

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Please remove your cranium from your posterior before posing further questions, thank you.

It's BUSH'S posterior he needs to get his cranium out of.

There is a direct correlation between the distance from one's nose to Bush's ass and a diminished thought process.

Posted by: marty on March 23, 2004 04:33 PM

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Kosh

He used "Abdul Basit". You don't burn your own identity especially when a good portion of your family is in the terrorism business and you plan on future operations.

On another note:

Clarke's a bald bace liar. I just saw him on Charlie Rose and he again tried to pass of this view of Clinton in the terrorism war room meeting almost daily in 1999. He said this led to catching millenium bomber. Charlie pushed him saying(quite correctly) that it was only due to an alert border guard not Washington alertness. Clarke came right back boldly "She caught the guy do to an alert from Washington".

I googled the news reports and every single one says the same thing. The guy was simply nervous looking and a search of the car showed bags with powder. Quotes suggest they thought the guy was a drug smuggler. At one point a border guard shook a vile of liquid he thought was a drug which turned out to be a form of nitroglycerin.

NO ALERT OF TERRORISM.

Why tell the lie. He's obviously trying to make Clinton look good and Bush bad.

He's a petty partisan, bureaucratic failure and the mainstream media and liberal wingnuts are eating it up.

Posted by: Brian on March 23, 2004 04:44 PM

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Brian writes:
"Question number 1: Mr. Clarke, the first time the Sudanese government offered bin Laden to the United States, exactly what advice did you give Bill Clinton? "

Patrick writes:
“Truly funny. Clarke is the guy who put the kibosh on the plan--accepted by Madeleine Albright, of all people--to work with the Sudan to have OBL arrested and turned over to us in 1997.”


The answer to this can be found in _Ghost Wars_ p322
"Years later the questiojn of whether Sudan formally offered to turn bin Laden over became a subject of dispute. Sudan's government said it made suchy an offer. American officials say it did not." Among those denying such an offer are George Tenant head of the CIA whio swore to it under oath. At least part of this is nonsensical semantics related to what the Sudanese actually offered., as a Sudanese official stated, "We said, 'If you have a legal case you can take him." Brian and others who keep making this accusation do two things when they raise this accusati0on. 1) They assume it was true and do not accept the denials of senior - level officials who carried out these negotiations. and 2) Leave out the actual offer, as stated by some Sudenese source or another; which was to extradite bin Laden, based on charges filed in the United States. In addition the CIA had found that all Sudanese officials were corrupt during this period, and that many were taking money from bin Laden who was operating businesses in Sudan. So those who make this claim are in the rather odd position of believing a corrupt Sudenese official who might have actually taken money from bin Laden and not believing George Tenant, who serves today as Bush’s CIA chief.

As to what Clarke advised at the time: “Senior American officials did discuss, as a hypothetical question, in their own meetings as to whether the United States had a legal basis to take bin Laden into custody. According to officials involved, Richard Clarke at the White House, and possibly Deutch at CIA, raised the issue around the time of talks with Sudan…When White House officials asked the Justice Department about the possibility of an indictment, word came back that no indictment was possible.” So Clerke was struggling to detain bin Laden as early as 1996. The conclusion was an attempt to get countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Jordan, where terrorists were taking money from bin Laden, to detain him. They turned down the request.

Overall Clerke comes out looking good in almost all accounts that take up his role. It makes the current attacks on him seem all the more bizarre. The Patrick cites is unintentionally hilarious, since this is an accusation that is made up of whole cloth. See also Age of Sacred Terror_ for a similer account.

Posted by: Lawrence Boyd on March 23, 2004 05:09 PM

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The problem with Patricks credibily is he writes:
“Truly funny. Clarke is the guy who put the kibosh on the plan--accepted by Madeleine Albright, of all people--to work with the Sudan to have OBL arrested and turned over to us in 1997.”
Truly funny OBL was in Afghanistan in 1997. Even funnier the link atg the Washing Times doesn't make this claim.

Posted by: Lawrence Boyd on March 23, 2004 05:44 PM

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So, Brian, those two witnesses to the conversation in the White House situation room don't exist.

Must be nice to have such religious beliefs that you have absolutely no doubts that what your guy says is right and what the other guy says is a lie, regardless of the evidence... oh wait... wait... it's coming....

I'M SAVED! I'm Saved! I've accepted George W. Bush as my personal Lord and Savior! Now I no longer have to worry about those "fact" things, because the only truth is His truth! Now I no longer have to worry about whether what I read is true or not, because I have FAITH, glory to George W. Bush and His disciples, and know that only His word is truth, all else is lies, all lies, I tell you! Uhm, okay, Brian, now that I have accepted George W. Bush as my personal Lord and Savior, what's the next step that I need to take in order to gain the blissful faith in our Great Leader that you possess? Is there, like, some Holy Koolaid that I have to drink or something? Or do I just need to, like, pray to God above and His presence on Earth, the 4th member of the Holy Trinity, George W. Bush? Rabid attack penguins want to know!

- BadTux the "Where can I get some Holy Koolaid of my own?" Penguin

Posted by: BadTux on March 23, 2004 05:52 PM

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Kleiman: "Here's what I learned: 1. Clarke is the real deal. 2. What he says is convincing. 3. What he says makes the Bush team look very bad. 4. What Cheney says about Clarke is a pack of lies."

Pat Sullivan: "Truly funny. Clarke is the guy who put the kibosh on the plan--accepted by Madeleine Albright, of all people--to work with the Sudan to have OBL arrested and turned over to us in 1997.

"Then he did it again in 1999-2000 when the Abu Dhabi royal family offered to intercede with the Taliban to get OBL for the U.S. Read all about it:

" http://www.washtimes.com/commentary/20040322-082826-7678r.htm "

Gee, that's strange. According to Richard Miniter and National Review on Sept. 11, 2003, Clarke kept urging the Clinton Administration to attack Al Qaida, and the fools in that administration kept saying it wasn't urgent:

http://www.nationalreview.com/interrogatory/interrogatory091103b.asp

As you say, Patrick: truly funny. And as Alex Lizza points out today in the New Republic (and Josh Marshall pointed out yesterday), the funniest thing of all is the fact that Bush's clowns -- piling frantically out of the little car to attack Clarke over the past two days -- keep directly contradicting each other's stories.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on March 23, 2004 07:06 PM

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"So, Brian, those two witnesses to the conversation in the White House situation room don't exist."

Make that THREE witnesses, Bad Tux:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/23/politics/23CLAR.html?pagewanted=1

The White House continues to insist that they have no recollection and no records showing that Clarke's declared meeting with Bush -- in which Clarke says Bush pressured him into blaming the attack on Iraq -- took place. But Clarke said at the start that he could present three independent witnesses, and by God three former White House officials HAVE backed him up on that -- one of them, his deputy Robert Cressey, giving his name. (One testified to CBS, then two to the Washington Post, and now all three to the NY Times.) At least two say that Condoleeza Rice was present, although she still insists that she has "no recollection" of any such meeting. The weird thing is that two of them -- including Cressey -- also say that they did NOT share Clarke's belief that Bush was pressuring him, and say instead that they thought Bush was just asking him to look into it as a possibility. So why the hell is the White House concealing the fact that the meeting occurred at all?

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on March 23, 2004 07:10 PM

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Comments, Patrick?

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on March 23, 2004 07:13 PM

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"He's a petty partisan, bureaucratic failure and the mainstream media and liberal wingnuts are eating it up."

Oh the beauty of Brian clutching at straws! If he were a Clinton partisan and a bureaucratic failure the GWB White House would have had no reason to keep him on, neither before nor after 911. It is obvious that the WH was in no position to dismiss him outright due to his (bipartisan) professional reputation, so they had to gradually reduce his role since obviously he was less and less satisfied with what he saw.

Posted by: ogmb on March 23, 2004 07:13 PM

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Yep. And, lest anyone be fool enough to fall for the current White House line that Rand Beers is a Democratic partisan hack, despite the fact that he worked for Bush for seven straight months and before that for Reagan and Bush Senior -- rather like Clarke, in fact -- see http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_2004_03_21.php#002749 and http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A62941-2003Jun15?language=printer .

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on March 23, 2004 07:28 PM

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Great thread!! But some truth remains in Sam's post, "They (Likud/Mossad) could have had Sheikh Ahmed Yassin anytime." Isn't it wildly beyond all coincidence that 24 hours MOL after Sharon's neo-con benefactors are struck a fatal blow to their sole party plank by Clarke, that Yassin goes down and sets the Middle East back on fire?

Terrorism trumps the Joker, regardless of who at the table played it, and who'd signaled for it. Now we all gotta stay off the planes and trains.

www.rense.com/general16/isrealiplottheory.htm
Can't wait to read the 911 Commission Report!!!

Posted by: Red Buttens on March 23, 2004 07:52 PM

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So sorry, it was 1996 when Sudan offered bin Laden to us:

http://www.newsmax.com/showinside.shtml?a=2003/2/9/124754

---------------quote--------------
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Sunday that she couldn't explain why ex-president Bill Clinton turned down a deal with the government of Sudan to take Osama bin Laden into custody seven years ago. But she admitted that, "obviously, in hindsight, one would wish that some other action had been taken."

Albright feigned ignorance of the Clinton-bin Laden extradition deal during the following exchange with NBC "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert:

RUSSERT: In May of 1996 under pressure from the United States and Saudi Arabia, the Sudanese government asked bin Laden to leave. He returned to Afghanistan permanently..... Was it a mistake to let Osama bin Laden leave Sudan - or at least not apprehend him in Qatar on his way to Afghanistan?

ALBRIGHT: As I understand it, and I was ambassador to the U.N. at the time, was that basically we felt that he was too intricately involved with some of the activities in Sudan, which was a major issue for us. And that it was better to get him out of there.

Obviously, in hindsight, one would wish that some other action had been taken. But, for the most part, that was a decision made on the basis of information at that time, that he was playing the terrorist game there and that there had in fact been terrorist activity. As you know, there was an attempt on President Mubarak's life that came out of that area. And that it was probably better to move (bin Laden) out.

RUSSERT: But why not capture him, apprehend him while he was refueling in Qatar?

ALBRIGHT: I can't answer that question. (End of excerpt)

While Ms. Albright claims she doesn't know the answer to that question, Mr. Russert certainly does - though he declined to challenge her. But in fact, in May 1996, ex-President Clinton gave the order not to take bin Laden into custody, a blunder he confessed in a speech to a Long Island, N.Y. business group last year.

"Mr. bin Laden used to live in Sudan. He was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1991, then he went to Sudan," Clinton told the Long Island Association in on Feb. 15, 2002.

"And we'd been hearing that the Sudanese wanted America to start dealing with them again. They released him. At the time, 1996, he had committed no crime against America so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him, though we knew he wanted to commit crimes against America."
--------------endquote-------------

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on March 25, 2004 04:54 PM

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"why the hell is the White House concealing the fact that the meeting occurred at all?"

They aren't. You can't read.


Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on March 25, 2004 04:56 PM

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I love this book and I'm currently eating it up, however, has anyone found some bizarre mistakes? Example: Page 97, he makes reference to the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma, having received the news on a Sunday afternoon in March, 1995. The bombing happened on Wednesday, April 19th, 1995. Is he writing this all on memory without verification. If so, (and I hate to say this) his credibility is shakey. What do you think?

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