March 25, 2004

It's a Circular Firing Squad of Flying Attack Monkeys!

I'm sorry, but Tom Toles's cartoon is insufficient:

Tom Toles of Slate:

It's not enough to say that the Bush administration attacks on the character (for there are no attacks on the substance of his remarks) of Richard Clarke remind one of the flying attack monkeys from "The Wizard of Oz." For what we have here is not just a bunch of flying attack monkeys, it is a circular firing squad of flying attack monkeys.

Robert Waldmann hides in the brush with his binoculars and watches the antics of the circular firing squad of flying monkeys that is the Bush administration trying to go on the offensive against Richard Clarke:

Richard Clarke has sparked a furious debate. Many have remarked that Kerry is glad to sit it out. Clarke is not sitting it out but he could. The furious debate is between various Bush administration officials presenting wildly contradictory denials Clarke’s claims and wildly contradictory attacks on Clarke. I think the best battles are between one guy and himself.


Wilkinson v. Wilkinson:

It's good to have an open mind if you're Bush:

I think your viewers tonight would be a little alarmed if the president didn't ask about any connection from anybody on any part of the globe, frankly. The president wanted to know who did it and who was responsible.

It's bad to have an open mind if you're Clarke:

Dick Clarke, on another interview he gave to PBS "Frontline," said that, right after 9/11, all his options were open. He wasn't sure who did it. So, again, we see Mr. Clarke on three sides of a two-sided issue. What the American people need to know is that their government is working diligently to go after al Qaeda.


Colin Powell vs. Himself:

What Powell has forgotten is that in national security-speak "roll-back" and "containment" are antonyms:

We wanted to move beyond the roll-back policy of containment.

And we haven't even gotten to the fact that the "beyond the roll-back" policy that Clarke presented in September 2001 was identical to the "roll-back policy of containment" that Clarke had presented in January of 2001.


McClellan and Hadley vs. Bartlett and Hadley

Clarke is making up lies:

HADLEY: We can not find evidence that this [Situation Room] conversation [about links between Al Qaeda and Iraq] between Mr. Clarke and the President [on September 12, 2001] ever occurred.

McCLELLAN: Let's just step backwards -- regardless, regardless, put that aside. There's no record of the President being in the Situation Room on that day that it was alleged to have happened, on the day of September the 12th. When the President is in the Situation Room, we keep track of that.

Clarke is telling the truth:

White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer -- text and audio. "I'm not here to dispute that there wasn't a conversation and the fact that President Bush didn't ask questions about Iraq, I'm sure he did and I'm glad he did..."

HADLEY: But the point I think we're missing in this is of course the President wanted to know [on September 12] if there was any evidence linking Iraq to 9/11.


Cheney Vs Wilkinson

Clarke was out of the loop:

"Well, he wasn't in the loop frankly on a lot of this stuff," sniffed Vice President Dick Cheney on Rush Limbaugh's radio show Monday.

Clarke was not only in the loop, he was the loop:

Jim Wilkinson, an NSC spokesman, on Paula Zahn Monday night: "I would say, I would remind you that Dick Clarke was in charge of counterterrorism policy when the African embassies were bombed. Dick Clarke was in charge of counterterrorism policy when the USS Cole was bombed. Dick Clarke was in charge of counterterrorism policy in the time preceding 9/11 when the threat was growing."

Special bonus question: if Clarke has so out-of-the-loop/so incompetent why did George W. Bush decide in January 2001 that Clarke was the best person in the world to be NSC Director for Counterterrorism and head of the Counterterrorism Strategy Group?


Wolfowitz vs. his own staff:

Wolfowitz was never dismissive of the threat from Al Qaeda:

"A spokesman for Wolfowitz describes Clarke's account as a 'fabrication.' Wolfowitz always regarded Al Qaeda as 'a major threat,' says this official."

But Wolfowitz won't deny Clarke's account of the meeting:

ROEMER: Mr. Clarke... has a reference in his book to an April 30th deputies meeting, where he claims... that in this meeting, when they were talking about a plan to go forward to go after bin Laden and Al Qaida, that you brought up the subject of Iraq and that you put too much attention on Iraq as a sponsor, as a state sponsor of terrorism and not enough emphasis on Al Qaida as a transnational sponsor of terrorism...

WOLFOWITZ: Thanks for giving me a chance to comment. Before I do that, let me just make a comment on the last exchange you had with Secretary Rumsfeld... [44 lines of blather follow]

With respect to Mr. Clark and let me say, I haven't read the book yet. I was called by a reporter on the weekend with a quote from the book attributed to me. I tried to get the book. It wasn't available in book stores. It was only available to selected reporters. And I got it yesterday, but I did not have time to read it in the last 24 hours. I'll get to it at some point.

But with respect to the quote that the reporter presented as having been put in my mouth, which was an objection to Mr. Clark suggesting that ignoring the rhetoric of Al Qaida would be like ignoring Hitler's rhetoric in "Mein Kampf," I can't recall ever saying anything remotely like that. I don't believe I could have.

In fact, I frequently have said something more nearly the opposite of what Clark attributes to me. I've often used that precise analogy of Hitler and "Mein Kampf" as a reason why we should take threatening rhetoric seriously, particularly in the case of terrorism and Saddam Hussein.

So I am generally critical of the tendency to dismiss threats as simply rhetoric. And I know that the quote Clark attributed to me does not represent my views then or now. And that meeting was a long meeting about seven different subjects, all of them basically related to Al Qaida and Afghanistan...


Rice vs. Wilkinson vs. Anonymous:

Wilkinson: Clarke was too focused, and did not have a broad enough strategy for dealing with Al Qaeda:

I want to make a very point here, that all of his ideas he presented were not a strategy. This is a president who wanted a comprehensive strategy to go after al Qaeda where it lives, where it hides, where it plots, where it raises money.

Rice: Clarke's strategy was too broad and unfocused:

This was in fact Dick Clarke's area of responsibility and when I asked him shortly after coming to the White House to give us a strategy for dealing with al Qaeda, because he made a very persuasive brief being the dangers of al Qaeda, what I got was a laundry list of ideas, many of which had been rejected in the Clinton administration in 1998.

Anonymous quoted in Time: Clarke's strategy was just right:

In the words of a senior Bush Administration official, [Clarke's] proposals amounted to "everything we've done since 9/11.


And Ryan Lizza has some more examples of this circular firing squad of flying attack monkeys in action:

Hadley vs. Cheney:

The Bush administration loved Clarke and did everything he asked:

STEVEN HADLEY: Dick is very dedicated, very knowledgeable about this issue. When the President came into office, one of the decisions we made was to keep Mr. Clarke and his counter-terrorism group intact, bring them into the new administration--a really unprecedented decision, very unusual when there has been a transition that involves a change of party. We did that because we knew al Qaeda was a priority, that there was a risk that we would be attacked and we wanted an experienced team to try and identify the risk, take actions to disrupt the terrorists--and if an event, an attack were to succeed, to be an experienced crisis management team to support the president.

Clarke was an incompetent Clinton holdover who was quickly shunted aside:

Lizza: But on Monday, once the Bushies had taken a closer look at how devastating Clarke's account was, Hadley's soft approach was abandoned. The new method for overcoming the inconvenient fact that Bush put Clarke in charge of terrorism was to simply write Clarke out of the history of the Bush administration altogether. Instead of Bush's terrorism adviser, Clarke became a weak Clintonite who did little to halt Al Qaeda's rise during the 1990s. If there was one consistent theme to yesterday's attack, this was it. The most intellectually dishonest performance was Dick Cheney's emergency interview on Rush Limbaugh's radio show. Limbaugh wondered how in the world Bush could have made this guy Clarke head of counterterrorism. "Well, I wasn't directly involved in that decision," Cheney said. "He was moved out of the counterterrorism business over to the cybersecurity side of things. That is, he was given the new assignment at some point there. I don't recall the exact time frame."

Who could be expected to keep track of such minor details as how long Clarke was kept as counterterrorism czar? Maybe some scenes from Clarke's book would jog the vice president's memory. Clarke was the guy standing in Cheney's office on the morning of 9/11 with Rice in the minutes after the first attack. He's the guy that Condi turned to and asked, "Okay, Dick, you're the crisis manager, what do you recommend?" Later in the day he was also the guy standing in between Rice and Cheney in the White House Situation Room. He was the one whose shoulder Cheney placed his hand on when he asked, "Are you getting everything you need, everybody doing what you want?" Cheney might also remember Clarke as the guy who asked Cheney to request authorization from Bush to shoot down any hijacked airplanes. He may also recall him as the man who briefed Bush when the president finally arrived back at the White House. In other words, Cheney neglected to inform Limbaugh's audience that Clarke didn't move to cyberterrorism until a month after 9/11.


Cheney and Rice vs. Hadley:

Lizza: "So the only thing I can say about Dick Clarke," Cheney continued on Limbaugh's show, "is he was here throughout those eight years going back to 1993, and the first attack on the World Trade Center in '98 when the embassies were hit in east Africa, in 2000 when the USS Cole was hit, and the question that ought to be asked is, what were they doing in those days when he was in charge of counterterrorism efforts?"

Rice echoed the memory-hole strategy yesterday, noting on Fox News, "Dick Clarke was counterterrorism czar for a long time with a lot of attacks on the United States. What he was doing was--what they were doing apparently was not working. We wanted to do something different." She didn't get a chance to explain how this statement comports with Hadley's insistence that "one of the decisions we made was to keep Mr. Clarke and his counter-terrorism group intact" because "we wanted an experienced team to try and identify the risk, take actions to disrupt the terrorists."

So there's a significant problem with the memory-hole strategy: It requires everyone to suspend their knowledge of one of the most elementary facts of this story...


Rice vs. McClellan:

Clarke is much too concerned with scheduling meetings:

Rice: "To somehow suggest that the attack on 9/11 could have been prevented by a series of meetings--I have to tell you that during the period of time we were at battle stations," Rice said yesterday. McClellan added, "He's been out there talking about whether or not he was participating in certain meetings. So it appears to be more about the process than the actual actions we have taken." Obviously, the topics the administration chooses to hold high-level meetings on suggest a great deal about its priorities, but Clarke's main point goes beyond that. In his book he argues that cabinet-level meetings during the dangerous period of late summer 2001 actually could have been instrumental in shaking information out of the bureaucracies...

We know Clarke is a bad guy because he skipped Rice's staff meetings:

McClellan suggests that Rice's staff meetings were essential. "Dr. Rice, early on in the administration," McClellan said yesterday, "started holding daily briefings with the senior directors of the National Security Council, of which he was one. But he refused to attend those meetings, and he was later asked to attend those meetings and he continued to refuse to attend those meetings." Apparently, some meetings are more important than others.


Cheney vs. Rice:

Vice President Dick Cheney's assertion that Richard A. Clarke, the administration's former counterterrorism chief, was "out of the loop."

On the contrary, Ms. Rice said, Mr. Clarke was very much involved in the administration's fight against terrorism. "I would not use the word `out of the loop,'... He was in every meeting that was held on terrorism," Ms. Rice said. "All the deputies' meetings, the principals' meeting that was held and so forth, the early meetings after Sept. 11."

Posted by DeLong at March 25, 2004 10:02 AM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post
Comments

SNAFU

Posted by: big al on March 24, 2004 01:16 PM

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And which distinguished member of the SCLM will have the courage/integrity/running room from timid editors actually to write up this catalog of simultaneously duplicity ("triplicity"? etc.) and let the American people know about it?

Posted by: Steady Eddie on March 24, 2004 01:47 PM

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Very comprehensive list of contradictory statements, Dr. DeLong. Why don't YOU join the press corps? (I'm being totally serious)

Posted by: Brad Reed on March 24, 2004 01:50 PM

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You get an A+ for this instant research paper. Oh, what a tangled web we weave....

Posted by: wvmcl on March 24, 2004 01:55 PM

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I didn't do it. Robert Waldmann and Ryan Lizza did...

Posted by: Brad DeLong on March 24, 2004 02:03 PM

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THROWING BACK THE BUSH-T!

I can think of no one in Wash. DC who would consider
Richard Clark anything but an honorable man with no
personal ambition other than to serve his nation. Yet,
after his "60 Minutes" appearance in advance of his
book's release today, the Bush White House has
mobilized all sorts of staff from Rice at the top on
NBC's "Today" show to Bartlett, the PR guy, on Fox-TV,
attacking Clark about the way TV adds for prescription
drugs attack the symptoms from diseases. It all seems
to be based on the viewer's ignorance about both the
pathology of the disease and the pharmacology of the
treatment. Consequently, the ads resort to "passion
plays" such as the woman who suffered severe arthritis
but thanks to *prescription only* drug X was able to
attend her daughter's wedding and dance all night; now
her daughter too has arthritis but "thank goodness
that she won't have to suffer as I did," because she
has been put on this same drug early in life. They
tell you to "talk to your doctor and ask if you are
not a candidate for drug X."

What in God's name are you to say? A doctor has five
minutes for each patient thanks to HMO standards and
is not about to discuss TV Rx with patients.

Similarly, the White House spokesmen took advantage of
the fact that no one read the book nor knows anything
about Clark's former functions in the anti-terror
bureaucracy. So they throw doubts such as: "A search
of White House records shows that, in fact, no such
meeting took place." Or, "the President, according to
the record, never said such a thing." Or, "Dick was
not in on the later Camp David meeting and could not
have known that this WAS INDEED discussed." (Could we
see these records, by the way?) Then, the attack goes
from challenge of spacial contingencies (the President
was not there, he was as Walapagnambialyiertiyxvnville
for an important meeting on alQaeda.") to challenge of
temporal ones: "You must ask yourself why this book
appears NOW, of all times." The implication,
ipso-facto is that Clark is bucking for terrorism Czar
in the Kerry Administration (especially given whose
office is near Clark's at Harvard U!).

But the very issue to which Mr. Clark contributes is
the issue that has been around for all the days since
9/11-- why in Iraq medicine in such big doses and in
Afghanistan in such small doses? If your doctor
erroneously mispositioned the decimal point in a
prescription, the patient is supposed to say: Gee Doc,
isn't that about 100 times (more/less) what you gave
me last time, QID (3x a day)?

So, for a year now media, citizens and retired Govt.
and military officials haver been asking-- along with
Afghanistan's head of State: Mr. Bush, why so big an
effort after Saddam and to "rebuild" Iraq and why so
small an effort to get binLaden-- still at large three
years later-- and "rebuild" Afghanistan?

Sen. Biden never tires of telling about the girl
student who grabbed his arm when he visited her new
school in Kabul, insisting, "You can't go. You have to
stay here and protect my school. If you go away the
Taliban will come back and I won't be able to go to
school anymore. I want to become a doctor, like my
mother. I want to help people; so you must help me by
staying and making sure that my school doesn't close
and the Taliban doesn't return..." I don't recall Mr.
Bremer ever telling such a story!

The point is that Mr. Bush wants bragging rights for
his war on terror in Afghanistan AND Iraq. But then he
has to take responsibility for the side-effects of his
policy. Now that Afghanistan is made up of a Govt. of
multi-billion $$$ drug dealing warlords and Iraq is
about to join with Iran to make up the "Greater Shi'ia
Empire," Mr. Bush has to face the issues brought up by
Dick Clark. He can't say: "why now?" It is NOW,
because Bush is NOW running for re-election of what he
did in Afghanistan and Iraq THEN, promising more of
the same; remember: "I am a war president..."?

This administration is as secretive as the drug
companies are about their products. Almost everything
is CLASSIFIED. Yet, middle level security-cleared
bureaucrats are spilling their guts out to journalists
allover Wash DC, as if the reporters were
father-confessors, trying to assuage their own guilt
and disgust over the actions taken and secretly stated
motivations in "secret" memorandum ad nauseum of this
administration on the Middle East. Invariably, it's
all coming out. But it is only press scuttlebutt until
high ups like O'Neill and Clark come forward. The
retort from Bush-Cheney & Co. then is that it's all
lies. And, when independent sources confirm, as did to
CBS's Leslie Stalh about Clark meetings with Bush, the
PR "damage control" crew merely sais: I stand on what
I said. Too bad you can't read their pulse rate, blood
pressure, pupillary size and hands sweating!

Then there is the question trumpeted ad nauseum by
Neil Cavuto on Fox-TV, a Wall Streeter-- you know, the
guys who brought you ENRON, Global Crossings and
Worldcom etc. Cavuto asks why on "60 Minutes" Clark
said so little about how "Bill Clinton dropped the
ball on alQaeda." The answer is obvious: because
Clinton is NOT running for four more years as chief of
national security, Bush IS!

Lastly, when all else fails, our Homeland Security
Czar gets on TV and tells us that his department is
taking new measures to "protect" us. It is giving more
supplies and guidelines for local police, after
Madrid, for dealing with a subway or train
catastrophe...Well, what do you expect? Would you
expect a drug company executive to come up with
preventive regimens or treatments?

I lived through the Cold War-- three shooting wars in
it-- and have never heard so much flim-flam absurdity
from the national leadership. On the other hand, never
in all my years of being "exceptionally well informed"
did I ever see a time when a bungling administration
lied so much while living in so much of a glass house.
The press seems to know so much about the Bush
medicine that it can successfully predict the
side-effects. In fact, a recent essay in NEW YORK
REVIEW OF BOOKS, "Now They Tell Us," argues that what
we don't know, we don't know because the press doesn't
want or doesn't care if we know. I hope you all read
it:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/16922

Never in our history had we ever been privy to so much
detail-- so accurately presented-- on how our
leadership stumbles about trying to run America while
enriching its "base." Those who haven't got a clue as
to what all the brouhaha is all about, don't know
because they don't want to know. As an American by
choice, not chance, please let me tell you all, NOW IS
THE TIME FOR YOU TO FIND OUT, or live with the
consequences.

Daniel E. Teodoru



Posted by: DE Teodoru on March 24, 2004 02:33 PM

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Circular Firing Squad of 1,000 Flying Monkeys Typing on 1,000 Flying Typewriters

Its one thing for the Bushies to be uncoordinated and discombobulated. What's amazing to me is that they have had, literally, months to prepare for this. Clarke has said he submitted his manuscript to the Administration for security review in late December. So they've had the other guy's game plan for three months and this is what they come up with?

Posted by: Rod Hoffman on March 24, 2004 03:14 PM

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A flock of flying monkeys can be so confusing; perhaps this is what the administration has in mind. More Rove genius? after all the US press and population seem to be easily confused at which point they lose interest.

Posted by: Ron in Portland on March 24, 2004 03:18 PM

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Some have attributed to me the idea that one can fit a line through two points. First of all, I want to question the intentions of any one who attributes fitting "lines" through "points" on behalf of any one in the administation. The President has always believed in points and lines, though, the thing is that he has always insisted that lines should be drawn instead of quarreling about small points. On the other hands, two points are not the only things you can fit a line through. And I am not denying that the shorter way between two points is a line. Just that you can join two points with a curve. It might be a slighter longer way but it offers a more flexible way of "drawing lines" and plus it offers the possibility of going through points you wouldn't have gone through otherwise. The fact that we wanted to go to point B has fast as possible is irrelevant, even though it has always ranked highest on the President's mind. Make no mistake, the President did not, I mean did, attend that geometry lesson prior to our missing the point. The point is that even with the best ruler you sometimes miss the point even though you drew the best line you could. And in any case, going through point C was always part of the broader line strategy to get to point B, and I insist, using the shorter distance that the President could think of...

In other words, when reality imitates the Onion...

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on March 24, 2004 03:21 PM

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Jebus what happened to the trolls? Poor fuckers don't have much to work with.

Posted by: SW on March 24, 2004 03:36 PM

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I think Ron in Portland has a point... Inconsistancy hasn't stopped the administration before, and up until very, very recently, inconsistancy hasn't hurt them in credibility. Even with the cacophony of blathering by the flying monkeys, the plan is just to leave the impression that Clarke is not to be trusted. Pretty much the same thing Bush has done to convince the public that Saddam had a hand in 9/11 or that everything bad that has happened in America is the direct result to 9/11.

Posted by: Wesley McGee on March 24, 2004 04:05 PM

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shorter Clarke:

If the Bush Administration would pull their collective heads out their a***es, they would find another one drilled right next door.

Posted by: swampdawg on March 24, 2004 04:10 PM

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"Jebus what happened to the trolls?"

They'll be here in droves in a few hours, pasting arguments copied from right wing web sites. There is just an unexplained delay in getting the daily talking points to the wingnut websites.

The wingnut attack machine is louder than ever, just like your car's engine gets louder before it conks out entirely.

Posted by: Free Speech on March 24, 2004 04:12 PM

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I watched Clarke testify today and I was blown away:
He opened his testimony with:

"Your government failed you.  Those entrusted with protecting you failed you.  I failed you.  We tried hard, but we failed you...I ask for your understanding, and your forgiveness."

The overwhelming difference between Clarke and others who testified, and the President, and all in his administration is to put it simply, his character. This should have been said long ago by the President, by someone, anyone. It is so unusual for someone to be accountable, to not blame others, to hold to the truth that I was shocked, as were others who I watched the hearing with. (I was in a gym). It simply got better from that point on. The seriously wierd response to him by the administration is easily understood. The man is a far more serious individual than anyone in leadership in the current administration.

Posted by: Lawrence Boyd on March 24, 2004 04:31 PM

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Rod H. wrote,

"What's amazing to me is that they have had, literally, months to prepare for this. Clarke has said he submitted his manuscript to the Administration for security review in late December."

I kind of wonder who was in charge of this security review, how they feel about who they're working for, and how they decide what info to send up the food chain.

Maybe Rove et al dropped the ball-- or maybe they didn't realize it was in play.

Posted by: Tom Marney on March 24, 2004 04:54 PM

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Whoever was in charge of reviewing that book probably sent a memo upwards -- but the higher-ups didn't want to "swat flies."

Posted by: Alan on March 24, 2004 05:00 PM

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How would you like to be the guy (gal) in the WH who was responsible for holding the Clark book for 3 months closer to the election, then not giving them sufficient heads up to prepare rebuttals?

I'm sure whoever this person is is toast and fried.

Posted by: Alan on March 24, 2004 05:01 PM

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Brian -- actually, Brad has severe doubts about O'Neill as an economist and as a Bush adviser, but that doesn't mean he can't cite testimony from O'Neill's book.

From what I've read, Clinton wasn't all that great on counterterrorism, but Bush was worse. Clinton isn't running for office, and no one has to defend him. It's Kerry vs. Bush, and Bush plans to use his heroic anti-terrorism record in the campaign. A lot of people think that that's BS, and that Bush's counter-terrorism record isn't that great.

Saying "Clinton was just as bad" or even "At least I wasn't Clinton" doesn't go anywhere. Bush really has to be able to show a great record, and he can't.

Posted by: Zizka on March 24, 2004 05:41 PM

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Brian whining doesn't become you:
"I've described a few very important cases of blatant fabrications by Clarke and no one attempts to refute. They call me stupid for sure and Brad deletes my posts. I guess that is easier than confronting the facts."

You have a difficult time Brian because your facts turn out to be not true, like your assertion Bill Clinton turned down a Sudanese offer to hand over OBL This happens when you rely mainly on Fox News as a source.

"Listening to Tenet's testimony I was struck by the "misuderstanding" between CIA and Executive on whether OBL was to be assassinated. Clarke says in 1999 Clinton was running a terrorism war room and yet this quite fundemental misunderstanding. Something smells."

Once again Brian this can be found in detail in _Ghost Wars_:

p. 319
"In January 1996 the CIA's counter terrorist center opened a new office to track Osama bin Laden. The agency had never before dedicated a unit of this kind to a single terrorist. Formally known as the "bin Laden Issue Station" and code named "Alex," the group leased space in a suburban Virginia office park...employing about sixteen staff people...it was designated a "virtual station." This meant that within the the CIA's budgeting and cable routing systems, the unit would have the administrative status, privileges and autonomy enjoyed by more traditional stations abroad."
More on Clarke, p. 319:
"Some of the new focus on bin Laden came from Richard Clarke, a forceful career civil servant who in thye summer of 1995 had been appointed Clinton's counterterrorism director."

pp 376-379 Detail a plan to "capture" OBL using Afghan agent.s. In this passage it is explained in depth how the CIA made sure it left a paper trail saying that the goal of this ambush was to capture bin Laden alive. The reason being that the CIA was prohibited from enjgaging in assasination plots. The author makes a convincing case that the Afghans ambush would have led to OBL's death given the circumstances. The contradiction in the testimony comes from the legal requirement that CIA not assdasinate but that it can detain and then if in the process of detaining someone is killed while resisting arrest well...

Posted by: Lawrence Boyd on March 24, 2004 06:16 PM

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Brad,

You quote Scott McClellan as saying:

"Let's just step backwards -- regardless, regardless, put that aside. There's no record of the President being in the Situation Room on that day that it was alleged to have happened, on the day of September the 12th. When the President is in the Situation Room, we keep track of that."

Now, I've watched enough West Wing to know that the contention that the President was not in the Situation Room on September 12 must be laughable on it's very face. If GWB is not in the Situation Room on September 12, when does he ever go there?

Posted by: JA on March 24, 2004 08:03 PM

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Ironic that the best counterattack is just to publish every stupid thing the W hacksters said. Getting hoisted on one's petard is one thing but to see that much hoisting on that many petards has got to be unprecedented. The only thing they forgot is the part where they said that Clarke was a nut case. Or the part where Nixon's campaign manager said that Clarke's book was fiction.

Posted by: tstreet on March 24, 2004 08:23 PM

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The CIA is not allowed to assasinate foreign heads of state. There was no law against killing Osama Bin Laden. Tenet argued that they thought Clinton had ordered the DOD not the CIA to kill Bin Laden. He offers no reason for this belief.

Brad. If you have Brian's post somewhere in your Troll Guantanamo could you e-mail it to me ?

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on March 24, 2004 08:35 PM

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How does that transcript lead to:

"But Wolfowitz won't deny Clarke's account of the meeting:"?

It seemed like a denial to me.

He was honest enough to admit that he didn't remember the specific details of that particular meeting, but gave a plausible explanation for why Clarke's account must have been a misrepresentation.

Posted by: Gil on March 24, 2004 09:07 PM

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Robert Waldmann: You are referring to Executive order 12333, which forbids assassination except when "competent authority" (a.k.a. the President) formally finds that specific targets threaten U.S. citizens or national security such that that doing so would not be in violation of international law. See, for example, http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/cchrp/Use%20of%20Force/October%202002/Parks_final.pdf

Posted by: cafl on March 25, 2004 12:10 AM

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Gil the Wolfowitz testimony quoted by Brad has nothing to do with Clarke's assertion that Wolfowitz said that Iraqi terrorism was a much more important problem than al Qaeda terrorism.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_2004_03_21.php#002737


"Clarke relates, "I began saying, 'We have to deal with bin Laden; we have to deal with al Qaeda.' Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, said, 'No, no, no. We don't have to deal with al Qaeda. Why are we talking about that little guy? We have to talk about Iraqi terrorism against the United States.' ""

That is the statement which Wolfowitz' spokesman claimed was a fabrication and, notice, it does not seem to focus on Mein Kampf. Wolfowitz dodged the question because he was under oath, Clarke wrote the truth, and there is a written record of the meeting.

Have you noticed that they are much firmer in contesting Clarke when non under oath ? that Rice won't testify under oath ? That the one important claim of fact that contested (and which is confirmed by at least 3 witnesses) was of an impromptu meeting with no agenda and no transcript or minutes.

The Clarke Bush administration debate is obviously a debate between a man who is telling the truth and a bunch of people who are lying like dogs.

No one who looks at the evidence and has roughly normal intelligence can doubt this.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on March 25, 2004 03:33 AM

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Is this an example of a campaign having too much time and money and nothing better to do? The average Joe will not read Clarke's book. By Nov, the whole flap might be forgotten. The Bush campaign is drawing attention to Clarke by the intensity of their efforts to discredit him. The thin-skinned, vindictive administration is trumping the broader political considerations.

Posted by: bakho on March 25, 2004 06:53 AM

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Nitpick: Tom Toles is the Washington Post's editorial cartoonist. He's syndicated by Slate of course.

Posted by: Andrew Engblom on March 25, 2004 10:39 AM

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Adrian,

Please don't take this the wrong way, but Ann Coulter thinks we're all traitors here, and I think that means that she would like us all to be executed. I don't think many of us feel that there is any reason to entertain the views of somebody who expresses opinions such as these.

Posted by: joe on March 25, 2004 10:48 AM

____

Zizka, in evaluating Clinton's performance in building counterterrorism, one has to examine three factors:

1) What state was it in when he took office?

2) What factors peculiar to the time worked in his favor or against his effort?

3) What degree of improvement did it show over his time in office?

When Clinton's watch began, the intelligence apparatus was focused on non-existent Cold War threats. Humint was almost non-existent. A cozy good old boys atmosphere, which excluded non-whites and recruited religious zealots, was the norm. Electronic means were in their infancy.

Clinton faced serious resistance over most of his tenure. The Congress opposed his efforts to develop a means to counter domestic terrorism. He could not lean on the FBI because it was investigating him over "Whitewater." The CIA-- encouraged by people like Jesse Helms-- openly defied his orders in at least one country, and appeared to be evolving in rogue directions.

And yet, the intelligence apparatus that Clinton developed was clearly miles ahead of where it had been 8 years earlier. Electronic intelligence was in good shape. Human intelligence better, but still short of the required. Special forces/weapons well-advanced, as witness the Predator. In fact, the intelligence apparatus was so well-advanced that it understood the Al Qaida threat and warned the Bush Administration of it. The distrust the Bush Administration had for Clinton-era plans delayed implementation of the strategy: as Armitage said, one can be on the right track and yet get run over if one is too slow.

Had Al Gore been allowed to serve his term, it's likely that 911 would never have happened.

Posted by: Charles on March 25, 2004 11:18 AM

____

Charles, my main point was simply that Bush isn't running against Clinton now. He's running against Kerry. He has to defend his record in itself, not by comparing it to Clinton's.

There's a troll tendency to think that all the Democrats in the world are just one big, traitorous, cowardly guy, and that if you discredit one of them you discredit all of them. But Kerry doesn't have to run on Clinton's record.

As for Clinton's actual performance -- maybe it was better than I said. In the book "Germs" about CBW Clinton looks very, very good. He carefully read the JAMA issue on CBW and had his staff read it, and he spent a couple of hours talking to two Nobel-level biologists.

Posted by: Zizka on March 25, 2004 11:32 AM

____

I appreciate the new troll-free SDJ. Conversations with non-trolls are more interesting.

Posted by: Zizka on March 25, 2004 11:35 AM

____

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/28/books/chapters/0328-1st-clarke.html

March 28, 2004

'Against All Enemies'
By RICHARD A. CLARKE

I expected to go back to a round of meetings examining what the next attacks could be, what our vulnerabilities were, what we could do about them in the short term. Instead, I walked into a series of discussions about Iraq. At first I was incredulous that we were talking about something other than getting al Qaeda. Then I realized with almost a sharp physical pain that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were going to try to take advantage of this national tragedy to promote their agenda about Iraq. Since the beginning of the administration, indeed well before, they had been pressing for a war with Iraq. My friends in the Pentagon had been telling me that the word was we would be invading Iraq sometime in 2002.

On the morning of the 12th DOD's focus was already beginning to shift from al Qaeda. CIA was explicit now that al Qaeda was guilty of the attacks, but Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld's deputy, was not persuaded. It was too sophisticated and complicated an operation, he said, for a terrorist group to have pulled off by itself, without a state sponsor-Iraq must have been helping them.

I had a flashback to Wolfowitz saying the very same thing in April when the administration had finally held its first deputy secretary-level meeting on terrorism. When I had urged action on al Qaeda then, Wolfowitz had harked back to the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, saying al Qaeda could not have done that alone and must have had help from Iraq. The focus on al Qaeda was wrong, he had said in April, we must go after Iraqi-sponsored terrorism. He had rejected my assertion and CIA's that there had been no Iraqi-sponsored terrorism against the United States since 1993. Now this line of thinking was coming back....

Posted by: lise on March 25, 2004 12:16 PM

____

Zizka,

Amen to that. I think it might be time for Brad to make a post dedicated to the proper etiquette in dealing with trolls. I wonder what my heroine, Miss Manners, would suggest.

Posted by: joe on March 25, 2004 12:17 PM

____

Good lord, Brad, you have a lot of free time.

Posted by: Adam on March 25, 2004 12:46 PM

____

Oh, just reading your earlier comment: "I didn't do it. Robert Waldmann and Ryan Lizza did..."

Posted by: Adam on March 25, 2004 12:48 PM

____

"Adrian,

Please don't take this the wrong way, but Ann Coulter thinks we're all traitors here, and I think that means that she would like us all to be executed. I don't think many of us feel that there is any reason to entertain the views of somebody who expresses opinions such as these.

Posted by joe"

OK I'm sorry. There are some very important points in that article but I can see how you guys can take offense.

I do like her and she makes me proud that my son got two degrees from cornell, but I guess Liberals might be threatened by such a strong, witty and plain spoken woman.

Here in the Boston area everyone I consider a friend is a liberal Democrat and we "argue" a lot. We do often use stereotypical insults but we do it in fun. I guess I need to watch out for other people's feelings a little more.

I know very well that I see things from the right side but I'm afraid most other righties and lefties that I know actually think they're being objective.

One of my pet peeves is that NO ONE PERSON CAN BE OBJECTIVE as we can only have one point of view and PEOPLE SHOULD REALIZE THAT.

The genius of this country is the de facto institutionalization of two points of view and I think it's time to tweak it a bit more so that both sides can work and enquire and experiment TOGETHER rather than insulting each other.

Even Brad, who is the smartest person I ever met, doesn't have the wisdom to honor those opposite points of view so that he might actually make his economics a real science.

Adrian

Posted by: Adrian Spidle on March 25, 2004 01:29 PM

____

Something that nobody seems to be mentioning:
Clinton didn't go after al Qaeda because of 'the political climate.'
Who created that climate? The Republicans.
I'd love to see someone go back and dredge out the Repubs statements after Clinton tried to take out bin Laden. There wasn't ONE WORD of support - it was all accusations. Clinton was grandstanding to distract the country from the real problem - which was Monica Lewinsky.
- Jeremy

Posted by: Jeremy on March 25, 2004 04:20 PM

____

"You have a difficult time Brian because your facts turn out to be not true, like your assertion Bill Clinton turned down a Sudanese offer to hand over OBL This happens when you rely mainly on Fox News as a source."

The source for this is none other than Bill Clinton:

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

"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....

"So I pleaded with the Saudis to take him, 'cause they could have. But they thought it was a hot potato and they didn't and that's how he wound up in Afghanistan."

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on March 25, 2004 05:20 PM

____

----------quote----------
I watched Clarke testify today and I was blown away:
He opened his testimony with:

"Your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. I failed you. We tried hard, but we failed you...I ask for your understanding, and your forgiveness."
----------endquote---------

Lawrence, this is a classic Appeal to Emotion fallacy.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on March 25, 2004 05:32 PM

____

Patrick,

Or just possibly, he's not that cynical to use the families of 911 victims as saps. Just possibly, Clarke made a truly sincere apology. You (and I) simply don't know. I suspect, however, that you would believe the same apology was sincere if it had been made by Bush or Rice or Rumsfeld or etc.

Posted by: joe on March 25, 2004 06:02 PM

____

Patrick,

I guess I should also note, since you really have no knowledge of Clarke's sincerity, that your suggestion that he was cynically playing to the sympathies of the families is a class ad hominem fallacy.

Posted by: joe on March 25, 2004 06:10 PM

____

joe: "I guess I should also note, since you really have no knowledge of Clarke's sincerity, that your suggestion that he was cynically playing to the sympathies of the families is a class ad hominem fallacy."

Not that this relates directly, but Fred Kaplan (in his euphoric article "Richard Clarke KOs the Bushies) in Slate thinks "there's little doubt that Clarke truly meant his plea for forgiveness—but also that he knew he was twisting his dagger into Bush a little deeper."

Posted by: Joe Mealyus on March 25, 2004 08:29 PM

____

"I guess I should also note, since you really have no knowledge of Clarke's sincerity, that your suggestion that he was cynically playing to the sympathies of the families is a class ad hominem fallacy."

Whether Clarke is cynical or not, is irrelevant. He's testifying to a group charged with finding out how we failed to detect the attack before it happened. His apology is not apposite to that.

Logical fallacies don't depend on sincerity, or lack of same. However, his opening with such a tactic suggests he knows his arguments are weak.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on March 26, 2004 06:15 AM

____

More from the One-Man Circular Firing Squad (version 2002):

RICHARD CLARKE: Actually, I've got about seven points, let me just go through them quickly. Um, the first point, I think the overall point is, there was no plan on Al Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration.

[big snip]

Over the course of the summer — last point — they developed implementation details, the principals met at the end of the summer, approved them in their first meeting, changed the strategy by authorizing the increase in funding five-fold, changing the policy on Pakistan, changing the policy on Uzbekistan, changing the policy on the Northern Alliance assistance.

And then changed the strategy from one of rollback with Al Qaeda over the course of five years, which it had been, to a new strategy that called for the rapid elimination of Al Qaeda. That is in fact the timeline.

QUESTION: When was that presented to the president?

CLARKE: Well, the president was briefed throughout this process.

[snip]

JIM ANGLE: You're saying that the Bush administration did not stop anything that the Clinton administration was doing while it was making these decisions, and by the end of the summer had increased money for covert action five-fold. Is that correct?

CLARKE: All of that's correct.

[snip]

QUESTION: Were all of those issues part of alleged plan that was late December and the Clinton team decided not to pursue because it was too close to ...

CLARKE: There was never a plan, Andrea. What there was was these two things: One, a description of the existing strategy, which included a description of the threat. And two, those things which had been looked at over the course of two years, and which were still on the table.

QUESTION: So there was nothing that developed, no documents or no new plan of any sort?

CLARKE: There was no new plan.

QUESTION: No new strategy — I mean, I don't want to get into a semantics ...

CLARKE: Plan, strategy — there was no, nothing new.

QUESTION: 'Til late December, developing ...

CLARKE: What happened at the end of December was that the Clinton administration NSC principals committee met and once again looked at the strategy, and once again looked at the issues that they had brought, decided in the past to add to the strategy. But they did not at that point make any recommendations.

QUESTIONS: Had those issues evolved at all from October of '98 'til December of 2000?

CLARKE: Had they evolved? Um, not appreciably.

ANGLE: What was the problem? Why was it so difficult for the Clinton administration to make decisions on those issues?

CLARKE: Because they were tough issues. You know, take, for example, aiding the Northern Alliance. Um, people in the Northern Alliance had a, sort of bad track record. There were questions about the government, there were questions about drug-running, there was questions about whether or not in fact they would use the additional aid to go after Al Qaeda or not. Uh, and how would you stage a major new push in Uzbekistan or somebody else or Pakistan to cooperate?

One of the big problems was that Pakistan at the time was aiding the other side, was aiding the Taliban. And so, this would put, if we started aiding the Northern Alliance against the Taliban, this would have put us directly in opposition to the Pakistani government. These are not easy decisions.

ANGLE: And none of that really changed until we were attacked and then it was ...

CLARKE: No, that's not true. In the spring, the Bush administration changed — began to change Pakistani policy, um, by a dialogue that said we would be willing to lift sanctions. So we began to offer carrots, which made it possible for the Pakistanis, I think, to begin to realize that they could go down another path, which was to join us and to break away from the Taliban. So that's really how it started.

[snip]

ANGLE: So, just to finish up if we could then, so what you're saying is that there was no — one, there was no plan; two, there was no delay; and that actually the first changes since October of '98 were made in the spring months just after the administration came into office?

CLARKE: You got it. That's right.

[snip]

CLARKE: .... the other thing to bear in mind is the shift from the rollback strategy to the elimination strategy. When President Bush told us in March to stop swatting at flies and just solve this problem, then that was the strategic direction that changed the NSPD from one of rollback to one of elimination.

QUESTION: Well can you clarify something? I've been told that he gave that direction at the end of May. Is that not correct?

CLARKE: No, it was March.

QUESTION: The elimination of Al Qaeda, get back to ground troops — now we haven't completely done that even with a substantial number of ground troops in Afghanistan. Was there, was the Bush administration contemplating without the provocation of September 11th moving troops into Afghanistan prior to that to go after Al Qaeda?

CLARKE: I can not try to speculate on that point. I don't know what we would have done.

QUESTION: In your judgment, is it possible to eliminate Al Qaeda without putting troops on the ground?

CLARKE: Uh, yeah, I think it was. I think it was. If we'd had Pakistani, Uzbek and Northern Alliance assistance.


Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on March 26, 2004 08:05 AM

____

If the best battles are against one guy and himself, we can hope that congressional Republicans will provde a Clarke vs. Himself bout (see Reuter's news story at http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=domesticNews&storyID=4674225§ion=news. I suspect it would be both edifying and entertaining.

Posted by: Chuck Bearden on March 26, 2004 01:05 PM

____

Patrick

"Logical fallacies don't depend on sincerity, or lack of same. However, his opening with such a tactic suggests he knows his arguments are weak."

No he knows his arguments are very very strong but if a retired SES staffer decides to take on and all the president's men and the president's woman, arguments, facts, logic, truth, integrity, courage and nemisis are not enough.

On Clarke Vs Clarke, Thompson tried to promote and referee the Clarke Vs Clarke bout and he ended up knocked out.

Personally, I think the Republican party should drop Bush and nominate Clarke (remember delegates are not legally bound to vote for Bush).

I am a liberal dove and the thought of having to run against Clarke terrifies me.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on March 26, 2004 02:44 PM

____

I note for the record that Robt. Waldman's response is itself both a non-sequitur, and an Appeal to Emotion.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on March 26, 2004 03:23 PM

____

Paddy: How heavy are the pales of water?

Posted by: SavageView on March 26, 2004 03:55 PM

____

In that August 2002 "Time" article to which Clarke's press briefing was a response, Michael Elliott does NOT say that Sandy Berger's team (other than Clarke) presented the Bush Administration with a "plan" to deal with Al qaeda. But it DOES say that Clarke himself, after "Berger had left the room", DID present Condoleeza Rice's team with a detailed plan to do so -- one which Elliott describes "a senior Bush Administration official" as saying amounted to "everything we've done since 9-11":
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,333835,00.html

Obvious point: Clarke was nominally still part of Clinton's team during that first week of January 2001 -- but would he refer to himself as part of "Clinton's team", rather than "Bush's team", during that press briefing which (he says) was an attempt to shade the truth to make the Bush team look better than Elliott had said without actually lying?

Connected issue: Charles Krauthammer, in his infuriated Post column last night ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25466-2004Mar25.html ) calls Clarke a "partisan perjurer", but NOT for making false charges that Bush was less active than he actually was -- rather, for overpraising Clinton. According to both Elliott's article and Richard Miniter's description of Clarke's attitude toward the Clinton Administration (reprinted in NRO: http://www.nationalreview.com/interrogatory/interrogatory091103b.asp ), Clarke spent all his years under Clinton in a state of continuous fury toward Clinton's inaction against Al Qaida -- which Clarke now denies.

But if Clarke's real dishonesty takes this form, it doesn't do the Bush Administration very much political good. Its theme has been that it took a MORE active role against Al-Qaida than the Clinton Administration had -- not just that it wasn't any less active against it. After all, the Democrats have had a big lead over Bush on domestic issues in the polls for at least the last two years - the only thing keeping Bush ahead (or, now, even) in the polls is the image he has of being far more protectively hawkish in dealing with American enemies abroad than the Democrats would be. If the voters end up concluding that he is no better than Kerry would be on this issue, he will lose the election (even if they also think he's no worse on this subject than Kerry would be). And certainly, as of 9-4-01, the Bush Administration still had not reached any decision whatsoever yet to take actual action against Al-Qaida.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on March 27, 2004 12:06 AM

____

More of the "appallingly sloppy" reading, Bruce:

RICHARD CLARKE: ...I think the overall point is, there was no plan on Al Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration.

[and]

CLARKE: There was never a plan, Andrea.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on March 27, 2004 10:33 AM

____

"Its theme has been that it took a MORE active role against Al-Qaida than the Clinton Administration had -- not just that it wasn't any less active against it."

And Clarke, in 2002, confirmed it was more active:

CLARKE: ....
One of the big problems was that Pakistan at the time was aiding the other side, was aiding the Taliban. And so, this would put, if we started aiding the Northern Alliance against the Taliban, this would have put us directly in opposition to the Pakistani government. These are not easy decisions.

ANGLE: And none of that really changed until we were attacked [on 9-11] and then it was ...

CLARKE: No, that's not true. In the spring, the Bush administration changed — began to change Pakistani policy, um, by a dialogue that said we would be willing to lift sanctions. So we began to offer carrots, which made it possible for the Pakistanis, I think, to begin to realize that they could go down another path, which was to join us and to break away from the Taliban. So that's really how it started.


Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on March 27, 2004 10:37 AM

____

Speaking of appallingly sloppy reading, Patrick: I said explicitly that no member of Berger's team EXCEPT Clarke offered a plan at that meeting, according to Michael Elliott -- and I said that, given the little fact that he was now working for Bush, he might have strongly preferred not to refer to himself as part of the "Clinton team" in that speech in which he had been assigned to alibi the Bush team. Which, of course, is precisely the sort of "shading of the tone of the truth" (without actually lying) that he said he was ordered to do by Rice and Fleischer, as presidential aides routinely do.

In fact, in one of the sections of the Fox transcript that you snipped out, he says this explicitly:

"QUESTION: What is your response to the sugggestion in the Time article that the Bush Administration was unwilling to take on board the suggestions made in the Clinton administration because of general animus against their foreign policy?

"CLARKE: I think if there was a general animus that clouded their vision, they might not have kept the same guy dealing with the terrorism issue [namely, himself]. This is the one issue where the National Security Council leadership decided continuity was important and kept the same guy around, the same team in place. That doesn't sound like animus against the previous team to me."

Which is exactly what you would expect someone who was previously a member of the opposition party's team, but was now a member of the official Republican team, to say. It also indicates that he was still hanging around in summer 2002 because at that time he still had hopes that the Bushites would come around to his way of thinking. (The same reason Rand Beers hung on there for seven months, in fact, and bailed out in despair only just before the Iraq War, when it became clear that the Bushites were determined to go on with that war no matter what.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on March 27, 2004 04:48 PM

____

For whatever it's worth: Clarke's former deputy Roger Cressey -- one of the three declared witnesses to that meeting between Bush, Rice and Clarke that Bush and Rice say they have "no recollection of" -- now tells NBC that he too favors declassifying Clarke's July 2002 testimony to Congress, saying that "there's no space" between it and his testimony this week to the 9-11 Commission, and that the whole thing is just a further attempt by the White House to throw up political radar chaff.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on March 27, 2004 05:54 PM

____

Brad, this here is all very well and good for the cocktail circuit in Georgetown, "Inside The Beltway", if you'all know what I mean.

Sure, everyone is finally saying, "Boy, this Bush administration is really screwed up," although they're hard-pressed to tell you why, unable to differentiate between roll-back or containment, when they admit they're sick of this horses&*t and now they're not going to vote.

Get it? Not going to vote. Way to go, Clarke!!
Then come October, Pakistan will round up Osama and his right-hand man, Clarke's head will be set on a pike at the Tower of London, and yeah, God Save the Queen, four more years of BushCo.

You're sniggering behind curtains like butlers and maids at the Emperor's dress rehearsal. So what if he's fat and has a little schwanstucker? He's gonna eat our pensions for four more years!

Posted by: Allis Lost on March 27, 2004 08:20 PM

____

"I said explicitly that no member of Berger's team EXCEPT Clarke offered a plan at that meeting, according to Michael Elliott -- and I said that, given the little fact that he was now working for Bush, he might have strongly preferred not to refer to himself as part of the 'Clinton team' in that speech in which he had been assigned to alibi the Bush team. Which, of course, is precisely the sort of 'shading of the tone of the truth' (without actually lying)"

Are you the same Bruce Moomaw who, on another thread, was accusing me of having to desperately look for loopholes?

Clarke, specifically said he was not untruthful in the August press briefing. Not that he shaded the tone of the truth. And what part of: "There was never a plan, Andrea.", do you find particularly difficult to grasp?

Btw, Clarke is still lying. This morning on Meet the Press:

"...there's been an issue about whether or not a strategy or a plan or something useful was given to Dr. Rice in early January. And she says it wasn't."

That is a bald faced lie. Rice has specifically said she received a list of options from Clarke.

[Clarke:]

"So we now have the staff report of the 9-11 Commission, and it says, 'On January 25th, Clarke forwarded his December strategy paper'

There goes your last thread of hope, Bruce. In December Clarke was in the Clinton Admin.

" to the new national security adviser, and it proposed covert action to the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, significantly increasing CIA funding, retaliating for the USS Cole, arming the Predator aircraft, going after terrorist fund raising.

" Now, Dr. Rice has characterized this as not a plan, not a strategy, not a series of decisions which could be made right away, but warmed-over Clinton material."

Which is not how Rice described it. But the point is that in August 2002, Clarke denied, THREE TIMES, that there had been "a plan" from the Clinton Admin.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on March 28, 2004 04:17 PM

____

*sigh* See my and Howard's comments in the March 27 "Why Oh Why Are We Ruled by These Liars?" thread above, Patrick.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on March 28, 2004 05:14 PM

____

You liberals up there realize that if you make any statements about African-Americans (as in Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell)that are non-glowing or non-fawning you are Nazi Racist Ku-Klux-Klan Kritters, like Robert Byrd. If any conservative of non-color made such statements about Maxine Waters or Al Sharpton, there would be shrieking and bitching and pissing and whining and heads would roll. Know that. You may bar my e-mail address from this blog now.

Posted by: Latigo on March 28, 2004 09:02 PM

____

PS: Anyone who does not believe that Dick(less) Clarke is not a self-serving profit whoredog shitbird fucknugget with a chip on his shoulder and limpdick grudge against Dr. Rice should read this:
http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/17683.htm

Adam?
Liberals ganging up on two African Americans. The times they have a-changed!

Posted by: Latigo on March 28, 2004 09:22 PM

____

patrick
"Btw, Clarke is still lying. This morning on Meet the Press:

"...there's been an issue about whether or not a strategy or a plan or something ***useful*** was given to Dr. Rice in early January. And she says it wasn't."

That is a bald faced lie. Rice has specifically said she received a [laundry] list of options from Clarke."

Clarke was not lying. The issue has been whether his Jan 25 memo was something useful. Rice now agrees that it was, but she had been claiming that it was a lundry list which was not useful. In paraphrasing Rice, you dropped the word "laundry". In discussing Clarke you ignore the word "useful". The issue which Clarke honestly mentioned is whether the Jan. 25 memo was useful.

If the Sept 4 draft strategy was substantially identical to the Jan 25 memo, his claim that the Jan 25 memo was useful will be proven. Rice's now retracted aspersions will be disproven.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on March 31, 2004 01:20 AM

____

Condi is going to humiliate and humble that gang of KKK night riders masquerading as a Congressional Committee. This will be a repeat of Lt. Col. Oliver North's decimation of a similar mob in the asininely profligate "Iran-Contra" witchhunt. Rice and North are American heroes. It is time for people to open their eyes and stop helping this loser Clarke shill his book. The only objective that this will accomplish is to reiterate Dr. Rice's grace and poise in the face of cowardly partisan attacks and perhaps enhance her already lofty profile.

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