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Sunday, March 21, 2004
Get Ready for the Clarke Fall-Out -or- This Isn’t as New a Revelation as it May Seem

By Steven Taylor @ 2:05 pm

Both Brad DeLong and Ogged seem to think that the revelations in the upcoming Clarke book (and the 60 Minutes interview tonight) that Rumsfeld wanted to bomb Iraq not long after 911 are impressive, and dare I say, explosive (pun intended, so shoot me-or bomb me…).

However, this passage

“Rumsfeld was saying we needed to bomb Iraq…. We all said, ‘but no, no. Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan,” recounts Clarke, “and Rumsfeld said, ‘There aren’t any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq.’ I said, ‘Well, there are lots of good targets in lots of places, but Iraq had nothing to do with [the September 11 attacks].’”

is nothing radically new. If one consults Bob Woodward’s Bush at War, publishes in 2002, one finds similar stuff. Chapter 6 details a meeting at Camp David in which the President asks for options, and Rumsfeld is seen arguing for Iraq as a consideration in terms of retaliation for 911. I would specifically note 84-85, which includes this passage:

When the group reconvened, Rumsfeld asked, Is this the time to attack Iraq? He noted that there would be a big buildup of forces in the region and he was still deeply worried about the availability of good targets in Afghanistan.

So, Bush-critics may get all excited about the Clarke book, but at least based on the stuff DeLong and Ogged posted, there isn’t anything new here.

So, aside from any arguments about merit, my question is: what’s the startling revelation? And what is the impeachable offense the DeLong (and Ogged) are arguing for here? Where is the bribery, treason or other high crimes or misdemeanors?

Brad’s a smart guy, and he knows full well you cannot, and do not, impeach Presidents over policy disagreements�rather, you defeat them for re-election (or try to) on those grounds. And for that matter, surely he doesn’t believe that the only reason we attacked Iraq was because it had good targets, and he bases that argument on the quote noted above? This strikes me as a rather weak argument.

And for that matter, if the President was willing to simply bomb the place with the better targets, why didn’t he just do so in the 2001 rather than going after Afghanistan? Clearly the policy process was a tad more complicated than is being argued by my blogging colleagues.

Filed under: Iraq
  • Wizbang linked with Why I love the blogosphere
  • Outside the Beltway linked with Selective Coverage
  • Solomonia linked with So Bush had all planned out huh?
  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Clarke's Interview
  • Ipse Dixit linked with What's New?
  • Signifying Nothing linked with Clarke

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1 Comment»

  1. The “startling revelation” is that the Leftist propaganda machine doesn’t really have anything on Bush, so they just keep repeating themselves over, and over again. Apparently their strategy is working because they get gobs of attention every time they do this, whether the information is true or false, fresh or stale.

    Comment by Jeff Doolittle — Monday, March 22, 2004 @ 2:42 pm

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