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Sunday, March 28, 2004
Clarke on MTP

By Steven Taylor @ 2:38 pm

(note: this was originally simul-blogging, hence the tense, but it wasn’t ready to post before I left for church)

Clarke is on MTP claiming that there is “no inconsistency” between what he has said recently and the now-famous backgrounder. And that the reason he didn’t resign rather than give it is because he wanted to finish his report on cyberterrorism.

Further, he seems to be arguing that he (and a few others) understood threat of terrorism pre-911, and the President wouldn’t listen. And further, he clearly is a critic of the war on Iraq and thinks that it has damaged the war on terror. I find that to be a fair position, but he ignores the invasion of Afghanistan, the defeat of the Taliban, and the death or capture of a substantial number of al Qaeda leaders which took place between 911 and the war in Iraq.

Quite frankly, the idea that terrorism became a more urgent issue after 911 seems a rather likely outcome of the attack. One thing that is obvious, and fair, that came out of the pre-Clarke testimony on the 911 Commission is that there was a radical shift in policy POV on terrorism post-911. Anyone who claims that they were in a post-911 mindset prior to 911 is almost certainly remembering themselves rather fondly, to put it mildly.

He stated: “They didn’t allow me to brief him [the President] on terrorism"-but only on cybersecurity. There is no chance that he is bit resentful of what he sees as slights by his former colleagues? Or that he is unhappy that his job changed?

He points to Berger working hard to prevent attacks prior to December 1999. Gee, I wonder why they did that? I don’t suppose that knowing about a credible threat on 12/31/99 might have had something to do with that fact?

There were clearly failures prior to 911. Indeed, it is a long list. If that is what Mr. Clarke wants to talk about, I have no problem with that. However, to present the information as if the Clinton administration did all they could, and then the Bush admin dropped the ball (especially if one reviews this timeline). Further, to say Iraq is a failure is a legitimate line of argument, but to say that and ignore everything else that has happened leads one to assume certain agendas, rather than pure policy analysis. And, really, the reason that critics of the Bush administration have jumped on this stuff is because it seems to make the argument that they want to make for political reasons: Bush is a failure on security, so vote for Kerry.

“This is about how the war in Iraq has damaged the war on terror"-so Clarke said about 26 minutes into the broadcast. Ok, well and good: but if that is the thesis, why is none of the discussion about how the war in Iraq has damaged the war on terror? Why is is all about how Bush ignored Clarke, or how he was stopped from briefing the President, or how terrorism wasn’t an “urgent” issue prior to 911. There is a serious logical disconnect her are a lack of clarity of argument.

Filed under: War on Terror

Click here to go to the main page.


  1. Why is it all about how Clarke is embittered, or how he was stopped from taking the #2 spot at DHS, or how he was “out of the loop” prior to 9.11? There is a serious logical disconnect here and a lack of clarity of argument, unless character assassination is one’s modus operandi for dealing with policy disputes.

    Comment by adaplant — Sunday, March 28, 2004 @ 4:23 pm

  2. I TiVo’d it and have only watched the first 15 minutes or so but his main criticism of Bush is that all his plans were in September and not the Jan 24.

    OK Let’s pretend he is right. Let’s pretend it really did take until September to approve his plan.

    SO WHAT?

    From his own testimony at the 9/11 committee”

    GORTON: Now, since my yellow light is on, at this point my final question will be this: Assuming that the recommendations that you made on January 25th of 2001, based on Delenda, based on Blue Sky, including aid to the Northern Alliance, which had been an agenda item at this point for two and a half years without any action, assuming that there had been more Predator reconnaissance missions, assuming that that had all been adopted say on January 26th, year 2001, is there the remotest chance that it would have prevented 9/11?

    CLARKE: No.

    What EXACTLY is his beef?

    If Clinton had done something we would have had a chance. By his own admission if Bush had done everything Clarke suggested it would not have changed the outcome.

    Yet the whack jobs on the left are having a field day.

    Comment by Paul — Sunday, March 28, 2004 @ 9:16 pm

  3. I entirely agree with Paul but am just wondering if I’m the only person that noticed this on Meet the Press - near the end, when asked if the world is better with Saddam gone, Clarke said that the world would also be better off “if Kim Il Sung was gone". Wouldn’t you expect a terrorism expert to know that the “Great Leader” has been dead for about a decade?

    Comment by Ann — Sunday, March 28, 2004 @ 9:39 pm

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