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Sunday, March 28, 2004
  • Outside the Beltway linked with Frum on Clarke

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  1. “To ask if he knows what he is talking about when he speaks, however, is fair game.”

    Questioning the factual evidence is fine. Let’s get it all out in the open - declassify everything. Put the money on the bar and roll them dice.

    But asserting:

    1) Clarke is doing this only for the money
    2) Clarke is a “trees not the forest” guy
    3) Clarke is a bumbling bureaucrat
    4) Clarke is a disgruntled civil servant

    IS character assassination - definition. None of these speak to the credibility of his statements other than to show his character can’t back them up so you shouldn’t listen to what he says.

    Comment by Hal — Sunday, March 28, 2004 @ 6:08 pm

  2. BTW Paul, watch Clarke and listen to him - don’t just read him. You’re assertions that he keeps changing his story are losing credibility by the hour. Check with headquarters for the new lines 06:00 GMT. Clarke is going to be a very hard man to smear. But I have faith that you’ll eventually manage to stumble on an effective line of attack.

    Just don’t pop a vein trying, okay?

    Comment by Hal — Sunday, March 28, 2004 @ 6:22 pm

  3. Steven, I can’t believe you linked to a plant from Crescent Investment Management LLC. Particularly delicious to see one from his nibs, Mansoor Ijaz.

    Comment by Hal — Sunday, March 28, 2004 @ 6:30 pm

  4. I have to agree with Hal on this one. Steven, you ably argue that the Bush administration has every right to question the veracity of Clarke, as he is in a sense a “witness” for the prosecution in the “trial” of the Bush administration’s handling of Al Qaeda pre-9/11. But as Hal notes, this is tantamount to questioning Clarke’s character, and so it’s fair to say the particularly agressive tactics we’re seeing amount to “character assassination.” To date, I think The Economist has the most reasonable assessment of the Clarke episode:

    The Bush administration was urged to do more before 9/11, and chose not to, for reasons that seemed right and reasonable at the time. It was working on a strategy to deal with al-Qaeda, but too slowly to do any good. Some of its members were more concerned about Saddam Hussein than Osama bin Laden. Nothing here can be called indefensible. Whether this is the record of someone who treated al-Qaeda with the utmost seriousness is another matter.

    Comment by Gary Manca — Monday, March 29, 2004 @ 2:13 am

  5. Hey Gary- you gonna bash Clinton for his antics too or are you in the Imbecilic Hypocrite crowd?

    Comment by Paul — Monday, March 29, 2004 @ 9:39 am

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