Home > 9/11, Bush > The campaign against Richard Clarke

The campaign against Richard Clarke

As we all know, no one seems to be able to disprove any of Clarke’s accusations. They’ve gone at his credibility. So what are these accusations, and are any of them actually substantive? We’ll see. (note: all these accusations (not that they originated there) are from RNS)

First, there’s this:

Richard Clarke is deeply wired into the Kerry campaign, and not just through Rand Beers. His main contact is his good friend Jonathan Winer, who�s been Kerry�s chief political operative and investigator through Iran-Contra, BCCI, and all the way back to his days as Lt. Gov of Massachusetts. Jonathan�s been identified publically as one of a handful of people running Kerry�s �shadow state department� along with Beers. The LA Times yesterday had a story quoting Winer as saying he was talking regularly with Clarke while Clarke was still in the White House, and that Clarke was expressing his disgust with the Bushies.

This is the same thing as the Rand Beers silliness. Really, he has two friends who are in the Kerry campaign? Who cares? He’s been around Washington for 30 years, isn’t this expected? The charge is paranoia, plain and simple.

Next up, this:

The media are fascinated with the parts of former White House terrorism czar Richard Clarke�s book that trash President Bush as being out to lunch on the al-Qaida threat before 9/11.

But reporters aren�t talking about the chapter of �Against All Enemies� that describes how Osama bin Laden cooperated with Iraqi scientists to make weapons of mass destruction – a development that, if true, would more than justify President Bush�s decision to go to war in Iraq.

In his book, Clarke describes how the Clinton CIA determined in 1996 that Sudan�s Shifa chemical plant, which was allegedly bankrolled by bin Laden, was producing the chemical EMPTA.

A question for anyone who is against the war in Iraq who happens to slide through RNS:

Was he lying then, or is he lying now?

First off, there’s no “lying then or now” in this, seeing as both charges (no links and the Sudan plant) are in the book. Elsewhere in the book he says something to the effect of “any ‘links’ in the two are a minor footnote in comparison to other regimes.” What appears to me to be the case, is that he considers this a minor and sketchy point. Sudan, using bin Laden’s money (no guarantees bin Laden knew who the scientists were), hired some Iraqi scientists. What did Saddam know about it? Much? That’s assuming it’s true, Clarke relegates it to “possible.” It’s not something you could count as a connection, so there’s no contradiction. That said, I’d like to see him asked about it.

Finally, there’s this laundry list of charges:

Was he lying in his praising the Bush terrorism policy in his letter of resignation?

“It has been an enormous privilege to serve you these last 24 months,” said the Jan. 20, 2003, letter from Clarke to Bush. “I will always remember the courage, determination, calm, and leadership you demonstrated on September 11th.”

There’s nothing about policy there. Besides, what are you going to say?

Or was he lying about Bush�s policy to Jim Angle of Fox News (Aug 2002)?

Clarke answers basically every “contradiction” in his testimony.

Or was he lying about Dr. Rice�s reaction to his mentioning al Qiada for the first time?

I don’t see this as a lie. He gave his impression of her reaction. He didn’t say “she’s never heard of al Qaeda” he said “she appeared as though she’d never heard of al Qaeda.” There’s a difference. Whether she knew or not is irrelevent. He’s describing his impression. She looked surprised, confused, annoyed as to the mention of al Qaeda. Maybe she was surprised that he thought they in particular were a threat (after probably dismissing the Clintonite’s warnings). It’s speculation, but there’s nothing to show that he lied.

Or was he lying in his testimony to the committee yesterday (where he admitted that even if the Bush team had followed everyone of his suggestions to the letter, September 11th would have still happened)?

This one I may concede. Here’s his statement to CBS:

He ignored it. He ignored terrorism for months, when maybe we could have done something to stop 9/11. Maybe. We’ll never know.

Though, I wonder if he means in the testimony, we would have needed to know what the FBI knew about the hijackers farther down to have had a chance of preventing it. Still, it’s a contradiction, but one that I don’t think is a big deal. It’s not a fact or event, it’s his opinion. I think you need more than this to say he’s not credible.

Here’s the bottom line: The White House has had the book for 3 months. It can’t rebut any of the charges, with meeting tapes or minutes or what have you.

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Categories: 9/11, Bush
  1. March 26, 2004 at 10:01 pm | #1

    The Bush administration is very quickly finding itself backed into a corner and I find it absolutely amusing. They are screwed.

    I just hope the American public wakes up on this.

  2. March 27, 2004 at 12:18 am | #2

    Heya Jeff, you linked to a number of the posts I put up, but not to this one

    http://www.softgreenglow.com/mt/archives/003275.html#003275

    with all the contradictory quotes in it.

    I am especially fond of this little conundrum,

    ” …the Bush administration did virtually nothing during the first months of the administration prior to 9/11.” — Richard Clarke, CNN interview, March 23, 2004

    “And you know, 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 [National Security Presidential Directive] from one of rollback to one of elimination.” — Richard Clarke, background briefing to reporters, August 2002

    One of these statements is a lie.

    Lie (v) – speak falsely

    The first statement COULD be construed to be an opinion. But Clarke has offered no evidence that he would have been any more agressive. So there goes that line.

    His responding to his ‘contradictions’ is nothing but wordplay. He insinuates that he was told to tell mistruths, and then backs off that statement. He then gets asked a list of questions about the Bush Admin upping the support for the anti-al Qiada groups in the area and answers them affirmatively.

    So basically, he addresses NOTHING.

    Earlier in his testimony he says “fighting terrorism, in general, and fighting Al Qaida, in particular, were an extraordinarily high priority in the Clinton administration — certainly no higher priority.”

    He later says that his plans to to bomb al-Qiada encampments after the embassy attacks and the USS Cole attacks were all “rejected for one reason or antoher”.

    And later, he talks about the Clinton Admin parking a submarine w/cruise missles off the coast of Pakistan.

    I’m sorry, but if something is a “high priority”, you park a damn Carrier Battle Group off the coast, not a sub. A CBG has much more firepower possibilities and, more importantly, it sends a message.

    The facts remain that, under the Bush Admin, the War on Terror would have more likely than not started in 2002, even without the attacks on September 11th.

    If I may deviate from the topic for a moment, I am now hearing a new line of how ‘morale is falling in Iraq’.

    If the people who are talking this crap wanted to see low morale, they should have looked towards the military after the pullout of Somalia. Or after nothing was done after the attack on the Cole.

    Sure, Clinton ordered the pounding of sand with million dollar curise missles, doing no measurable logistical damage. And then did NO FOLLOW UP when it was found that no damage was done.

    I have little doubt that boots would have hit the ground in Afghanistan if September 11th had happened under Clinton’s or Gore’s watch.

    And that is the only way you get to kill terrorists.

    Clarke told mistruths. He is now under the microscope and he doesn’t like it. Nor do people who want to believe his more recent anti-Bush statements as opposed to his more accurate past statements.

    And Bob Kerry’s whining about Fox releasing the background briefing is just that. Whining.

    News agencies reporting what people actually said. Imagine that!

    The White House doesn’t need to rebut any of the arguments in Clarke’s book. Give it a couple of weeks, Clarke will do that himself.

  3. March 27, 2004 at 7:41 pm | #3

    Heya Jeff, you linked to a number of the posts I put up, but not to this one

    http://www.softgreenglow.com/mt/archives/003275.html#003275

    with all the contradictory quotes in it.

    I did miss that one, though it is covered under the “Or was he lying about Bush?s policy to Jim Angle of Fox News (Aug 2002)?” part.

    THOMPSON: And you said that the strategy changed from one of rollback with Al Qaida over the course of five years, which it had been, which I presume is the Clinton policy, to a new strategy that called for the rapid elimination of Al Qaida, that is in fact the time line. Is that correct?

    CLARKE: It is, but it requires a bit of elaboration. As your staff brief said, the goal of the Delenda Plan was to roll back Al Qaida over the course of three to five years so that it was just a nub of an organization like Abu Nidal that didn’t threaten the United States.

    I tried to insert the phrase early in the Bush administration in the draft NSPD that our goal should be to eliminate Al Qaida. And I was told by various members of the deputies committee that that was overly ambitious and that we should take the word “eliminate” out and say “significantly erode.”

    CLARKE: And then, following 9/11, we were able to go back to my language of eliminate, rather than significantly erode. And so, the version of the national security presidential decision directive that President Bush finally got to see after 9/11, had my original language of “eliminate,” not the interim language of “erode.”

    First, even in the 2002 spin, he’s only saying the stated policy changed. It doesn’t appear anything different happened because of it. Second, he says he wanted it to be “eliminate,” they didn’t, and they were going to change it, but 9/11 happened (the debate took place on September 4th as far as I can tell), so they didn’t. It didn’t really affect what they were actually doing one way or another.

    His responding to his ‘contradictions’ is nothing but wordplay. He insinuates that he was told to tell mistruths, and then backs off that statement. He then gets asked a list of questions about the Bush Admin upping the support for the anti-al Qiada groups in the area and answers them affirmatively.

    No, he insinuates he was supposed to spin. Highlighting the positives, downplaying the negatives, that’s almost exactly what spinning is. He was essentially doing what Scott McClellan does every day.

    Earlier in his testimony he says “fighting terrorism, in general, and fighting Al Qaida, in particular, were an extraordinarily high priority in the Clinton administration — certainly no higher priority.”

    He later says that his plans to to bomb al-Qiada encampments after the embassy attacks and the USS Cole attacks were all “rejected for one reason or antoher”.

    So? Just because his plans were rejected doesn’t mean they weren’t taking it seriously, that it wasn’t something they thought they had to deal with.

    And later, he talks about the Clinton Admin parking a submarine w/cruise missles off the coast of Pakistan.

    I’m sorry, but if something is a “high priority”, you park a damn Carrier Battle Group off the coast, not a sub. A CBG has much more firepower possibilities and, more importantly, it sends a message.

    They were trying to bomb a camp. You don’t need all that much, a few cruise missiles. Besides, if you put a carrier out there, aren’t you risking someone tipping off the targets, missing your chance? As far as I know, a sub is much less noticeable.

    The facts remain that, under the Bush Admin, the War on Terror would have more likely than not started in 2002, even without the attacks on September 11th.

    Do you have any evidence for that?

  4. March 27, 2004 at 11:45 pm | #4

    You can call the 2002 statement ‘spin’/’playing up the positives’ until you’re blue in the face, but the fact is that it all happened. Not only did it happen, but it was more than what Clinton was doing, showing that Bush was more aggressive towards terrorists.

    You are looking at the statement but not understanding what the words mean.

    And why do you play up Clarke’s statement about his plans to bomb al-Qiada caamps being denied:

    “Just because his plans were rejected doesn’t mean they weren’t taking it seriously, that it wasn’t something they thought they had to deal with.”

    And then play down Clarke’s statement about the deputies committee downgrading Clarke’ language from “eliminate” to “significantly erode”?

    Are you spinning something?

    Your final set of sentences show that you misunderstand what was happening then.

    It wasn’t “A camp” that should have been bombed. In Clarke’s own words, Afghanistan was “a conveyor belt for terrorists”. The only way to stop something of that nature, is to put at least 1 CBG off the coast to soften the CAMPS up and then put boots on the ground.

    Putting a missle in an empty tent is not progress. Nor is it effective. The only thing you kill by doing that are the tics who jumped off the al-Qiada soldiers before they left.

    And not following up when you realize that you missed is either cowardice or evidence of a short attention span.

    As for ‘tipping off’ the targets, that was why the missles Clinton launched hit empty tents. We let Pakistan and India know that there was a sub off their coast that would be firing (wouldn’t want to scare either of those two nuclear armed countries. They’re touchy as it is).

    One of the top generals in Pakistan was connected to al-Qiada and tipped them off about the attacks.

    So it really wouldn’t matter if you put 1, 2, or 4 CBG’s off the coast. But with CBG’s, if you miss with one, you can go at it again.

    Here is the kicker that no one has mentioned (not even the guy in your link in the later post to TPM).

    Bush had to run the entire 2001 year under a Clinton budget plan.

    Clinton knocked the Defense budget down to the lowest % of the GDP since before WWII.

    And here is some evidence that the WoT would have started in 2002 with or without September 11th

    1. Clarke ” second thing the administration decided to do is to initiate a process to look at those issues which had been on the table for a couple of years and get them decided.”, “point five, that process which was initiated in the first week in February, uh, decided in principle, uh in the spring to add to the existing Clinton strategy and to increase CIA resources, for example, for covert action, five-fold, to go after Al Qaeda.”, 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.”

    All of these thing are put forth as facts by Clarke. Whether you want to call it ‘spin’ is up to you, but he has not denied that they are true.

    2. Bush’s talking of going after Iraq during the 2000 Presidential race shows he wanted to do something about terrorism. While it seems that the evidence connecting Hussein to al Qiada is only of importance to me, it is undeniable that Hussein was sending funds to the Arafat, Hamas, etc. That is support of a terror group that has killed Americans. Point closed.

    3. Bush hired Rumsfeld for the ‘Secretary of War’ position (‘Sec of Defense’ is a PC term made up to make war sound ‘kinder’). Rumsfeld is tough old coot who goes to war. He doesn’t pussyfoot around and he doesn’t care what peaceniks think. He gets down to business.

    And he doesn’t back down like a little girl either (cough, Somalia, cough)

    Had I not been hospitalized from Nov 2000 to March 2001 and then classified as ineligible for volunteer service (medical), I’d have re-upped just to serve under Rumsfeld (I left after serving under 6 years of Cliton and his crew, and so did many other soldiers).

    Otherwise we wouldn’t be having this coversation. I’d be in a far away sand box ass deep in maps.

  5. March 28, 2004 at 12:57 am | #5

    And why do you play up Clarke’s statement about his plans to bomb al-Qiada caamps being denied:

    “Just because his plans were rejected doesn’t mean they weren’t taking it seriously, that it wasn’t something they thought they had to deal with.”

    And then play down Clarke’s statement about the deputies committee downgrading Clarke’ language from “eliminate” to “significantly erode”?

    Are you spinning something?

    I didn’t say that changing the language meant anything. Just that it had no effect on policy, seeing as it wasn’t even debated until Sept 4. Likewise, rejecting a plan because you don’t have enough evidence that the target you’re going after is the correct one doesn’t mean you were ignoring the threat. Just that you weren’t being reckless.

    Your final set of sentences show that you misunderstand what was happening then.

    It wasn’t “A camp” that should have been bombed. In Clarke’s own words, Afghanistan was “a conveyor belt for terrorists”. The only way to stop something of that nature, is to put at least 1 CBG off the coast to soften the CAMPS up and then put boots on the ground.

    Putting a missle in an empty tent is not progress. Nor is it effective. The only thing you kill by doing that are the tics who jumped off the al-Qiada soldiers before they left.

    And not following up when you realize that you missed is either cowardice or evidence of a short attention span.

    After the bombings in 1998, we kept submarines off the coast of Pakistan, loaded with cruise missiles, for the purpose of launching a follow-on attack when we could locate bin Laden. The intelligence that we got about where bin Laden was, was very poor. The DCI, Mr. Tenet, characterized that intelligence himself on repeated occasions as very poor.

    On one occasion, we thought we knew where he was, and there were two problems. One, the intelligence was poor, according to George Tenet. And two, the collateral damage would have been great, according to the Pentagon.

    When I looked at this facility, it looked to me like the intelligence was, again, poor, because it didn’t look like a terrorist camp. And the probability of collateral damage would have been high, I thought, since I believed, based on the satellite photography, that people other than terrorists were there.

    The decision ultimately was George Tenet’s, and George Tenet recommended no action be taken. I don’t know, in retrospect — your staff might. But I don’t know, in retrospect, whether it proved to be true that bin Laden was in the vicinity or not.

    So they had multiple submarines with cruise missiles. Is that really so much worse than a carrier? And it does seem a bit unfair that you’re going to attack the Clinton administration for Tenet’s decision. Anyway, here’s Clarke’s view from MTP:

    MR. RUSSERT: President Clinton did not bomb the al-Qaeda camps that you wanted, destroy them, did not respond after the Cole was attacked, 17 sailors killed.

    MR. CLARKE: Sure. Right. Right.

    MR. RUSSERT: And yet, you’re saying that he was more aggressive than President Bush?

    MR. CLARKE: Well, he did something, and President Bush did nothing prior to September 11. So, yeah.

    But let’s talk about the Cole. The Cole was attacked in October of 2000. President Bush was running for office; he never mentioned it. Vice President Gore was running for office; he never mentioned it. The media hardly touched it. What were they focused on? They were focused on the election, and they were focused on the Middle East peace process. I thought it was a mistake, and the very fact that I quote Mike Sheehan in the book as saying that I think is indicative of how he felt and how I felt. If I didn’t think it was a mistake, that wouldn’t be in the book.

    The facts have come out, and the facts have come out before the 9-11 Commission that the FBI and the CIA refused to say who did it in October of 2000. And the president was, therefore, faced with the problem, “Can I go ahead and bomb somebody in retaliation for the attack on the Cole when my CIA director and my FBI director won’t say who did it?”

    Now, this is the same president who, when he bombed Afghanistan, when he bombed al-Qaeda camps, because George Tenet and I and Sandy Berger recommended he do it in order to get bin Laden and the leadership team, where we thought they were going to be meeting, the reaction he faced to that was the so-called wag the dog phenomenon. No one in the media, Tim, no one in the media, no one in the Congress said, “Oh, that’s a great thing that you’re retaliating for the attack on the United States,” they said, “This is all about Monica Lewinsky, and this is all about your political problems.”

    So now the same president who had that experience last time he fired cruise missiles at bin Laden wants to fire cruise missiles at bin Laden, but he’s got a CIA director and an FBI director who won’t say, “Bin Laden did it, Mr. President.” I would still have done it; I recommended doing it. Do I think it was mistake that we didn’t do it? Yes. But let’s understand the context.

    1. Clarke ” second thing the administration decided to do is to initiate a process to look at those issues which had been on the table for a couple of years and get them decided.”, “point five, that process which was initiated in the first week in February, uh, decided in principle, uh in the spring to add to the existing Clinton strategy and to increase CIA resources, for example, for covert action, five-fold, to go after Al Qaeda.”, 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.”

    All of these thing are put forth as facts by Clarke. Whether you want to call it ‘spin’ is up to you, but he has not denied that they are true.

    Without 9/11 they wouldn’t have changed the policy to elimination. It would have been “significantly erode.”

    CLARKE: Well, let me back up. I said yes to the last two answers. It was changed only after September 11th. It had gone through an approvals process. It was going through an approvals process with the deputies committee. And they had approved it — The deputies had approved those policy changes. It had then gone to a principals committee for approval, and that occurred on September 4th. Those three things which you mentioned were approved by the principals. They were not approved by the president, and therefore the final approval hadn’t occurred until after September 11th.

    Without 9/11 and the spike in warnings around that time and Clarke harping on how urgent it was, would those changes have been approved? Maybe you think so, but I don’t think you could say either way.

    2. Bush’s talking of going after Iraq during the 2000 Presidential race shows he wanted to do something about terrorism. While it seems that the evidence connecting Hussein to al Qiada is only of importance to me, it is undeniable that Hussein was sending funds to the Arafat, Hamas, etc. That is support of a terror group that has killed Americans. Point closed.

    Come on, his support was more than Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, etc? Al Qaeda was clearly the main threat. Hamas has always been focused on Israel, killing Americans mostly as collateral damage. Hezbollah has only attacked Americans when we were in Lebannon. Al Qaeda was the clear threat and attacking Iraq would have done nothing to hurt them, doing more or less nothing in the war on terror.

    3. Bush hired Rumsfeld for the ‘Secretary of War’ position (‘Sec of Defense’ is a PC term made up to make war sound ‘kinder’). Rumsfeld is tough old coot who goes to war. He doesn’t pussyfoot around and he doesn’t care what peaceniks think. He gets down to business.

    And he doesn’t back down like a little girl either (cough, Somalia, cough)

    Which is pure speculation, not evidence either way.

  6. March 29, 2004 at 2:35 am | #6

    Likewise, rejecting a plan because you don’t have enough evidence that the target you’re going after is the correct one doesn’t mean you were ignoring the threat. Just that you weren’t being reckless.

    And that is the break in the logic. The Taliban and al-Qiada had at least a dozen training camps in Afghanistan. Why do you have to wait for them to be occupied by one of a number of individuals before you hit them?

    The Clinton team was ignoring the threat by 1. Not leveling every terrorist training camp (and re-leveling it when they tried to rebuild it), and 2. Not taking at least one of the two offers of hand delivery of OBL.

    Bush may have not have had al Qiada as priority one (he was taking control of a country in economic recession), but they sure as hell would have taken the offer of OBL if it were offered.

    And when Clarke speaks of ‘submarines’, he doesn’t mean that there were multiple ones there at the same time. If you have more than one sub in an area of that size, you risk the possiblility of one being discovered, exposing the whole group and thereby taking the whole idea of a submarine (stealth) away.

    Subs rotate. Usually with 1 month shifts. But they can, of course stay for longer.

    I’m so glad you posted some of the MTP transcript. Did you catch this little bit?

    RUSSERT: Did you vote for George Bush in 2000?
    CLARKE: No, I did not.
    RUSSERT: You voted for Al Gore?
    CLARKE: Yes, I did

    That would seem to be a 180 from his earlier statement that he voted for Bush (and is/was a Republican).

    I told you, he’s a liar.

    Like I said before, wait, by the end of this week, the list of his campaign contributions should be hitting the press.

    I think that we are currently “significantly eroding” al-Qiada with our operations in Afghanistan. And now, in Iraq, we are giving them a covenient place to meet their deaths. They only have to cross in from Syria, Iran or Turkey. They don’t even have to cross an ocean to fight “The Great Satan”.

    I’d rather have them there vs. the 1st Marine Division than here vs. church-going grandmas.

    How ’bout you?

    Iraq was giving $10,000 and $25,000 bounties to the families of suicide bombers (depending on how many Jews were killed). That alone should have been enough for the UN to get of it’s elastic ass and do something.

    I guess that ‘Oil-for Food’ money was just too tasty.

    And that is just the $$$ we know about.

    Iran was put in the hotseat with the Iraq invasion (Axis of Evil and all). Syria is now asking Australia to help moderate ‘talks’ with the US (and don’t forget Lybia). I’m still wondering how the Iraq invasion was a bad thing?

    Saudi Arabia will fall in line shortly, once Iraq’s oil fields reach full production and they have some real (non-OPEC) competition. It is hard to fund terrorists when you don’t have any money coming in.

    And I think the Rumsfeld inclusion seals the deal.

    You can call it speculation if you want. You can even call it ‘wishful thinking’. Bush has been compared to Hitler on far less circumstantial evidence.

  7. March 29, 2004 at 2:40 am | #7

    Ooops, well I guess I was wrong.

    The list of Clarke’s campaign contributions came out last Thursday.

    http://www.insightmag.com/news/2004/03/30/National/Records.Show.Richard.Clarke.Gave.Only.To.Democrats-641404.shtml

    Why didn’t 60 Minutes include this in their report on Sunday (3/28)
    night?

    Oh wait, I forgot, they and Richard have a book to sell.

    But there is no liberal media bias, right?

  8. March 29, 2004 at 10:52 am | #8

    And that is the break in the logic. The Taliban and al-Qiada had at least a dozen training camps in Afghanistan. Why do you have to wait for them to be occupied by one of a number of individuals before you hit them?

    The Clinton team was ignoring the threat by 1. Not leveling every terrorist training camp (and re-leveling it when they tried to rebuild it), and 2. Not taking at least one of the two offers of hand delivery of OBL.

    Bush may have not have had al Qiada as priority one (he was taking control of a country in economic recession), but they sure as hell would have taken the offer of OBL if it were offered.

    I don’t think not leveling every camp means you’re ignoring it. I’m not saying he did enough, but Bush hasn’t been any better. He certainly didn’t level every camp when he came in, and you think Clinton could have done it, then obviously Bush could have, whatever you think about the military budget.

    Also, I know one of the supposed offers of bin Laden was from Sudan (which the 9/11 commission said there was no reliable evidence that there was an offer), but what was the other?

    And it’s completely wishful thinking to say Bush would have taken him when Clinton supposedly wouldn’t.

    And when Clarke speaks of ‘submarines’, he doesn’t mean that there were multiple ones there at the same time. If you have more than one sub in an area of that size, you risk the possiblility of one being discovered, exposing the whole group and thereby taking the whole idea of a submarine (stealth) away.

    Subs rotate. Usually with 1 month shifts. But they can, of course stay for longer.

    Ok, I wasn’t quite sure. But if you’re rotating them in and out, aren’t you staying there, ready to take shots whenever you can?

    I’m so glad you posted some of the MTP transcript. Did you catch this little bit?

    RUSSERT: Did you vote for George Bush in 2000?
    CLARKE: No, I did not.
    RUSSERT: You voted for Al Gore?
    CLARKE: Yes, I did

    That would seem to be a 180 from his earlier statement that he voted for Bush (and is/was a Republican).

    I told you, he’s a liar.

    He never said he voted for Bush. He said he voted in the Republican primary for McCain. He didn’t win, so he decided he wanted to stay under a similar administration. Most descriptions I’ve seen of him from people who knew him say he’s pretty nonpartisan anyway (though that must have been the liberal media).

    And now, in Iraq, we are giving them a covenient place to meet their deaths. They only have to cross in from Syria, Iran or Turkey. They don’t even have to cross an ocean to fight “The Great Satan”.

    Doesn’t seem that’s really working, does it? You know, what just happened in Spain? We’ve pissed off enough Arabs with the invasion that the ones that decided to join al Qaeda are enough to offset anything Iraq draws. And anyway, Zarqawi’s letter seems to suggest that al Qaeda isn’t much of a presence in Iraq.

    Iran was put in the hotseat with the Iraq invasion (Axis of Evil and all). Syria is now asking Australia to help moderate ‘talks’ with the US (and don’t forget Lybia). I’m still wondering how the Iraq invasion was a bad thing?

    Saudi Arabia will fall in line shortly, once Iraq’s oil fields reach full production and they have some real (non-OPEC) competition. It is hard to fund terrorists when you don’t have any money coming in.

    I don’t see how the invasion of Iraq has helped much with Iran. It seems to me that if we say we’re invading Iraq over WMDs, and we don’t find any, yet there’s North Korea, which appears to have them, we look like we invade the weak, defenseless countries. They aren’t going to give us the benefit of the doubt. And that’s incentive to procure or produce WMDs, and Iran, however little, has been allowing inspections and taking some positive steps. Juan Cole has some good comments about Libya, which doesn’t seem to be much related to the Iraq invasion either.

    Anyway, do we really want to argue about the Iraq war again? We already had a pretty long argument over it. I doubt we’ll cover any new ground.

    Oh wait, I forgot, they and Richard have a book to sell.

    But there is no liberal media bias, right?

    Why would CBS want to play down their story? And why is this limited only to liberals? If a former advisor was accusing a Democratic administration of something, they’d play down their sensational story and lose profits from the book? Anyway, they did give some token rebuttal time for Hadley. Of course, that was only going after the accusations he made, not a personal attack.

    On a side note: The White House admitted the meeting between Clarke and Bush “probably” took place the other day. So much for your 8 witnesses. Which was stupid in the first place because it was only an impromptu meeting between 3 people.

  9. March 30, 2004 at 12:49 pm | #9

    I’m not saying that not leveling every camp is ignoring the problem either, but Clarke said “My impression was that fighting terrorism, in general, and fighting Al Qaida, in particular, were an extraordinarily high priority in the Clinton administration — certainly no higher priority. There were priorities probably of equal importance such as the Middle East peace process, but I certainly don’t know of one that was any higher in the priority of that administration.”

    Not leveling every camp defininitely shows that it wans’t a high priority. I would guess that it was below #10 on the priorities list.

    From Mansoor Ijaz, (one of his hyopthetical question if he were a 9/11 commissioner)

    “Mr. Clarke, we know from news reports and the testimony of a former U.S. ambassador that a meeting took place at an Alexandria, Virginia, hotel in February 1996 between Sudan’s minister of defense, El Fatih Erwa, Ambassador Timothy Carney, a career State Department officer, and a CIA official with oversight responsibility for African affairs. During that meeting, Erwa offered to have Osama bin Laden extradited to Saudi Arabia (an offer which President Clinton has admitted to and also said that the Saudi government declined when asked), and barring that, to have Sudan essentially baby-sit him with U.S. guidance (which we also turned down). Is it true that a second meeting took place a few weeks later in which Erwa and the CIA officer met alone? What can you tell us about that meeting? Did Erwa make an offer, however vague or oblique, to permit the United States to have access to bin Laden in a manner similar to the capture of Carlos the Jackal that Sudan orchestrated with France? If the CIA case officer received this offer, did he pass it up the chain of command and did you at the NSC see or review any notes of that meeting? If he did not, was this a result of the poor state of relations between CIA and the White House or just a bureaucratic snafu? How do you assess President Clinton’s own view that the administration chose not to bring bin Laden to the United States because there were insufficient legal grounds for doing so? Why would he make such a claim if there were never any offer in the first place?”

    Go here and take a read on the other 6 questions he would ask Clarke

    http://www.nationalreview.com/ijaz/ijaz200403230855.asp

    (Yes, it is at NRO. Ijaz also contributes to Fox)

    And again, you can call my belief that Bush would have done things that Clinton wouldn’t/didn’t ‘speculation’, but if you take Clarke’s own words about improvements to “The Clinton Plan” made by the Bush Admin, I think, make doing so sound partisian.

    And nicelties about who he actually voted for aside, the man made the statement/assertion that he was ‘a Republican’ and not in this for monetary/political gain.

    Yet his votes and contributions tell a different story.

    And you may want to stop looking at the ‘Rand Beers silliness’ as such. You’ve got the evidence, but do not want to believe that Clarke could be doing this for $$$ (for himself) and for political gain (for his preferred party during an election season).

    On a side note, where are the September 11th widows and orphans who whined about Bush using WTC images in his commercial decrying Clarke’s use of Sept 11th to make money?

    I guess that the Heinz money buys silence as well as it buys yelling.

    You’re right, I shouldn’t have drug Iraq into this discussion. But since I did, I can’t believe you actually wrote this line “Zarqawi’s letter seems to suggest that al Qaeda isn’t much of a presence in Iraq.”

    Screw what Zarqawi says. They admitted to the police recruit bombing along with probably a dozen other act of terrorism. They’re there, they’re there in large numbers and if they want to continue trying to kill civilians and US soldiers, they will die there in large numbers.

    Are you delusional enough to actually believe that Iran let the IAEA in for the hell of it?

    Having the 1st Special forces on your eastern border, a Division of Marines on your western border and a couple of CBG’s floating in the gulf had nothing to do with it then?

    And even Khaddafi admits that the invasion of Iraq made a huge impression to continue with disarmament talks.

    “Gadhafi: Iraq war may have influenced WMD decision”

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/africa/12/22/gadhafi.interview/index.html

    (I swear, that guy has to get a conference together so that we can have one version of how to spell his damn name.)

    Your link to the fucking twit, Juan Cole, didn’t work. So, I hunted it down manually.

    And Juan Cole is a fucking twit. Notice how he wrote that on Dec 21st. Moammar comes out the next day and says just the opposite.

    Juan Cole can take his partisianship and go fuck himself while he kisses my ass. He was wrong. I noticed that he issued no apology when it was proved he was wrong. Shows his cowardice. Fucking twit.

    Don’t hang your hat on these guys, Jeff.

  10. March 30, 2004 at 6:07 pm | #10

    I’m not saying that not leveling every camp is ignoring the problem either, but Clarke said “My impression was that fighting terrorism, in general, and fighting Al Qaida, in particular, were an extraordinarily high priority in the Clinton administration — certainly no higher priority. There were priorities probably of equal importance such as the Middle East peace process, but I certainly don’t know of one that was any higher in the priority of that administration.”

    Not leveling every camp defininitely shows that it wans’t a high priority. I would guess that it was below #10 on the priorities list.

    I still don’t think so. They obviously didn’t take it as seriously as they should have. If they did, they would have been bombing every camp and not been hung up on lacking intelligence at times. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t trying to deal with it and that that was near the top of their agenda. They just didn’t see it as important enough to lower their standards of evidence or intelligence. Anyway, I thought Kevin Drum’s post on it today was kind of interesting:

    Clarke’s monomania also illuminates what I felt was probably his biggest weakness: he’s willing to give the benefit of the doubt to anyone who “gets it” even if they aren’t very effective. He’s scathing toward FBI Director Louis Freeh, for example, who simply didn’t take counterterrorism seriously, but is rather more complimentary toward CIA Director George Tenet. CIA didn’t really get much more done than FBI, but he felt that at least Tenet understood the problem and was doing his best.

    As Dan points out, the irony in all this is that Bush’s terrorism policies turned out to be largely identical to Clinton’s. It’s just flatly false to pretend that Bush was planning a broader, more serious attack on al-Qaeda prior to 9/11. In fact, Clarke’s real problem with Bush wasn’t so much his policies, but rather that from where he stood Bush spent more time on stem cells than he did on terrorism. To him, this made Bush a lightweight. If Bush had had his priorities straight, maybe ? just maybe ? he would have kicked some bureaucratic ass in the summer of 2001 and 9/11 would never have happened.

    So, is the second offer a second offer from Sudan around the same time as the first? And the question would be a good question for Clarke, I’ve always been confused about the Sudan offer. I think there’s some stuff about it in his book, but I don’t remember what exactly (I skimmed some of it the other day).

    And again, you can call my belief that Bush would have done things that Clinton wouldn’t/didn’t ‘speculation’, but if you take Clarke’s own words about improvements to “The Clinton Plan” made by the Bush Admin, I think, make doing so sound partisian.

    I don’t think we can know what the case would have been if 9/11 and it’s surrounding effects hadn’t happened. “Significantly erode” isn’t really that different from “rollback,” which they defined as “reducing al Qaeda to a nub of an organization, like Abu Nidal’s” (close paraphrase). I don’t think that’s being partisan at all.

    And nicelties about who he actually voted for aside, the man made the statement/assertion that he was ‘a Republican’ and not in this for monetary/political gain.

    Yet his votes and contributions tell a different story.

    Did he actually say that? All I’ve seen him say is that he voted in the 2000 Republican primary, for McCain, as a statement that he wasn’t a partisan.

    And you may want to stop looking at the ‘Rand Beers silliness’ as such. You’ve got the evidence, but do not want to believe that Clarke could be doing this for $$$ (for himself) and for political gain (for his preferred party during an election season).

    He COULD be. But Jesus, a couple of friends he’s had for years is supposed to be proof? Come on.

    I guess that the Heinz money buys silence as well as it buys yelling.

    Heinz had nothing to do with it.

    You’re right, I shouldn’t have drug Iraq into this discussion. But since I did, I can’t believe you actually wrote this line “Zarqawi’s letter seems to suggest that al Qaeda isn’t much of a presence in Iraq.”

    Screw what Zarqawi says. They admitted to the police recruit bombing along with probably a dozen other act of terrorism. They’re there, they’re there in large numbers and if they want to continue trying to kill civilians and US soldiers, they will die there in large numbers.

    If he had said “Al Qaeda is not in Iraq,” I’d agree. But he said nothing of the sort. I said “his letter implies.” He was asking for al Qaeda help in Iraq. If there’s this huge presence there, why is he asking for al Qaeda to come help? I don’t doubt there are al Qaeda in Iraq, but it doesn’t seem to be hurting their ability to carry out terrorism in the Western world that much.

    Are you delusional enough to actually believe that Iran let the IAEA in for the hell of it?

    Having the 1st Special forces on your eastern border, a Division of Marines on your western border and a couple of CBG’s floating in the gulf had nothing to do with it then?

    I’m saying that it doesn’t make sense that they would do it because of the Iraq war. They don’t think we care whether you have weapons or not. Wouldn’t you agree with that? They aren’t saying “oh, they made a mistake, but they really are trying to rid the ME of WMDs.” They hate us and always think the worst about us. Don’t you think they’d get WMDs to protect themselves? They’re in the “axis of evil,” they think we’ll come after them no matter what.

    More comments on Qadhafi from TPM.

    Moral of the story: Qadhafi has been wanting this for a while, he’s been under intense sanctions, his gov’t is being challenged by Islamic fundamentalists. The war may sped it up a little, but his weapons were very crude and he was not threat so it wasn’t urgent, so it’s really not something that justifies the war.

  11. March 30, 2004 at 8:56 pm | #11

    Follow up: I flipped through Clarke’s book looking for stuff on the Sudan offer. He flatly denied it. A “fable cooked up by Sudanese intelligence officials and Americans friendly to the Sudanese regime.” And he says that we could have indicted him if brought here, because the prosecuter “as the saying goes, ‘could indict a ham sandwhich.’”

  12. March 31, 2004 at 3:13 am | #12

    First, Bush’s initial strikes on the camps in Afghanistan were done with the same intel that Clinton and Clarke had. Satellite and GPS.

    When a gov’t is supporting the people who killed your citizens, soldiers and sailors, blew up two of your embassies, sunk a marked ship of war, and then said that you deserved more deaths in the future because you are too cowardly to fight back, you have all the reason in the world to stomp a shithole in their heads.

    Clinton was a wuss who was always looking for his out. “Oh, the intel wasn’t good enough, my CIA director wants to hold off, possible collateral damage, etc”

    Plus, the USS Cole happened during an election year. He probably didn’t want to hand off a grownup job to Gore.

    Bush increased intel funding, made friends with the neighboring ‘stans’ in the middle east, started giving money to the Northern Alliance (and this is just what we know so far).

    Yet you do not believe that something would have happened over there without Sept. 11th.

    Sometimes I just got to scratch my head and wonder, man.

    And Drum can get in line with El Guano Juan.

    “Bush’s terrorism policies turned out to be largely identical to Clinton’s”

    What the hell is he smoking? I just listed 3 examples off the top of my head of how Bush’s policies were NOT like Clinton’s. Has he heard of them or does he just choose to ignore them?

    And since you won’t accept the above assertion, I cannot accept one left wing whiner in my hometown’s reporting of unsubstantiated denials. When Peaceful Tomorrows and Tides open their books and show off the ‘non-fungable contract’, I’ll believe it.

    Until then, the dots are too closely aligned and the propaganda to perfect.

    And I still haven’t heard Kristen Breitweiser and Monica Gabrielle come out against Clarke’s million dollar book deal.

    They like to put their faces on the tube so much, they can do so against Clarke. Or is it OK to them because they like his message?

    As for Zarqawi’s words, the reason al-qiada can still carry out terror in other countries is because a large number of those countries either think that they’re immune (Spain) or cannot stop them from doing so.

    That is why we have a Spec For group in the Phillipines. They asked for our help to fight these turds and we obliged. They knew they weren’t immune and they knew they couldn’t do it on their own.

    OK, I’m a little confused by you context in this sentence “They don’t think we care whether you have weapons or not.”

    I think you were trying to say that “they don’t think WE care if THEY have weapons or not”.

    If they actually think that, they’re dumber than dirt.

    Let’s see, we put them on the ‘Axis of Evil’ shortlist, eliminated a theocracy who supported and harbored terrorists just east of them and eliminated a dictatorship that we thought had WMD’s just to the west of them.

    Since they fall into both of those categories and are in between the preceeding conquered countries, I would think that those actions on the part of the US would weigh heavily on their tiny little minds.

    If they are trying to play ‘the blonde’ and say that they didn’t notice, they are doing a poor job. Especially if you look at the date of the invasion and the date of the return of the IAEA.

    But believe what you will. I’ll just keep scatching my head and wondering.

    And the Iran gov’t may hate us, but the people of your persuasion (early 20′s, college student, free thinking) love America being right next door. They love our radio broadcasts and the fact that when they gather to protest, they don’t get beaten as badly.

    Khaddafi was in negotiations for a while. And I know for a fact that he has both CNN, MSNBC and Fox wired to his house and office.

    He saw the stomping of the Iraqi army, knew that his wasn’t even that good, and thought long and hard about having his kids end up like the Hussein boys.

    The only way we could have made his capitulation faster would have been to send him the heads of Uday and Qusay. And I would have supported that. And I would have sent them COD.

    It doesn’t need to justify the war. Have you kept up on the trails we’re coming across with Khaddafi’s help? Arms smuggling rings, drug smuggling rings, money transfer scemes, etc.

    It is like when they took Sonny ‘The Bull’ Gravano down. Beans have been spilt my man.

    More info/intel for us. Yay!

    And ooops, Bill Clinton admitted to the existence of the Sudan offer.

    From the Monsoor Ijaz link above.

    “During that meeting, Erwa offered to have Osama bin Laden extradited to Saudi Arabia (an offer which President Clinton has admitted to and also said that the Saudi government declined when asked), and barring that, to have Sudan essentially baby-sit him with U.S. guidance (which we also turned down).”

    I don’t like having to go off the words of a known perjurer, but I’ll take it. Clinton’s excuse was that he was advised that we might not have enough evidence under (so called) “International Law” to detain bin Laden.

    See where following “International Law” gets you.

    3000 dead. And that is just from one day in America.

    Clarke is a lying prick.

  13. March 31, 2004 at 12:41 pm | #13

    Plus, the USS Cole happened during an election year. He probably didn’t want to hand off a grownup job to Gore.

    Why didn’t Bush attack al Qaeda over the Cole?

    Bush increased intel funding, made friends with the neighboring ‘stans’ in the middle east, started giving money to the Northern Alliance (and this is just what we know so far).

    Yet you do not believe that something would have happened over there without Sept. 11th.

    Sometimes I just got to scratch my head and wonder, man.

    I think you’re missing what I’m saying. They didn’t do any of that until Sept. 4th. When we had loads of intel saying something was going to happen, something bad. You have Clarke and Tenet pressing this pretty hard. Isn’t it reasonable to say they did that in response to the warnings? If there hadn’t been any of the reports or anything, would they have done anything? Why is that so completely unreasonable?

    And Drum can get in line with El Guano Juan.

    “Bush’s terrorism policies turned out to be largely identical to Clinton’s”

    What the hell is he smoking? I just listed 3 examples off the top of my head of how Bush’s policies were NOT like Clinton’s. Has he heard of them or does he just choose to ignore them?

    You know, he was agreeing with Dan Drezner on that statement. And remember, they were only talk, they didn’t do anything in line with them until after 9/11.

    And since you won’t accept the above assertion, I cannot accept one left wing whiner in my hometown’s reporting of unsubstantiated denials. When Peaceful Tomorrows and Tides open their books and show off the ‘non-fungable contract’, I’ll believe it.

    Until then, the dots are too closely aligned and the propaganda to perfect.

    The Tides Center is like a management service for non-profit projects. It’s kind of silly to suggest any money given to them can be redirected. Why not claim Schizophrenia.com is linked to the Gay-Straight Alliance? Besides, part of it was that two of the people speaking out weren’t even in Peaceful Tomorrows.

    OK, I’m a little confused by you context in this sentence “They don’t think we care whether you have weapons or not.”

    I think you were trying to say that “they don’t think WE care if THEY have weapons or not”.

    If they actually think that, they’re dumber than dirt.

    Let’s see, we put them on the ‘Axis of Evil’ shortlist, eliminated a theocracy who supported and harbored terrorists just east of them and eliminated a dictatorship that we thought had WMD’s just to the west of them.

    Since they fall into both of those categories and are in between the preceeding conquered countries, I would think that those actions on the part of the US would weigh heavily on their tiny little minds.

    If they are trying to play ‘the blonde’ and say that they didn’t notice, they are doing a poor job. Especially if you look at the date of the invasion and the date of the return of the IAEA.

    But believe what you will. I’ll just keep scatching my head and wondering.

    Ok, I’m going to explain it again. They (the gov’t) hate us already and are suspicious (to put it lightly) of our motives. We invaded, saying Iraq had WMDs. They didn’t. What do you think that makes them think? Oh, they made a mistake? Or that they really don’t care about WMDs, they just want oil. And so, thinking WMDs don’t really matter to us, and that they have been put on our list, they’re just going to give up their WMDs (or stop making them), their best shot at defending against us?

    Anyway, Iran had moving in this direction before. And IAEA team was in Iran in Feb 2003. A couple weeks before they accepted unannounced inspections, the IAEA released a report that was pretty damaging to their claims that they weren’t hiding something. The U.S. wanted it before the security council. Obviously, we’re too tied up to attack anyone else at the moment, so I don’t think that was a fear of theirs. Just more sanctions.

    Khaddafi was in negotiations for a while. And I know for a fact that he has both CNN, MSNBC and Fox wired to his house and office.

    He saw the stomping of the Iraqi army, knew that his wasn’t even that good, and thought long and hard about having his kids end up like the Hussein boys.

    The only way we could have made his capitulation faster would have been to send him the heads of Uday and Qusay. And I would have supported that. And I would have sent them COD.

    It doesn’t need to justify the war. Have you kept up on the trails we’re coming across with Khaddafi’s help? Arms smuggling rings, drug smuggling rings, money transfer scemes, etc.

    It is like when they took Sonny ‘The Bull’ Gravano down. Beans have been spilt my man.

    More info/intel for us. Yay!

    I’m not saying it’s bad that he gave up his weapons, just that it was going to happen eventually, and that it doesn’t justify the war, like you just agreed.

    And ooops, Bill Clinton admitted to the existence of the Sudan offer.

    From the Monsoor Ijaz link above.

    “During that meeting, Erwa offered to have Osama bin Laden extradited to Saudi Arabia (an offer which President Clinton has admitted to and also said that the Saudi government declined when asked), and barring that, to have Sudan essentially baby-sit him with U.S. guidance (which we also turned down).”

    I don’t like having to go off the words of a known perjurer, but I’ll take it. Clinton’s excuse was that he was advised that we might not have enough evidence under (so called) “International Law” to detain bin Laden.

    I’ve heard his statement, and I’m not really sure. He says Sudan “released him.” Why would he say that and not “he was offered to us”? Maybe it means when they stopped protecting him and we had a shot at snatching him? I don’t know. I think Clinton is supposed to testify, so I’d like to see if he gets asked.

  14. April 5, 2004 at 3:53 am | #14

    Heya Jeff, I doesn’t look good for me being able to continue this anytime soon.

    And from the looks of your latest post, it doesn’t look great for you free time either.

    If you’re willing to call it a draw for now, I’m agreeable.

    We both know that the whole September 11th commission will not cover any new ground and will leave both sides pointing the finger at the other, just like before.

    In other words, it is just there for entertainment and distraction.

    We both already know who caused Sept 11th, and none of the are alive today.

  15. April 5, 2004 at 8:38 am | #15

    Agreed.

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