In perhaps the most damning interview ever given (and book written) by a member of the Bush administration, Richard Clarke has absolutely blasted the Bush performance in the war on terror (before and after 9-11) and essentially accused the President and some top officials of an Iraq obsession
Clark: “Frankly, I find it outrageous that the president is running for re-election on the grounds that he’s done such great things about terrorism. He ignored it. He ignored terrorism for months, when maybe we could have done something to stop 9/11. Maybe. We’ll never know … I think he’s done a terrible job on the war against terrorism.”
Clarke also describes a scene in which Rumsfeld argues (in the days after 9-11) that we should bomb Iraq because there aren’t enough high-value targets in Afghanistan.
I have mixed feelings (especially in an election year) about playing the blame game when it comes to 9-11 and the general fight against terrorism. And I have these mixed feelings despite the fact that Bush has made this very topic the centerpiece of his re-election strategy. But can anyone at this point doubt the obsession with Iraq? We are reminded of the validity of Clarke’s view of the Iraq decisions nearly every day (WMDs, reaction from the U.N, the view from those on the ground in Iraq).
Clarke has worked for Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II — forget that. The smear effort begins immediately. But here’s the deal on the Iraq debate and who to believe. Listen to interviews, read reports and check records against statements. And if after that, you can seriously argue that Ahmed Chalabii seems more believable than Clarke, then welcome the Bush team’s Clarke smear campaign with open arms. If not, vote accordingly.
How big will this story be? I’m not sure a lot of it is all that new, but it also hasn’t been covered enough in the past. The blog world is talking about it. Hopefully the mainstreamers will at least give this story as much attention as Barry Bond’s possible steroid abuse.