. . . Sunday March 28, 2004

Sunday Showdown: Clarke

Richard Clarke once again stood strong against the Bush political machine. The nonsense about inconsistencies between his testimony two years (when he was instructed to spin) ago and now. The pathetic reach to issues like his letter of resignation. The weird charges of partisanship. The absurd notion that a guy who has worked this issue for than a decade would turn into some out of control disguntled employee. The effort to discuss anything other than Clarke’s key point which is that the war Iraq was a diversion from the war on terror.

We did go to war in Iraq, no? So let’s have the debate about that, not Dick Clarke.

So far this guy has been a rock under pressure (is he the The Alpha-Bureaucrat?). Again, we’re being asked to believe that someone like Ahmed Chalabi is to be trusted but someone Clarke is to be disregarded.

From John McCain: “This is the most vigorous offensive I’ve ever seen from the administration on any issue. These attacks go to the heart of the strength of the president, and they felt it had to be put down and put down quickly. Whether they’ll succeed or not is unclear.”

There are really now two main election-issues to be considered. One, the decision to go to Iraq. Two, the tactics used by this administration to destroy Dick Clarke and others and keep information from an American public they believe is unable to process it reasonably.

“When you’re in the White House, you spin. And people have been doing a lot of that against me this week. You know, they’re engaged in a campaign. People on the taxpayers’ rolls, dozens of people, are engaged in the campaign to destroy me, personally and professionally, because I had the temerity to suggest that the American people should consider whether or not the president had done a good job on the war on terrorism. The issue is not me. The issue is the president’s job on the role on terrorism.

I think, before 9/11, he himself said — if you look at what he said to Bob Woodward, he himself said before 9/11, “This was not an urgent issue for me. I didn’t feel a sense of urgency.” He acknowledged bin Laden was not the focus of him or his national security team. So, before 9/11, not as focused. After 9/11 — I say by going into Iraq, he has really hurt the war on terrorism. Now, because I say that, the administration doesn’t want to talk on the merits of that. They don’t want to talk about the effect on the war on terrorism of our invasion of Iraq. And so, instead, A, they try to do character assassination of me; but, B, they try to punish me for having said it by going after my professional life, by going after me, besmirching me. This is just not appropriate.

And you know, Tim, what I would like to do, beginning today, it’s been going on for a week now. What I would like to do beginning today, is let’s raise the level of discourse. Let’s get some civility back into this issue. And let’s talk about the issues. Let’s not talk about the personalities. I have great respect for Dr. Rice. People have been saying all week that, you know, I must have a grudge against Condi Rice. I have known Condi for a long time. I think she’s a very, very good person. And I don’t want this to be about personality. I want it to be about the issues, about the war in Iraq and its affect on the war on terror.”

Full Transcript (worth a read) Here.

Concentration is important!