March 25, 2004
week they didnt know who Richard
Clarke was, if theyd even heard his name. This week theyre
all attacking his character and motives with utter certitude.
They are the Bush
defenders in the media, the ones who insist that their president has never
told a lie, so that those who suggest otherwise must be part of a vast
In his new book and in his
testimony to the 9/11 commission, Clarke has said that the Clinton
administration was more on the qui vive for terrorism than the Bush
administration, which was chiefly interested in finding an excuse for
making war on Iraq. That makes him a Clintonite, according to what we
may as well call the Bush League.
Never mind that Clarke was a
hawk who had also served as a counterterrorism specialist under previous
Bushes. He is now the Enemy. His story doesnt add up. He has
political motives. He bears a grudge because he didnt get a
promotion. Hes trying to sell his book. Next well hear he
pinned Jane Doe down while Clinton raped her.
Me, I know just one thing about
the guy: hes merely adding details to a story we already knew. Did
he make them all up? Why would he have to? He wanted to go after
al-Qaeda; Bush wanted to go after Iraq.
Bush himself made that
abundantly clear. He didnt even put al-Qaeda on the Axis of Evil. He
said incessantly that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction
which would be found when U.S. forces gained access. Condoleezza Rice,
who now says Clarke needs to get his story straight, liked
to scare the children with tales of the mushroom cloud we
faced if we didnt stop Saddam Hussein pronto.
yes, Saddam presumably had links to
terrorists. But the only link between Saddam and
Osama was that they were both evil Arabs. Remember Im OK,
Youre OK? In the Arab world, if you believe the Bush
League, self-help books must have titles like Im Evil,
Youre Evil to help people forge social bonds.
Clarke has apologized to the
American people for his failure, and his willingness to admit fault
certainly proves he lacks the stuff Bush loyalists are made of. The rest of
them are still pretending the Iraq war was a boon to humankind, as well as
a strategic victory for the United States. They want to blame
faulty intelligence for a huge failure while refusing to
admit it was a failure at all. And they say Clarke is the one who needs to
get his story straight?
Even Bush seems to sense that
his Yosemite Sam approach to national security now requires a bit of
course correction. He is too stubborn to admit error, but he has quietly
abandoned some of the lies that arent working anymore.
Thats a start. Hes also trying to smooth relations with
European governments that had more sense than he did, thereby displaying
a Christian magnanimity that holds no grudges. He isnt even asking
the Pope to apologize.
But Clarkes disclosures
have the White House in panic. As usual, the Bush inner circle is doing a
bit of character assassination on the guy who spilled the beans. It
doesnt matter. Too many people have spilled the same beans, and
all the evidence points the same way. Why does the Bush League bother
Essentially, Clarke is only
confirming what they themselves were saying all along: The key thing was
to smash Iraq, and the problem of terrorism would be solved. War would
produce peace. And democracy. And an Israeli-Palestinian settlement. You
name it, attacking Iraq was going to achieve it. Opponents of the war were
living in a dream world. You have to fight for freedom.
Well, it turns out it was the
tough-talking realists Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld,
Rice, Wolfowitz who were having the fantasies. Even now, reality
hasnt awakened them. They believe in the warfare state as
implicitly as Lyndon Johnson, that old realist, believed in the welfare
state (and the warfare state).
Wildly attacking Richard Clarke
is typical of the Bush Leagues style. Once again they are stupidly
firing all their bullets at the wrong enemy one who started out on
their side. To what purpose? To get everyone else as confused as they are?