More on Richard Clarke…
A response from a reviewer prompted me to write a quick follow up chapter. So that I shall do.
I was asked why I blast Clinton for not doing anything yet allow Bush to get away with it because the Democrats would have bit his head off. Well, let's look at the facts? Six attacks—only one is responded to with minimal force (a dead camel and a destroyed aspirin factor—not exactly something that strikes fear into those who mean to do us harm). How is this at all justifiable? And my point with Bush is simple: while I'm sure the elimination plan of Al-Qaida was being put to thought, there is no way George W. Bush could have started his presidency off—one being contested by the Democrats—with a military campaign into Afghanistan. Clinton had more chances and more reasons to go in than he needed—Bush would have been going on revenge that was five months late. Clinton and every Democrat in the country would have been all over him JUST like they are now.
Then I was told that if I was going to attack Clinton and be lenient on Bush, I needed a better argument. This was at the end of a short explanation as to why military action shouldn't be used against the military. Let's look at some more facts, shall we? In under two years, two military campaigns scared two countries into complying with the United States of America (Libya and Iran), made another stay at the negotiation table (North Korea), destroyed the infrastructure and captured 2/3 of the leadership of Al-Qaida, and removed a tyrant who funded and harbored terrorists and terrorists groups—and who also had a connection to Al-Qaida. And if you choose to use logic and understanding, you'll see there was a connection to 9/11 through Hussein as well—sure was one in 1993. All through military action. So, contrary to the statement that military action solves nothing, it does indeed.
The reviewer finished with this:
"I find it funny that you don't address Richard Clarke's assertion that Bush was after Iraq - some connection between 9/11 and Iraq, however small - very soon after 9/11. This is one of the major points of his testimony. Are you just trying to discredit him so that we dismiss this assertion of his? But why don't you make mention of it? Just curious."
First off, you're wrong. It was not a major point of his testimony—Clarke actually brought it up without being asked. And frankly speaking, he had no right to even bring it up—he wasn't asked about Iraq for the main reason that the commission was created to investigate 9/11 and whether or not we're safer now than we were on September 10, 2001. Iraq is of no concern to the Commission and no other witness spoke about Iraq…only Richard Clarke. And hey, since, according to the reviewer, the thing on Iraq was a major point of his testimony, let's look at it. Let's look at this "major point" shall we?
"CLARKE: Now as to your accusation that there is a difference between what I said to this commission in 15 hours of testimony and what I am saying in my book and what media outlets are asking me to comment on, I think there's a very good reason for that. In the 15 hours of testimony, no one asked me what I thought about the president's invasion of Iraq. And the reason I am strident in my criticism of the president of the United States is because by invading Iraq- something I was not asked about by the commission, but something I chose to write about a lot in the book- by invading Iraq, the president of the United States has greatly undermined the war on terrorism."
That's it. That measly little statement was a "major point"?! Please. I've read over the entire transcript—all 29 pages. This is all he said about it, so no, it wasn't a major point at all. So right there you look foolish—you being the reviewer who left that review.
As for the rest of your review: I wasn't trying to discredit him—I did. And my point was to show how the man has no credibility—the Iraq assertions were not a major point for me to focus.
But allow me now that you've called me out.
Let's dissect Clarke's comments. He admits he is strident in his criticism because nobody asked him about invading Iraq and he thinks it was a bad move. If that doesn't say enough about the guy. I mean c'mon, this guy is admitting to why he's been vicious on Bush. Because nobody asked him about Iraq. Hey guess what?! The President didn't have to. For years Clarke kept Clinton from bombing Iraq before he finally gave in in late 1998. So frankly, nobody wanted to hear what Clarke had to say. As I said before, this man failed at his job for 8 years, and his record followed him.
Look again: "Something I was not asked about by the commission, but something I chose to write about a lot in the book." The man just plugged his own book on national television! Nobody, not one person, asked about him about his thoughts on Iraq because it didn't matter what he thought! His opinion, as does anyone's opinion on Iraq, does not matter in a commission on 9/11!
Yes, Bush might have asked Clarke to find a connection Iraq in the days following 9/11—why shouldn't he? It's a country who has shot at US planes for years, tried to assassinate a president—there's a perfectly good reason to believe Iraq was behind it. On top of that, Bush never said "Saddam, 9/11" or whatever Clarke says he said—what he wanted was an updated report from Clarke. If Bush really wanted to take out Iraq that bad, wouldn't he have gone in there first?
Clarke said what he said because he wanted to take a little shot at Bush and plug his book. Clarke was never asked about Iraq, and nobody even followed up his statement. He made it on his own volition—and made sure to point out he talks about it extensively in his book.
All that comment showed was that Clarke has a vendetta to take out Bush—maybe for the Democrats, maybe for his own little revenge, maybe to sell books. I say all three.