Stupefying and Scandalous
The 60 Minutes interview with Richard Clarke, the National Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism in the Bush White House, who served Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton, was mind-blowing. Americans should be enraged at this President and his advisors. I'm not sure how much more evidence we need, or why the desire to like and believe him outweighs so much that should lead in the opposite direction. The entire interview was damning. Here's a bit from the excerpts on the CBS website:
"'I blame the entire Bush leadership for continuing to work on Cold War issues when they back in power in 2001. It was as though they were preserved in amber from when they left office eight years earlier. They came back. They wanted to work on the same issues right away: Iraq, Star Wars. Not new issues, the new threats that had developed over the preceding eight years.'
Clarke finally got his meeting about al Qaeda in April, three months after his urgent request. But it wasn't with the president or cabinet. It was with the second-in-command in each relevant department.
For the Pentagon, it was Paul Wolfowitz.
Clarke relates, "I began saying, 'We have to deal with bin Laden; we have to deal with al Qaeda.' Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, said, 'No, no, no. We don't have to deal with al Qaeda. Why are we talking about that little guy? We have to talk about Iraqi terrorism against the United States.'
"And I said, 'Paul, there hasn't been any Iraqi terrorism against the United States in eight years!' And I turned to the deputy director of the CIA and said, 'Isn't that right?' And he said, 'Yeah, that's right. There is no Iraqi terrorism against the United States.'"
"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."
Like with Paul O'Neill, I only wish we didn't have to wait for these guys to write books before we hear what's happening at the highest levels of our own government. What if Clarke had resigned in protest back in the summer of 2001 over the lack of attention being given to the threat of terrorism? Is it too much to ask just one official to be angry enough at the time to say "to hell with loyalty?"