Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Richard Clarke says Bush team refused to deal with Terrorism Threat

Richard Clarke, former White House advisor and former Counterterrorism Coordinator for the National Security Council has been very vocal about how strongly he had urged the Bush administration to pursue Al Qaeda, and how his warnings were ignored. Even after 9/11, he talked about how the Bush team tried to put the blame inexplicably (or not, if you understand the neocon goals) on Iraq. Watch Clarke testify at in his 3/24/04 appearance. Clarke opened with a strong statement:
I welcome these hearings because of the opportunity that they provide to the American people to better understand why the tragedy of 9/11 happened, and what we must do to prevent a reoccurrence.

I also welcome the hearings because it is finally a forum where I can apologize to the loved ones of the victims of 9/11, to them who are here in the room, to those who are watching on television.

Your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. And I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn't matter, because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask, once all the facts are out, for your understanding and for your forgiveness.
The (predicatable) spin from the Bush team is that Clarke is yet another disgruntled employee talking out of school. But Clarke is not easily dismissed. He's been in government for 30 years. He's promised not to take any position with a Kerry administration. He is compelling as a speaker and he has documents that back up what he says. His new book, Against All Enemies, includes this telling segment of the bizarre atmosphere post 9/11:
Wolfowitz fidgeted and scowled. … “Well, I just don’t understand why we are beginning by talking about this one man bin Laden.”

“We are talking about a network of terrorist organizations called al Qaeda, that happens to be led by bin Laden, and we are talking about that network because it and it alone poses an immediate and serious threat to the United States,” I answered. …

Wolfowitz turned to me. “You give bin Laden too much credit. He could not do all these things like the 1993 attack on New York, not without a state sponsor. Just because FBI and CIA have failed to find the linkages does not mean they don’t exist.”

I could hardly believe it, but Wolfowitz was actually spouting the totally discredited Laurie Mylroie theory that Iraq was behind the 1993 truck bomb at the World Trade Center, a theory that had been investigated for years and found to be totally untrue.
On Sixty Minutes last Sunday, Clarke explained to Leslie Stahl that
"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."


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