A friend, who is a critic of Bush (and that’s putting it mildly), e-mails me with several criticisms of the Administration’s response to Clarke’s allegations, as well as other comments. My friend has a couple of good points, and I should acknowledge them.
Cheney’s statement that Clarke was “out of the loop” was suspicious when he said it. As it turns out, it doesn’t appear to have been true, according to Condi Rice. Assume it was true. What sense would it make to keep your top terrorism guy out of the loop? That was a stupid and incredible thing for Cheney to say.
Bush’s recent skit, in which he pretended to be looking for WMD under his desk and such, was embarrassing. I know that Presidents are supposed to poke fun at themselves at the Press Club dinners, but there’s nothing funny about the issue. The issue of WMD (and Saddam’s thumbing his nose at the UN over them) is why I reluctantly supported the war. Now American soldiers have died, and we haven’t found WMD. It is not a laughing matter.
Not funny, Mr. President.
Charles Krauthammer has more reasons to doubt Dick “Dick” Clarke’s credibility. (Via Prestopundit.)
According to Krauthammer, in 2002, an interviewer
asked Clarke whether failing to blow up the camps and take out the Afghan sanctuary was a “pretty basic mistake.”
Clarke’s answer is unbelievable: “Well, I’m not prepared to call it a mistake. It was a judgment made by people who had to take into account a lot of other issues. . . . There was the Middle East peace process going on. There was the war in Yugoslavia going on. People above my rank had to judge what could be done in the counterterrorism world at a time when they were also pursuing other national goals.”
As Krauthammer points out, this is a direct contradiction of Clarke’s later claim that the Clinton administration had no higher priority than fighting terrorism. As Krauthammer notes,
if the Clarke of 2002 was telling the truth, then the Clarke of this week — the one who told the Sept. 11 commission under oath that “fighting terrorism, in general, and fighting al Qaeda, in particular, were an extraordinarily high priority in the Clinton administration — certainly [there was] no higher priority” — is a liar.
Yup. I put witnesses on the stand for a living. I sure wouldn’t want to put this guy on as a witness. His credibility is shot.
UPDATE: Rich Lowry has a good article as well. (Via Captain Ed.)
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Kevin Roderick reports that L.A. Times feature writer Roy Rivenburg is catching some flack for being suspiciously non-liberal.