Josh Marshall has an extensive post up on the continuing war between the GOP and Dems over Clarke.
I'm not overly interested in the tactical elements of this war; what I'm interested in is seeing of there are grownups at some level of the U.S. Government - my government that can somehow stop this crap.
Here's the problem.
A Damn Bad Thing happened - a series of attacks against our people and places that culminated in an act of war on 9/11. In the decade or so leading up to this, we didn't do enough, which is, in part why it happened.
In the next decades, while we try and reduce the number of people willing to engage in these kind of acts - by bribing, converting, or killing them - we ought to not make the same mistakes. We'll make different mistakes, and we will be attacked, make no mistake about that. But it would be nice to have a reasonably objective and levelheaded look at what happened.
It'd be even better to have a government in place - and here I point at both sides of the aisle that was capable of taking such a reasonable and levelheaded look.
As long as I'm wishing, can I have a pony?
What this is about isn't Condi Rice or Richard Clarke or even George W. Bush. It's about what happened -- finding out what happened. One side wants to find out; the other doesn't. This whole story turns on that simple fact. Why else try to destroy Clark unless what he has to say is profoundly damaging? Liars are usually easily discredited; it's the truth-tellers who need to be destroyed.and adds:
I have no stake in Richard Clarke. I think he's a hero because I'm quite confident (on the basis of very strong evidence) that he's telling the truth and now facing the whirlwind that we all knew these folks would bring against him.Daniel Drezner actually neatly lays out my issues with Clarke:
Did I stack the deck in the second set of bullet points? Absolutely. My point, however, is that Clarke stacked the deck in the first set of bullet points.I'm sorry, but Marshall, and the rest of the anti-Administration chorus are just singing a different part than those in the Administration - it's still the same music...
Why would he do this? Some will say it's because Clarke is a partisan hack, which isn't really credible -- he voted in the Republican primary in 2000, served under three Republican presidents, and already vowed not to advise Kerry. My hunch is that it's more simple and personal than that. Let's rework those bullet points one last time:
It is also the story of four presidents:
- Ronald Reagan, during which I was just a State Department DAS and therefore had marginal influence;
- George H.W. Bush, whose Secretary of State demoted me;
- Bill Clinton, who was wise enough to listen to my sage advice and let me run the Principals meetings on counterterrorism;
- George W. Bush, who had the gall to strip me of the hard-won autonomy and power I achieved under Clinton and force me to work through the regular chain of command
BAKERAnd personally, I'm tired of it. The Democrats (including Marshall) are furious at Bush for not walking into a trap. As noted before, the leaked Democratic intelligence committee memos made that clear:
Wait a minute, magic beans
For a cow so old
That you had to tell
A lie to sell
It, which you told!
Were they worthless beans?
Were they oversold?
Oh, and tell us who
To steal that gold.
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD (To Jack)
See, it's your fault.
So it's you fault...
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
Yes, it is!
Wait a minute-
But I only stole the gold
To get my
Cow back from you!
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD (To Baker)JACK
So it's your fault!
1) Pull the majority along as far as we can on issues that may lead to major new disclosures regarding improper or questionable conduct by administration officials. We are having some success in that regard...Note that the conclusion precedes the investigation.
3) Prepare to launch an independent investigation when it becomes clear we have exhausted the opportunity to usefully collaborate with the majority. We can pull the trigger on an independent investigation at any time-- but we can only do so once. The best time to do so will probably be next year...
SummaryIntelligence issues are clearly secondary to the public's concern regarding the insurgency in Iraq. Yet, we have an important role to play in the revealing the misleading -- if not flagrantly dishonest methods and motives -- of the senior administration officials who made the case for a unilateral, preemptive war. The approach outline above seems to offer the best prospect for exposing the administration's dubious motives and methods.
Bush isn't faultless in this; and his team is playing thug-style hockey right alongside the Democrats when they should be winning the war.
And I'm going to have to vote for one of them in November.