March 22, 2004

I Can Tell I am Going to Tire of this Clarke Story Rather Quickly

OK, from this story, News Analysis: An Accuser�s Insider Status Puts the White House on the Defensive, we get:

Mr. Clarke has put the White House squarely on the defensive again. He paints a scene that it is easy to imagine turning up with spooky music in a Kerry commercial as evidence of Mr. Bush's determination to invade Iraq. On Sept. 12, 2001, Mr. Clarke writes, Mr. Bush approached him in the White House Situation Room and three times asked him to "look into" whether Iraq had been involved in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"And in a very intimidating way, I mean, that we should come back with that answer," Mr. Clarke elaborated in an interview on the CBS program "60 Minutes" on Sunday night.

I read a similar quote earlier this afternoon as I glanced at a newspaper, and the following kinds of questions emerge:

1) Is it really all that insane for someone to think, on 9/12/01, that Saddam might have been involved? Indeed, I know people who totally opposed the Iraq war whose initial reaction on 911 was that Iraq might be involved. Didn't we all think that at least once?

2) I suspect that on 9/12/01 Bush was a tad intimidating. He was probably on the angry side.

3) There is one major, gigantic, huge, etc. hole in this argument that Bush was hell-bent on blaming Iraq and attacking Iraq: and that is, we didn't attack Iraq immediately after 911. If Bush was indeed myopically focused on Iraq, and was either too stupid to understand anything else, or was willing to lie to get at Iraq, why didn't we just launch a war on Iraq in 2001? Answer: the President wasn't blindly gunning for Iraq.

And a follow-up, while I understand that the administration believed that there were al Qaeda ties to the Saddam regime (a debatable, but not insane notion), we did not launch a war a year ago on the argument that Saddam was responsible for 911.

This whole: "see! Bush was just looking for an excuse to attack Iraq and used 911 to do it" simply lack a logical foundation. There are numerous routes by which to argue with the administration's Iraq policy, indeed its entire foreign agenda, but this isn't one of them.

Further, in the quote I read this afternoon, Clarke says that he insisted to the President (again, on 9/12) that it was clearly al Qaeda. Now, not only is that a self-serving quote (basically noting how he was the rational one, and the President a raving loon), but how can an intelligence analyst, one day after an attack be rock-solid 100% that he has all the answers? It is ludicrous.

Posted by Steven Taylor at March 22, 2004 09:37 PM | TrackBack

Hmm.. Yep Yep exactly.

The first logical thought in many minds was Iraq within the first 24 hours or longer.

When reading this quote earlier I thought of the Oklahoma bombing and the many refs to an Arab being responsibile, in the first few hours. I have tried in vein to find some newspaper headlines or stories saying the same at the time but have been unable to locate any as yet.

Posted by: marc at March 23, 2004 08:42 AM


Good point on the OK City initial response.

Posted by: Steven at March 23, 2004 08:59 AM
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