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FORMER WHITE HOUSE TERRORISM ADVISOR: BUSH ADMIN WAS DISCUSSING BOMBING IRAQ FOR 9/11 DESPITE KNOWING AL QAEDA WAS TO BLAME
March 19, 2004 4:21 PM   Subscribe

FORMER WHITE HOUSE TERRORISM ADVISOR: BUSH ADMIN WAS DISCUSSING BOMBING IRAQ FOR 9/11 DESPITE KNOWING AL QAEDA WAS TO BLAME Former White House terrorism advisor Richard Clarke tells Lesley Stahl that on September 11, 2001 and the day after - when it was clear Al Qaeda had carried out the terrorist attacks - the Bush administration was considering bombing Iraq in retaliation. Clarke's exclusive interview will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday March 21 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Clarke was surprised that the attention of administration officials was turning toward Iraq when he expected the focus to be on Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. "They were talking about Iraq on 9/11. They were talking about it on 9/12," says Clarke
posted by Postroad (102 comments total)

 
I've got a friend who's well-placed in the Pentagon who has said repeatedly that the administration was talking about bombing Iraq pre-9/11, and told me within a few weeks after 9/11 that going to war with Iraq was already a fait accompli, and that Afghanistan was intended to be a dress rehearsal.
posted by scody at 4:35 PM on March 19, 2004


...oops, hit "post" too soon -- meant to end that it looks like between Lt. Col. Karen Kwitakowski's recent articles and possibly this interview with Clarke, the only thing the Admin's going to have to go on for the 2004 campaign is the repeated mantra of "but Saddam was a bad man! A very bad man! A very very bad man."
posted by scody at 4:37 PM on March 19, 2004


NewsOlderThanExcellentSingleMaltScotchFilter.
posted by stonerose at 4:37 PM on March 19, 2004


It's like the old joke about the guy who dropped his keys on the sidewalk but he was looking for them in the street "because the light is so much better here!"

The USA has a long history of waging war and toppling governments on behalf of corporate interests. (Not that we are alone in this.) More recently, the USA has been in the habit of waging war on countries mostly because we know we can "win."

Winning. Too much sports, maybe.
posted by kozad at 4:37 PM on March 19, 2004


Hey, Stonerose, you might enjoy week-old Scotch, but given that the Clarke-Stahl interview was taped only a few days ago, it's fresher than anything in my liquor cabinet (reminded of Rumpole's "Chateau Fleet Street").
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:39 PM on March 19, 2004


I'm getting really tired of this...seriously.

No Al Qaeda connection,
No WMD's
Iraq War plans drawn up well before 9/11
No Peace plan

And people still think this was a good idea? That this was necessary?

Sure the Bush line now is that the world is better off without him. This trite phrase really burns my britches. I'm better off with a billion dollars of personal income, We are all better off with health coverage, every little girl is better off with a pony...

Is it worth the cost is the question. Are we better off now that we've alienated more people not less in the middle east, spent hundreds of billions of dollars, killed thousands of innocent people, sacrificed hundreds of American lives?
posted by aaronscool at 4:40 PM on March 19, 2004


And will they still be claiming Iraqis are better off if the situation devolves into a bloody civil war, which seems all too possible?
posted by uosuaq at 4:46 PM on March 19, 2004


I'm shocked! SHOCKED I say, to find out that... oh, never mind.

At this point you would have to have been living in a monastery for the past 20 years not to know that the current Bush Administration came into the White House with a big hard on for Saddam... and it certainly didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that they were going to find a way to fit Saddam into the response to 911.

So, now what? Is any of this "news", these comments from former insiders like Clarke and Paul O'Neill, going to change public perceptions of the Administration? Will there be popular outrage over it? Will it result in a landslide for Kerry? Probably not. I'm not saying that this kind of thing isn't news, I just feel incredibly bad about being jaded about all of this: I KNOW there should be outrage over this, but if it hasn't found a voice yet (other than among those of us that were already pissed off about it), it probably never will.

Watch any interviews with the Bush gang this week on the news channels (Condi, Dick, Colin, Wolfie), and they ALL are -- not even slyly anymore -- making damn sure to couple Saddam and 911 in every sentence. It's getting so it's not even clever anymore, it's just ham-fisted and stupid. Btw, how many times is that a lie repeated will become the truth? I forget. Sorry for the wordiness, I'm drunk.
posted by psmealey at 4:47 PM on March 19, 2004


Dammit! Bush lied! Argh!

Well, I was going to get into lecture mode, but I think it's been said well enough by psmealy.
posted by dazed_one at 4:50 PM on March 19, 2004


Exactly, psmealey. There are so many underexploited sins for which Bush needs to be scourged (thereby providing the premise for the next Mel Gibson movie, no doubt) - why bother with this?
posted by stonerose at 4:53 PM on March 19, 2004


Aw, this is just another (somehow wholly untrue) exposé perpetrated by the liberal media, and their unreliable liberal spokesbot, Matt Drudge.

(Yes, that's a joke, if you weren't sure.)
posted by chicobangs at 5:10 PM on March 19, 2004


If you don't see the war in Iraq as part of the war on terrorism, then all you see is Bush itching to bomb Saddam since the day he took office.

If you do see the war in Iraq as part of the war on terrorism, then you see that Bush was preparing a strategy to fight Islamist terrorism well before Sept 11.

If you think the War on Terror is just a war against Al Qaeda in response to Sept 11, then since Osama wasn't buddies with Saddam, and Saddam wasn't involved in Sept 11, you see the war in Iraq as a diversion from the war on terrorism.

If you think the war on terrorism is not just a war against Al Qaeda, but a war against all forms and instances of international terrorism and the governments that support, allow, or foster terrorism, then you see that liberal democratic reform in the middle east is a vital part of the that war, and removing Saddam Hussein - the most murderous and oppressive ruler among a very murderous and oppressive group of rulers - is a fairly important step in that war, whether we've captured Osama bin Laden yet or not.
posted by techgnollogic at 5:10 PM on March 19, 2004


I now hate stonerose, for reminding me, I'm out of very good old scotch.
CURSE YOU STONE ROSE!
posted by Elim at 5:18 PM on March 19, 2004


If you think the war on terrorism is not just a war against Al Qaeda, but a war against all forms and instances of international terrorism and the governments that support, allow, or foster terrorism, then you see that liberal democratic reform in the middle east is a vital part of the that war, and removing Saddam Hussein...

That's not why Bush invaded Iraq. This is.
posted by wsg at 5:27 PM on March 19, 2004


ok, breathe . . . i rarely post here, though i surely enjoy the intense back and forth, and i read daily - but i am compelled to say this w/regard to this post - so be respectful, please:

i come from a family that worked w/in the covert cia establishment throughout the 70's , 80's and 90's (i grew up in it) and as a result i strongly support this country's need to have and cultivate intelligence, but at the same time i have never supported military involvement w/out just cause. and since 2001, i have always been blatant in my need to say that even though that i disagreed w/the bush admin's method, that involvement in iraq was of potential benefit (ends justifying the means - purely w/in a political schema). however, leaning to a liberal bias, i always suspected this admin simply wanted an excuse, though i resisted being so crass. but now, there is far too much evidence. i support and admire our government (abstractly), and even will excuse our mistakes in the scope of our higher ideals, but if true (a BIG IF, incidentally), i will be deeply saddened.

and please note, to all of you who condemn others outright based on your simplistic beliefs ("sins for which bush needs to scourged"), life is far more complex than you seem to understand. it is easy to disembowl your 'oppenents' w/words. what would you do to protect your way of life? your society. your friends. be very, very careful. community is a rich mixture of ideas and beliefs. tolerance is perhaps the most important part of our lives.
posted by buffalo at 5:29 PM on March 19, 2004



KERRY CALLED SECRET SERVICE AGENT 'SON OF A B*TCH' AFTER SLOPE SPILL.
Developing........

I <3 DrudgeFilter.
posted by PrinceValium at 5:30 PM on March 19, 2004


the war on terrorism is not just a war against Al Qaeda, but a war against all forms and instances of international terrorism and the governments that support, allow, or foster terrorism

Please provide evidence that Iraq was involved in any supporting, allowing, or fostering any form or instance of terrorism that was a threat to the United States.
Clarke goes on to explain what he believes was the reason for the focus on Iraq. "I think they wanted to believe that there was a connection [between Iraq and Al Qaeda] but the CIA was sitting there, the FBI was sitting there, I was sitting there, saying, 'We've looked at this issue for years. For years we've looked and there's just no connection,'" says Clarke.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:31 PM on March 19, 2004


you'd all best stop fucking with my man bush.
posted by quonsar at 5:32 PM on March 19, 2004


techgnollic: If I think the 'War on Terrorism' is just a political phrase meant to justify the actions of the politicians in power, then I'm free to examine the existing facts and come to a conclusion that falls outside of your convenient four-point argument.
posted by F Mackenzie at 5:35 PM on March 19, 2004


ETA is to Spain, as Iraq is to _________
posted by destro at 5:42 PM on March 19, 2004


Elections
posted by y2karl at 5:49 PM on March 19, 2004


one of the true thrills of being an american (or european for that matter) is the belief that you can bluntly leap out and chastise other countries, cultures, ideas, beliefs freely, as if they are children . . . when people claim the u.s. of a. is a bully, this is why. we can and do. ever wonder why? so be it. we think we are smarter, but in truth all we have is simply a basic freedom that few (very few) have. a good thing, surely, but not w/o deep responsibilities. w/power; economic, cultural, religious, social . . . comes a sense of reality, balance, community.

easy to condemn your own government. so pathetically easy. so what else can you do? what do you offer? instead of condemning our government how about suggesting an alternative. is that so hard? everyone likes to bitch. me included. but in the end we all need to live together. yes? so what do have to offer?
posted by buffalo at 5:50 PM on March 19, 2004


ETA is to Spain, as Iraq is to _________

Impeachment!
Removal from office?
Criminal indictments?
Bush's defeat in Nov.?

so what do have to offer?
A way that includes cooperation and not alienation and antagonism?
posted by amberglow at 5:54 PM on March 19, 2004


amberglow, i would agree. hard to achieve, though.
posted by buffalo at 5:56 PM on March 19, 2004


it's about creating a community of such things . . .
posted by buffalo at 5:57 PM on March 19, 2004


instead of bitching and whining (which i also like to do ...)
posted by buffalo at 5:58 PM on March 19, 2004


tech:

Let's say a man rapes and kills my 4-year old daughter. Heaven help me for even breathing the words, but let's say he does.

Let's say I then track that man down and kill him.

I was justified, right? Although I will still have to go to trial, because vigilantism is illegal. However, I'm pretty sure any intelligent jury of my peers will rule that I was at least crazy with grief, and justified in killing the fucker, or at least that's how it works in John Grisham novels.

Okay, now let's say once that's over... I decide to start tracking down every raping bastard and kill him. Let's say I call this my own personal vendetta. I've been thinking about doing something like this for a while anyhow-- SOMEONE needs to do it. Let's say I call this, "The War Against Rape." That sounds about right.

Still with me? This starting to sound ridiculous?

So I decide to start harassing anyone who looks like your textbook rapist. I keep a keen eye on anyone who has even slapped a woman on the rear on a bar.

And then I kick it up a notch by going out and killing not only any rapists I come across, but anyone who may've hung out with them in the past, because how do I know that they're not all rapists? When later asked, I can just say that they were sinners anyhow. Maybe one of them was a wife-beater, maybe another was a gay marriage activist. Either way, I've rid the world of some bad people.

I'm just doing it to make sure that all the god-fearing children and women everywhere are safe, right? Isn't the world better off without them? I'd become a national hero, right?

No. I'd be deemed a psychopath, apprehended, locked away (and maybe even put down.)

Welcome to how the rest of the world views the United States.
posted by precocious at 6:00 PM on March 19, 2004


case in point. see what i mean ... so sad. but so natural.
posted by buffalo at 6:04 PM on March 19, 2004


well, we have an election very soon--let's do something about that. : >
posted by amberglow at 6:06 PM on March 19, 2004


shhhh. quiet.
posted by buffalo at 6:06 PM on March 19, 2004


yes, the election. one part. just do it.
posted by buffalo at 6:07 PM on March 19, 2004


A way that includes cooperation and not alienation and antagonism?

Ok ag, I'm calling you on it. What is the cooperative approach to dealing with neo-Wahhabism? What approach will you take that will make young men who claim to prefer "Jihad" to anything else, life included, come to terms with the fact that the globe is dominated by a West that represents everything they hate? Do this without alienating anyone and with the consent of all of both the ruling elites and populations of the Middle East. Good luck.
posted by ednopantz at 6:08 PM on March 19, 2004


but the other part is the community. what does one believe. how do you express it. what matters. it's a subtle game. just do it.

yes.
posted by buffalo at 6:10 PM on March 19, 2004


If you think the war on terrorism is ... a war against all forms and instances of international terrorism...

Cite any example of the U.S. warring against terrorism by right-wing, or zionist groups. There are plenty of forms of terrorism this government is ignoring.

... and the governments that support, allow, or foster terrorism,...

Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, China, Cuba, Israel etc.

... then you see that liberal democratic reform in the middle east...


Is that what you call incipient civil war?

... removing Saddam Hussein - the most murderous and oppressive ruler among a very murderous and oppressive group of rulers

Not even close to true. North Korea's ruler is responsible for 10 times more deaths and atrocities than Saddam. Even within the middle east there are still rulers just as oppressive as Saddam.

- is a fairly important step in that war,

Things sure seem to have calmed down since his capture - NOT

whether we've captured Osama bin Laden yet or not.

We haven't exactly been expending 100% effort to achieve that objective, anyway.
posted by bashos_frog at 6:14 PM on March 19, 2004


ednopantz.

good luck? what is it exactly you want? how dare you call another out like that - how about suggesting useful instead of cutting someone up for their failings. you're better than that, right? offer something instead of attacking someone. what would YOU suggest!
posted by buffalo at 6:18 PM on March 19, 2004


What is the cooperative approach to dealing with neo-Wahhabism? What approach will you take that will make young men who claim to prefer "Jihad" to anything else, life included, come to terms with the fact that the globe is dominated by a West that represents everything they hate? Do this without alienating anyone and with the consent of all of both the ruling elites and populations of the Middle East. Good luck.
Well, there are plenty of people here who have better ideas, and we've all posted about it often, but here goes:
Find out why they prefer Jihad. See if there's anything we're doing to make that option less attractive. See if there's anything we're doing or have done that makes that option more attractive and whether we can change it without hurting ourselves. Don't invade countries that haven't done anything to us. Make sure that the billions in aid that we do give to muslim countries come with democratic reforms or job creation or less corruption. Sit down and talk to people all over--with our allies, and the people that have power over those young men, and the young men. Make the UN a real place with real power, including an army. Ensure that no country acts unilaterally unless they are directly attacked by another. Even then try to solve problems diplomatically. ...
posted by amberglow at 6:21 PM on March 19, 2004


you'd all best stop fucking with my man bush.


posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 6:24 PM on March 19, 2004


oh, add in, Develop alternate energy sources to avoid propping up corrupt regimes that don't help their populations.
posted by amberglow at 6:25 PM on March 19, 2004


Postroad, can I ask you: Where you in such a rush to post this from Drudge that you were unable to reformat the CAP HEADLINE?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 6:26 PM on March 19, 2004


What approach will you take that will make young men who claim to prefer "Jihad" to anything else, life included, come to terms with the fact that the globe is dominated by a West that represents everything they hate?

Not invading an nation state in response to an attack by a stateless and unconnected to the nation state terrorist organization would help for starts. Oops, too late. Add water--presto democracy wishful thinking apres-war planning should be avoided from now on, too. Don't lie to the world or your electorate lest you jeopardize national and international unity in facing terrorism is another. Demand a settlement of the Israel-Palestine that's better just bantustans for the Palestinians... there's so many things that come to mind.
posted by y2karl at 6:27 PM on March 19, 2004


you guys are so funny ... the whole point is to find a place where we all agree or at least wish to agree . . . and resolve to "live" together. it's difficult. iraq makes it hard. i agree. but christ, "don't invade countries that haven't done anything to us." please. name one. that's hardly the point. the point is about being delicate, don't you think? maybe you should read the economist. ha. or maybe you shouldn't.
posted by buffalo at 6:31 PM on March 19, 2004


you guys are so funny ... the whole point is to find a place where we all agree or at least wish to agree . . . and resolve to "live" together.

No. Carnivorous cannibals in the Repub camp have proven that tactic to be ... unwise.
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:34 PM on March 19, 2004


Heh. Even Steve@ lacks faith in Cheney's ticker ;)
posted by Jimbob at 6:47 PM on March 19, 2004


ok, buffalo, spit out your ideas...we're listening.
posted by amberglow at 6:54 PM on March 19, 2004


bashos frog:

>Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, China, Cuba, Israel etc.

Uh, that's a weird list. Israel is by definition, not a terrorist organization. It's a country. And those in power are opressive military occupiers (at most) and not terrorists.

If you can name any zionist terrorist groups, I'd like to hear about it. There haven't been any that I know of since the 1940s.
posted by zpousman at 7:21 PM on March 19, 2004



[via the delightful Dissident Frogman]
posted by hama7 at 7:22 PM on March 19, 2004


please. name one. that's hardly the point. the point is about being delicate, don't you think? maybe you should read the economist. ha. or maybe you shouldn't.

buffalo, you didn't... by any chance... attend the Yoda School of Public Speaking, did you?
posted by soyjoy at 7:34 PM on March 19, 2004


MayI just note this: Today marks one full year that we invaded Iraq. The papers and tv seem not to bother any more with such things but in this one month alone there are 27 American military that have been killed. The month of March. If we invaded Iraq to rid the world of a bad guy, then when do we take on Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, North Korea, Syria?
posted by Postroad at 7:35 PM on March 19, 2004


It occurred to me this morning that people should re-channel their energy away from boycotting the 'war' and the ensuing witch hunt, and focus it instead on changing their own personal dependence on oil and oil based products.

This was a market based war, and a market in which we all play a part in.

Just a thought.
posted by jazzkat11 at 7:47 PM on March 19, 2004


we didn't invade iraq just to rid the world of a bad guy, but stay tuned...
posted by techgnollogic at 7:49 PM on March 19, 2004


we didn't invade iraq just to rid the world of a bad guy, but stay tuned...

Stay tuned for what?!? What did we invade Iraq for?
posted by aaronscool at 8:04 PM on March 19, 2004


a) because they had wmds that would kill us all
b) to liberate the poor suffering iraqis
c) because Saddam was evil
d) because Iraqis were in cahoots with Al Qaeda
e) to establish a democracy in the middle east, and encourage the other countries to establish one too
......
posted by amberglow at 8:06 PM on March 19, 2004


Stay tuned for "When do we take on Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, North Korea, Syria?"
posted by techgnollogic at 8:23 PM on March 19, 2004


same batchannel, same battime
posted by poopy at 8:25 PM on March 19, 2004


Stay tuned for "When do we take on Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, North Korea, Syria?"

Thoughts like that make me want to go live in a hut in the desert, with a 10 year supply of tinned beef.
posted by Jimbob at 8:45 PM on March 19, 2004


sorry. at a dinner. a fundraiser, actually. for what you ask, amnesty, actually . . .

"No. Carnivorous cannibals in the Repub camp have proven that tactic to be ... unwise."

as i said, it's easy to be crass. i can be crass.

my question is this, can you restrain yourself, and in doing so, can you offer something of value in terms of ideas, thoughts, wishes, desires?

it shouldn't be so hard, yes?
posted by buffalo at 8:47 PM on March 19, 2004


zen buffalo. one night. dinner party.
in touch with universe.
suddenly, all others are naifs.
rubber chicken
or rubber duck?
posted by stonerose at 9:14 PM on March 19, 2004


No buffalo the first and only priority has to be removing the coup from office. As long as the US does not have a legally constituted government we are all fucked.
posted by filchyboy at 9:32 PM on March 19, 2004


Thoughts like that make me want to go live in a hut in the desert, with a 10 year supply of tinned beef.

Why? I'm not suggesting we will or even should necessarily go to war with any of those countries. Surely you would agree that free and democratic nations should support and promote reform in those countries mentioned? By "stay tuned" I mean that the status quo will not persist in those nations forever, and that democracy, given the chance, will take root in all of them.
posted by techgnollogic at 9:35 PM on March 19, 2004


That's not why Bush invaded Iraq. This is.

I always thought the pipeline seemed like a more plausible reason. It's interesting to read some of the older articles on this topic, but I can't find much newer info. Maybe it was debunked while I wasn't looking.

"If war does come to Iraq, just over the border from Turkey, construction on the pipeline will continue, pressed forward by companies whose sense of time is nearly geologic."
...
Since the idea of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan export route was conceived (no one now can agree on when or where it began), the U.S. government has worked to make it reality.
posted by milovoo at 9:39 PM on March 19, 2004


democracy, given the chance, will take root in all of them.

Poorly chosen metaphors show fuzzy thinking. Democracy does not 'take root' (or 'flourish' or 'grow' for that matter).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:52 PM on March 19, 2004


I've got a friend who's well-placed in the Pentagon

Anyone can say "I have a friend who says....". Regardless of sides, attributing news to unnamed sources is meaningless.
posted by justgary at 9:52 PM on March 19, 2004


as real skeptic of the war in iraq - i've wondered if sharon didn't tell his buddies wolfowitz and perle ... "if you guys don't do saddam, we will" ... and if at the end of the day, that would not have been worse than the mess we have now.
posted by specialk420 at 10:01 PM on March 19, 2004


Wars of Opinion:
"Wars of opinion, national wars, and civil wars are sometimes confounded"

Wars of opinion may be:
Intestine
Intestine and Foreign
Foreign or Exterior without being intestine or civil.

"Although originating in religious or political dogmas, these wars are the most deplorable; for, like national wars, they enlist the worst passions, and become vindictive, cruel, and terrible."

Jomini goes on with some examples. The Crusades, Jihads, wars of the League, Thirty Years' War, are similar. Religion is the pretext to obtain political power. The successors of Mohammed cared more to extend their empires than to preach the Koran. Philip II did not sustain the League in France for the purpose of advancing the Roman Church.

Dogma can also be an ally, getting the populous to join in the war."

-Jomini
posted by clavdivs at 10:08 PM on March 19, 2004


zpousman: Uh, that's a weird list. Israel is by definition, not a terrorist organization. It's a country. And those in power are opressive military occupiers (at most) and not terrorists.

It was a (very incomplete) list of countries supporting terrorism. In the case of Israel, the terrorism is happening in the occupied territories (i.e. land not legally belonging to Israel) by settlers against the native population. It is not uncommon for bands of heavily armed Israelis to raid and terrorize Palestinian towns and these people are supported by the Israeli government which gives them funds and offers them protection. Thankfully, the Israeli government does lately seem to have at least developed an opposition group within it, which is against the whole settlements/walls issue.
posted by bashos_frog at 10:29 PM on March 19, 2004


P.S. I am alarmed to think that you consider Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, China, and Cuba to be terrorist organizations rather than countries.
posted by bashos_frog at 10:30 PM on March 19, 2004


But maybe that is the state of geography/history education back in the U.S.
posted by bashos_frog at 10:31 PM on March 19, 2004


The trouble with Dubya is that the agenda for his presidency -- the establishment of his dad's New World Order -- was drawn up during his dad's administration. He's doing what Bush sr. just wasn't able to do, having been denied a second term.

Obviously 9/11 wasn't part of the plan, and the whole Afghanistan story became a rather bothersome contretemps that he had to tackle, which is why the REAL war on terror (Afghanistan) never quite got the attention it deserved from the Pentagon. From the start Iraq was the top priority, even though, as a direct threat to the US, it was (as we now know) pretty insignificant.
posted by clevershark at 10:33 PM on March 19, 2004


I mean that the status quo will not persist in those nations forever, and that democracy, given the chance, will take root in all of them.

Well that's okay then...for a minute there I thought you were suggesting a continuous trail of war across the globe.

Crawls back out of his cave.

And I do agree with you, in that case, that democracy will "take root". I expect it to happen in Iran within the next decade (so folks had better not go invade it and fuck things up), in Cuba in the not too distant future (although it may not be pretty when it does) and in China within my life time. Without any millitary intervention from anyone else. Watch and see. Imposing "just-add-water" democracy on a country, no matter how noble and well intentioned, rarely goes well.
posted by Jimbob at 12:53 AM on March 20, 2004


bashos_frog: It is not uncommon for bands of heavily armed Israelis to raid and terrorize Palestinian towns and these people are supported by the Israeli government which gives them funds and offers them protection

Whoa. What? Is this true? Is there any reputable news source you can cite for this drastic accusation?
posted by yoz420 at 4:22 AM on March 20, 2004


Give me your definition of what you'll accept as a reputable news source and I will google for links to actual incidents. I assume we can agree that the funding and protection of the "settlers" is common knowledge?

For what it's worth, I do remember first reading about this kind of thing in Joe Sacco's "Palestine" back when I lived in NY. Now that I live outside the U.S, it is more common to see news footage from the region which is slightly more balanced - but not by that much. This country is too close of an ally to the U.S. for that.
posted by bashos_frog at 5:38 AM on March 20, 2004


Here's an interesting link

The story (from WaPo) is not completely on topic, but it has some interesting supporting information.

The Israeli army has in recent months had strict orders not to shoot at armed Jewish settlers even if they are opening fire on Palestinians, a senior commander in the paramilitary Border Police disclosed Thursday to the commission probing the Hebron massacre.
...
The panel is investigating the Feb. 25 massacre in which militant settler Baruch Goldstein shot and killed 30 Muslims as they prayed at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
...
Goldstein was not stopped by Israeli army officers - and they apparently did not suspect anything - when he walked into the Tomb of the Patriarchs carrying a submachine gun, up to seven clips of 32 bullets each, and special ear protectors to guard against the noise.
posted by bashos_frog at 5:47 AM on March 20, 2004




"South Park - The Movie" had already infiltrated the meme into popular consciousness, so I don't understand why the Bush Administration didn't just........blame Canada!
posted by troutfishing at 7:02 AM on March 20, 2004


Democracy does not 'take root' (or 'flourish' or 'grow' for that matter).

I think this is a very, VERY important statement.

Democracy is viable only so long as the general public demands it.

As soon as the public ceases to be active/activist, democracy is destroyed by the power-seekers. These power-seekers will manipulate the laws, the media, and the political process to work in their favour. The end result is inevitable: democracy is destroyed in practice, if not in name.

If you desire a democratic government, you must participate in a meaningful, deliberate, and active manner.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:34 AM on March 20, 2004


Amen, fff.

Btw, what happened to buffalo... I'm starting to miss his yoda-isms. jedi master you seek, mmmm?? when gone is buffalo the last the of the jedi shall you be. pity, yes?
posted by psmealey at 10:53 AM on March 20, 2004


sorry, psmealey. had to sleep. and yoda has a much raspier voice than i. and he's a bit shorter.

i suppose my only point to the group was that (and often metafilter proves this out) there is wealth of info out there on this subject, but few seem to be tapping into it. and most seem happy to remain wrapped around their sacred cows. so a couple of predictions:

1. bush will (surprise, surprise) get elected out of office this year

2. iraq will remain under u.s. control (w/military based there) for the next few years.

3. this will be the last old-school conservative government we'll see for a while (it was a test case - not a coup, filchyboy)

4. and thanks to metafilter, the art of conversation remains alive. whew.
posted by buffalo at 12:28 PM on March 20, 2004


Oh Jesus Christ can we please GOD avoid the Elephant-In-The-Bathtub obvious "Democracy isn't as easy as flipping a switch" disclaimer/argument. "The solution to the civilization-threatening problem we are facing will not be easily accomplished" is not some grand, earth-shakingly brilliant insight, folks. Is the fact that we're having to fight a massive campaign in Iraq to make these reforms happen sooner rather than later not a pretty good clue that Bush recognizes that this is necessary to our survival and won't be easy?
posted by techgnollogic at 2:32 PM on March 20, 2004


The 60 Minutes transcript has more details.
posted by homunculus at 2:34 PM on March 20, 2004


When somebody says "Modern Civilization is not safe until democracy has entrenched itself throughout the middle east," the proper response is a Keanu-esque "whoa" at the magnitude of the threat, not an "Easier said than done!" punch-deserving Captain Obvious-ism.
posted by techgnollogic at 2:35 PM on March 20, 2004


When somebody says "Modern Civilization is not safe until democracy has entrenched itself throughout the middle east," the proper response is blind unquestioning acceptance?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 6:26 PM on March 20, 2004



frpm the CBS transcript:

"The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door, and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this.' Now he never said, 'Make it up.' But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said Iraq did this.

"I said, 'Mr. President. We've done this before. We have been looking at this. We looked at it with an open mind. There's no connection.'

"He came back at me and said, "Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there's a connection.' And in a very intimidating way. I mean that we should come back with that answer. We wrote a report."

Clarke continued, "It was a serious look. We got together all the FBI experts, all the CIA experts. We wrote the report. We sent the report out to CIA and found FBI and said, 'Will you sign this report?' They all cleared the report. And we sent it up to the president and it got bounced by the National Security Advisor or Deputy. It got bounced and sent back saying, 'Wrong answer. ... Do it again.'

"I have no idea, to this day, if the President saw it, because after we did it again, it came to the same conclusion. And frankly, I don't think the people around the president show him memos like that. I don't think he sees memos that he doesn't-- wouldn't like the answer."

posted by y2karl at 6:51 PM on March 20, 2004


Is the fact that we're having to fight a massive campaign in Iraq to make these reforms happen sooner rather than later not a pretty good clue that Bush recognizes that this is necessary to our survival and won't be easy?

The US is sticking to its plan to return sovereignty to Iraqis on June 30, but there is still no agreement on how the country will be governed for the following six months. Maybe it doesn't matter; Washington intends to have long-term military bases in Iraq and a US civilian staff of thousands will still hunker in Saddam's former presidential compound in the heart of Baghdad.

The compound is just across the oozy waters of the Tigris River from downtown Baghdad, a commercial district that, superficially, has much of its old bustle back. Petrol queues are shorter than they were in December. A mobile phone system is staggering into life and some of the telephone exchanges bombed by the Americans during the war are expected to come back into service any time now. But there are still power black-outs every day; there is no guarantee about the quality of the drinking water; raw sewage runs in garbage-strewn streets; and unemployment is estimated at between 35 and 60 per cent.

Baghdad also remains a city of fear, patrolled by tanks and guns, with kidnappings and murder rife. Any building that is at all important is surrounded by intimidating blast walls made of heavy concrete - living and working behind them are diplomats and aid workers, the Coalition Provisional Authority and local political parties, banks and the foreign media. There is gunfire through most days and nights, punctuated by explosions that seemingly cause little disruption to the city's rhythm.

The Americans have started reducing their street patrols, pulling back to bases. But their place has been taken by an anxious, incompetent and ill-equipped new Iraqi police force and dozens of public and private security organisations and politically-backed militias.

Many of the new political parties have their own armed militias. The Shiite-backed militias engage in security and policing in neighbourhoods loyal to their party; the Kurdish Peshmerga stand ready to defend their territory in the north; and the Sunni militias are already at war. It could well be that the much-predicted civil war has already begun.

...Apart from West Germany and Japan, only two of the 16 US-led efforts in nation-rebuilding in the last century - tiny Panama and Grenada - continued to function as democracies 10 years later. It is still early days in Afghanistan, but much of the country remains under the boot of autocratic warlords. And none of the other candidates that were subjected to a Washington make-over were Islamic nations.


Can Iraq embrace democracy?

Jomini did not foresee the category of Wars of Mass Delusion.
posted by y2karl at 7:12 PM on March 20, 2004


really, could you define that?
posted by clavdivs at 8:12 PM on March 20, 2004


Let's say a man rapes and kills my 4 year old daughter... ??!!

I'm sorry, I just couldn't read any more of this thread after I read that. You don't have a daughter do you? I really hope that you don't. If you have a 4 year old and think those thoughts for sake of making a point..... *shiver*
posted by tomplus2 at 9:21 PM on March 20, 2004


Sorry about this totally tangential piece of the thread, but
bashos_frog: only one of the links you provided has anything to say about an Israeli government connection. In that one case the question was a fairly limited case of one batallion commander ordering his troops not to shoot Israeli settlers. The case was debated in court, and the soldier on trial admitted that he would not follow the order if the settler was about to kill people. That's pretty damn far from evidence that the Israeli government is offering protection or funds to terrorist organisations. There is no reason for them to do so - they have the army.

We know that there are right-wing Jewish terrorists that take vengeance into their hands and commit acts of violence. Usually this violence is against the palestinians, but not always. Rabin was killed by a Jewish terrorist, in what may have been a mortal blow for the peace process of the time. It's a country torn apart by terrorist attacks, such groups can't help but flourish in those sad, sad circumstances. However, I still have seen no evidence for accusing the government of supporting terror.

Finally, I don't really get this
bashos_frog: I assume we can agree that the funding and protection of the "settlers" is common knowledge?
Are you drawing some sort of moral equivalence between settlers and terrorists? One group builds communites where they (arguably) should not, the other conspires to blow people up in coffee shops and on buses.
posted by yoz420 at 6:00 AM on March 21, 2004


Yoz, surely you have to admit that from a Palestinian point of view, the Israeli government is a terrorist organization.

It's pretty difficult to not feel terrorized when government airships come over your community and bomb hell out of it.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:15 AM on March 21, 2004


I think that we could argue about the definition of "terrorist", and whether and when it should apply to governments. The statement that was made was that the Israeli government funds and supports terrorist groups, and I haven't seen evidence for that, so I challenged it.

The Israeli point of view is that they do not deliberately target civilians, as terrorists do, and that this is a crucial difference between terrorists and soldiers.
posted by yoz420 at 11:05 AM on March 21, 2004


Newsweek has learned that in the months before 9/11, the U.S. Justice Department curtailed a highly classified program called "Catcher's Mitt" to monitor Al Qaeda suspects in the United States, after a federal judge severely chastised the FBI for improperly seeking permission to wiretap terrorists. During the Bush administration's first few months in office, Attorney General John Ashcroft downgraded terrorism as a priority, choosing to place more emphasis on drug trafficking and gun violence

I hope there's more on this on 60 Minutes.
posted by amberglow at 1:12 PM on March 21, 2004


Are you drawing some sort of moral equivalence between settlers and terrorists? One group builds communites where they (arguably) should not, the other conspires to blow people up in coffee shops and on buses.
posted by yoz420 at 11:00 PM


I wasn't suggesting equivalence between all settlers and terrorists, anymore than I would think that all palestinians are terrorists.

However, planting car bombs, gunning down students in college, killing shopkeepers indiscriminately, and planning to blow up historic mosques is NOT merely "building communities where you shouldn't." When the government tacitly supports and encourages such acts it is supporting terrorism. The Israeli government has done as little to curb Jewish terrorists as Arafat has done to curb Palestinian terror. Just because this doesn't make the news in the U.S. doesn't mean it is not happening.

Jewish Settler Terror Groups Have a Long History in Hebron
posted by bashos_frog at 2:41 PM on March 21, 2004


The Israeli point of view is that they do not deliberately target civilians...

That would be news to Baruch Goldstein, Meir Kahane, Moshe Levinger, Menachem Livni, and all the other "Zealots for Zion". Google for yourself.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:49 PM on March 21, 2004


This 60 Minutes thing is very powerful--the Bush man (Hadley) is the one that bounced Clarke's report back because it didn't have evidence of Saddam's part in 9/11. Amazing!
posted by amberglow at 4:46 PM on March 21, 2004


Google for myself, eh? OK.

Baruch Goldstein - a jewish terrorist, who shot 29 Muslims in a Mosque. His actions were immediately condemned by the Israeli government, and when some right-wing sympathizers built a shrine at his tomb, it was demolished in compliance with a bill that forbids the erection of monuments to terrorists. Definately doesn't seem like he was funded by the Israeli government.

Meir Kahane - The founder of the Kach party, an ultra-right-wing group advocating terrorism. His party is now banned in Israel. He himself was elected to the Knesset in 1984, but his party was banned from running when a law was passed that excluded any candidates whose platforms included "incitement to racism." Definately doesn't seem like the government is giving him much support.

Information about the last two names is more difficult to come by, but they are connected with the start of the settler movement. Levinger appears to have been prosecuted in the Israeli justice system for killing a Palestinian in response to his car being attacked by thrown stones.

My point about the Israeli government seems to hold up, bashos_frog. They are taking measures to curb terrorism and racism in the hellishly difficult environment that they are in. The examples you have provided so far not only fail to prove your point, they back up mine.
posted by yoz420 at 5:15 PM on March 21, 2004


Josh Marshall has an interesting take:
That screw up is a reality -- their inability to come clean about it is, I suspect, is at the root of all the covering up and stonewalling of the 9/11 commission. And Democrats are both right and within their rights to call the White House on it. But screw-ups happen; mistakes happen. What is inexcusable is the inability, indeed the refusal, to learn from them.

Rather than adjust to this different reality, on September 12th, the Bush war cabinet set about using 9/11 -- exploiting it, really -- to advance an agenda which had, in fact, been largely discredited by 9/11. They shoe-horned everything they'd been trying to do before the attacks into the new boots of 9/11. And the fit was so bad they had to deceive the public and themselves to do it.
posted by Vidiot at 9:12 PM on March 21, 2004


"screw up" and even "mistake" is really a gigantic understatement of what's going on here. I screw up when i forget to pay a bill, not when thousands die.
posted by amberglow at 9:19 PM on March 21, 2004


Timeline.
posted by homunculus at 11:38 AM on March 22, 2004




Very early on, in the first days of the Bush Administration, Richard Clark presented plans for strikes against Al Qaeda camps. The Bush Administration ignored these proposals, and it also seems to have ignored Clark's warnings that Al Qaeda sleeper cells in the US were a "major threat" "

"January 25, 2001: Richard Clarke, National Security Council Chief of Counterterrorism and holdover from the Clinton administration, submits a proposal to the new administration for an attack on al-Qaeda in revenge of the USS Cole bombing. In the wake of that bombing, Bush stated on the campaign trail: "I hope that we can gather enough intelligence to figure out who did the act and take the necessary action ...? there must be a consequence." According to the Washington Post: "Clarke argued that the camps were can't-miss targets, and they mattered. The facilities amounted to conveyor belts for al-Qaeda's human capital, with raw recruits arriving and trained fighters departing either for front lines against the Northern Alliance, the Afghan rebel coalition, or against American interests somewhere else. The US government had whole libraries of images filmed over Tarnak Qila and its sister camp, Garmabat Ghar, 19 miles farther west. Why watch al-Qaeda train several thousand men a year and then chase them around the world when they left?" [Washington Post, 1/20/02] Clarke also warns that al-Qaeda sleeper cells in the US are a "major threat." Two days later, the US confirms the link between al-Qaeda and the USS Cole bombing. [PBS Frontline 10/3/02] No retaliation is taken on these camps until after 9/11. [Washington Post, 1/20/02]" - From "The Complete 9-11 Timeline"

Only a few days later, the 2 1/2 year long research project, by the bipartisan US Commission on National Security, culminated in the public release of the Hart-Rudman Report - a study of the terrorism threat which confronted the United States : "January 31, 2001: The final report of the US Commission on National Security/21st Century, co-chaired by former Senators Gary Hart (D), and Warren Rudman (R) is issued (see also September 15, 1999). The bipartisan report was put together in 1998 by then-President Bill Clinton and then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The report has 50 recommendations on how to combat terrorism in the US, but all of them are ignored by the Bush Administration. Instead, the White House announces in May that it will have Vice President Cheney study the potential problem of domestic terrorism, despite the fact that this commission had just studied the issue for 2 1/2 years. According to Senator Hart, Congress was taking the commission's suggestions seriously, but then, "Frankly, the White House shut it down... The president said 'Please wait, we're going to turn this over to the vice president'" (from "The Complete 9-11 Timeline")
posted by troutfishing at 5:23 AM on March 24, 2004


....."grand-stannnnddddd"
posted by clavdivs at 8:10 AM on March 24, 2004


Ummm - have anything to refute or contribute, clavs?

Claim vs. Fact: Administration Officials Respond to Richard Clarke Interview
posted by troutfishing at 7:09 AM on March 25, 2004


"Myth: The president didn't treat al-Qaida as a serious threat before Sept. 11.

The Facts:

The President recognized the threat posed by al-Qaida, and immediately after taking office the White House began work on a comprehensive new strategy to eliminate al-Qaida.
The President specifically told Dr. Rice that he was "tired of swatting flies" and wanted to go on the offense against al-Qaida, rather than simply waiting to respond.
The President’s national security team worked aggressively and rapidly to develop a new strategy that would employ all elements of our national power: military, intelligence, diplomatic actions, and financial pressure. The new strategy called for military options to attack al-Qaida and Taliban leadership, command-and-control, ground forces, and other targets. It focused on the crucial link between al-Qaida and the Taliban, recognizing that the two were ultimately inseparable. We would attempt to compel the Taliban to stop giving al-Qaida sanctuary, and if it refused, we would have sufficient military options to remove the Taliban regime. Our strategy focused on the crucial role of Pakistan in this effort and the need to get Pakistan to stop its support to the Taliban, understanding the implications for the stability of Pakistan and its relations with India.
NSC Deputies, the second-ranking officials in the NSC departments, met frequently between March and September 2001 to decide the many complex issues involved in the development of the comprehensive strategy against al-Qaida, and also oversaw the work by their staffs on these issues. Contrary to Dick Clarke's assertion that he was not able to brief senior officials until April 30, the first Deputies-level meeting on al-Qaida was held on March 7, and Dick Clarke conducted the briefing. Deputies agreed that a National Security Policy Directive on al-Qaida should be prepared.
Although the issues involved were complex, the President’s team completed the new strategy in less than six months and had the strategy ready to go to the President on September 4.

Myth: We didn't listen to Dick Clarke. Clarke had proposed ideas against al-Qaida, such as launching missiles from an armed Predator or modestly increasing assistance to the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, that would have prevented 9-11 but these plans were not acted upon.

The Facts:

At Dr. Rice's request, in January 2001, Dick Clarke presented her with a number of ideas to address the al-Qaida threat. The Administration acted upon the ideas that made sense. For example, the Administration approved increased assistance to Uzbekistan, a frontline state in opposing al-Qaida, and pushed hard to develop a weaponized Predator unmanned aerial vehicle.
Although the Administration pushed development of the Predator, the Predator was not available to be used against bin-Ladin before September 11. Extensive work and testing was required to develop a warhead that would be effective, and NSC Deputies were told that testing would not be completed until August at the earliest. Even if the Predator had been available, the Intelligence Community never presented senior officials with specific intelligence regarding bin Ladin's location. At the same time, the Intelligence Community also told senior Administration officials that killing bin Ladin would not destroy al-Qaida. Moreover, we know now that, according to the FBI, 16 of the 19 hijackers were in the United States by June 2001; there is no reason to believe that killing bin Ladin would have affected their plan.
Increasing assistance to the Northern Alliance also would not have prevented 9-11. By 2001, the Northern Alliance had been beaten down by military defeats and controlled less than 10 percent of Afghanistan. Providing a small additional amount of money to the Northern Alliance, as Clarke suggested, would not have enabled them to sweep across Afghanistan and defeat the Taliban. Moreover, providing such assistance likely would have damaged U.S. efforts later to reach out to other tribes in Afghanistan. NSC deputies developed a more comprehensive strategy to eliminate al-Qaida that included assisting tribal groups throughout the country, as well as providing significantly more assistance to the Northern Alliance. But such assistance, even if provided earlier, would not have disrupted the 9-11 hijackers, who were not in Afghanistan, but were assembling in the United States.
Although Clarke suggested some ideas to address al-Qaida outside the United States, he did not advocate to the Bush Administration any plan of action to address al-Qaida's presence in the United States, such as the need to improve collection of intelligence information by the FBI and to reverse longstanding statutory restrictions and DoJ policies limiting sharing of domestic intelligence on terrorism between the CIA and FBI; or to take actions to root out al-Qaida cells in the United States and to make our borders less porous for al-Qaida and other terrorists. He also never made us aware of any intelligence assessments from the preceding Administration concerning the use of aircraft as weapons to attack the homeland.

Myth: Dick Clarke was never allowed to brief the President on the threat posed by al-Qaida.

The Facts:

Dick Clarke was the President’s principal counterterrorism expert. If he had asked to brief the President on any counterterrorism issue, Clarke could have done so. He never did.
Instead, the only time Dick Clarke asked to brief the President was during the height of the terrorism threat spike in June 2001, when he asked to brief the President not on al-Qaida, but on cybersecurity. He did so.

Myth: The Administration did not treat the intelligence chatter about an imminent attack during the spring and summer of 2001 with sufficient urgency; Principals did not "go to battle stations."

The Facts:

The President and senior Administration officials were very concerned about the threat spike during the spring and summer of 2001.
The President and his NSC Principals received intelligence reports about the intelligence "chatter" during this period, but none of the intelligence was specific as to time, place, or manner, and was focused overseas.
The Government's interagency counterterrorism crisis management forum (the Counterterrorism Security Group, or "CSG"), chaired by Dick Clarke, met regularly, often daily, during the high threat period. The CSG was at "battle stations." If Dick Clarke or other members of this group needed anything, they had immediate and daily access to their superiors. Dick Clarke never suggested that the President or the Principals needed to intervene to take any immediate action on these threats.
Dick did not ask to brief the President on the al-Qaida threat during this period or at any other time. Instead, in the middle of the al-Qaida threat period, Clarke asked to brief the President, but on cybersecurity, not al-Qaida. He did so.
Formal, in-person meetings among Principals were not required; unlike President Clinton, President Bush met every morning with his Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet for an intelligence briefing. Secretary Card, Dr. Rice, and the Vice President sat in on the briefings. The threat posed by al-Qaida and the need for a response was discussed regularly at these high-level meetings, as well as in frequent, regular discussions between Dr. Rice and Tenet. Dr. Rice and Secretaries Powell and Rumsfeld also have a 7:15 am phone call every morning and talk frequently during the day, and in this period they discussed actions to respond to the threat during these calls.
Although the threats were focused overseas, in July, Dr. Rice specifically directed Dick Clarke and his CSG to meet to consider possible threats to the homeland and to coordinate actions by domestic agencies, including the FAA, FBI, Secret Service, Customs, Coast Guard, and Immigration, to increase security and surveillance. During the Summer of 2001, FAA and FBI issued numerous terrorist threat warnings, including a warning about "the potential for a terrorist operation, such as an airline hijacking to free terrorists incarcerated in the United States." Security at federal buildings also were reviewed for vulnerabilities. Overseas, we also disrupted terrorist cells worldwide, significantly increased security at our embassies, and directed US Naval vessels to leave high-risk ports in the Middle East and heighten security at military facilities.

Myth: After the 9/11 attacks, the President ignored the evidence and tried to pin responsibility for 9/11 on Iraq.

The Facts:

The President sought to determine who was responsible for the 9-11 attacks. Given Iraq's past support of terror, including an attempt by Iraqi intelligence to kill a former President, it would have been irresponsible not to ask if Iraq had any involvement in the attack.
When the President and his senior advisers met at Camp David on September 15-16, 2001, to plan a response to September 11, the DCI told the President that there was no evidence that Iraq was responsible for the attack. The President then advised his NSC Principals on September 17 that Iraq was not on the agenda, and that the initial US response to 9/11 would be to target al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.
Dick Clarke did prepare a memo for the President regarding links between Iraq and 9/11. He sent this memo to Dr. Rice on September 18, after the President, based on the advice of his DCI that that there was no evidence that Iraq was responsible for the attack, had decided that Iraq would not be a target in our military response for 9/11. Because the President had already made this decision, Steve Hadley returned the memo to Dick Clarke on September 25 asking Clarke to "please update and resubmit," to add any new information that might have appeared. Clarke indicated there was none. So when Clarke sent the memo forward again on September 25, Dr. Rice returned it, not because she did not want the President to read the answer set out in the memo, but because the President had already been provided the answer and had already acted based on it.

Myth: The Administration didn't act on Dick Clarke's advice to hold a Cabinet meeting early in the Administration to discuss the threat posed by al-Qaida.

The Facts:

NSC Principals did not need to have a formal meeting to discuss the threat because the threat was already well understood by the Principals and because Dr. Rice had already asked that a comprehensive new strategy to eliminate al-Qaida be prepared.
In addition, unlike President Clinton, President Bush met every morning with his Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet, for an intelligence briefing. Secretary Card, Dr. Rice, and the Vice President sat in on the briefings. The threat posed by al-Qaida and the need for a response was discussed regularly at these high-level meetings, as well as in frequent, regular discussions between Dr. Rice and Tenet.
Moreover, NSC Deputies, the second-ranking officials in the NSC departments, met frequently between March and September 2001 to decide the many complex issues involved in the development of the comprehensive strategy against al-Qaida, and also oversaw the work by their staffs on these issues. Contrary to Dick Clarke's assertion that he did not brief senior officials until April 30, the first meeting of Deputies was held on March 7, and Dick Clarke briefed the group on al-Qaida. Deputies agreed that a National Security Policy Directive on al-Qaida should be prepared.

Myth: Before 9/11 the Administration was focused on Iraq rather than on al-Qaida.

The Facts:

The President and the Administration were legitimately concerned about the threat posed by Iraq. Iraq had sponsored terrorism, attacked its neighbors, used chemical weapons, violated 16 U.N. Security Council Resolutions, kicked out UN weapons inspectors, was circumventing sanctions to acquire billions of dollars to fund its illegal activities, and continued to try to shoot down U.S. and U.K. aircraft patrolling the no-fly-zones.
But the Administration completed a comprehensive strategy to eliminate al-Qaida well before it completed a strategy to address Iraq. In fact, the directive to eliminate al-Qaida, approved by the Principals on September 4, 2001, was President Bush's first major foreign policy directive.

Myth: Dick Clarke was demoted and "stripped of his Cabinet rank" by President Bush.

The Facts:

Dick Clarke never had Cabinet rank.
Dick Clarke continued, in the Bush Administration, to be the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and the President’s principal counterterrorism expert. He was expected to organize and attend all meetings of Principals and Deputies on terrorism. And he did.
During the Clinton Administration, Dick Clarke regularly briefed President Clinton because President Clinton did not meet regularly with his DCI. Since the beginning of his Administration, President Bush has met daily with his DCI for his intelligence briefing. President Bush believes he should get his intelligence principally not from White House staff, but from those directly responsible for US intelligence."

have fun fishing
posted by clavdivs at 8:34 AM on March 25, 2004


"Bush said [in May of 2001] that Cheney would direct a government-wide review on managing the consequences of a domestic attack, and 'I will periodically chair a meeting of the National Security Council to review these efforts.' Neither Cheney's review nor Bush's took place." By comparison, Cheney in 2001 formally convened his Energy Task Force at least 10 separate times, meeting at least 6 times with Enron energy executives."

Nice to know what the Bush/Cheney priority is, right there in black and white.

posted by five fresh fish at 8:38 AM on March 25, 2004


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