Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Dick Clarke, false

Rich Lowry thinks that Richard (maybe I should just start calling him Dick from now on, as his legions of friends do, especially in the establishment press) Clarke’s book is weak and unconvincing. John Podhoretz uses sarcasm to great effect to question almost everything about him and his book. And, just for the record, let it be known that (maybe) the last honorable Democrat, Joe Lieberman, says there is no truth to the accusations.

I have heard Dick Clarke’s name thrown around for a few years. He wanted to be CIA director for a while and made some moves in that direction, he was deeply interested in what he called cyberterrorism and claimed it will be the next Pearl Harbor. He was demoted by this administration. He is a friend and colleague of Kerry’s main foreign policy advisor, and so on. So what is this all about? Well, I don’t think you have to be a rocket scientist to figure all this out. This is another Democratic political pre-emptive strike: Bush has been soft on terrorism because he was only focused on Iraq even before 9/11. Try to separate Iraq from the terror war as much as possible, that will leave an opening for Kerry to take a seeming hard-line view on terror, while being able to criticize the President on Iraq. This is necessary for Kerry to overcome the sense that he is a foreign policy weanie, (but he does have the support of the Spanish socialists and the French). Clarke has a long way to go before he becomes persuasive with the American people; he has to do more than persuade Ketie Curic and CNN. From what I have seen he is not impressive enough to pull it off, nor are his erstwhile colleagues. There is also nothing more fun than watching a man complain because he hasn’t been taken seriously. And now he can publicly argue that he is, and always has been, a serious person and, furthermore, y’all should have seen that earlier, you know, before even I realized how serious I was. But I am a serious person now, I am, really. And if I didn’t prove that to you in my attempt to climb the breaucratic ladders, I am trying to prove it now. I am, I really am. I think the guy is as false as water, and is a feather for each wind that blows.

Discussions - 3 Comments

Since I appear to be the token Kerry supporter who frequents this site. . .

Do you really think that this is a sufficient response to Clarke? Is it possible that Clarke’s disgruntlement is, in fact, justified? The central question would seem to be the extent to which the war in Iraq detracts from the fight against al Qaeda. Even read sympathetically, there are good reasons to be skeptical of this administration’s war in Iraq as a terrorism-combatting strategy. It seems to me that the Richard Clarke - Jeffrey Record line of analysis is still viable, regardless of anyone’s particular employment history. And that’s putting aside the question of whether or not the administration is being fair to Clarke.

To Peter: Of course, you may be right. Those are perfectly sensible and reasonable questions. They have been asked from the beginning, even by those in current policy positions and, they will have made a decision one way or the other. Of course, it is possible that those decisions will have proven to be wrong (I don’t think so, but it is possible); I understand all that. But, this guy is trying to beat up on the Pres by calling in question his judgment and motives, not just disagreeing with decisions. Also, it is hardly ever admitted, by Bush’s opponents, that his attempts in Iraq could have massive consequences (for the good) in that area of the world, for both narrowly understood terror fighting, as well as political consequences much more broadly understood. It is also true that it is a risky strategy; I admit that. But it is a serious strategy, conducted by serious people.

(Not sure why I got named "Peter" in my comment above.) How can you question someone’s decisions without calling into question their judgment? Clarke thinks that the President has made a mistake -- with respect to the war on terrorism -- by going into Iraq. He is not even close to being alone on that subject, even among "serious" people. And the book itself is a rather sober look at the policy process, it seems to me, with well-thought arguments why the president’s policies have been flawed. I’m happy to send you a copy if you want to read it.

Frankly, if Clarke is right in his analysis, then the lessons of 9/11 have not been learned and the security situation is as bad as it was in 2001. I would think that instead of shooting the messenger, truly patriotic folks would attempt to assess the validity of the message. I am a little surprised at how much people have focused on the images here and not the arguments, and, as a consequence, I can’t help worrying about the depth of public debate of these issues. Shutting up your opponents may be electorally wise, but if the issues are critical, it can be dangerous in a broader sense.

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