Empty Days

Tuesday, March 30, 2004



original Manifesto ::

For the record, here is a comment I dished out on OTB blog the other day. Just to get an idea where I come from with all of this. So some reader there pointed out that the main issue with Clarke was his credibility, whether he contradicted himself etc. And this is what I said:
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Ever since the appearance of the FOXnews transcript (released by White House, how nice of them) it's been clear to me that this is just not enough because the underlying assumption is wrong.
The 9/11 commission (excerpt I've seen on McLaughlin Group panel, on tv) explicitely questioned Clarke in no uncertain terms on "which is true - your book or this 2002 transcript?" to which Clarke gave the obvious response: that a public servant will say whatever is needed to promote the line of whatever administration he's serving at the moment (the moment in question being 2002).
Pat Buchanan agrees with me on that (ha, no my hero to be sure) and a lot of other less than-willing people do too. Look here.

Wrong assumption: public servants in office don't lie. Hard fact: they do and they do it with flourish.
That's why we are always in such a dire need of ballbusting investigative journalism.

Which is also why pitting that 2002 background-briefing-to-reporters against the current rather rabid pronouncements of this former bureaucrat is a bit of a lame move. And I think it's past history already.

On the other hand: the more I listen to pro and cons, the more obvious it becomes that there is a substantial *difference of emphasis* (rather than substance, please note) in Clarke's book and Clarke's pronouncements in various interviews this week, including whatever was said on the 9/11 commission.

This difference of emphasis seems to be as follows. In the book he seems to give a lot of credit to the Clinton policy on terrorism as opposed to Bush's, and to himself as its highest executor. In the interviews the emphasis is decidedly on something else: the way Bush cabinet was dead- set on wiping out Iraq way before 9/11, how this blurred their attention to other "detals", how they subsequently *used and doctored* 9/11 events to implement that preconceived strategy.

This is very important. For one thing, this is what eventually caused the incredibly *bad* handling of world-opinion prior to action in Iraq. The capital of sympathy the US had after the 9/11 attacks and the strike against Afghanistan was squandered and outright trampled by the messy and bully-like push for war in Iraq.
I remember rather vividly how ambivalent the "rest of the west" was about that war - ambivalent and not at all "decidedly and resolutely opposed". And I have to wonder: was there really no way on earth to *bring it about* without alienating everybody else in the process? Or perhaps it simply wasn't of any consequence to the present administration? Poisoned seed - the fruit is rotten.

Inside the USA this bullying was typified through relentless, blind media propaganda leading up to the war. Yeah, I think americans were *fooled* into that particular war under those particular claims - all of them were proven false and more of this falseness is coming to the surface every day, and Clarke's allegations are in line with this, and for a reason - because that's the truth for you.

Does this mean that the war on Iraq should not have been? Does it mean that Saddam was such a cool dude and should have been left to do his thing in peace? Hell no. But if this administration had any sense it would have handled it *way* differently, and perhaps would have had the good common sense to *wait* and do it in *good time*, with proper support - both military and diplomatic.

That's what this whole Clarke thing is about in no small measure. And he certainly deserves to be listened to - beyond all the bickering bullshit.
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The thing with comments is that sometimes the context of discussion provokes you to something inspired and concise enough. And then you're too lazy to reiterate the same stuff on your own blog - but in your head you keep thinking that you said it already. Right. But you're the only one to know.





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