Empty Days

Saturday, March 27, 2004



Watched some bits of today's McLaughlin Group panel-discussion on PBS Mountain Lake station (I have two, the other is from Vermont). The bits I saw were about Clarke vs White House. The group included Pat Buchanan and other sweet personalities (I don't remember ever seeing this program before - maybe because I watch movies or hockey on Saturday Night, or maybe they don't always broadcast it).

First remark: McLaughlin has a pig-loud voice and bullies everybody into complete and total submission just with his loudness. I'd love to watch him out-bully Rumsfeld one of these days :)

Second remark: Pat Buchanan smugly confirmed that Clarke's rebuke of his 2002 background-briefing-to-reporters (FOX transcript) was consistent with a widely known fact that bureaucrats lie a lot to stay in line with their bosses. Haha. I wonder how naive (or disingenious) you gotta be to get scandalized/confused by that particular fact. However life shows that a lot of people out there are exactly that.

Third remark: they all repeated everything that I've already seen said over and over again in media+blogosphere. I have to conclude - I am extremely up to date to this whole debate just from loitering around the blogs. That's funny - maybe I am too sharp, or maybe this program is lame, or most bloggers are not that sharp. Haha.

Fourth remark: I just overcooked my spaghetti.

Fifth remark: Something I rarely hear or see - American dead in Iraq (567), wounded and medically evacuated (14,500 estimate for absence of hard figures from White House). I'd contend that this figure should be habitually included with the heroic-dead figure - some mutilations are worse than death.

***

Update. Blogdex brought this Telegraph article to the fore, disparaging Clarke's allegations. It concentrates on the book - and from everything I hear it seems pretty clear that Clarke's pronouncements in the media lately and what's inside the book are not exactly one and same thing.

The emphasis seems different. The books seems to lend a pretty strong ground to criticism that Clarke is pitting Clinton against Bush, and trying to make himself appear in a better light by extension (and that's what the above article pounces on). While in the interviews, including on the 9/11 commission, his emphasis was rather that Bush and Co had a preconceived idea about invading Iraq and actually *used and doctored* 9/11 events to implement that plan regardless of anything else. In other words, the Clinton-vs-Bush line is far less prominent here.

One thing is clear: you can't really claim that Clinton was so much better on terrorism than Bush - because on the whole that's just not true.

Does it mean that Clarke shot himself in the foot by this particular emphasis in the book? Perhaps. Read the above article: it's not your objective prose but it scores some hard points (and it's funny too).





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