Trust Clarke: He's right about Bush

Trust Clarke: He’s right about Bush

A few more voices from the US National Security Council support Clarke.

“Mr. Clarke was our boss when we served on the Clinton administration’s National Security Council staff. We know him as a committed public servant, dedicated — almost to the point of obsession — to confronting terrorism. We don’t doubt his rendition of events. They come from a man who has warned of impending doom –and argued for forceful preventive action — for many years.”

“That sour-grapes argument leaves unmentioned the fact that on Sept. 11, Ms. Rice asked Mr. Clarke to direct emergency-response efforts from the White House. It also glosses over the fact that Mr. Clarke was an ally of Vice-President Dick Cheney and deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz during the 1991 Persian Gulf war, and favoured their call to march on Baghdad. Also left unmentioned is that Mr. Beers is himself a veteran of many administrations, and resigned his post as the senior counterterrorism official on the NSC staff in 2003 to protest what he saw as Mr. Bush’s mishandling of the terrorist threat.

The vehemence with which administration officials have attacked Mr. Clarke’s motives brings to mind the old lawyer’s joke: When the facts are with you, pound the facts. When the facts are against you, pound the table.

Why are administration officials pounding the table so hard? Because confirmation of Mr. Clarke’s basic accusations comes from none other than George W. Bush himself.

Take the charge that the Mr. Bush did not make fighting al-Qaeda a priority before Sept. 11. In late 2001, Mr. Bush told the journalist Bob Woodward that “there was a significant difference in my attitude after Sept. 11. I was not on point.” Mr. Bush knew Osama bin Laden was a menace. ‘But I didn’t feel the sense of urgency, and my blood was not nearly as boiling.'”

“Or take Mr. Clarke’s charge that Mr. Bush immediately sought to link the attacks in New York and Washington to Iraq. According to the notes of national-security meetings that the White House gave Mr. Woodward so he could write his book, Bush at War, the President ended an early debate over how to respond to Sept. 11 by saying, “I believe Iraq was involved, but I’m not going to strike them now.” At a later meeting, he linked Saddam Hussein to the attacks: “He was probably behind this in the end.”

“That view of the terrorist threat is deeply flawed, quite apart from the dubious claims about ties between al-Qaeda and Iraq. Al-Qaeda is a transnational network of terrorists, less like a state than like a non-governmental organization or multinational corporation with multiple independent franchises. It thrives on an Islamist ideology, and extends its presence to the far reaches of the globe — not just in rogue and failed states, but within the West as well. Its terrorists can strike — whether in Bali, Casablanca, Riyadh, Istanbul, Madrid or New York and Washington — without the direct support of states. That is what makes it so frightening.

Mr. Clarke’s charges have stung the Bush administration not just because of the stature of the accuser, but because at their core, they say that more than two years after the worst terrorist attack in history, the President and his advisers still don’t get what happened.”


From the Globe and Mail

  1. #1 by timk on March 26, 2004 - 8:53 am

    Mr. Bush told the journalist Bob Woodward that “there was a significant difference in my attitude after Sept. 11. I was not on point.”

    Tell me who was not a different person, my attitude sure changed.

  2. #2 by TheLogo on March 26, 2004 - 9:59 am

    Even if that’s all he meant, there is still all the other stuff. Personally I agree with your earlier observation: “Perhaps the invasion of Iraq was more about a few powerful politicians with one serious preocupation”

    I’m sure all the other crap help. I still wonder who believed what though… I saw a bumper sticker the other day “Bush Knew” was all it said.

  3. #3 by robbymac on March 26, 2004 - 11:14 am

    Trust a politician? Any politician.

    C’mon, I’m not that gullible!

  4. #4 by timk on March 26, 2004 - 11:16 am

    Out of all the people involved in the investigations and meetings why is this the only guy? Why the timing of the book?

    Are you making the statement that George W. knew that airplanes were going to hit the buildings?

  5. #5 by Nathan P on March 26, 2004 - 11:59 am

    Perhaps Mr. Bush didn’t know about the attacks… it’s absolutely appaulling to even think of that as a possilbility.

    However, it would come as no surprise to me if there were power people in America who knew that there were going to be terrorist attacks. Some may even have known specific details. What better way to kickstart a sleepy America into warring with the middle east than an attack on the homeland.

    Remember when Churchill knew about the bombing of London beforehand? His motives for secrecy were far more noble than starting a war, he wanted to end one. If he could allow that kind of collateral damage and loss of life for the sake of eventual victory, couldn’t some have the same twisted view of attacks such as 9-11? A means to an end? Awful to think about, eh?

  6. #6 by timk on March 26, 2004 - 4:09 pm

    I refuse to believe that possibilty. That Bush knew about impending attacks and did nothing.

    If you are in conspiracy theories start with Clarke. He is the only American that all the terror attacks have in common, (embassy, USS Cole, WTC).

    That makes about as much sense to me.

  7. #7 by Toni on March 26, 2004 - 4:49 pm

    It would make sense to me that GB could convince himself invading Iraq was the equivalent of ending the war (following the example used). The fact that he would be entirely wrong would be invisible if his single-mindeness ran as deep as it appears. You only have to look at the way people behave in churches (often intelligent people) to see how facts can be filtered through specific beliefs to arrinve at an incorrect conclusion.

    To borrow a phrase, at the end of the day Dubya is ‘just a guy’, whatever his title.

  8. #8 by TheLogo on March 26, 2004 - 11:51 pm

    I don’t know what Clarke thinks, and I don’t know what the guy with the bumper sticker thinks, but when I read it the first thing that came to my mind is that he knew there were no WMD’s in Iraq… as for 9-11, thats a tough one. I think someone must have had a hint at least.

  9. #9 by Nathan P on March 27, 2004 - 1:55 am

    I’d be surprised and appauled if G.B.jr. knew anything at all about 9/11 before the attacks. Conspiracy theories are just that… theories.

    From this prairie Canadian boy’s perspective, Bush’s “II Iraq War” looked just plain stupid. Even though Saddam was a dictator, he was not nearly the threat that Bin Laddin and al-Qaeda were, and still are. There were no WMD anywhere to be seen. Bush went to war with Saddam… but it was the country of Iraq that was the casuality of war.

    Even if there was no conspiracy and everything was above board (like that ever happens)… it was an entirely tangential response to the 9/11 attacks. War on terror… uh-huh… yeah, right.

    Just an aside….

    Where the heck did that fourth plane ever get to? Dropped right out of the media like it was never there in the first place.

    oh, hold on… gotta go. There’s some guys in dark glasses at the front door asking for me. hahaha

  10. #10 by lylem on March 27, 2004 - 3:44 am

    Interesting read:

    You know. Bush had an agenda, and it wasn’t terrorism. I don’t care if he could have stopped 9/11 or not. There is nothing we can prove. For me, the bottom line is that he went into a country and took it over. People died and new enemies were created. And for what? It wasn’t terrorism or WMA.

  11. #11 by timk on March 27, 2004 - 5:30 pm

    How exactly was the country of Iraq the casualty? I can see the argument for us or for Saddam, but the country?

    They are in better shape than they ever have been. Better water, schools, power, trade, plus they get to listen to cool 80’s music now (no wait, that hurts my argument).

    In my op[inion we have been the casualty so far.

  12. #12 by Marc Vandersluys on March 27, 2004 - 9:21 pm

    Tim, if I could ignore the “collateral damage” (or was ignorant of it), I might have agreed with you. Sadly, I can’t ignore the fact that many innocent people have died for what amounts to very little, if anything at all.

  13. #13 by timk on March 27, 2004 - 10:20 pm

    How many Iraqis would have died to gain the life they have now?

    I don’t “ignore” death Marc.

    Maybe freedom means little to you, that is what it sounds like.

  14. #14 by Nathan P on March 28, 2004 - 10:10 am

    Freedom means you can do whatever the heck you want to… kill anyone to get what you think is rightfully yours, even if it isn’t? That’s not freedom… that’s complete abuse of power.

    How the heck are we the victims. That sounds like the same logic that any other abuser would use. Husband smacks wife, husband blames wife.

    The country may have access to more stuff than before, but if that’s what we equate with freedom, we’re in big trouble. I’m sure the families of the dead innocents are appreciative that their loved one’s are finally free from tyranny… Saddam’s and ours.

  15. #15 by Leighton Tebay on March 28, 2004 - 10:15 am


    Last time I checked Iraq was suffering from power problems and a lack of security. Please provide the evidence that proves they have “Better water, schools, power, trade”?

  16. #16 by TheLogo on March 28, 2004 - 12:16 pm

    Some of you might enjoy checking out:

    there mission statement is here:

    Right now the most recent article on the front page is on anti-americanism.

  17. #17 by TheLogo on March 28, 2004 - 12:37 pm

  18. #18 by timk on March 28, 2004 - 3:27 pm

    Here are a couple of CPA press releases

    Go to the CPA website if you would like, there is a lot of good news that you will never see in the news.

  19. #19 by Leighton Tebay on March 28, 2004 - 6:58 pm


    I read what you linked to. They are reports of how Iraq’s infrastructure is the process of being rebuilt. Most of it is infrastructure destroyed by war or the resulting lacking of security. Most Iraqi’s are less than content with the situation their country is in. From what I have read most Iraqi’s are happy to be rid of Saddam but the jury is still out on whether the war will be of much benefit.

  20. #20 by Leighton Tebay on March 28, 2004 - 7:10 pm


    I just picked up this quote over at an Iraqi blog. The link is on my blog roll.

    “I felt horrible that Baghdad was being reduced to rubble. With every explosion, I knew that some vital part of it was going up in flames. It was terrible and I don’t think I’d wish it on my worst enemy. That was the beginning of the ‘liberation’… a liberation from sovereignty, a certain sort of peace, a certain measure of dignity. We’ve been liberated from our jobs, and our streets and the sanctity of our homes… some of us have even been liberated from the members of our family and friends.

    A year later and our electricity is intermittent, at best, there constantly seems to be a fuel shortage and the streets aren’t safe. When we walk down those streets, on rare occasions, the faces are haggard and creased with concern… concern over family members under detention, homes raided by Americans, hungry mouths to feed, and family members to keep safe from abduction, rape and death.

    And where are we now, a year from the war? Sure- we own satellite dishes and the more prosperous own mobile phones… but where are we *really*? Where are the majority?”

    Sounds like a picnic!

  21. #21 by timk on March 28, 2004 - 8:16 pm

    freedom is never free LT, ask our grandparents.

    It wasn’t a picnic when we kicked the motherland’s ass, or the Nazi’s for that matter. It’s tasks like those that not everyone is called on to take.

    You can find what you want to hear, you just have to look for what you want to read. The same goes for me too, I know.

    Am I glad for the loss of life? No way. But utilities are up at a higher rate than before the war, the streets are not safe because of terrorists, not the psycho dictator any more (who by the way killed thousands and thousands of his own people all the time). Sounds like a picnic!

    The terrorism will end. The people of Iraq are committed to that end. They actually have a future now. Something they didn’t have before. Really everyone should keep up on how this country is coming together, it is amazing.

  22. #22 by Shane on March 28, 2004 - 8:58 pm

    I am frequently up late at night and have chatted on yahoo with several people from Iraq and every single one of them was overjoyed that Saddam is gone. Each one said that felt so good to be free and that they knew it would not be easy in the beginning of forming a new government and rebuilding their nation but they said it was definitely worth it and that they would galdly struggle right now to ensure that their children will have a better life than they have had.

    I also have several friends in the military over their right now and they say that most of the country is back to normal. Schools, businesses etc. are up and running smoothly but there are small pockets of the country that are without power and the terrorists are positioning their attacks in areas that they know the major media outlets are set up. They are rounding up terrorists every day and they will eventually get them all.

    It amazes me the people that will speculate on how things are in Iraq. If you really want to know why not check with the Iraqis themselves or talk to some of our troops instead of listening to the talking heads on the news and reading half truths in the papers and on websites.


  23. #23 by Leighton Tebay on March 29, 2004 - 1:01 am


    I challenged you on a point you made. You haven’t provided evidence to back it up.

    I think that as soon as American forces leave Iraq the democracy they setup will fail. Democracy doesn’t work the middle east. It will open the door to an Islamic Fundamentalist government. Things could actually get worse.


    The quote I used is from an Iraqi.

    There is no doubt that pretty much everyone is happy Saddam is gone. I’m sure they will attempt to build a better life. I’m just not convinced that at this point the state of the average Iraqi is better than it was 2 years ago. That is the point I was challenging Timk on.

  24. #24 by timk on March 29, 2004 - 7:01 am

    you just refuse to look LT, the evidence is overwhelming

  25. #25 by timk on March 29, 2004 - 9:15 am

    you can take my last post off if you like, but go to

    go to the press releases

    Everything i said was true

    i won’t post here again, to take posts away after they have been submitted takes from the debate and calls the mods integrity into question

    it’s been fun

  26. #26 by Shane on March 29, 2004 - 9:34 am

    Yeah, it was said that democracy wouldn’t work in Germany or Japan after WWII also but it did.

    After the US turns over control to the Iraqis the UN will send in a peace keeping force to help with the security issues. A large contingent of that force will be American. Bush has said over and over that we are in this for the long haul and I believe him. The US is not going to leave and let the Iraqis end in a worse situation than before Saddam was overthrown.

    In 20 years Iraq will be a prosperous, peaceful country practicing some form of democracy. It may be different in ways to our own but it will be what works for them. The Iraqis are FREE !!! Of course they are better off now than 2 years ago. It will take time to rebuild their nation but if you are looking for overnight results then you have your head stuck in the sand.

    Do you really think the US is going to allow an Islamic Fundamentalist government to come in and take over after freeing these people ??? I seriously doubt it.


  27. #27 by Leighton Tebay on March 29, 2004 - 9:59 am


    Actually I removed an anonymous post. I had no idea it was yours. Perhaps you should be a little more careful before question someone’s integrity.


    Islamic Fundamentalism makes it very difficult for democracies to succeed in the middle east. Germany and Japan are completely different situations.

    Look at Afghanistan. After these people were freed most of the country is in the control of the warlords. Look at Bosnia where billions of dollars of aid flowed in to the hands of the mafia.

    I’m not saying Iraq won’t be better off without Saddam Hussein. I’m not saying that things won’t get better. They probably will. I think it is too soon say things are better than they were.

  28. #28 by TheLogo on March 29, 2004 - 11:34 am

    Let’s see… where to jump in on this 🙂 I miss a day, and 10 comments, lol.

    I find it interesting that while the U.S. is defending itself on the basis of promoting peace and democracy, there are many voices in Iraq that are asking for help from teh world to fight against the U.S. for peace and democracy.

    (, for example.)

    There is no doubt the Iraqi people are happy Sadaam is gone. There is no doubt that the people of Iraq are hoping for things to get better. On the other hand, Anti-Americanism is at an all time high, in Iraq as well as other places, there is much doubt being expressed by these people.

    I believe the soldiers and such are doing what they are doing out of good hearts; the people I don’t trust anymore are teh administration.

    Regardless of what you think of the report by people paid to bash teh republicans, it is a well known fact that the Bush administration lied to the people of the U.S. as well as the U.N. They made many misleading statements, and were supported in this by news agencies (i remember a survey that found watchers of Fox and CNN were way more likely to believe things such as Sadaam was responsible for 9-11, and in fact those views did become prevalent in the U.S. for a while). Why should I believe them when they say they are only interested in peace and democracy, in destroying dictators etc. If they acted with integrity according to these goals around the world, even in places where it doesn’t benefit them, then maybe. If they did it with honesty, then maybe. As it stands…

    (P.S. Leighton if this is to long for a comment, I can putmost of it on my blog and you can remove it from here to replace it with a link.)

  29. #29 by robbymac on March 29, 2004 - 1:31 pm

    Does removing comments from a blog equate with censorship of free speech? 🙂

    Sorry, just couldn’t resist!

  30. #30 by Leighton Tebay on March 29, 2004 - 2:21 pm


    It is my policy to remove all anonymous comments. They are destructive and unhelpful to the conversation.

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