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Friday, March 26, 2004

Pounding the Table

The tide is turning.

Ivo Daalder and James Lindsey wrote an op-ed yesterday in defense of Richard Clarke entitled "Trust Clarke: He's Right". Daalder and Lindsey are former members of Clinton's Security Council staff, and worked under Clarke. It's interesting to note that prominent Republicans, on the other hand, seem reluctant to rush to the Bush standard. They make the point I've been making for the past few days: Clarke's information is corroborated by others, while the Bush administration can only provide self-referencing answers in their own defense. Go ahead, Mr. President. Run on 9-11. We'll make sure you run on Sept. 10th and 11th as well.

Why don't you run on Sept. 14th? After all, that's the day you actually arrived in New York. Hillary Clinton was there before you...

Take it away, Daalder and Lindsey...

...Our testimonial, of course, will not convince Bush partisans, let alone administration officials. They portray Mr. Clarke as an out-of-the loop bureaucrat with an axe to grind, a book to peddle and a close friendship with Rand Beers, Senator John Kerry's chief foreign-policy adviser.

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 defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz during the 1991 Persian Gulf war, and favored 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....

Read "Trust Clarke: He's Right

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