More On Clarke
One of the best write-ups on Clarke’s book comes from Barton Gellman in a Page One in today’s Post.
Some classic stuff here:
In his experience, Clarke writes, Bush's description by critics as "a dumb, lazy rich kid" is "somewhat off the mark." Bush has "a results-oriented mind, but he looked for the simple solution, the bumper sticker description of the problem."
"Any leader whom one can imagine as president on September 11 would have declared a 'war on terrorism' and would have ended the Afghan sanctuary [for al Qaeda] by invading," Clarke writes. "What was unique about George Bush's reaction" was the additional choice to invade "not a country that had been engaging in anti-U.S. terrorism but one that had not been, Iraq." In so doing, he estranged allies, enraged potential friends in the Arab and Islamic worlds, and produced "more terrorists than we jail or shoot."
"It was as if Osama bin Laden, hidden in some high mountain redoubt, were engaging in long-range mind control of George Bush, chanting 'invade Iraq, you must invade Iraq,' " Clarke writes.
So much for Bush’s "extraordinary" work in responding to 9/11.
And here’s an example of Wolfowitz being detached from reality:
"Given what George Tenet and Colin Powell have said publicly about Iraqi links to al Qaeda, I just find it hard to understand how Dick Clarke can be so dismissive of the possibility that there were links between them," Wolfowitz said.
Excuse me, Mr. Wolfowitz, but Mr. Tenet’s agency has reaffirmed several times now that they told the White House that there was no direct connection between Hussein and Al Qaeda. Perhaps you missed those meetings? And Mr. Powell has already been discredited on this topic, so you now want to hide behind him?
Clarke states the obvious political dimension for the Iraq war ramp up during the 2002 midterms:
Among the motives for the war, Clarke argues, were the politics of the 2002 midterm election. "The crisis was manufactured, and Bush political adviser Karl Rove was telling Republicans to 'run on the war,' " Clarke writes.
I will be watching with interest how the Agency responds to the White House trashing of Clarke, who seems to be generally supportive of Tenet.