Monday, March 22, 2004

Wagging The Dog

The Press Speaks:
White House Rebuts Ex-Bush Adviser Claim

By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The White House is disputing assertions by President Bush's former counterterrorism coordinator that the administration failed to recognize the risk of an attack by al-Qaida in the months leading up to Sept. 11, 2001.

National security deputies worked diligently between March and September 2001 to develop a strategy to attack the terror network, one that was completed and ready for Bush's approval a week before the suicide airliner hijackings, the White House said in a statement Sunday.

It said the president told national security adviser Condoleezza Rice early in his administration he was "'tired of swatting flies' and wanted to go on the offense against al-Qaida, rather than simply waiting to respond."

The point-by-point rebuttal confronts claims by Richard A. Clarke in a new book, "Against All Enemies," that is scathingly critical of administration actions.

Clarke wrote that Rice appeared never to have heard of al-Qaida until she was warned early in 2001 about the terrorist organization and that she "looked skeptical" about his warnings.

"Her facial expression gave me the impression that she had never heard the term before," Clarke said in the book, going on sale Monday.

Clarke said Rice appeared not to recognize post-Cold War security issues and effectively demoted him within the National Security Council staff. He retired last year after 30 years in government.

Rice echoed the administration's rebuttal in a guest column in Monday's Washington Post and addressed Clarke's characterization of her obliquely.

Jasper Speaks:
This is so bad it is almost commical. This is such an election year smoke screen. Clark obviously is bitter about losing his job and expects America to buy into all this! How silly. Does he actually believe that we wouldn't know that Condaleezza Rice is one of the foremost minds on foreign policy in this country? How dim do you have to be to even begin to believe she had never heard of Al-Queda before he told her? That just cracks me up!

I find myself looking at this man and seeing a warped, frustrated old man who has spent his life in public "service" and not done sucha bang up job. Then he gets bitter when he is relieved of those duties. He was the Anti-Terrorism Czar through the embassy bombings of the 90's, the attack on the USS Cole, and 9/11. Hmmm ... where should we place balme here on a job not well done?

I think we better buckle ourselves in for quite a ride this election season. I am both looking forward to and dreading the fall. I believe that the political season will be fierce but I also know I easily get frustrated with both sides and their ads and platforms. We will see how it all comes out in the wash and it will be an interesting ride getting there I am sure. As for this latest "developement" I pray that the American people will be able to see right through this bitter old man.

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