Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Another Exploding Cigar For The Democrats

Gregg Easterbrook peels the onion that is Richard Clarke and finds nothing inside. According to Clarke himself, in the 18 months between September 11 and the beginning of the Iraq war, he knew all along that invading Iraq would be a mistake - but he kept that to himself, saving for the book he wrote a year later (and has already collected more than a million dollars for).

If he was really so concerned about it, why didn't he speak up then?

"Instead in the month before the Iraq war began, Clarke did not oppose it. Suddenly in 2004 he has remembered his intense antiwar views--now that the political climate has shifted and suddenly remembering your intense antiwar views is a good way to sell a book."

Clarke was not keeping quiet at all then. In fact, he was advocating the war.

"As New Republic super-intern Anne O'Donnell points out, on resigning from the National Security Council in February 2003, one month prior to the attack on Iraq, Clarke quickly signed as an on-air consultant to ABC News. During the month before the war, Clarke made several appearances on national television. He spoke in great detail regarding Iraq, Saddam, terrorism intelligence, military tactics, even discussing by name individual Republican Guard divisions and U.S. plans for those divisions. So Clarke certainly wasn't holding his tongue, he was yakking nonstop. And yet by the most amazing and astonishing coincidence, Clarke apparently didn't mention any of the strongly-held antiwar views he has now suddenly remembered!

Here is a typical Clarke appearance, researched by O'Donnell, from ABC News on the night of March 21, 2003:

PETER JENNINGS. Talk a bit about this targeting of Saddam.

CLARKE. Well, I think if you could effectively decapitate the leadership, from, either by killing them or by removing their ability to communicate with the rest of the country, then it's going to be a lot easier to get these [Iraqi army] divisions to surrender. And after all, we don't want to have the entire country of Iraq hating us when we are done with this. We want them to feel liberated. We want them to join us in what is going to be a very limited, I hope, U.S. occupation. So there's a political strategy at work here that looks down the road beyond the fighting. And I think it makes a great deal of sense. But it's not clear yet whether or not it will work. "

Democrats will have to choose their celebratory cigars more carefully.


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