We have heard Richard Clarke go public with his story that the Bush administration did not take terrorism seriously. The former terrorism czar and public servant under Clinton, Papa Bush, Reagan, Carter and Nixon, is not happy. He claims when having to deal with terror immediately after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration focused on Iraq, not al Qaeda.
The Republican spin machine is working full time to discredit Clarke, just like they did when former treasury secretary Paul O’Neill made similar charges. Clarke is partisan, just trying to sell books or looking for a job with John Kerry. Oh yes, and you know, he did work for Bill Clinton.
This is the White House’s usual method of attack. But it may not work this time. Clarke has, after all, been a part of every presidential administration since Ronald Reagan. Like Paul O’Neill, Clarke had been a ranking member of the Bush administration.
And like Joseph Wilson, he tried to tell Mr. Bush and the people around him things they did not want to hear. Now Richard Clarke, like Paul O’Neill and Joseph Wilson, is a target by the Bush bunch.
Enough people have said it – but it bears repeating. George Walker Bush and his neo-conservatives invaded Iraq for reasons that have little or nothing to do with the fight against terrorism. Another message bears repeating: Terrorism is a tactic that some people use because they believe it is the most effective way to fight their enemies.
There is no organization called “the terrorists” headed by a bald, 50-something man petting a cat. Terrorism is a tactic, not an umbrella organization.
This way of thinking stretches back to the Cold War, and it is not surprising that a large number of neo-conservatives close to Bush played prominent roles in the government during the Cold War. There were no shades of gray in the Cold War world, and there are no shades of gray in the Bush administration.
You are either for them or against them, and if you are against them, then you are with the terrorists. All it takes to be allied with the terrorists is to disagree with what the Bush administration is doing.
Richard Clarke publicly apologized to family members of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. He told them the government had failed, and that he had a part in the failure to stop the attacks from happening. Maybe we are closer to finding out why the Twin Towers fell – but that is despite the neo-conservatives rule in Washington.
Resources that could have been used to dismantle al Qaeda were instead used to attack Iraq. Saddam Hussein, terrible though he is, had nothing to do with the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Yet he is in custody while Osama Bin Laden is at large.
Remember – terrorism is a tactic. It is one that can be defended against, but not beaten, by using brute force. It is hard to threaten a suicide bomber with death. But it can be combated with high quality intelligence information.
Getting that kind of information means asking a lot of questions in order to find the truth. Do you really want to trust the same people who brought you the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” to make those kind of judgments?
William Lodge can be reached at Wtl1959@aol.com.