Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Worst Mistake

I know this is well known among rational people, but I'd thought I'd post it anyway, just in case some non-thinkers happened upon my blog.

Richard A. Clarke, Washington Post: The Trauma of 9/11 Is No Excuse

...The first response [the White House] discussed [after 9/11] was invading Iraq. While the Pentagon was still burning, Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld was in the White House suggesting an attack against Baghdad. Somehow the administration's leaders could not believe that al-Qaeda could have mounted such a devastating operation, so Iraqi involvement became the convenient explanation. Despite being told repeatedly that Iraq was not involved in 9/11, some, like Cheney, could not abandon the idea. Charles Duelfer of the CIA's Iraq Survey Group recently revealed in his book, "Hide and Seek: The Search for Truth in Iraq," that high-level U.S. officials urged him to consider waterboarding specific Iraqi prisoners of war so that they could provide evidence of an Iraqi role in the terrorist attacks -- a request Duelfer refused. (A recent report indicates that the suggestion came from the vice president's office.) Nevertheless, the lack of evidence did not deter the administration from eventually invading Iraq -- a move many senior Bush officials had wanted to make before 9/11.

...The Bush administration's response actually undermined the principles and values America has always stood for in the world, values that should have survived this traumatic event. The White House thought that 9/11 changed everything. It may have changed many things, but it did not change the Constitution, which the vice president, the national security adviser and all of us who were in the White House that tragic day had pledged to protect and preserve.

Digby has more.

Despite all of Cheney's attempts at redemption and the ongoing conservative insistence that their policies "kept the country safe" the truth is that they behaved hysterically and irrationally after the attacks and reinforced every bad American stereotype in existence. Because of their blindered conservative worldview, they simply assumed that anything that had been done by someone other than the airbrushed version of Ronald Reagan had to be wrong and that anything other than schoolyard bully tactics were a form of weakness.

It's true that 9/11 did present an opportunity. America could have shown mature and intelligent global leadership. But it didn't. It behaved like a wounded adolescent giant, its leadership carrying on with "bullhorn moments" and talk of wanted posters and playing cards while an irresponsible media entertained the masses with war porn.

It was an embarrassing --- and dangerous --- display. If there was ever a time for the leadership of this country to play it cool it was then. And they failed the test in almost every way. Good for Richard Clark for calling them out on this.


Annette said...

I thought this was great.. but why did he wait so long?

Broadway Carl said...

He's been saying this for a while now. But we're too inundated with certain minority Supreme Court nominees being called racist for the MSM to report real news.

Matt Osborne said...

Annette, the ones who got 9/11 right, who got Iraq right, and who got 2008 elections right are collectively ignored by the MSM. They don't fit the media's accustomed narrative -- you know, the one where some wingnut says "the moon is made of green cheese" and Carl says "no, it's made of rock" and the headline reads: "PUNDITS DIFFER ABOUT COMPOSITION OF MOON"

veralynn said...

amen and amen