Independent Voices | PostIndependent.com

Independent Voices

Regardless of the “words” of Clarke, Rice or whoever was in the Oval Office, the United States was not prepared for the horrific Sept. 11 attacks because we are a trusting, compassionate nation. A well-planned terrorist attack is still possible here because of our philosophy.

Nations that embrace fear and hatred have actually suffered far more terrorism and suffering than us. We must never forget those that perished that day (a thought for you, Kathy Stahlman). I am very proud to be a citizen of the United States.

Slight edge to Ms. Rice, with acknowledgment that they were both selling their own agenda, and they were nevertheless more credible than the politicos who make up the commission.

After all those years of watching the Old Morons conducting the Ken Starr and Whitewater witchhunts, we have to watch the New Morons conduct the new and improved commission on Sept. 11 witchhunt?

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That’s what we can expect on the TV news for the next several months? Great! I wonder what’s on the Cartoon Network.

National Security Director Rice came to her position from an academic background; she has an administrative and theoretical approach to national security. Richard Clarke served under both presidents Bush and Clinton as a professional counterterrorism expert. His work and commitment are on the record.

By the time leads reach White House levels they have been carefully crafted, yet a follow-up wasn’t even recommended. Would the explosives imported from Canada in 1999 have been thwarted if those leads had been minimized?

President Bush has said, “I don’t do nuance.” Dr. Rice has taken his lead. Mr. Clarke had more credibility both in connecting the dots and in giving candid testimony.

I don’t recall three hours of Richard Clarke testimony on network TV. I read reports that he testified before the commission as the hero of his own book. Condoleezza Rice testified before the commission to address the Bush administration’s activities in the 233 days prior to the Sept. 11 attacks.

Both were convincing. They even agreed that the many agencies of the federal government’s national security apparatus compromised national security.

The commission’s hearings give a glimpse of institutional life within which presidents struggle to process information and defeat institutional inertia.

Rice. Clarke raised two old questions. What did Bush know before Sept. 11, and was the war with Iraq a distraction?

Rice answered the first by proving that the briefings given to the president did not warn of specific threats and were not “actionable” intelligence. She argued that the documents merely related the history of bin Laden’s aims.

The second question’s answer depends on your long-term view of the anti-terrorist benefits of reshaping the Middle East and punishing serial terrorists. Rice offered an informed testimony to refute Clarke’s allegations.


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