Clarke attack

I wonder how many people reading this are aware that, right now, Congress is hearing arguably the most important testimony given in its chambers in the last 50 years.

The Sept. 11 commission, formed in late 2002 by President Bush to determine what went wrong and who knew what in days and months leading up to the attacks, is no less significant than the House Un-American Activities Committee blacklist testimony from the 1950s.

The difference is that this time, the truth is dirtier than a public rest room urinal cake.

“Many thought that the Bush administration was doing a good job of fighting terrorism when, actually, the administration had squandered the opportunity to eliminate al Qaida and instead strengthened our enemies by going off on a completely unnecessary tangent, the invasion of Iraq,” writes Richard Clarke in his new book, Against All Enemies.

Clarke, a counterterrorism expert who served under Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Dubya, is already being written off by Bush foot soldiers as an insane and power-hungry crackpot whose desire for higher office led him to lie about such things as Sept. 11.

While there’s something beautiful in the idea that a Bush-created commission could lead to the president’s downfall (which I can only pray for), political leaders from both sides are failing Americans by playing the “finger-pointing blame game.”

The simple truth is that Clinton failed to eliminate Osama bin Laden and other al Qaida leaders when he had the chance after the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. Recent evidence has proven Clinton could have assassinated bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1998, but he balked.

I hope that fact doesn’t get lost in the magnitude of the Sept. 11 intelligence catastrophe.

But Bush officials clearly weren’t concerned about al Qaida or terrorism as a threat to national security before Sept. 11, despite what GOP spin doctors and mouthpieces say.

Sit down and shut up. Your president made a lethal mistake, and you need to live with it.

I recently spoke to a U professor from Spain about a story I was writing regarding the March 11 terror attack in that country. He told me the United States is the only country in the world that linked Saddam Hussein with the War on Terror and al-Qaida.

He’s right.

The fact of the matter is that Sept. 11 was an inevitability that extends far beyond the ideological leanings of asses and elephants.

If it had been Gore rather than Bush in the Oval Office that day, New York City’s skyline would look exactly as it does today, but the Middle East probably wouldn’t.

Hearing intelligent people whom I respect and admire like National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld immediately attack the character of people like Clarke who dare offer an educated and nonpartisan perspective to one of the most important discussions in American history makes me want to go home and kick puppies.

President Bush went into Iraq uninformed, misled and misguided-and he was drop dead, flat-out wrong. So far it has cost more than 500 American soldiers their lives, but evidently that’s not enough for a simple, “I’m sorry.”

Well, I for one, am sorry. I’m sorry people were blind enough to follow his rhetoric four years ago, and I’m sorry to say it won’t happen again.

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