Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Be careful what you wish for, the old saying goes – The “Iron Triangle,” a Reaganism used to describe the alliance between liberal special interests, media and Democrats, might not like what Condoleezza Rice has to say. For weeks White House Counsel to the President Alberto Gonzales had been arguing that the Bush team should not allow Rice to testify under oath before the commission because it would be a violation of separation of powers as she is an unelected advisor to the executive branch. After all, in 1999 the Clinton administration would not allow Richard Clarke – the same man who now criticizes Rice for not testifying – to testify before Congress for the same reason. But according to news today Karl Rove, the grand strategist, convinced Gonzales to unleash Rice. As noted yesterday, Clarke used 8 months of the Bush administration for fuel to attack. Rice has 8 years to work with – 8 years of terror attack after terror attack.

It’s ironic how this all came about. The 9-11 Commission had at first been pretty calm and civil. Along with Bush officials several Clinton members also took the stand but for the most part there was little partisan sniping. But then Richard Clarke entered the scene, promoting a book and making statements which were flamingly partisan, even if contradictory at times. Originally, had Rice been allowed to testify as scheduled she would have gone before Clarke, without knowing what he was going to say. Perhaps it was not planned but this could be a coup of Rovian proportions – Rice now has the benefit of responding to Clarke point by point. She’s smart – too smart to say anything stupid. On the contrary, with Rice’s capable experience and excellent public speaking ability she can communicate to the public the clear difference between the Clinton’s law-enforcement strategy for terror and Bush’s war strategy.

Clarke’s main arguments are summarized by and large in this Washington Post report. Certainly if I can retort them Rice should have no problem:

Clarke pointed to this delay [to implement his January 25, 2001 recommendations] and other alleged incidents to bolster his argument that, while the Clinton administration made battling al Qaeda "the highest priority," the Bush administration "considered terrorism an important issue but not an urgent issue" during its first eight months.
Yet, even if true, and I suspect from past reading it is not, the point is moot – acting sooner wouldn’t have stopped the 9-11 attacks, and even Clarke has said so:

[COMMISSIONER SLADE] GORTON: Now, since my yellow light is on, at this point my final question will be this: Assuming that the recommendations that you made on January 25th of 2001, based on Delenda, based on Blue Sky, including aid to the Northern Alliance, which had been an agenda item at this point for two and a half years without any action, assuming that there had been more Predator reconnaissance missions, assuming that that had all been adopted say on January 26th, year 2001, is there the remotest chance that it would have prevented 9/11?


GORTON: It just would have allowed our response, after 9/11, to be perhaps a little bit faster?

CLARKE: Well, the response would have begun before 9/11.

GORTON: Yes, but there was no recommendation, on your part or anyone else's part, that we declare war and attempt to invade Afghanistan prior to 9/11?

CLARKE: That's right.

At most, by Clarke’s own admission, we would have been able to invade Afghanistan before we did. But it’s not like that took a long time – the US was inside Afghanistan four weeks after the 9-11 attacks. The speed in which we mobilized and took down the Taliban - just three weeks – after entering indicates that, Clarke or no Clarke, the US government had planned somewhat for an invasion of the country before 9-11. This means, as common sense would indicate, that there were many people making plans to remove the Taliban from power, not just Clarke.

While the Clinton White House held near-continuous meetings and actively sought information in response to warnings of a terrorist attack before the millennium celebrations, the Bush White House was more lackadaisical when confronted with similarly urgent warnings during the summer of 2001, Clarke has claimed.
Again, this is patently false. Clinton terrorism policies often took a full year to put in place. For instance, while the Clinton team acknowledged the Taliban was harboring Osama bin Laden it was a year before Madeline Albright’s state department put Afghanistan on the list of terror-promoting states – and that was a year after the 1998 embassy bombings. Columnist Rich Lowry points out that the Bush administration acted with precautions before 9-11 in a fashion similar to Clinton’s:

Clarke's tone strongly implies that no one in the Bush administration took any serious action in the summer of 2001 when terrorist "chatter" increased, in marked contrast to the Clinton team's on-the-ball response to similar chatter around the time of the millennium. Not quite. In the summer of 2001, "the CIA again went into what the DCI [George Tenet] described as 'Millennium threat mode,' engaging with foreign liaison and disrupting operations around the world. At least one planned terrorist attack in Europe may have been successfully disrupted during the summer of 2001."
It’s also worth pointing out that the only reason the Millennium attacks were prevented was luck – While conducting a random search the Canadian Mounted Police searched the car of Benni Antoine Noris, a man claiming to be from Montreal. In reality Noris was Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian terrorist with plans to bomb the LA airport, among other targets. Richard Clarke and the Clinton administration can hardly take credit for the actions of sharp Canadian police.

Rice is sure to effectively counter accusations by Clarke, and it’s always better to go last. If the Democrats on the panel wish to use this inquiry as a witch hunt, Rice will be more than capable at pointing out how the Clinton administration, with Clarke as their key advisor, failed from February 27, 1993 – the day of the first WTC bombing – to October of 2000, when the USS Cole had a hole blown in her. The time to “stop” bin Laden and prevent 9-11 had long since passed by the time Bush came into office.



Now the liberals will get their wish: Dr. Rice will tell her side of the story, under oath, in public. And with the suspense that's already gathering around her appearance, it will be a hit. The rest of the nation will soon discover what careful observers of the Bush's inner circle already know: Rice is the most poised, articulate, and convincing speaker in the entire administration. She will mop up the floor with Clarke.
Mark Goldblatt’s piece is interesting because he points out that Rice will introduce herself to America, with the potential of running for president on the Republican ticket in 2008.



Last week former Counterterrorism Security Group head Richard Clarke cryptically alluded to a secret action the Clinton administration directed towards Iran in retaliation to Iran’s involvement in the bombing of Khobar Towers in 1996. Clarke said, “We had Iranian-sponsored terrorism against the United States; he [Clinton] used covert action against them, and they stopped.” So, what was it? Assassinations of high Iranian officials? Delta Force teams raiding Iranian-sponsored terror camps? Nope, the Clinton’s identified some Iranian spies. That’s all. What a pathetic response to the death of 19 US servicemen.

Undisclosed until now, Operation Sapphire took place in 1997. Though the bombers who struck the Khobar Towers barracks were mostly Saudis, U.S. investigators quickly determined that Iranian intelligence officials had trained and organized the plotters. The former U.S. official said Iran was intimidated enough by the U.S. counterspy operation that it stopped targeting Americans after the bombing.

The first public hint of the U.S. operation came last week, when Richard Clarke, White House counterterrorism chief for three administrations, told a bipartisan commission investigating the 9/11 attacks that the Clinton administration responded "against Iranian terrorism ... at Khobar Towers with a covert action."

The former high-level U.S. official said Operation Sapphire led to the identification of scores of Iranian intelligence officers and the expulsion of some from foreign capitals. "We outed them," he said. "The CIA, working with others, identified every known Iranian intelligence operative and made it known that they were known. It resulted in no further manifestation of Iranian terrorism directed against the United States."

The U.S. officials who talked about the operation declined to discuss details. But there are various ways to "out" intelligence officers from rival services: circulating rumors at dinners and cocktail parties; allowing comments about the officers to be overheard on phones known to be bugged; planting stories in newspapers. CIA officers often know who their counterparts are in foreign embassies. It is more difficult to spot those without official cover.

Operation Sapphire didn't end Iran's connection to terrorism. Iran has continued to support anti-Israeli militants and has refused to extradite members of the al-Qaeda terrorist network who fled to Iran after the U.S. ouster of the Taliban in Afghanistan. But Iran's government is not known to have targeted Americans since 1996.

Early on, U.S. officials suspected Iran of organizing the Khobar Towers plot by members of an Iranian-trained group called Saudi Hezbollah. But the Clinton administration had difficulty proving the charge because almost all the suspects were in Saudi hands. Only in 1999 did the Saudis allow FBI officers to observe interrogations and suggest questions.

Actually, no. The Clinton administration wanted nothing to do with linking Iran to the Khobar Towers bombing because to do so would cause the American public to demand a response with a little more balls than Clinton’s passive aggressive action. Clinton’s FBI director, Louis Freeh, has since repeated his disgust with the rest of the Clinton team’s refusal to acknowledge Iran’s role in the Khobar bombing. Freeh says, “The only direction from the Clinton administration regarding Iran was to order the FBI to stop photographing and fingerprinting official Iranian delegations entering the U.S. because it was adversely impacting our "relationship" with Tehran.” Stymied by his boss Bill Clinton a frustrated Freeh turned to former President George H.W. Bush who pressed the Saudis to cooperate more with the FBI. From this Freeh found the evidence implicating Iran’s government, but according to Freeh, again “the Clinton administration refused to support a prosecution.” It wasn’t until Bush 43 took office that the US even indicted those responsible.

Why did Clinton never act? Typical liberal appeasement. Nothing more. As with their obsession with the Middle East “peace process,” the Clinton team willingly chose the illusion of utopia – a reformed Iran – over the conflicts of reality – the Ayatollah’s Iran. Clinton responded to Freeh’s evidence by saying that Iran was “prepared to move away from support of terrorism and distribution of dangerous weapons, [and] opposition to the peace process.” Secretary of State Madeline Albright additionally lifted embargoes on carpets, caviar, and pistachio nuts imports. New “reformist” Iranian President Mohammad Khatami had just come to power as part of a concession to the populace by the Ayatollah and his fundamentalist mullahs. But they were deceived, all of them. Khatami has since offered the Iranians more lip service than liberalized reform. Human rights are still atrocious in Iran, a dangerous country where foreign photographers can be beaten to death should they dare film protests.

Iran murdered 19 of our servicemen, and in return Clinton gave us carpets, fish eggs and nuts. The Left will never learn. Clinton’s naïve and blood-stained olive branch was for nothing. We pursued reconciliation while Iran revved up its covert nuclear program. Iran’s nuclear secrets recently cracked wide open, our suspicions were confirmed when we discovered their proliferation activities are much further along than previously realized. Only this year did we discover Iran’s central role as in an arms ring with Pakistan, North Korea and Libya. Iran continues to be the number one state sponsor of terrorism. Indeed, there will be no peace in the Middle East so long as Iran actively funds the Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad with impunity. And Iran still has not extradited suspected al Qaeda operatives, including Saif al-Adel, a terrorist who began his career in Iran’s Hezbollah before moving onto al Qaeda to eventually take the place of captured 9-11 mastermind, Khalid Shiek Mohammed.

It’s a pattern from the Clinton administration – taking the least controversial method of action, if any, to the dangers that surround us. It’s why we fled from Somalia; it’s why we discovered too late the links between the WTC bombing in 1993 and the 9-11 attacks; it’s why Osama bin Laden, unfazed from Clinton’s impotent response to the 1998 embassy bombings, targeted the USS Cole in 2000. It’s why the Cole deaths received only lip-biting condemnation from Clinton, but certainly no action.



Too much of the controversy about Clarke's book -- and testimony and interviews -- concerns adjectives.

Combating terrorism was only "important" to the Bush administration (by the eighth day Clarke was calling the Bush administration "lackadaisical" about terrorism), whereas for the Clinton administration it was "urgent" -- "no higher a priority." Except when it wasn't. When Clarke recommended "a series of rolling attacks" against al Qaeda's "infrastructure in Afghanistan," his recommendation was rejected. But Clarke says "to be fair" we should understand that the Clinton administration decided it had higher priorities -- the Balkans, the Middle East peace process.

By the eighth day Clarke was telling Tim Russert that the difference is that Clinton did "something" whereas Bush did "nothing." Nothing except, among other things, authorizing a quadrupling of spending for covert action against al Qaeda.

George Will. Read the rest.



Is it a myth that won’t die, or is there something to the theory that OKC bomber Tim McVeigh received assistance from Islamic terrorists? From the LA Weekly:

Suspicion that the bombing involves a Middle Eastern connection begins with an all-points bulletin issued by the FBI three hours after the explosion for a truck like one stolen from the blue-collar Oklahoman. It was a brown Chevy pickup, with tinted windows, seen speeding away from the area, with two Middle Eastern–looking men inside. Later that day, the FBI canceled the alert, and has never said why. When Timothy McVeigh, a disillusioned Gulf War vet, was arrested and charged on April 21, questions about that mysterious brown truck and its Arab-looking occupants faded away.

One of the first journalists to air reports on the aborted FBI alert was Jayna Davis of KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City. Her TV stories generated confidential phone tips about a group of local Iraqis, including one who seemed to match an FBI profile sketch of John Doe No. 2.

Two years ago, when Davis’ work began drawing national attention, U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) wrote FBI Director Robert Mueller asking for his comments on Davis’ findings. The Bureau met with representatives from the House Committee on Government Reform, and Thomas Swanton, an assistant U.S. attorney assigned to Specter’s office. It’s not clear what was said at the meeting, but weeks later, Eleni Kalisch, FBI’s section chief for government relations, sent Specter a confidential six-page letter responding to questions raised at the meeting.

In the letter, Kalisch did not comment on what role, if any, the pickup may have played. Instead, she noted, “The FBI was aware this truck was stolen in Norman, OK, and a known car thief was the suspect.” According to Norman Police Department documents, however, police never identified a suspect. The truck was stolen outside the plant where the owner worked on December 5, 1994, more than four months before the attack.

The missing truck was actually a brown 1983 GMC High Sierra four-by-four. When the FBI returned it, the truck had been spray-painted yellow and its GMC emblem replaced with a Chevrolet Silverado one. Before it was stolen, the four-by-four drive had broken down. The thieves repaired it. A letter, dated July 11, 1995, sent on behalf of Oklahoma City’s FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Bob Ricks confirmed the extra efforts taken to disguise the truck. “The vehicle also had been painted and subjected to cosmetic changes which made it appear to be a Chevrolet.” The FBI paid the truck owner $822 to repair damage from the forensic exam.

It’s long. I won’t post it all here. Read the rest. More background here.



If I’m a business owner employing 8 people at minimum wage and Congress enacts legislation that forces me to pay more, how am I going to recoup my costs? That’s right, my staff will be cut. That’s how liberal notions of “fairness”, “living wage” and other Marxist principles can ruin your economy.

SAN FRANCISCO — Waiters and waitresses are among the few laborers left in San Francisco who still earn minimum wage, but a newly-enacted law that raises the hourly rate from $6.75 to $8.50 may end up causing those workers to wait on the unemployment line.

"A lot of restaurants are barely hanging on as it is, and this is definitely going to be the nail in the coffin for a lot of places," said Craig Stoll, co-owner of Delfina Restaurant.

Stoll said the $1.75 increase in the hourly wage that he must pay his workers will cost him $30,000 this year, leaving little to raise the pay of cooks and cleaners.

Supporters of the law, like Barry Hermanson, an employment agency manager, who lobbied for the living wage, said the price is small when it means guaranteeing an acceptable standard of living for Bay Area workers.

Easy for Barry to say, he’s not the person who’s going to get laid off.


Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Update from below: The White House has decided to allow National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to testify publicly with the 9-11 Commission on the condition that the commission will not ask for further testimony from any White House official. Additionally, both President Bush and Vice President Cheney will privately meet with all 10 commissioners with one staff member to take notes. You can read the full letter from Alberto Gonzales, counsel to the president, here.

It was inevitable really, considering the amount of media coverage and the White House’s failure to preempt the problem by offering a compromise position in advance.

I understand the Bush team’s reluctance provide precedent to jump whenever Congress demands (who demands inquisitions of Congress?) but with their demands they should be able to prevent this in the future. Rice is an excellent speaker, and as she was directly charged as negligent by Richard Clarke it is imperative that she be the one to retort before the commission. Clarke used his commission time to second guess 8 months of the Bush administration. Rice has 8 years to work with.

Get ready, Democrats, for in this case you might be sorry you’re getting your wish.



Both the Philippines and the UK broke open terror cells before they could execute their plots. Uzbekistan failed however, with Islamic militants killing 19 people; Uzbek authorities raided a terror stronghold earlier today, killing 16 terrorist fighters.

MANILA, Philippines (AP)--Philippine authorities arrested four Islamic militants and seized 80 pounds of explosives, averting a ``Madrid-level'' terrorist attack on trains and in Manila shopping malls, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said Tuesday.

The suspects allegedly belong to the Abu Sayyaf group and trained with the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terror network, Arroyo said. One of them is believed to have beheaded a California man taken hostage in 2001 and planted a bomb that killed a U.S. soldier in 2002.

``We have prevented a Madrid-level attack in the metropolis,'' Arroyo said, referring to the sprawling capital of Manila, home to more than 10 million people.

And in the UK:

[The Scotsman] POLICE today said they had foiled a major terrorist attack on London.

Half a tonne of ammonium nitrate fertiliser was seized in a major anti-terrorist operation. Eight men - all understood to be Muslims - were arrested in the operation, in which police carried out 24 raids across London and the Home Counties.

Scotland Yard deputy assistant commissioner Peter Clarke, the National Co-ordinator for Terrorism, said the suspects were not linked to Irish Republican terrorism or to the recent attack in Madrid. "The men arrested are all British citizens," he added. Police said the ages of the men arrested were 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 21, 22 and 32.

Senior Metropolitan Police sources today claimed that the swoop had prevented a major terrorist attack on London. They said the officers had arrested suspected al-Qaida-linked terrorists equipped with the same bomb-making material used in the Bali nightclub blast.

All three are allies in the War on Terror. All three were planned by subsidiaries of the al Qaeda network, not al Qaeda itself – this is both good and bad news: good that al Qaeda is itself weakened, bad in that it’s more difficult to detect before it’s too late.



“By the way, I know of at least one other instance of Mr. [Richard] Clarke's creative memory. Shortly after September 11th, as part of his assertion that he had vigorously pursued the possibility of Iraqi involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, he wrote in a memo that, and I am quoting here, 'When the bombing happened, he focused on Iraq as the possible culprit because of Iraqi involvement in the attempted assassination of President Bush in Kuwait the same month,' unquote. In fact, the attempted assassination of President Bush happened two months later. It just seems to be another instance where Mr. Clarke's memory is playing tricks.” – Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz before the 9-11 Commission last week.
So, Clarke is human and his word should not be taken as gospel. Curious too how Clarke attacks Bush for suspecting Iraq in the days following 9-11 when Clarke did the same thing 8 years prior.



Democrats, their new buddy Richard Clarke and the mass media have all harshly criticized the White House for refusing to allow National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to testify before the 9-11 Commission. The White House and Rice cite Constitutional separation of powers. Well, wouldn’t you know back in 1999 the Clinton Administration refused to allow this same Richard Clarke to testify before a Congressional terrorism committee, citing the exact same clause?

The following is an excerpt of Congressional record read in 1999 by Senator Bob Bennett:

Last night, into the evening, we were notified that the legal staff of the National Security Council had determined that it would be inappropriate for Mr. Clarke to appear. I have just spoken to him on the telephone. The rule apparently is that any member of the White House staff who has not been confirmed is not to be allowed to testify before the Congress. They can perform briefings, but they are not to give testimony. And that in response to that rule, Mr. Clarke will not be coming.

He [Clarke] apologized to me for their failure to tell us that in a way that would have prevented our putting out the press notice in advance. I do not, in any sense, attribute any improper motives to Mr. Clarke. We had understood that the briefing could be held as long as there was no record made of it so that it would not be part of the formal hearing. And we were prepared to receive his briefing with the court recorder being instructed not to make any record of it and that that would comply with the rule.

As I say, last evening I received a call at home after the Senate had adjourned telling me that that arrangement would not be acceptable to the legal staff at the National Security Council and that Mr. Clarke, therefore, would not be here.

Hey, the Republicans will never learn, will they? In 1999 they were magnanimous, and today the Democrats repay them with cheap shots and conspiracy theories. And the media allows the double standard.

In any event the Bush administration believes that the Rice issue is becoming more of a liability, and likely something that John Kerry will exploit down the road, and so are now looking for a compromise position with the 9-11 Commission. Among other options, the White House would like to release a full briefing Rice previously gave the commission. This is where the White House screwed up – the time to look for a compromise position was right when it became an issue and certainly not after Clarke’s testimony:

But officials said commission members insisted anew yesterday that they want Rice to testify under oath and in public. That is partly because of questions raised in last week's testimony by Richard A. Clarke, a former Bush national security official who asserted that the White House neglected the threat of terrorism before the Sept. 11 attacks.

The aides said the White House would continue to resist yielding completely. President Bush believes that would set a precedent that could inhibit the advice senior staff provide future chief executives. The White House has also said formal testimony could undermine the separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches, since the commission was created by Congress and Bush's signature.

Commission Chairman Thomas H. Kean and Vice Chairman Lee H. Hamilton said on weekend talk shows that the commissioners unanimously believe that Rice should testify publicly, and that they would continue to press her to do so under oath.

The White House did not allow a recording to be made of what Rice said when she met privately with the commissioners for four hours in February, the aides said. But the commissioners and their staff members have notes that were described as being nearly verbatim.

This is very similar to the issue of the presidential daily briefings (PDB), a term given for when the CIA meets with a president and gives them a wrapup of threats and events. A while back the Commission was in a tizzy because Bush refused to release his PDBs in full. Bush effectively argued that to do so would compromise the quality of future intelligence because CIA analysts might hedge their conclusions knowing that the public could in the future second guess them. Bush eventually reached a compromise with the Commission to deliver a summary of the PDBs. But unlike now Bush made this compromise when he still had bargaining power. Right now the White House is in a defensive weakened posture, and the Commission knows this. There’s little chance that the Commission will compromise as long as it has the upper hand.



Captured 9-11 mastermind Khalid Shiek Mohammed (KSM) told his CIA interrogators that al Qaeda had planned on striking the Sears Tower in Chicago and Library Tower in Los Angeles shortly after September 11 but their plans were thwarted to the speed and success of US military operations against them. Of further interest, Mohammed said that he and his nephew, Ramzi Yousef, began plotting the attacks by looking at encyclopedia pictures of different American superstructures. What makes this interesting is that Yousef, the lead bomber of the WTC in 1993, was captured in 1995. That means that al Qaeda began their 9-11 plot much earlier than originally thought (Mohammed had assembled his core team by 1998 and 1999). Mohammed had originally wanted a two pronged attack striking five targets on the East and West coast simultaneously, but Osama bin Laden vetoed the idea fearing it was too complicated to succeed.

According to the transcript, Mohammed has maintained that Zacarias Moussaoui, the French-Moroccan facing trial in the United States as the "20th hijacker," had been sent to a flight school in Minnesota to train for a West Coast attack.

That would buttress Moussaoui's contention that he is improperly charged with participation in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, because he was preparing for a different al Qaeda operation.

"The original plan was for a two-pronged attack with five targets on the East Coast of America and five on the West Coast," he told interrogators, according to the transcript.

"We talked about hitting California as it was America's richest state, and [al Qaeda leader Osama] bin Laden had talked about economic targets."

He is reported to have said that bin Laden, who like Mohammed had studied engineering, vetoed simultaneous coast-to-coast attacks, arguing that "it would be too difficult to synchronize."

Mohammed then decided to conduct two waves of attacks, hitting the East Coast first and following up with a second series of attacks.

"Osama had said the second wave should focus on the West Coast," he reportedly said.

But the terrorists seem to have been surprised by the strength of the American reaction to the September 11 attacks.

“Afterwards, we never got time to catch our breath, we were immediately on the run," Mohammed is quoted as saying.

Al Qaeda's communications network was severely disrupted, he said. Operatives could no longer use satellite phones and had to rely on couriers, although they continued to use Internet chat rooms.
"Before September 11, we could dispatch operatives with the expectation of follow-up contact, but after October 7 [when U.S. bombing started in Afghanistan], that changed 180 degrees. There was no longer a war room ... and operatives had more autonomy."

KSM’s confession bolsters how the Bush administration has handled the war on terror after 9-11. With all the b.s. flying about it's important to remember that what we do from here out matters most. Here’s the chief plotter and probably the most important member of al Qaeda saying that America’s reactive strength caused al Qaeda operations in the US to collapse. Had John Kerry been president on 9-11 things would be drastically different today, and we might have not had that strong reaction that stopped al Qaeda’s future West Coast plans in their tracks.

Short of changing Iraq’s culture to a secular democracy that can spread outward there was no bigger coup in the war on terror than capturing KSM. He was the central figure in all al Qaeda plots and their associations with Far East terror network Jemaah Islamiyah and its mastermind Hambali, who is also now captured.



The further east the more likely the European is sympathetic to American concerns. This was certainly true during the build up to the War in Iraq when former Soviet satellites such as the Czech Republic or Poland were willing to give support where France and Germany were not. Peoples in Eastern Europe are not all that far removed from the oppressive yoke of Communism, and remember what it’s like to life without freedom. With the NATO expansion to include seven former Warsaw Pact states the balance of power in the alliance swings toward the US and away from France and Germany. It couldn’t come at a better time.

The expansion -- the second time the alliance has added members since the Soviet Union fell -- comes as a changing NATO prepares to send more forces into Afghanistan, considers a future role in Iraq, and works with nations in North Africa and elsewhere to thwart terrorist organizations.

The relatively young democracies that joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization yesterday included three former Soviet republics -- the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania -- and three members of the former Warsaw Pact: Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia. The seventh, Slovenia, was part of the former Yugoslavia. The invitation to join the alliance was extended at the NATO summit in Prague in November 2002 and was approved unanimously by the U.S. Senate last May.

The expansion of NATO from 19 to 26 countries tips the balance of the Atlantic alliance further eastward -- and tends to make the group as a whole more sympathetic to U.S. foreign policy. The seven, for example, backed Bush's move toward war in Iraq early last year, even as original NATO members France and Germany opposed him.

Bush pointedly noted in his remarks that all seven nations are playing supporting roles for U.S.-led military operations in Iraq or Afghanistan. Bulgaria, he said, provided refueling facilities for aircraft during the 2001 Afghan campaign and also has sent more than 400 soldiers to Iraq. Military engineers from Estonia and Latvia are helping clear explosives in Iraq, and forces from Lithuania and Slovakia also have served there, he said. Romanian and Slovenian troops have deployed to Afghanistan, he added.

"They understand our cause in Afghanistan and in Iraq because tyranny for them is still a fresh memory," said Bush, whose statements included a dose of Reagan-era anti-Soviet rhetoric. "When NATO was founded, the people of these seven nations were captives to an empire."



Presidential hopeful – or not so hopeful, hopefully – John Kerry introduced his “plan” to combat rising gas prices yesterday. According to the Kerry campaign they will push President Bush to pressure foreign countries to increase oil production and also temporarily suspend filling US oil reserves so to increase flow into the private market. So, how does Kerry plan on persuading our foreign suppliers to increase production? Kerry doesn’t say. Also, isn’t it fitting that Kerry does not attempt to take a stance of more dependence? Wouldn’t someone arguing for more US independence want to start finding our own oil supplies? We can talk about “alternative” energies until the cows come home but it won’t change the fact that there are millions of automobiles on the road that run on the combustion engine. As for transferring national reserves to the private market we’ve been there, done that, and it didn’t do much:

Kerry will argue that diverting oil intended for U.S. reserves directly to the market will help depress gas prices, though analysts say that probably would have a negligible effect. Kerry also intends to reiterate his longer-term plans for decreasing the country's dependence on foreign oil and increasing its reliance on cleaner-burning alternative forms of energy.

The last time an administration tapped the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the impact on price was negligible. When President Bill Clinton ordered the sale of 30 million barrels of oil on Sept. 22, 2000, the average price of regular gas had climbed to more than $1.56. By Oct. 24, when the oil began to hit the market, prices had slipped one penny, according to the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration.

Regardless of what short-term steps the administration or Congress may agree to, there is little hope that prices will sink significantly anytime soon, according to the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 stations nationwide. Gas prices climbed 3 cents more in the past two weeks to a record high in real dollar terms, the survey said. Early-1980s prices were markedly higher when adjusted for inflation.

"This administration has one economic policy for America: 3 million jobs lost and driving gas prices towards $3 a gallon," Kerry said in an economic speech here. Vice President Cheney responded by saying: "After voting three times to increase the gas tax and once proposing to increase it by 50 cents a gallon, he now says he doesn't support it."

Before we get into Cheney using Kerry as a punching bag there are a few points to be made. First, funny how the government has tried to address the oil/gas issue for several decades but generally only exacerbated the problem. Arrogant politicians still don’t understand that the market and consumers are the best way to “fix” high gas prices. As in the 1970s it wasn’t government interference with economics that helped (it hurt, actually) but consumers demanding more gas efficient cars and manufacturers delivering them. As long as people are running around in gas-guzzling SUVs they can’t be hurting too bad, can they? The other point is that, as noted above, when you factor in inflation the gas prices in the 1970s and 80s were much, much higher than today. This becomes a political issue only because opportunistic politicians can skew numbers without context to a populace that is ignorant about economics. What else is new?

Now, on to Cheney. If John Kerry wants to make this an issue he can but his record will work against him.

"To get a clearer picture of what the first hundred days of a Kerry administration would look like, we can start by reviewing his last 7,000 days in Washington," Cheney said. He said Kerry "will speak out against higher taxes when it suits the political moment, but is one of the most reliable pro-tax votes in the United States Senate."

Cheney repeated Bush's assertion that Kerry has voted at least 350 times for higher taxes, a figure that includes votes against tax cuts. "He says that he will keep some of those tax cuts -- never mind that he opposed each one of them at the time," Cheney said. "He has given the usual assurances that in those first hundred days he's planning, only the wealthiest Americans can expect higher taxes."

Kerry said he would cut the taxes of 98 percent of Americans and use a tax increase for the top earners to invest in health care and education.

Yeah, well 50% of Americans don’t even pay income tax, and those top 2% pay between 33 and 53% of all income taxes. So what happens when they don’t spend that money? Democrats like to demonize the tax cuts and their “rich” beneficiaries, saying they’ll only be used for a new boat or Lexus. Well, we should certainly hope so! When one of these “evil” rich people buy a boat they’re putting money into the pocket of the salesman, the dealer, the manufacturer and everyone else associated with the process – not to mention constant dock or fuel charges. What happens when they stop buying boats? These people providing them and selling them lose out, that’s what. It just goes to show you the backwards logic liberals use with economics.



What happens if John Kerry becomes president and coerces US firms to curb their job outsourcing. Kerry has said he would use a combination of carrot and stick approaches to persuade them, but the bottom line is that Kerry intends to do something about what he sees is a problem with the US economy. Company outsourcing may be painful but the alternative to the savings – bankruptcy – is even worse. By trying to thwart outsourcing Kerry will create more, not less, layoffs and economic problems. Even if Kerry can find some incentives there’s no way he can match the economic growth of outsourcing. The IT industry alone is expected to save $21 billion a year:

March 30 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. software and technology companies will save $21 billion a year by 2008 through hiring workers in India and other low-cost nations, adding $124 billion to the U.S. economy, an industry-funded study forecast.

The cost savings will cut U.S. inflation, increase productivity, boost wages and create 317,367 new jobs by 2008, according to a study funded by the Information Technology Association of America, which is based in Arlington, Virginia, and represents 500 companies such as AT&T Corp., Inc. and International Business Machines Corp.

``The U.S. economy has much to gain from global sourcing and an environment of free trade, open markets, and robust competition,'' according to the study by Global Insight of Lexington, Massachusetts. The full study is set to be released this afternoon. A 10-page summary was provided to Bloomberg for release this morning.

The study is part of an effort by U.S. companies try to head off calls in Washington for limits on layoffs and on government contracting with overseas employees, along with other measures they label ``isolationist.''

``The U.S. will not become more prosperous by isolating itself from a growing worldwide economy,'' John Castellani, president of the Business Roundtable, an industry group, told reporters at a briefing last week on the same issue.

U.S. unions and Democratic lawmakers are pushing for measures to protect employment. The U.S. has lost 2.2 million jobs since President George W. Bush took office in January 2001 [and even more since Clinton was still in office]. Senator John Kerry, of Massachusetts, the Democratic challenger, last week offered a tax plan that he said would end the tax breaks he said companies get for moving jobs overseas.

U.S. companies are trying to counteract that argument by presenting data that shows how hiring low-cost workers in India or other nations can benefit the entire U.S. economy. This study finds that spending on overseas outsourcing already stands at $10 billion a year, and will more than triple to $31 billion by 2008.

Hiring workers overseas enables U.S.-based multinationals to cut costs, operate around the clock and tailor products to local needs, the study said.

Protectionism never works, but there’s always some arrogant yahoo who thinks this time we can make it work! Outsourcing is part of the global economy and there is no going back. US companies thrive because they find ways to do business cheaper, so it makes no sense to try and fix a natural process. It’s also not known that the US insources many jobs from foreign countries.



The Libyan arms ring keeps on growing. US officials say that for years Egypt was involved in both nuclear and missile trade with Libya. Countries previously found to be part of the arms ring include Pakistan, North Korea and Iran.

Officials said the evidence confirmed suspicions over the last three years of a secret trade between Cairo and Tripoli in strategic weapons obtained from North Korea.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has also been seeking to determine whether Egypt received Pakistani nuclear weapons designs, including that for nuclear warheads, Middle East Newsline reported.

A Chinese-origin nuclear warhead design sold by Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan was found in Libya.

"The evidence of Egyptian involvement in Libya's missile and nuclear weapons program is highly damaging and most of the doubts we had previously have been resolved," an official said. "That doesn't mean, however, that there will be imminent repercussions."

U.S. officials said they doubted whether the alleged Egyptian-Libyan missile and nuclear cooperation would be raised during a scheduled April 12 meeting between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and President George Bush.

The officials said the Bush administration as well as its predecessors have been extremely cautious in discussing Egyptian weapons of mass destruction programs with Mubarak or his senior aides. Egypt has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and in December 2003 announced the cancellation of a program to construct eight nuclear power reactors.

For years, Egypt obtained missile technology directly from Pyongyang, officials said. But in 2001 the United States blocked a shipment of 50 North Korean No-Dong missiles to Egypt. A year later, the House subcommittee on terrorism was told that Egypt received 24 No-Dong missile engines from North Korea.

Officials said Egypt -- which receives about $2 billion in annual U.S. civilian and military aid -- was angered by a series of inquiries in 2002 regarding its missile and nuclear ties with Libya. They said Egypt vociferously denied U.S. allegations, based on satellite photographs, that Cairo was conducting a secret missile and WMD trade with Libya.

Since 2001, officials said, the United States has been monitoring evidence that Egypt has tried to develop an intermediate-range missile. One option said to have been sought by Egypt was the development of a liquid-fueled missile known as the Vector, meant to have a range of up to 1,200 kilometers.

The U.S.-British inspections of Libyan facilities pointed to Egyptian cooperation with Tripoli in the area of medium-range missiles. Officials said the team found evidence of Egyptian assistance to a Libyan program to develop a missile of more than 1,000 kilometers based on the No-Dong.

One piece of evidence cited was the discovery in Libyan facilities of fuel tanks meant for medium-range and intermediate-range missiles. Officials said the British-U.S. team did not find entire missiles.

"We're just scratching the surface," the U.S. official said. "There were places that we were not allowed to visit and there were places that we didn't ask to go. This will be a process that will take a long time."

The United States reported that Libya, with assistance of North Korea, succeeded in developing and producing an extended-range Scud C missile that could travel 800 kilometers. Those missiles were transferred to the United States, but officials said Washington has evidence that the Scud C technology had been relayed to Egypt.


Monday, March 29, 2004

Mark Steyn is a funny, funny man.

Having served both the 42nd and 43rd Presidents, Clarke was supposed to be the most authoritative proponent to advance the Democrats' agreed timeline of the last decade - to whit, from January 1993 to January 2001, Bill Clinton focused like a laser on crafting a brilliant plan to destroy al-Qa'eda, but, alas, just as he had dotted every "i", crossed every "t" and sent the intern to the photocopier, his eight years was up, so Bill gave it to the new guy as he was showing him the Oval Office - "That carpet under the desk could use replacing. Oh, and here's my brilliant plan to destroy al-Qa'eda, which you guys really need to implement right away."

The details of the brilliant plan need not concern us, which is just as well, as there aren't any. But the broader point, as The New York Times noted, is that "there was at least no question about the Clinton administration's commitment to combat terrorism".

Yessir, for eight years the Clinton administration was relentless in its commitment: no sooner did al-Qa'eda bomb the World Trade Center first time round, or blow up an American embassy, or a barracks, or a warship, or turn an entire nation into a terrorist training camp, than the Clinton team would redouble their determination to sit down and talk through the options for a couple more years. Then Bush took over and suddenly the superbly successful fight against terror all went to hell.

Read the whole thing. You won't be disappointed.



"We are certain that a Democratic administration will be more realistic," says a senior advisor to Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak. "Bush's talk of imposing democracy can only de-stabilize the region and produce catastrophe for all concerned."
Amir Taheri comments that the Arab world is hoping for a John Kerry victory so business as usual can continue in the stagnant Middle East.



The biggest beef I have (and I think many have) with former counterterrorism official Richard Clark is that he has revised history to judge President Bush, who was in office less than eight months before 9-11, with a much harsher standard than that of Bill Clinton, who was on the job for eight years prior to 9-11, including during most of the planning for the attacks. Clarke was on Meet The Press with Tim Russert on Sunday again spinning this egregious charge that Bush “did nothing” to combat al Qaeda before September 11 but that Clinton was just oh so successful.

MR. [TIM] RUSSERT: We are back with former White House counterterrorism chief and author of "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror," Richard Clarke.

Vice President Cheney also offered some comments about your performance during the Clinton administration, and here's what he said: "The other thing I would say about Dick Clarke is that he was here throughout those eight years, going back to '93, and the first attack on the World Trade Center; and '98, when the embassies were hit in East Africa; in 2000, when the USS Cole was hit. And the question that ought to be asked is, what were they doing in those days when he was in charge of counterterrorism efforts?'"

The Washington Post did an analysis of the September 11 Commission reports, your book and testimony and everyone else's, and concluded in an analysis piece, "Bush, Clinton varied little on terrorism." Would you concur with that?

MR. [RICHARD] CLARKE: No, not really. Let's answer Dick Cheney's question: What was the Clinton administration doing and what did it fail to do? Because it failed to do some things. Thirty-five Americans over the course of eight years--35 Americans--were killed by al-Qaeda during the Clinton years. And as a result of those 35 deaths, President Clinton ordered the assassination of Osama bin Laden, breaking with years of tradition and precedent, and the assassination of his deputies, by CIA. He fired cruise missiles into a base where he thought bin Laden was going to be. He launched a series of diplomatic, intelligence, law enforcement, military steps against al-Qaeda.

What bunk!? So for Richard Clarke it’s just a numbers game. To him, only 35 Americans died, so you know, no biggie. Clarke fails to understand the power of precedent and how our lackluster response in the Clinton years emboldened the terrorists. Bill Clinton never ordered the assassination of Osama bin Laden, but rather instructed the CIA to first capture him, thus restricting the kind of action the CIA could take. The Clinton administration declined to kill Osama bin Laden on at least three (some say four) separate occasions (which Clarke admits). Indeed, this same Richard Clarke told Richard Miniter that the Clinton administration failed to fully engage al Qaeda because then Attorney General Janet Reno worried considered terrorism a law enforcement operation and former Secretary of State Madeline Albright worried about the Middle East “peace process.” The Bush team may have been slow (a relative judgment) to formulate a plan to take out al Qaeda bases and change regime in Afghanistan (approved days before 9-11) but that’s far more than Clinton was ever willing to go. Bill Clinton also admitted in 2002 to declining a Sudanese deal to extradite Osama bin Laden because he was worried about legal ramifications.

It’s clear that Clarke has become an apologist for Clinton while applying a double standard for Bush.

What he [Clinton] failed to do was to take all of the camps in Afghanistan where these terrorists were being trained on a conveyor belt that was turning out thousands of people and sending them overseas--what he failed to do was to eliminate them, just to bomb them. Now, there were lots of other things going on in the world. And to be fair, he had the Middle East peace process close to an agreement. He was bombing in Serbia. He was bombing in Iraq. In retrospect, with 20/20 hindsight, people now understand that he should have bombed the camps. I said so at the time.
To be fair? Why does Bush not receive that same gratuity Clarke gives Clinton? Clarke contradicts his own attacks. Clarke says Bush failed because he was concerned with other things – China, missile defense – but gives Clinton a pass for being concerned with other things. And how is it that when Bush attacks Iraq it’s a distraction to the war on terror but not when Clinton does it? Meanwhile, the Middle East peace process was so “close” to agreement that Yassar Arafat declared war right after negotiations collapsed.

Here’s more

What else did Clinton do, however? We had Iraqi-sponsored terrorism against the United States; he used military force, and they stopped. We had Iranian-sponsored terrorism against the United States; he used covert action against them, and they stopped. We had al-Qaeda attempts to blow up things in the United States during the millennium period, attempts to blow up embassies around the world, attempts to take over Bosnia during the jihad in Bosnia. And all of those attempts were thwarted.
Iraq stopped? Then why did it harbor Abdul Yasin with government payments and housing? Yasin made the bombs for the bombing of the WTC in 1993, a terror event that Bill Clinton was so concerned about he never even paid a visit to afterwards. And, by the way, I thought these liberals were arguing that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with terrorism – Clarke concedes in his defense that he must have been.

Unbelievable is Clarke’s defense of Clinton on Iran. First, of what “covert action” does Clarke speak? Bill Clinton’s own FBI director, Louis Freeh, has since said that the Clinton administration refused to acknowledge his evidence that the government of Iran has involved in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing. Indeed, not only did the Clinton team not retaliate against Iran, he inexplicably embraced the so-called “reformist” regime and even apologized to Iran for 150 years of Western influence! Iran was then, and still is today, the chief state sponsor of Islamic terrorism.

When Clinton acted it was only in half-measures, politically timed to combat his scandals. Richard Clarke tells Tim Russert that Clinton “faced to that was the so-called wag the dog phenomenon.” Well, that’s what it was. Republicans don’t attack Clinton’s 1998 attacks for the actions as much as they do for the half-assed way in which he did it. Clinton timed his military action to coincide with scandal not once, but twice. He bombed Afghanistan and Sudan on the day that Monica Lewinsky was testifying, and he bombed Iraq for the same four days that Congress was debating his impeachment. Moreover, military force should always have a political objective, but it was seldom the case with Clinton. By 1998 Clinton did, as Bush would later do, have enough reason to overthrow both the Taliban and Hussein regimes, but he didn’t. Both were failures because Clinton didn’t have the gumption to pursue the goals to the end. Bin Laden was never in the Afghanistan camp Clinton launched cruise missiles into; and the suspected VX factory in Sudan turned out to make aspirin. Of the 1998 Iraq bombings, coinciding with House impeachment, Clinton’s former national security council staffer Ken Pollack wrote in his book “The Threatening Storm” that Operation Desert Fox lacked objectives. Clinton neither bombed enough WMD sites to argue that as a reason for the operation, nor did the bombing last long enough (four days) to argue that the objective was to destabilize Hussein’s core support. So then, what was Clinton’s objective? Wag the dog – to create a perception of tough action without taking the political risk to actually take a tough action.

Finally, Clarke, like most liberals, misses the forest for the trees on Iraq. Clarke says that “invading Iraq after 9/11 is like invading Mexico after Pearl Harbor.” Not exactly. It’s more like invading Italy after Pearl Harbor. Italy never attacked the US, and was a lackluster member of the original WWII Axis. Yet the US invaded Italy before Germany first because it was the most opportunistic target and weakest link in the chain. Iraq, similarly, offers a unique opportunity to change the culture of an entire Middle East which excels in exporting terrorism. Currently the Middle East offers to political structures – Islamic fundamentalism and totalitarianism, sometimes both at once. The US is creating in Iraq a third way – secular democracy – in the hopes that it will spread out to the rest of the Middle East. It’s already working. Libya has disarmed and pro-democratic factions are demonstrating in both Syria and Iran as you read this.



Question for all you readers – how many times have you interviewed for a job you didn’t want?

MR. [TIM] RUSSERT: But you were turned down for the number-two job at Homeland Security?

MR. [RICHARD] CLARKE: No, I wasn't turned down for it. What happened was the White House was developing lists of people to consider for various jobs. And I said, "If you want to consider me, fine. I've been working on homeland security issues for five years."

MR. RUSSERT: Did you interview for it?

MR. CLARKE: I was interviewed for it. Am I disgruntled about it? No. Is that the reason I wrote the book? Let's talk about motivation. You're asking me is that the motivation. So let's talk about what the motivation actually is. The actual motivation for writing this book is to, number one, tell the people who have been asking me for two or three years, you know, what happened on 9/11 and why couldn't we stop it. I hope the 9-11 Commission answers those questions, too. But I had to get it off my chest. I had to tell the families of the victims. I had to tell lots of people who have been asking me, "What went wrong? And how, with all of your experience, can you advise us on what mistakes you made personally? Can you advise us not to make those mistakes again, and with that experience, how do you advise us about structuring the government so that we can avoid this kind of thing in the future?" I had to get it off my chest. That's the motivation.

And if you believe that Richard Clarke has a bridge in Brooklyn he’d like to sell you. He wanted the job, which is why he interviewed for it. They declined him, and so it’s only human nature to have felt rebuked. Maybe it wasn’t his prime motivation for it, but it comes across as totally dishonest to act as though it had nothing to do with his resignation. He began writing his book just one month after resigning. That’s a man on a mission.



It’s interesting that after the initial shock for the most part the attacks by former Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG) Richard Clarke against the Bush administration is not having the lasting effect that some thought it would. Newsweek says that 65 percent of Americans haven’t changed their opinion of Bush due to Clarke’s testimony and that 50 percent polled felt that Clarke had political and personal motivations. Well, that’s hardly shocking. It’s not hard to see through the guy. Clarke’s book was pushed up to coincide with his 9-11 Commission testimony, and had Clarke tried to draw remarkably false difference’s between how the Bush and Clinton administrations handled terrorism. The only number that hurts Bush is that his approval rating for how he handles terrorism has dropped from 70 percent to 59 percent. Still, that’s 59 percent high.

Meanwhile, in an ‘open letter to America’ families of 9-11 vicitms accused Clarke of making money off their tragedy:

"It was very disturbing to learn that Mr. Clarke would be releasing his book immediately before his scheduled public testimony before the 9/11 commission," they said in their emotional "Open Letter to America."

"The notion of [Clarke] profiteering from anything associated with 9/11 is particularly offensive to all of us."

The fuming families said Clarke's motivations are also political and called the book - which has become an overnight best seller - divisive and mean-spirited.

"We find Mr. Clarke's actions all the more offensive especially considering the fact that there was always a high possibility that the 9/11 commission could be used for political gain . . . with the presidential election less than eight months away," they wrote.

"Surely, Mr. Clarke knew this. Yet, he decided to risk the actual and perceived impartiality of this
important process to maximize book sales," they added.

"We believe it inappropriate for [him] to profit from and politicize 9/11 and further divide America by his testimony before the 9/11 commission."

Retired FDNY firefighter Jim Boyle, who lent his name to the letter, ripped into Clarke, who served as a counterterrorism adviser to the past four presidents.

"Richard Clarke is doing all of this to sell his book," said Boyle, whose Bravest son, Michael Boyle, died in the WTC. "What he's doing isn't right. He's trying to make money off our pain. This was all orchestrated to benefit him," Boyle told The Post.

Retired FDNY Capt. John Vigiano Sr. said he's "incensed" with Clarke.

"He's all about promoting his book, plain and simple," said Vigiano Sr., whose sons John, a firefighter, and Joseph, a police officer, died in the WTC attacks.

"It's all about greed. He shouldn't be doing this. He's showing a lack of loyalty to the president. It's awful."

The blistering letter, signed by more than 36 people who lost loved ones in the WTC, came a day after the Senate's top Republican, Bill Frist, accused Clark of an "appalling act of profiteering."



Question: if Bush is doing such a rotten job fighting terrorism, then why is the leader of the terrorist group Hamas calling Bush an enemy?

GAZA – The new Hamas leader in Gaza said today President Bush is the enemy of God and Islam but stopped short of threatening revenge on Americans as he has on Israel for its killing of the militant group's founder.

Rantissi, who last June survived an Israeli missile strike of the kind that killed Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin a week ago, said Thursday's U.S. veto of a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Yassin's killing was no surprise.

"We realize that Bush is the enemy of God, the enemy of Islam and Muslims. America declared war on God. (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon declared war on God and God declared war on America, Bush and Sharon," he said.

"The war of God goes on against them and I can see victory arising from the land of Palestine by the hand of Hamas," Rantissi said.

A grassroots movement challenging mainstream Palestinian authority and its policy of negotiations with Israel, Hamas seeks not just to roll back Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank but to destroy the Jewish state.

So Hamas is now a “grassroots movement”? Yeah, Hamas is Ralph Nader with plastic explosives. Well, at least Reuters admits Hamas’ end goal. Hamas and Islamic terrorist groups don’t call Bush an “enemy of Islam” (their version of it) because he’s doing a bad job fighting them, but because he’s doing a good job fighting them.



A former lawyer who defended a nazi war criminal, infamous terrorist Carlos the Jackal, and former dictator Slobodan Milosevic will soon be defending Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz and Saddam Hussein. The punchline? He’s French. But of course!

He will be supported by a dozen other French lawyers to mount a defence case.

Mr Verges, now 79, was born in Thailand to a French father and a Vietnamese mother, and grew up on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, where he is said to have acquired his fiercely anti-colonialist views, our correspondent says.

Anti-colonialist is, of course, a BBC term for socialist. Once again a lefty becomes an apologistic defender for a terrorist.



BAGHDAD, March 28 -- U.S. officials turned over control of the Health Ministry to Iraqi officials Sunday, making it the first autonomous ministry of the 25 slated to become so by the formal end of the U.S.-led occupation on June 30. L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator of Iraq, described the formal return of authority over budget, personnel and other administrative matters to Iraqi health officials as a key step in restoring self-government.

In a news conference at the ministry's 12-story headquarters near Medical City, a sprawling complex centered around a teaching hospital, Bremer said the ministry had shown that it had long-term plans, adequate staffing, training programs and financial controls before the occupation authority relinquished its oversight.

Khudair Fadhil Abbas, Iraq's health minister since September, described the handover of authority as "a blessed day." He said that former president Saddam Hussein neglected public health and offered good care only to a select few. "It is indeed a day of victory over the values of underdevelopment and dictatorship," said Abbas, a general surgeon who lived in Ireland and Britain from 1979 until last year.



The ruling party of French President Jacques Chirac suffered a loss of regional control when a bloc of Socialist, Green and Communist Party representatives won the majority of spots in Sunday elections. Chirac had been attempting to curb welfare state entitlements, an unpopular measure amongst the voters. So, Chirac’s gamble on Iraq and trying to check American will for the sake thereof has earned him exactly nothing. Could this spell the end of Chirac? Well, as much as any American should be opposed to Chirac the alternative would be no different. One would hardly expect communists to act any difference once in power.

"It's not just a defeat," said Alain Duhamel, a veteran political analyst and commentator. "It's a disaster."

Results being tallied Sunday night showed the Socialists and their allies taking control of at least 21 of 26 regional governments. Nationally, the Socialists and their allies were winning almost 50 percent of the vote, compared with just 37 percent for the government and about 13 percent for the anti-immigration National Front party.

Also threatened were the government's unpopular attempts to cut the spiraling costs of France's generous pension system and other aspects of the welfare state. The government has said changes are necessary to make the French economy more dynamic. But the reforms, including an increase in the number of years a person must work to qualify for a pension and a planned reduction in some unemployment benefits, have prompted bitter and disruptive protests over the past two years by a wide range of workers.

The French population has chosen the perils of socialism over any reform. Amazing. It is the height of Leftist arrogance to think that they can somehow make Marxist economics work when history is replete with examples of its failure. There’s a reason why only European tourism keeps Cuba afloat; there’s a reason why South Korea thrives while North Korea starves; there’s a reason why China has only a little more than half the US gross domestic product despite having every natural resource and three times the population and thus manpower and brainpower; there’s a reason why we use the word “former” when describing the Soviet Union. The common denominator is socialism.



USA Today surveyed 56 expert economists who predicted that the economy was preparing to “boom.” Housing, manufacturing, unemployment, gross domestic product and stock numbers are all very healthy. Democrats, meanwhile, are focusing chiefly on job loss because it’s the only economic indicator that they can use to back up their faulty view of a struggling economy. But as I mentioned on Friday, their spin that 2 million jobs have been lost since Bush took office is patently deceptive.

Those surveyed found:

In an optimistic outlook, the 56 economists also predict businesses and consumers will continue to spend more as the unemployment rate falls. Inflation will stay low, they say, letting the Federal Reserve keep interest rates at historic lows a bit longer.

"I consider it a booming economy," says Timothy Rogers, chief economist at Boston-based, a site that provides data and analysis for investors.

Rogers and other economists are most heartened by the big pickup in business spending. Businesses sent the economy into a recession as they cut spending starting in late 2000. After picking up last year, business investment is expected to increase by double digits each quarter through 2004.

"Business looks really very, very good," Decision Economics President Allen Sinai says, noting that corporate profits are rising rapidly. That means firms can spend on new technology and other improvements.

They also may finally spend on hiring. In the survey conducted March 19-24, 31% of the economists said they expect hiring to begin in earnest in the second quarter. More than half expected considerable gains in the second half. Economists say the economy is improving quickly enough that businesses will no longer be able to meet demand with their existing workforces. Through new technologies and improved business processes, employers have squeezed more work out of employees without hiring, even though the recession technically ended 21/2 years ago. High costs for health care and pensions have also led firms to put off hiring.

Other survey details:

More than one-quarter of the economists expect the Fed will begin boosting interest rates during the third quarter; 38% say the fourth quarter.

The economists said the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage would not rise above 6% until the fourth quarter. Last week's average rate was 5.4%, according to Freddie Mac.



The question of peace in the Middle East presupposes the notion that all sides want peace. Palestinian Authority Chairman Yassar Arafat can hardly be considered a party to peace when he is harboring terrorists at his Mukata headquarters.

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Israeli intelligence claims it has detailed evidence proving that Yasser Arafat's West Bank compound is a refuge for some of the most-wanted Palestinian terror suspects and a nerve center for "martyr" attacks.

According to senior officials, a growing band of men wanted on suspicion of planning suicide bombings and killing settlers is being sheltered in the compound, known as the Mukata.

An IDF document marked "confidential" and obtained by the London Sunday Telegraph lists 17 wanted members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Tanzim militia, both part of Mr. Arafat's Fatah movement, who are said to be sheltering in the Mukata. Al Aqsa has been behind several recent suicide attacks, including the past two bus bombings in Jerusalem that killed 19 persons and wounded more than 160.
At the top of the list is Kamel Ghanem, 27, Ramallah commander of the Al Aqsa group and purported coordinator of terror cells. He is accused of planning several suicide bombings and of having taken part in gun attacks.

No. 2 is Khaled Shawish, a senior Tanzim fugitive with suspected links to Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Shawish is wheelchair-bound, like Sheik Yassin, after a failed Israeli assassination attempt.

Significantly, a senior defense official noted, "Number two goes for medical treatment in Ramallah," suggesting that Shawish was also vulnerable to Israel's Apache attack helicopters because of his predictable movements.

Sadah Abdullah, a nurse who worked for the Palestinian Red Crescent, confessed last month to interrogators that Shawish had given her messages for Hezbollah when she visited the Mukata.

"He sits in the Mukata in a safe haven and he recruited the nurse who treated him," one of Israel's most senior security officials revealed. "She was arrested when she was on her way to lead a suicide bomber into Jerusalem."

Another on the wanted list is Mohammed Damra, known as Abu Awad, the commander of Force 17, Mr. Arafat's presidential guard, and a close confidant. "He is a commander of terrorist actions, even suicide actions," the official said.

One senior Israeli intelligence official said Mr. Arafat did not give specific orders but directed and financed terrorism.

"Arafat does not tell them what to do every morning, but the terrorists understand his direction. They understand the message behind the words, the goal, and they act accordingly," the official said.

Such patience while Arafat’s European protectors twiddle their thumbs. If Arafat was found to be harboring Osama bin Laden how long would the US take to retaliate? And how fast would we dismiss the arguments of European apologists?



Peter Kirsanow, a member of the US Commission on Civil Rights, believes the degree to which John Kerry was wrong about Communism is directly related to his observations on the war on terror. Both are equally disturbing. There’s some meat in the middle I didn’t pull, but here’s the major argument:

During his 1971 congressional testimony about the Vietnam War, a man who would one day seek the Democratic party's nomination in the 2004 presidential race was asked by a senator to assess the threat of Communism, not just to Indochina, but to world peace in general. The witness responded, "I think it is bogus, totally artificial. There is no threat. The Communists are not about to take over our McDonald hamburger stands."

In the decade following the witness's testimony, the nonexistent threat resulted in the slaughter of 2,000,000 Cambodians; the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets; the internment of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese in reeducation camps; numerous civil wars and bloody insurgencies in Central Africa, South and Central America and Southeast Asia; the mass migration of hordes of starving refugees; the proliferation of state-sponsored terrorism; the "disappearance" of hundreds of thousands of "undesirables" and enemies of the state; the imprisonment and torture of countless dissidents; and the continued brutal subjugation of more than one-third of the world's population.

That's why endeavors to continually remind of Communist depredations, such as the Victims of Communism Memorial, are so important. Monuments that enumerate the pathologies of totalitarianism serve not only as watchtowers against emerging threats but as gauges to measure the gravity of current ones as well. Without such bellwethers the sober identification of serious threats often yields to sophistry, ridicule or a juvenile inability to perceive true danger.

For example, in 1998 John Kerry considered Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction a threat "with respect to potential terrorist activities on a global basis" (Emphasis added). However, just five years later he flip-flopped, contending that Vice President Cheney had exaggerated the Iraqi threat. Later still, during the Democratic-primary debate in Greenville, South Carolina, he became even more dismissive: When asked whether the President had exaggerated the threat of terrorism in general, he responded, "I think there has been an exaggeration. They are misleading all Americans in a profound way."

And while Kerry dismisses the threats of Communism and terrorism as "bogus" or "exaggerated," he sees fit to compare the threat of global warming to the threats of the Cold War. This kind of flippant analysis — from a presidential candidate, no less — would not be lightly tolerated in a society with a long memory.

In a perfect world, historians would be churning out libraries about the social, economic and moral devastation wrought by Communism; an academy with a sense of proportion would insist that the collected works of Solzhenitsyn be mandatory reading; and the mention of the names of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Castro would be met with the same opprobrium as that of Hitler.

We're not there yet. Far too many consider communism merely an alternative, if somewhat imperfect, economic model. Absent frequent reminders of the evils of communism, we shouldn't be surprised to witness the spectacle of a former Secretary of State grinning as she toasts North Korea's vile dictator. And professors in our finest universities will continue to insist that Communism could "work" if only practiced correctly.

Constancy is required. As unimaginable as it seems today, regression is not impossible. With different threats on the horizon, it is easy to forget that communism was the 20th Century's dominant threat, or, as in the case of John Kerry's congressional testimony noted above, that it was ever a threat at all.



Bush officials were rightly angered at the double standard displayed this weekend when Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry quoted Bible scripture in contemptible fashion to attack the Bush administration.

Kerry never mentioned Bush by name during his speech at New North Side Baptist Church, but aimed his criticism at "our present national leadership." Kerry cited Scripture in his appeal for the worshippers, including James 2:14, "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?"
"The Scriptures say, what does it profit, my brother, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?" Kerry said. "When we look at what is happening in America today, where are the works of compassion?"

Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said Kerry's comment "was beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse and a sad exploitation of Scripture for a political attack."

Kerry told worshippers in the largely black congregation that the country's leadership has served the privileged while ignoring people across America who live in neighborhoods like theirs.

"Today we are told that, after 3 million lost jobs and so many lost hopes, America is now turning a corner," the pending Democratic presidential nominee said. "But those who say that, they're not standing on the corner of Highland Street, where two 15-year-old teenagers were hit in a drive-by shooting last week."

So now a drive-by shooting is also Bush’s fault? And what’s with the “3 million” statistic. Last week they were saying “2 million.” Well, which is it Democrats? Anyway, to the point, imagine the media outrage if Bush had quoted Bible scripture in an attempt to smear John Kerry. You think there might be some outrage over that? Bush, meanwhile, uses the term “crusade” loosely, without any historical intention, and for that the liberal media portrayed him as the second coming of the Taliban. John Kerry, however, is free to use scripture without being painted as a religious zealot.



The CIA has become the central point of attention for the war on terror once again with a Newsweek report claiming that CIA analysts are still not fully cooperating with the new central clearinghouse for national security related information, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC). The TTIC is manned independently by numerous agents from multiple agencies from the FBI and CIA to the Coast Guard, but getting past the bureaucratic protection of turf, especially in the CIA, has been difficult.

One reason: the unwillingness of the CIA's own main branches to pass on some of their most important secrets or their best analysts to TTIC. The CIA's Operations Division, otherwise known as the "Clandestine Service," is said to be reluctant to surrender its most tightly held information, principally for fear of compromising the identity of its sources. There is also a degree of bureaucratic jealousy of the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence. "When 'customers' are being briefed by CIA in the morning, the briefer will give them the TTIC stuff," says the CIA analyst. "Then he'll say, 'But here's better stuff from our counterterrorism center'." Some CIA officials are also resisting a transfer of the agency's top-secret bin Laden unit to TTIC.

TTIC is run by John Brennan, a senior CIA official who tries to pull together threat intel from all U.S. agencies at a secure vault at Langley (in May, TTIC will move to its own building at an undisclosed location in the Washington area). In an interview, Brennan acknowledged that TTIC is having teething problems. But he told NEWSWEEK he has been given "unparalleled access" to 14 networks of classified information as well as sensitive databases. "There has never been a case when I need information that we haven't been able to get it," he said.

Brennan says TTIC has access to the most secret operational cables. But some of this information is subject to tight security measures or legal privacy restrictions. Also, TTIC does not have its own staff of translators who can work on original source documents or listen to the actual conversations of intelligence targets. Brennan says he does not want TTIC to duplicate work done by foreign-language experts at other intelligence agencies.

Another problem is that draconian security rules still hamper the new center from feeding hot intel tips quickly to people in the field who need them, like U.S. soldiers or intelligence teams hunting terrorists overseas. Brennan says that TTIC is now putting some of its best—and most useful—material into a top-secret Web site called TTIC Online. The database contains 3.5 million documents and can be accessed by more than 2,600 people domestically and overseas. Other improvements are on the way: the FBI is sending over 70 additional analysts. But some critics say TTIC's problems are still so serious that it may need a presidential shake-up.

It sure sounds like it. The bigger the agency, the bigger the agency’s ego and the more difficult it is to get them to accept change.


Friday, March 26, 2004

Give President Bush's critics credit for versatility. Having spent months assailing him for doing too much after 9/11--Iraq, the Patriot Act, the "pre-emption" doctrine--they have now turned on a dime to allege that he did too little before it. This contradiction is Mr. Bush's opportunity to rise above the ankle biting and explain to the American public what a President is elected to do.

Any President's most difficult decision is how and when to defend the American people. As the 9/11 hearings reveal, there are always a thousand reasons for a President not to act. The intelligence might be uncertain, civilians might be killed, U.S. soldiers could die, and the "international community" might object. There are risks in any decision. But when Presidents fail to act at all, or act with too little conviction, we get a September 11.

This is the real lesson emerging from the 9/11 Commission hearings if you listen above the partisan din. In their eagerness to insist that Mr. Bush should have acted more pre-emptively before 9/11, the critics are rebutting their own case against the President's aggressive antiterror policy ever since. The implication of their critique is that Mr. Bush didn't repudiate the failed strategy of the Clinton years fast enough.

That's the start of a great editorial by the WSJ. Read the rest.



[CNS NEWS] A search of the NEXIS news database shows that from March 24 through March 26, there were 872 news reports mentioning the name Richard Clarke. A NEXIS search of "Richard Clarke/Fox" and "Richard Clarke/Fox News" turned up only 130 stories, however. A search of Richard Clarke/Chris Shays and Richard Clarke/Christopher Shays turned up 10 stories. And a search for Richard Clarke/Fox/Chris Shays turned up only 2 stories.

You’ll understand the relevance to that above paragraph in a moment.

There are no less than eight major issues surrounding the unwarranted positive media coverage of Richard Clarke:

First, Clarke was a frequent critic of how the Clinton administration was handling terrorism yet Clarke’s book focuses almost exclusively on Bush, and the media coverage of Clarke focuses exclusively on Bush. I say “almost” because Rich Lowry pointed out yesterday that in Clarke’s book he claims that Clinton was more focused on the Middle East peace process than terrorism, yet he told the panel on Wednesday that the Clinton administration had “no higher priority” than fighting terrorism. Well, which was it?

Second, for a man the media has anointed the foremost expert on terrorism, Richard Clarke’s track record of combating terrorism is quite lacking. Clarke was in charge of counterterrorism yet terrorists successfully bombed Americans at the WTC, Khobar Towers, embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the USS Cole.

Third, any valid criticisms about Clarke, such as Rep. Christopher Shay’s complaints from 2000 – a full year before 9-11 – are either ignored or spun as blatantly unfair or partisan attacks. For the media, any natural defense by the White House is not a defense, but an attempt to “undermine” Clarke.

Fourth, as Commissioner John Lehman pointed out, Clarke contradicted himself between statements he gave the 9-11 Commission in private hearings and statements he gave in public hearings. This is serious breach. Fortunately for Clarke because the private hearings are still classified the coverage is lacking on this topic.

Fifth, Clarke’s publishing company pushed up the release date of his book to coincide with his testimony before the 9-11 Commission. Were rolls reversed, wouldn’t Democrats be charging a conflict of interests? Yet when Republican’s do so it’s labeled as an invalid attack.

Sixth, Clarke was a frequent critic of Clinton’s counterterrorism efforts for years. Many people don’t know that when Richard Miniter wrote a book exclusively detailing Clinton’s failures in fighting Osama bin Laden he used Richard Clarke as one of his primary sources. But here today Clarke paints an altogether different picture praising Clinton and bashing Bush. The media, meanwhile, never covered Miniter’s book in depth, and don’t now focus on Clarke’s past complaints of Clinton.

Seventh, although covered slightly more than the above topics, Clarke’s 2002 interview with pool reporters in which he praised the Bush administration for expanding American counterterrorism policy from Clinton’s “roll back” to one of “eliminating al Qaeda” is glossed over. Clarke now contends that he was just doing his job, but his comments are above and beyond that. But instead of questioning this weak defense the media and Democrats instead attack FOX for releasing the interview! Furthermore, nobody considers that Clarke is now criticizing Bush for a job – selling his book.

Eighth, totally unfocused by the media, Clarke has tied Saddam Hussein to terrorism (more in a post further below).

Here’s a routine example. Just look at this outrageous spin:

James A. Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, said he was stunned by the ferocity of the White House campaign but said Clarke "is raising fundamental questions about the credibility of the president and his staff in regard to what they did to keep America safe."

"They are vulnerable, which is why they are attacking so hard," Thurber said. "You have to go back to Vietnam or Watergate to get the same feel about the structure of argument coming out of the White House against Clarke's statements."

So, just by defending itself the White House is “ferocious”? The Bush team cannot win – if they defend themselves they are ferocious, but if they didn’t then Clarke’s charges must be true.

A poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, conducted Monday through Wednesday, found significant public interest in Clarke's criticisms, with nearly nine in 10 of the 1,065 Americans surveyed saying they had heard of them. Of those polled, 42 percent said they had heard "a lot" about his claims and 47 percent said they had heard "a little."
Oh, well if a poll says so it must be true. By the way, here’s a little tidbit of relevant information you might not know – do you know who heads the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press? Bill Clinton’s former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright. So much for full disclosure.

Joe Lockhart, a press secretary in the Clinton administration, said the White House may pay a price for focusing more on Clarke as a person than on the substance of his contentions. "This was classic political triage," he said. "You do what you think you need to do to get through the day. At the end of the day you feel pretty good about yourself, but you may have created a bigger problem for yourself down the road."
Well, at least the Post admits who Lockhart served. I’m curious, what would a former Republican press secretary say? We don’t know, the Post isn’t going to bother to call one up and ask.

The dispute became deeply personal. Clarke said Wednesday on ABC's "Nightline": "These are mean and nasty people, when it comes down to it." White House press secretary Scott McClellan said yesterday that the author "has a growing credibility problem."

Clarke chuckled during a phone interview when he was told that the White House had leaked word that during his departure meeting in the Oval Office, he had told Bush that he would be happy to help "if you need a friend on the outside."

"If I had done anything else, they would now be telling you that I was a rude person," Clarke said. "Their complaints have nothing to do with the argument I'm making."

Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) used a floor statement yesterday to accuse the administration of "character assassination." He pointed to Bush's promise in 2000 to change the tone in Washington and said that, instead, "the people around him . . . are doing things that should never be done and have never been done before."

The nerve of these people. Changing tone is a two-way street. From the get go the Democrats tried to portray Bush as an “illegitimate” president “selected” by the Supreme Court. From there they said he was stupid. When that didn’t work they said he was using 9-11 to create an American empire. Because that didn’t work they now try to say his incompetence caused 9-11.

The 9-11 plan was formed, at latest in 1998 when Khalid Mohammed assembled his core team in Hamburg, Germany. Bush was in office less than eight months when they struck; because of the length of the Florida recount Bush’s full team wasn’t even assembled until April 2001. Bush’s FBI director did not come into his job until one week before 9-11. Bill Clinton, with Richard Clarke as his counterterrorism czar, led the country for eight years and responded poorly to every al Qaeda attack. If 9-11 was preventable the time to prevent it was in the 1990s.



Here’s another bombshell that you won’t read in the NY Times or hear Dan Rather admit: Chairman for the House Subcommittee on National Security, Veteran Affairs and International Relations, Rep. Christopher Shays (R, Conn.) wrote a letter to former Counterterrorism Security Group head Richard Clark complaining that Clarke had insulted the committee by providing evasive and belittling answers to committee member’s questions. What’s most interesting about this letter is its date – July 5, 2000.

Shays has forwarded a copy of the letter to the 9-11 Commission. Shays says that before the 9-11 attacks his bi-partisan committee had held 20 hearings and two formal briefings on the issue of terrorism. Indeed, more than a year before 9-11, Richard Clark had already gained a reputation in the House subcommittee as an ineffective but belligerent counterterrorism czar. Here’s an excerpt from the July 2000 letter to Clarke:

“When asked if there was a comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism you [Richard Clarke] responded it was “silly” to believe a comprehensive strategy could be developed to combat terrorism. You did add a domestic preparedness plan would be developed. And when asked how spending priorities are established, you responded by providing a list of terrorist organizations.”

“Saying it is difficult to prepare an integrated threat assessment, belittling a question about a comprehensive strategy, and providing a list of terrorist organizations does not answer our questions.”

Adding that his subcommittee had financial oversight responsibility over Clarke’s group, Shays gave Clarke a list of questions he expected Clarke to respond to in writing by July 21, 2000.

Clarke never responded.

So, on January 22, 2001, the very first day of the new Bush administration, Rep. Shays fired off a new letter to the incoming and current National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, to update Rice on the lack of effort from Clarke and presumably to push Clarke to respond to the subcommittee’s questions from 2000. Rice was now over Clarke, a Clinton era appointee who had been retained by the Bush administration.

Then, yesterday, March 24, 2004, Shays forwarded both of these letters to the members of the 9-11 commission, to point out that while 9-11 Commission members may all be fawning over Clarke there nonetheless remain key problems about Clarke’s character and lack of professionalism which go back to 2000. In his letter to the 9-11 Commission, Shay’s concludes:

“Mr. Clarke said it would be ‘silly’ to try to articulate a national strategy. In lieu of a threat assessment or strategy, he offered a laundry list of terrorist groups, as if the fight against global terrorism were nothing more than a hunt for common criminals. The blind spots and vulnerabilities that contributed to the September 11, 2001 tragedy were apparent to many throughout the years Mr. Clarke was in a position to do something about them. Clark was part of the problem before 9-11 because he took too narrow a view of the terrorism threat. His view was reactive and limited to swatting at the visible elements of al Qaeda, not the hidden global network and its state sponsors.”
Shays adds that three separate pre-9-11 commissions determined a national strategy was need to fight terrorism, yet Clarke deemed such a thing “silly.” And, as we now know, “several presidential directives and a Justice Department five-year law enforcement were clumsily lashed together and called a strategy.”

And such is the problem with the philosophy of the past – it failed miserably. Even so, Democrats like John Kerry adhere to the “law enforcement” counterterrorism strategy as if they had been in a coma since 1993 and just awakened. Finally, Clarke, by praising the Clinton team this week (even though he contradicted this from so often criticizing them in the past) as also not learned from the past.


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