Sunday, December 26, 2004

Against All Enemies, by Richard Clarke

Another indictment of the Bush administration from an unlikely quarter. Richard Clarke was the head of a counter-terrorism agency set up by the Clinton administration. He was at the centre of plans to get Osama bin Ladin killed over many years, before September 11. Indeed, the official September 11 Commission Report vindicates Clarke. He seemed to be the only one who really knew the looming dangers and tried his best to get some action happening.

In Against All Enemies Clarke says he would have liked more than anyone to invade Iraq. As you can see, he's a real hawk. He opposes America signing Kyoto and is against the International Criminal Court. He's not exactly your classic anti-Bush liberal.

As we have read elsewhere, the Bush administration used September 11 as a reason to invade Iraq. Clarke describes one of his post September 11 meetings:

'At first I was incredulous that we were talking about something other than getting al Qaeda. Then I realised with almost a sharp physical pain that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were going to try to take advantage of this national tragedy to promote their agenda about Iraq. Since the beginning of the administration, indeed well before, they had been pressing for a war with Iraq. My friends in the Pentagon had been telling me that the word was we would be invading Iraq sometime in 2002.'

Then, on the evening of September 12, President Bush grabbed Clarke along with a few others and said:

'"Look," he told us. "I know you have a lot to do and all�..but I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he's linked in anyway�."'

'I was once again taken aback, incredulous, and it showed. "But, Mr President, al Qaeda did this."
"I know, I know, but see�.if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred."'

In short, Clarke says invading Iraq was a disastrous and dishonest decision to take, and that Americans -no doubt the world - will regret it for years to come. And this guy is a policy hawk remember. It just goes to show what a crazy bunch of people are now running the U.S.

Here's another good quote from the book:

'I suspect that many of the heroic U.S troops who risked their lives fighting in Iraq thought, because of misleading statements from the White House, thought that they were avenging the 3,000 dead from September 11. What a horrible thing it was to give such a false impression to our people and our troops. Only in September 2003, only after occupying Iraq, only after Vice President Cheney had stretched credulity on Meet the Press, did the President clearly state that there was "no evidence that Iraq was involved in the September 11 attacks." That new clarity might have come as a disappointing shock to American troops being targeted by snipers and blown up by landmines in Iraq.'

I wonder how the January 30 elections will go. You'd have to be a brave person to line up in a queue, knowing that you're a target for some suicide bomber or similar maniac. How ironic that in order to 'give' freedom and democracy to Iraq, up to a 100,000 civilians have been killed. This is the kind of rationale that Robert S. McNamara deals in.

We're at the point in logic now that trades thousands of innocent lives for speculated savings in torture and death by Saddam. You see, now that Saddam's gone, the U.S and its supporters can claim they've got rid of a murderous tyrant. But the price? Is the price worth it? Will the price be worth it to those who have loved ones and family members killed?

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