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Clarke Bomb Hits Clinton

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Richard Clarke recently insisted on CBS’s 60 Minutes that there never “ever” was a link between al Qaeda and Iraq, only to have a 1999 article surface in which he is quoted making that very assertion.

Its sudden appearance has Roving reporter written all over it, especially with Clarke and Clinton up to testify. Damn fine entertainment.

Does the 1999 bombing of the El Shifa Pharmaceutical plant in Sudan ring a bell?

It probably won’t, because it didn’t get a lot of press five years ago. Of course, back then we lived in a pre-September 11 world. Things were different then, only because we didn’t know what we know today, which is that we’ve been targets all along.

Something else we know now too. US espionage is a joke.

Let’s take another look at the bullet hole in Clarke’s chest. On January 23, 1999, Richard Clarke, who occupied the newly created post of national coordinator of counterterrorism and computer security programs under President Clinton, was interviewed by the Washington Post. The excerpt: “Clarke said U.S. intelligence does not know how much of the substance (nerve gas) was produced at El Shifa or what happened to it. But he said that intelligence exists linking bin Laden to El Shifa’s current and past operators, the Iraqi nerve gas experts and the National Islamic Front in Sudan.”

What’s funny is the irony. Clarke spinning the way the Bushies are spinning right now, for the same reasons. He got caught playing Espionage, International Game of Deceit and Subterfuge. The Clintonites put it on the Iraqis, same as the US had done for years.

Bill Clinton, in retaliation for several bin Laden-sponsored acts of terror, launched his own series of terrorist attacks, missile style, under the premise that a bomb’s a bomb.

One of his seven targets was the El Shifa Pharmaceutical plant, which, US intelligence asserted, was producing nerve gas. Their evidence: the presence of the chemical Empta on the grounds surrounding the plant. Empta, when mixed with water and bleach, becomes V-X nerve gas, according to a 1999 article posted by web logger Scott Loughrey citing a pair of articles in Covert Action Quarterly (CAQ, Winter, 99).

How could Clinton know the parking lot was rife with powdered nerve gas, but not know the facility produced half of Sudan’s medicine and 90% of the most critically needed drugs?

Turned out, he didn’t. Well, their information might have been wrong. Well, the Empta turned out to be roundup. Roundup.

Roundup is a weed killer that weekend warriors use too much of.

This one, El Shifa, was Clinton’s baby. El Shifa was what he should have been impeached for.

As to Mr. Clarke, I would say his testimony is about as impugned as everybody else’s. His impunity is just a lot more irrelevant now that he’s retired.

The truth will squeeze out the sides.

One thing is becoming clear as a bigger picture puts itself together: this problem is bigger than George Bush. Unlike our Justice Department, our Intelligence is blind. Deaf and dumb too. We’re in big trouble when our presidents — note the plural — are empowered to use American military power at their discretion and without the approval of Congress based on faulty or imagined intelligence.

I was thinking it ought to be illegal when it hit me: it is.

There appears to be enough dereliction of duty to go around.

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About CW Fisher

  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    Excellent article. I don’t agree on every point, but I think your article is one that everyone should read and take to heart. I was listening to the 9/11 commission on CSpan on my way home from work today as a bunch of politicians wasted massive amounts of time posturing for the cameras.

    Yeesh!

    DAvid

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Clinton fiddled while Rome burned for 8 years. Bush fiddled for less than 8 months. But Bush gets the lion’s share of the blame from Clarke.

    Guess what, everyone: It’s an election year!

  • http://theapologist.blogspot.com CW Fisher

    Rome? Uh… hey, aren’t you the guy that plays Bush on the Web? That would explain the geography. :) But not the metaphor. :( Bush should get the lion’s share because he’s the subject of the inquiry. The fact that it’s an election year every other year makes the timing on the majority of events suspicious. Better late than never.

  • mike

    What, did Karl Rove send all you Republican clowns over here to spread the slime? What a bunch of dimwits.

  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    Ouch! Mike, what cutting rebuttal you offer. Tito, get me a tissue!

    David

  • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

    The point is that these politicians are wasting time by examing water that passed under the bridge a long time ago.

    Our security and intelligence agencies dropped the ball on terrorism well over a decade ago. So many mistakes were made and so many clues were overlooked that “Who’s fault is it” has become a moot point.

    Instead of focusing on what we should have done, lets focus on what we should be doing.

  • http://theapologist.blogspot.com CW Fisher

    Rob, right on. And Mike, I’m not a republican. As Rob said, the point is what’s in front of us today. Which is the Bush administration.

  • Sandra Smallson

    9/11 happened on Bush’s watch. This is not to blame him because playing the blame game in circumstances such as 9/11 is unfair in my opinion. However, it is the harsh truth that it happened on Bush’s watch and not on Clinton’s watch. It was 8 months after. Not one day or one week. So, this excuse I was hearing yesterday like 8 mths was too short a time for the Bush Admin to get their bearings and therefore they tried to shift some blame towards the Clinton Administration and towards the confusion during the transition period, is nonsense. They retained most of teh counterterrorism grp in the Clinton admin. The confusion clearly arose when they went about changing policies willy nilly and trying to draft in their own people.

    Some of the commisoners were obviously asking questions based on party lines. This so called massive mistake the Clinton admin supposedly made by attacking AlQuaeda only once b/w 93-2001. Albright has said they did not have definitive intelligence etc etc..and no matter how big a mistake it is, nothing happened on US soil during Bill’s watch. It happened on Bush’s watch.

    They might have taken advantage of what they felt would be a lapse in concentration by Bush’s people since the poor sod was settling in.

  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    It happened on Bush’s watch.

    In a sense, this is both true and untrue. Sorry, don’t mean to sound like John “FF” Kerry here, but the fact is that the war on terror should have begun LONG before Bush took office.

    What we are seeing from the 9/11 Commission is that Clinton policies on responses to terrorism likely emboldened them during the 90’s, while ignoring the growing threat. The early findings of the 9/11 commission reflected this finding in a preliminary report released yesterday.

    In the 1930’s the Nazis were emboldened by Europe’s unwillingness to confront their aggressive militarism. History will record (as it’s already doing), that Osama bin Laden and his terror network were emboldened in the 1990s by the ineffective responses to their attacks.

    As Al Qaeda recorded an increasing number of successful operations, their success helped them in their recruitment and fund-raising efforts. Its a cascade of events that might have been nipped in the bud if we had dealt with the problem forcefully early on.

    The events of 9/11 were not organized in a year, or even two years, it took several years to lead up to this event.

    David

  • Sandra Smallson

    Well, David, it could also be said that if Bush senior had had the balls to finish what he started in 1991, the terrorists would not have had the courage to carry out their activities.

    Instead of pulling out of the gulf, if he had seen it to the end maybe the terrorists would have learned a lesson, that when America says I’m coming for you, she truly will not stop till you have been caught. Instead, Sadaam was left to commit worse atrocities on his people and to allow his country become a breeding ground for anti-american terrorists, even financially sponsoring some of them.

  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    Well, David, it could also be said that if Bush senior had had the balls to finish what he started in 1991, the terrorists would not have had the courage to carry out their activities.

    I sincerely wish that we HAD finished a job then. Unfortunately, the US had made agreements that it would not seek to invade Iraq or remove Saddam but would rather free Kuwait and stop there. President H.W. Bush, an honorable man, stuck to plan approved by the UN.

    No one imagined the future complications it would cause. Hindsight is 20/20.

    David

  • Sandra Smallson

    Hindsight IS 20/20 also, for the Clinton Administration, not just for “honourable” Bush.

  • JR

    but the fact is that the war on terror should have begun LONG before Bush took office.

    The fact is, it did. Ronald Reagan declared a “War on Terror” in the eighties. Yet the terrrorists bombed the World Trade Center only a month after Clinton took office. Seems like they were already emboldened by 1993, I wonder who’s fault that would be.

    President H.W. Bush, an honorable man, stuck to plan approved by the UN.

    Yeah, and he told the Iraqi people that if they rose up against Saddam Hussein, we’d defend them. Then he ordered our troops to stand by and do nothing while Saddam massacred them. Sorry, I will never see Bush Sr. as anything remotely resembling “honorable”.

  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    Hindsight IS 20/20 also, for the Clinton Administration, not just for “honourable” Bush.

    Very true. Thanks for making this point. I, of course, am as guilty of finger-pointing as any person out there.

    David

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    We all know that there was intelligence to link Iraq and Al Qaeda. The problem is that it was later debunked because it was ruled to be inaccurate.

    Anyway, the blame should be shared in this case and we should move on. It should be equally placed on Bush, Clinton and the intelligence services.

  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    Yeah, and he told the Iraqi people that if they rose up against Saddam Hussein, we’d defend them. Then he ordered our troops to stand by and do nothing while Saddam massacred them. Sorry, I will never see Bush Sr. as anything remotely resembling “honorable”.

    That was a very bad situation and at least part of the initial mistrust that we faced when we finally did get rid of Saddam was because we abandoned them in 1991. I have a good friend who was there at the time working with Special Forces and he told me about the situation. They pulled back and were actively defending the Kurds, but the UN and Arab nations put a great deal of pressure on the US to immediately withdraw and take no further action against Saddam once Kuwait was liberated.

    Everyone thought at the time that a popular uprising would topple the Saddam regime, unfortunately, everyone was wrong and a massacre ensued. Let me point out that this is a lesson on what happens when we rely too much on the UN to determine our course of actions as opposed to simply doing the right thing. We were there, we had Saddam and all his forces on the run, we should have finished the job.

    Thanks.

    David

  • Andy Bates

    Bush Senior didn’t complete the job in Iraq because Congress did not give him the authority to remove Saddam from power. At the time, it was not believed to be a great enough threat to warrant an invasion.

    But it’s funny…the people who are angry that Bush Jr. chose to invade Iraq to remove Saddam from power often turn around and criticize Bush Sr. for not doing the exact same thing. So, which is it? Was Bush Jr. wrong for going into Iraq, despite the fact that he had authority from Congress and numerous U.N. resolutions to back him up? Or was Bush Sr. wrong to not go into Iraq, even though he did not have the backing of Congress?

  • JR

    As I recall, the U.S. Army was already very deep into Iraq. They were in a position to destroy the Republican Guard (which soon thereafter put down the rebellion), and I get the impression that Norman Schwartzkopf was chomping at the bit to do exactly that.

    Bush Sr. could easily have destroyed Saddam’s army and justified the action later. The impression I got was that he was wary of leaving a power vacuum right next to Iran. Bush Sr. seemed to be intent on ensuring that his “New World Order” looked as much as possible like the old one.

    And Bush Jr. was “right” to topple Saddam, but his timing and political approach were fatally inept.

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