Thursday, March 25, 2004

Powerful images

I'm watching CNN's broadcast of Howard Dean's endorsement speech of John Kerry. Dean's a hell of a stump speaker, full of energy and hope and passion. Damn, I hope that power can Kerry over to the November election. :-)

Yesterday, I watched the 9/11 Commission hearings, in particular Richard Clarke's apology to the survivors of the victims of 9/11 and the most telling moment: when Clarke testified that "...the reason I am strident in my criticism of the president of the United States is because by invading Iraq . . . the president of the United States has greatly undermined the war on terrorism."

This was a stunning statement and it rocked the hearing room. The Republican member of the Commission had no further questions, no retort. And even the Bushies are silent on this subject, instead trying to besmirch Clarke's character. But they'e getting tongue-tied. Cheney says Clarke was "out of the loop," while Condi Rice says he was "deeply involved" in the pre- and post-9/11 activities.

The fact is, many others who were in the loop support Clarke's view of the Bushies' fixation on Iraq immediately after 9/11. Recall that Wesley Clark asserted this some months ago, and Bush's former Treasury Secretary said the same thing. Finally, the Commission has heard similar testimony from another intelligence officer:

"Patrick Lang, a former head of the Middle East section of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said that Clarke was perhaps too 'shrill' in his complaints about Bush. But Clarke's analysis about the Bush administration, Lang observed, is correct.

"'What he's talking about is these guys were not interested in al-Qaida. They wanted Iraq.'"

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