Friday, January 14, 2005

Richard Clarke, Invertebrate


Few public figures rankle this writer more than Richard A. Clarke, former counter-terrorism czar under Clinton and Bush.

And with his latest attempt to sell himself as the well-intentioned civil servant-who-wasn’t-listened-to, it’s time to forgo any journalistic professionalism and take the gloves off.

Commanding the cover of the Jan/Feb issue of the Atlantic (subscription only, on the newsstands), Clarke writes an “imagined” history looking back from the year 2011, recounting in vivid detail a horror-show of terrorists attacks within America’s homeland, from Las Vegas casinos, to a theme park named “Mouseworld,” to the “Mall of the States,” to public transit system bombings in major cities, Stinger missile attacks at our major airports, and chemical plant and cyber attacks that paralyze the U.S. economy.

There is something deeply troubling as a citizen to have the former head of U.S. counter-terrorism write a cheap-thriller account of our defeat by terrorists as a way of working out his guilt from failing to crush Bin Laden when he was tasked to do so.

But it’s even more pathetic to fabricate a strawman of a dozen years of homeland terrorist attacks in order to ankle-bite our present course in the War on Terror and prove that his counsel should have been followed all along.

And what is that counsel? Just petty second-guessing, and knee-jerk, feel-good bureaucratic mush:

“If we had not from the start adopted tactics and rhetoric that cast the war on terror as a new “Crusade,” as a struggle of good versus evil, we might have been able to achieve more popular support in the Islamic world.”

And this bowl of warmed-over oatmeal:

“we never developed a country-by-country program, or provided practical steps for moving theocracies and autocracies in (the) direction (of democracy).” - Tell that to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and the Palestinians. . .

More defeatist pearls of wisdom:

"Our haranguing of Arab governments to be nicer to their citizens (has produced) a backlash against us, because our exhortations (are) seen as hypocritical in view of our bombing, torture, and occupation tactics in Iraq."

And this inspiring action-plan to defeat the jihadists:

"We talked about replacing the hate-fostering Madrassahs with modern education programs, but we never succeeded in making that happen."

And this meaningless hand-wringing :

"In 2002, we squandered opportunities to unite the global community in a successful counter-terrorism effort."

Hey Dick, it’s your types that bitch but don’t produce results that squandered the opportunity to save 3,000 lives on September 11, 2001.

The underlying theme of Clarke’s entire piece is that the U.S. is responsible for bringing terrorism to its shores, and for perpetuating its existence. My take is that it is precisely the mindset of bureaucrats like Clarke, without backbone and resolve, and who infest our defense, intelligence, and security establishments, that can prevent us from long-term success in the GWOT. It's our job to call out these invertebrates, remove them from positions of power, and replace them with doers who don't see the U.S. as the source of the terrorist problem. It's the Islamo-fascist thugs, stupid.