Wednesday, September 17, 2003

"Who ignored the threat?" 

I wanted to get away from relying on links to articles, but damn if two very well-written critiques of the war and the intelligence used to justify it, didn't pop up. A Daily Kos reader posted this link to an article by Joseph Wilson, the embattled and fighting back ambassador and exposer of the forged, Niger documents:

During the gulf war in 1991, when I was in charge of the American Embassy in Baghdad, I placed a copy of Lewis Carroll's ``Alice in Wonderland'' on my office coffee table. I thought it conveyed far better than words ever could the weird world that was Iraq at that time, a world in which nothing was what it seemed: The several hundred Western hostages Saddam Hussein took during Desert Shield were not really hostages but ``guests.'' Kuwait was not invaded, but ``liberated.''

It is clearly time to dust the book off and again display it prominently, only this time because our own government has dragged the country down a rabbit hole, all the while trying to convince the American people that life in newly liberated Iraq is not as distorted as it seems.

And then we have the Startribune.com, for lack of a better description, ripping Vice-President Dick Cheney a new asshole, originally posted by atrios:

Dick Cheney is not a public relations man for the Bush administration, not a spinmeister nor a political operative. He's the vice president of the United States, and when he speaks in public, which he rarely does, he owes the American public the truth.

In his appearance on "Meet the Press" Sunday, Cheney fell woefully short of truth. On the subject of Iraq, the same can be said for President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz. But Cheney is the latest example of administration mendacity, and therefore a good place to start in holding the administration accountable. The list:

• Cheney repeated the mantra that the nation ignored the terrorism threat before Sept. 11. In fact, President Bill Clinton and his counterterrorism chief, Richard Clarke, took the threat very seriously, especially after the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000. By December, Clarke had prepared plans for a military operation to attack Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, go after terrorist financing and work with police officials around the world to take down the terrorist network.

Because Clinton was to leave office in a few weeks, he decided against handing Bush a war in progress as he worked to put a new administration together.

Instead, Clarke briefed national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Cheney and others. He emphasized that time was short and action was urgent. The Bush administration sat on the report for months and months. The first high-level discussion took place on Sept. 4, 2001, just a week before the attacks. The actions taken by the Bush administration following Sept. 11 closely parallel actions recommended in Clarke's nine-month-old plan. Who ignored the threat?