Monday, April 12, 2004
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Robert Maranto appropriates my line
Political scientists sometimes do think alike. I've argued repeatedly that the way to understand Richard Clarke's position vis-à-vis the Bush administration has been that of a pure bureaucratic actor:
Robert Maranto, who teaches political science and public administration at Villanova University, makes some similar observations in today's Wall Street Journal:
Then there's this point:
UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds has more on some revisionist elements of Clarke's book.
"In contrast, Ms. Rice, in visibly angry testimony before the 9/11 commission last week, insisted that she and President Bush had to manage competing threats. Just as Mr. Clarke named al Qaeda the top foreign threat, NSC Korea experts thought that North Korea, which murdered two million people and threatened to spread nuclear weapons, deserved the title of global enemy No. 1. Still others saw China, with a billion people, hundreds of nukes, and threats to incinerate Los Angeles, as America's biggest nightmare."
He would have a point, except only one of these threats has killed Americans in recent years; only one of these threats was immediate - Al Qaeda. North Korea and China are long-term threats. (And if Bush were taking them seriously, he wouldn't be fielding an untested Potemkin missile defense to "protect" against them).
His argument is basically saying that it's okay to drive drunk (ignore an immediate threat), as long as you're keeping your cholesterol down (addressing a long-term threat).posted by: Jon H on 04.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]
Actually, the metaphor is not "jocks" vs "nerds" but competence vs ignorance and real patriotism vs corrupt posing.
Clarke rose to his high position by being competent -- a competence which neither Bush nor
After all, Bush had all the benefits of a rich boy's upbringing -- prep school, Yale,and acceptance into Harvard Business School with mediocre undergrad grades. Plus the money and friends to create his own company.
That brings up the second difference between Bush and Clarke. Clarke is devoted to defending the people of this nation and is haunted by the failures that led to Sept 11. Bush is merely haunted by losing the support of his rich friends and being thrown onto his own resources. He's focused on doing what his rich friends tell him to do -- whether their business agendas are in the national interest is a question far above his pay grade. Cheney is there to remind him of that if he forgets.posted by: Don Williams on 04.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]
Don, evidently, spends 12 hours a day trying to get inside Bush's head. Cue "there's nothing there" "joke".posted by: Screamapiller on 04.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]
Don, about as polite as I can be after reading your stretch of the facts is that to say Clarke is an opportunistic turd would be akin to suggesting Sir Alec Guiness did a little acting, sometimes. As for the remainder of your comments, I can only ask if you have anything other than hate motivating you in your life, anymore. I am disappoointed. Hate does seem to be a common theme among the left of today, but I'd rather hoped to see some higher motivation in you.
Ah. Clintonistas disliked Clarke. But Clinton liked Clarke, and thought he was worth backing.posted by: Brad DeLong on 04.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]
I'm puzzled by "does not play well with others" tone at the end of Mr Drezner's post. Here's the actual quote from the Washington Post:
Should Clarke be "despised" -- or is it those egotistical "higher ups" who let Sept 11 happen deserve our contempt?
After all, Clarke was not the only competent person who was stabbed in the back for neglecting to kiss the right butts. How about FBI agent John O'Neill--who died in the World Trade Center attack?
I thought that this important facet of Sept 11 was being overlooked by the Commission --but the chickens may come home to roost this week when
PBS did an excellent documentary --titled "The Man Who Knew " --on this over a year ago -- see http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/knew/ ,
I thought the New York Times article yesterday re how the Sept 11 plot was almost discovered during the Cole investigation was especially hypocritical -- given its role in the O'Neill affair -- and told them so in the following letter:
Re "Inquiry Into Attack on the Cole in 2000 Missed 9/11 Clues" (April 11),
Hate does seem to be a common theme among the left of today...
I'm disappointed in you: that was silly thing for you to say. Debate the points, you'll give your side a better reputation that way than going for the name-calling, motive-imputing approach.posted by: ch2 on 04.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]
Dan, the PDB said: terrorists will hijack airplanes and/or blow up buildings within months. This is an operational, not a strategic threat. Surely, Bush could have taken a little time off from his busy August schedule and addressed it, rather than waiting for suggestions from the FBI?posted by: p mac on 04.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]
With due respect to Prof. De Long, Clinton may have liked Clarke, but he never liked him enough to implement his policies.
I'm not sure I want to try to get into Clinton's head, but if I were to try, I think I'd find that Clinton wanted Clarke's opinion as part of the mix of advice he was getting, but did not buy into Clarke's worldview. Presidents who want independent information flows will do things like this. (FDR -- with his "back channels" into cabinet departments -- was famous for it.)
One of the problems I have with Bush is that I strongly doubt he does anything like this.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 04.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]
I think the public has the impression that pre-9/11 policy toward Islamist terrorism didn't really change much when Bush succeeded Clinton. Vigorous spinning from former Clinton administration officials, and to some extent from Clarke, has sought to create the perception that an administration fully alive to and active against the terrorist threat was succeeded by one that put it on the back burner. Counter-spinning by NSA Rice and Bush administration spokesmen has aimed at constructing the image of a vigorous, forceful administration determined to replace the ad hoc responses of its prececessors with a comprehensive strategy.
But the general public impression is correct. Clinton dithered ineffectually for years while al Qaeda grew and prospered; Bush did not do anything that an outside observer would see as a change in policy. If officials of either administration were not so determined to put an attractive gloss on a policy any fool can see failed miserably they would not all look so silly now.
Of course, and in fairness we know how the Bush administration policy toward terrorism changed after 9/11. One can approve of the changes, or not, but we don't really know much about how the thinking of prominent Democrats who might hold office in a Kerry administration changed. Would they really return to something like the Clinton law enforcement approach to terrorism? Would they -- campaign rhetoric aside -- simply continue Bush's? Would they even be able to agree with one another on actions to be taken, as Clinton administration officials repeatedly could not? Maybe they have answers to these questions. Maybe John Kerry does.posted by: Zathras on 04.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]
I'm disappointed in you: that was silly thing for you to say. Debate the points, you'll give your side a better reputation that way than going for the name-calling, motive-imputing approach.
Silly, say you? I think not. Check out Democrat UNderground, and get back to me on how truthful what I said really is. I was there about 20 minutes prior to masking those comments, and the sad part was, after reading Don's post, I thought I was still there.
What, nothing on the Seattle Times yesterday?posted by: HH on 04.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]
The Glen Reynolds link shows he's still fixated on discrediting Clarke and spinning numbers to make the 9/11 Commission a big Bush win.
Not interested in trashing pols or politicizing commission findings. It's why I come here; I usually find substance.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 04.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]
Here seems a difference of opinion on definition.
...then can we also aver that the hate we see exhibited daily on DU and other places is at the root of the Democrat party? If not, when may we expect to see the DNC denounce such hatred as we find on such sites?posted by: Bithead on 04.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]
You speak of hate as a bad thing.
Hate is justified when a President sells out to wealthy campaign donors.
Hate is justified when a President steals $Trillions from Social Security/Medicare and gives it to the richest 2% of the populations -- especially when said President lies to country about it.
Hate is justified when a President causes the death of 600+ US soldiers --and 10,000 Iraqi civilians -- out of a desire to court Israeli billionaire Haim Saban.
Hate is justified when a President provokes the Sept 11 attack -- and then lies to the country about it afterwards . Then has his national security advisor twist the arms of TV Network CEOs to block Bin Ladin's broadcasts so that Americans can learn why they were attacked.
Hate is justified when the President supports admitting 1 million immigrants into the country per year -- at a time when 9million plus Americans have been out of work for years. All so that the President can pander to the Hispanic swing vote in Florida, Texas, and California.
Hate is justified when the Republican Congress
Hate is justified when the Republican Congresses of 1998 and 2000 sell out to Silicon Valley executives and raise the H1B visa limits to allow over 1 million foreign workers --not immigrants--into the country for 6 year terms. Hate is justified when the Republican Congresses give huge tax breaks to plutocrats who throw American employees out on the street and move factories to China.
As I said before, the tragedy of Sept 11 is that Al Qaeda hit the World Trade Center -- and missed the US Capitol.posted by: Don Williams on 04.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]
Correction to the above post in paragraph 5: The phrase "so Americans can learn why they were attacked" should have been "so Americans CAN'T learn why they were attacked".posted by: Don Williams on 04.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]
If not, when may we expect to see the DNC denounce such hatred as we find on such sites?
Why would the DNC go around and start denouncing radical leftie websites ? They don't even go around denouncing radical rightie websites. The ones denouncing websites tend to be bloggers, and when they do, they invariably fail to denounce radical sites of their own political persuasion.
I remember a time when Republicans thought of Democrats as "wusses", because they played nice. As much as I believe in toning things down, the "reaping-sowing" metaphor is all too clear.posted by: ch2 on 04.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]
Don Williams: "You speak of hate as a bad thing. Hate is justified when..."
That may all be true, but hate is not going to help your cause. It just gets you labeled as shrill.
To see it from the other side, it's the exact same problem as the all-out attack on Clarke.posted by: fling93 on 04.12.04 at 06:20 PM [permalink]
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