Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post sums up the reactions to Richard Clarke's arguments about the Clinton and Bush Administration responses to terrorism.
Clarke's 1998 and 2000 proposals were not formally adopted by the Clinton administration, but most of the ideas, except his call for continuous bombings of al Qaeda and Taliban targets, served informally to guide policy. Clarke submitted both proposals, along with a request for short-term actions, to the Bush team on Jan. 25, 2001. The suggestions formed the basis for the Bush strategy that was adopted nearly eight months later.
Many Clinton Administration officials thought Clarke was making a mountain out of a molehill.
"He was despised under Clinton," said Ivo H. Daalder, who worked under Clarke in the Clinton National Security Council on issues other than terrorism. James M. Lindsay, who also worked under Clarke, concurred that people "thought he was exaggerating the threat" and said he "always wanted to do more" than higher-ups approved.
A lot of Democrats are using the release of Richard Clarke's book (entitled Against All Enemies: Inside America's War On Terror) as an occasion to levy criticisms at Bush for what he did or didn't do in the first 7 months of his Administration before 9/11. I only wish these Democratic Party critics of Bush were willing to support obvious efforts that could be taken to make us safer from terrorists. For instance, we could make it far harder for terrorists to enter the country illegally and to stay illegally.
One proposal that might have stopped the 9/11 attacks would be to make all drivers license expiration dates for foreigners expire on the same date as visas expire. 9/11 terrorists Mohammed Atta and Hani Hanjour were visa violators who were pulled over for speeding. They could have been deported right then. So then why aren't the Bush Administration officials being grilled by Democrats on why they haven't enacted a requirement for drivers license expirations when visas expire? If the Democrats were sincere in their concern about stopping terrorist attacks wouldn't better ID systems be a great place to start? Identity fraud is a growing problem for a number of reasons and the terrorist threat is just one of them. But isn't the threat of terrorism alone reason enough to prevent identity fraud and to stop immigration law violations?
I'd love to see the Democrats become willing to demonstrate the sincerity of their criticisms of the Bush Administration's handling of the threat of terrorism within US borders. A good place to start would be with immigration policy. We should do a lot more to keep out the bad apples and to deport the ones who are already here. Another area where the Democrats could get ahead of Bush would be by showing a willingness to do ethnic and religious profiling of airline passengers. I'm not expecting the Democrats to embrace either tougher immigration policies or the effective use of profiling. But if they did they would help to protect us against terrorism.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2004 March 28 02:03 AM Terrorists Western Response|