Monday, March 29, 2004

What drove Clarke mad: the insane Clinton impeachment

The Washington Monthly:
... So what was it that seemingly turned him [Clarke] into a Democratic partisan? Oddly enough, it appears that the turning point came in August 1998 and was a combination of two things: the Monica Lewinsky scandal and al-Qaeda's attacks on two American embassies. It was only a couple of years earlier that the CIA had finally connected the dots and figured out that the al-Qaeda organization even existed, and the embassy bombings were their first major attack since then. Unfortunately, Republican opportunism made it hard to fight back. Although Clarke says he was 'beyond mad' at Clinton for failing to keep his zipper shut, he became flatly infuriated with the recklessness of his conservative opposition:

I was angrier, almost incredulous, that the bitterness of Clinton's enemies knew no bounds, that they intended to hurt not just Clinton but the country by turning the President's personal problem into a global, public circus for their own political ends. Now I feared that the timing of the President's interrogation about the scandal, August 17, would get in the way of our hitting the al Qaeda meeting.

....Our response to two deadly terroist attacks was an attempt to wipe out al Qaeda leadership, yet it quickly became grist for the right-wing talk radio mill and part of the Get Clinton campaign. That reaction made it more difficult to get approval for follow-up attacks on al Qaeda, such as my later attempts to persuade the Principals to forget about finding bin Laden and just bomb the training camps.

This is what is driving the Republican right berserk. The growing horror of realizing just what they did when they paralyzed the Clinton administration.

Bush is in no danger of impeachment, but despite my belief that he and his partisans are a very bad news for the US and the world, I would not want Bush hounded the way Clinton was. It will suffice to retire him calmly and completely.

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