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A Walk In The Clark
Robert Sam Anson calls Richard Clarke's book, Against All Enemies: Inside Americas War on Terror, the "...best beach reading since Robert Ludlum kicked." Here's reason number three:

3. Discloses resemblance between Bill Clinton and Rambo.

Ever since 9/11, the 42nd President has been taking hits from the right for being a terrorism twerp. Too busy with Monica and "promoting the homosexual agenda," etc., etc. Oh, yeah? Here he is on page 190, telling Joint Chiefs chairman and former Special Forces commander Hugh Shelton the payback he wants for the 1998 destruction of the embassies in Kenya and Tanzaniaand thats on top of the 75 cruise missiles hes already launched at bin Laden.

"Hugh, what I think would scare the shit out of these al Qaeda guys more than any cruise missile would be the sight of U.S. commandos, Ninja guys in black suits, jumping out of helicopters into their camps, spraying machine guns. Even if we dont get the big guys, it will have a good effect."

Who chickens out? The Pentagon, thats who.

And then there's the next president's view -- oh, I mean the one we elected, not the one who got appointed:

5. Reveals thousands wasted hiring Naomi Wolf.

Apart from the Supreme Court, the principal reason Al Gore isnt President today is George W. Bushs successful portrayal of him as a wuss. Naomi Wolf, youll recall, was recruited to counter that image by clothing the then Vice-President in earth tones, the better to make him seem an "Alpha Male." Turns out, Mr. Gore already was; Florida voters just didnt know it. History might have been infinitely cheerier had they been privy to the following 1993 Oval Office meeting.

To the horror of White House counsel Lloyd Cutler, Mr. Clarke was recommending to the President an "extraordinary rendition"spook-talk for snatching a terrorist without benefit of legal nicetyand Mr. Clinton was still chewing his fingernails, when Mr. Gore, fresh off a plane from South Africa, walked in:

"Clinton recapped the arguments on both sides for Gore: Lloyd says this. Dick says that. Gore laughed and said, Thats a no-brainer. Of course its a violation of international law, thats why its a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass."

They tried. Not for the last time, they failed.

Naturally, Clark, the guy who "gets it" is out of a job, and we've got a president "swatting at fleas" and detouring after the 9-11 attacks to go after Saddam instead of Osama. Genius in government -- the American specialty!

Posted by aalkon at April 10, 2004 8:00 AM

Comments

Amy, why is it you support unilateralist action that violates international law only when Al Gore proposes it? Furthermore, as a non-alpha male, I can say that snatching a terrorist off the streets and calling it a day is the actions of a wuss. Striking at the heart of regimes that supports terrorists--now that takes cajones!

Posted by: nash at April 10, 2004 8:35 AM

I am not a dove. I think, and have thought that we needed to go into the middle east. Again, as I wrote about -- I still haven't had anybody explain adequately to me why, when we were attacked by Osama Bin Ladin, we went all out against Saddam instead of...maybe going after Osama?

And please forgive me my ignorance of international law. I'm neck deep here in the laws of nature, and a rush of mail from convicts (some weeks you get more jail mail than others).

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 10, 2004 8:49 AM

PS I'm not a Democrat. Nor am I a Republican. I'm a person who votes for the least loathsome of the candidates presented -- which I find rather sad.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 10, 2004 8:50 AM

Not to quibble, but if I remember correctly on this, wasn't that Osama guy the target when we dropped about 3 billion worth of ordnance on those barren peaks in Afghanistan? Meaning they went after Os and the Taliban pretty quickly, and then after that was when Iraq became the hot spot. It was after the Afghan situation took on a more bureaucratic feel of placating tribal heads, interspersed with sporadic forays back into the hills bordering Pakistan chasing the regrouping Taliban and assorted other Islamic rads. The only thing you heard from Os was the occasional video on al-Jazeera. That's about when Saddam got the bull's eye painted on his cabeza. It was after Os was off the hot seat that Saddam became the greased pig. Not an argument here, just a clarification on chronology.

As far as the Richard Clarke turmoil is concerned, I just went over to those cool heads at spinsanity for the real bones on this brouhaha. Worth a visit to all who like it straight and unspun.

Posted by: allan at April 10, 2004 2:32 PM

I think it's "swatting at flies." Because I've seen flyswatters in stores, but never flea-swatters. Fleas are too small; you have to nail them bastards with powder.

Posted by: LYT at April 10, 2004 3:39 PM

> I still haven't had anybody explain adequately to
> me why, when we were attacked by Osama Bin Ladin,
> we went all out against Saddam...

An answer will be provided if you promise to read it.

And for the record, OBL died under a daisy cutter in early November 2001, and to Hell with him.

Posted by: Crid at April 10, 2004 8:39 PM

I'm trembling with anticipation.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 10, 2004 8:41 PM

> I'm trembling with anticipation.

Methinks you insincere. Let's start with WMDs, because they're so easy to cut and paste (Metaphor!). You're inexplicably entranced with France, so Mr. Chirac will lead our parade (and let's not forget that among Jacques' many perfidies, he built Saddam a nuclear reactor in 1980):

- "What is at stake is how to answer the potential threat Iraq represents with the risk of proliferation of WMD. Baghdad's regime did use such weapons in the past. Today, a number of evidences may lead to think that, over the past four years, in the absence of international inspectors, this country has continued armament programs." -- Jacques Chirac, October 16, 2002

We move to your servant in the US House of Representatives:

- "Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Administrations policy towards Iraq, I dont think there can be any question about Saddams conduct. He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do. He lies and cheats; he snubs the mandate and authority of international weapons inspectors; and he games the system to keep buying time against enforcement of the just and legitimate demands of the United Nations, the Security Council, the United States and our allies. Those are simply the facts." -- Henry Waxman, Oct 10, 2002

Let's then consider the works of a president you presumably admire:

- H.R.4655, The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 - Declares that it should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the Saddam Hussein regime from power in Iraq and to replace it with a democratic government. Signed by WJ Clinton on 10 October 1998.

My computer has a large disk drive and we could go on like this for a very long time. People who imagine our invasion to be disproportionate and unmotivated have simply not been paying attention. Iraq is our mess to clean up. No other nation (or aggregation of states) has the responsibilty, the resources, the decency or the balls.

Posted by: Crid at April 10, 2004 9:19 PM

If eliminating (supposed) WMD were a sincere desire, we'd be invading Korea. Kimmy J over there also lies and cheats bigtime -- something he has in common with a bunch of other murderers running other countries around the world. Great, Clinton wanted to remove Saddam. All of this is sideline stuff. Osama attacks us and we go attack Iraq? Dumb!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 11, 2004 12:20 AM

And not just dumb, CRIMINAL. To think we impeached Clinton for lying about the whereabouts of his penis -- a weapon of minor havoc -- until the Republi-puritans got hold of it. I couldn't care less about who blew him. Too bad he was too big of a moron to say "NOYB" instead of lying to a grand jury.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 11, 2004 12:23 AM

> Osama attacks us and we go attack Iraq? Dumb!

Now Amy, you promised to read.

> To think we impeached Clinton for lying about the whereabouts of his penis...

Since you paid so many millions for the Starr report, you really oughta read it. Specifically Section II, part D, concerning events on November 17, 1995. Between 9:53pm and 10:14pm, Clinton telephoned Rep. H.L. "Sonny" Callahan (R- AL) to discuss sending US troops into Bosnia. At precisely that moment, he received a blowjob from a woman not his wife, profoundly subordinate to him, and half his age. Get the picture? Can you imagine how you'd feel if your son or daughter was one of the ones in the armed services at the time?

How this matter makes W's invasion of Iraq into something "CRIMINAL" is not clear to me. But I know which president I'd rather have in command of young lives and deadly force.

Posted by: crid at April 11, 2004 7:39 AM

Postscript:

> If eliminating (supposed) WMD were a sincere desire...

It's great that someone on the left is finally admitting that WMDs were a lesser element in W's argument for invasion. It was only a year or so ago, so people ought to remember.

PPS-

> I'm a person who votes for the least loathsome
> of the candidates presented -- which I find
> rather sad.

Do you suppose representative government ever worked any better than this? Contentious partisanship is underrated. The only way to keep the bastards down is to stay at their throats.

> I'm not a Democrat. Nor am I a Republican.

I'm a lifelong registered Democrat. But the party drifted into infantilism, so I vote Republican! See you in November!

Posted by: Crid at April 11, 2004 7:48 AM

Oh, I am so NOT on the left. And Bill Clinton is a very smart guy -- and probably not the first president (newsflash!) to get blown while talking about affairs of state. I prefer a lusty president to a puritannical one. Oh, and they are ALL unethical and slimey - probably just about anybody who gets elected to high office has been bought and sold -- and decades previous to their election. Schwartzenegger might be an exception -- at least, at this point. I voted for him, and I'm glad I did.

I'll put it differently: WHY did we not attack Osama when Osama attacked us?

There really is no justification.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 11, 2004 8:16 AM

If your "newsflash" is substantiated in scholarship or meaningful sourcing, we'd love to see your citations. (Kennedy excepted: There just aren't enough hours in the day.)

> Oh, and they are ALL unethical and slimey...

A-my! That isn't even worthwhile turtleneck nihilism.

> I'll put it differently: WHY did we not attack Osama when Osama attacked us?

Again, boyfriend OBL was dismembered by a daisy cutter in November 2001. My barber wants DNA as proof; but at this point his remains have been scattered and processed by worms and ants.

Which is cool.

Posted by: Crid at April 11, 2004 8:46 AM

I thought Osama gave verifiable speeches after the invasion of Iraq? What's the proof that he was killed in 2001?

Posted by: LYT at April 11, 2004 1:14 PM

Supposedly OBL had kidney failure and needed dialysis, which is not probably not so easy to get in the mountainous rubble of Afghanistan. I wouldn't be surprised if he croaked on his own toxic, un-dialyzed blood a long time ago.

Posted by: Lena at April 11, 2004 5:29 PM

Well, I'm all for reducing the caves of Afghanistan to a fine powder just in case he's still alive. Something we should have been busy doing when we took that little military detour into Saddam country.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 11, 2004 5:38 PM