Friday, April 02, 2004

From Today's Political Diary:"It turns out that the book was originally set for an April publication but was moved up to March 29, so as not to interfere with Bob Woodward's new tome on the Iraq war. Then on March 10, Mr. Clarke told Martha Levin of Free Press that he would speak at the 9/11 commission's hearings on March 24. "When we knew that he was testifying, we knew we had to move the pub date up [again], because the testimony is televised and we would have lost 60 Minutes if we hadn't moved it up," Ms. Levin told the Observer.

The book was published on March 22, the day before Mr. Clarke's committee appearance. So much for his claims that he didn't play a role in moving the publication up to coincide with his melodramatic testimony. "

Just a dude trying to sell a book.

UPDATE: Also, a self-aggrandizing dude trying to sell a book: "The attention being paid to Condoleezza Rice's upcoming testimony borders on insane, or at least demonstrates how politicized the panel has become despite protestations to the contrary. Aside from a lucky shot, any decision made in the White House that would have prevented 9/11 would have had to come two, three, four years before Mr. Bush arrived. Indeed, the essence of the argument between her and Richard Clarke concerns how fast the administration was moving on an al Qaeda policy that couldn't possibly have made any difference to 9/11.

No member of the panel can be so naïve as to believe that a government in office less than eight months isn't mostly on autopilot, following tracks laid down by its predecessor. The Washington Post purports to find significance in the fact that Ms. Rice was scheduled to give a speech about missile defense until the terrorist attacks intervened. Mr. Clarke purports to find significance in the fact that the administration had a bee in its bonnet about Iraq. But why stop there? It was preoccupied with tax cuts, Social Security reform, Medicare reform and every other issue it had presented to voters. That's what new administrations do.

Last night's PBS Frontline special on the Rwanda genocide does shed a new light on Mr. Clarke's bureaucratic career. He was a State Department official in charge of peacekeeping at the time and engaged in a shouting match over the phone with then-UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright when she resisted withdrawing UN troops in the early days of the genocide. In contrast to his ubiquity on TV today apologizing for 9/11, Mr. Clarke declined to make himself available to PBS to discuss Rwanda. "

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