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Richard Clarke Has a Credibility Problem

Richard Clarke (search) has a credibility problem. He told the commission investigating Sept. 11 that fighting terrorism was not as high a priority in the Bush administration as it was in the Clinton administration. But Clarke is on record as saying just the opposite.

In his resignation letter to President Bush, Clarke praised Mr. Bush for his actions after 9/11.

In an August 2002 off-the-record interview (read the transcript) with several reporters that included Jim Angle of Fox News, Clarke said the Bush administration "vigorously pursued" the Clinton policy against terrorism.

Now, of course, he says it did no such thing and, in fact, made it a lower priority.

The Clinton administration made terrorism a low priority treating it as a law enforcement problem and lobbing missiles at empty buildings just to give the impression it was fighting terror.

Richard Clarke cannot be telling the truth in his book and before the 9/11 commission (search). His statements are contradictory. Either he is lying before the commission or he lied in his book. Either way, he should not be believed.

The planning for 9/11 — indeed the war on the United States — was announced and begun in earnest during the Clinton years. The message sent to Usama bin Laden was that the United States lacked the will to fight this evil and so evil triumphed on 9/11.

The doctrine of preemption is the correct policy to pursue. Track down, root out, shut down, deport, arrest and jail, and, if necessary, kill those whose objective is to kill us. No retreat. No compromise. No quarter. No negotiations. Like Japan and Germany, war has been declared on the United States.

Like our policy then, our policy now should be complete victory for us and unconditional surrender, or annihilation for them.

And that's Column One for this week.

What do you think? Send your responses to: afterhours@foxnews.com.

Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.