Richard Clarke chased Usama bin Laden for upwards of eight years while he was in the Clinton Administration and was satisfied, more or less, with the job that was done, notwithstanding the apologies to the families ("we failed you"). But he expected the Bush Administration to accomplish in eight months what he couldn't get done in eight years, and was scandalized that Bush Administration officials didn’t take him as seriously as he takes himself.
Further, he is horrified that Bush went after Iraq. In my view, Iraq was on the table with the Bush administration because it should have been. It also should have been in the Clinton administration, but Clarke was too busy arguing that there was no connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq. He wanted to see them separately. Bush et al wanted to see them as one. I ask you: for the safety of Americans, which is the better bet? That they were connected, or not? Obviously, it is safer to assume a connection and act to eliminate the possible – or probable – threat.
I fail to see why there is so much heavy breathing over the issue of Iraq being on the radar screen of the incoming Bush administration. Clinton ignored Iraq for eight years, and clearly the new administration didn't think Iraq deserved benign status. Of course, Richard Clarke thinks they were wrong. His ideas on Iraq drove Clinton policy for eight years. Clearly, he thought Iraq should be ignored. Of course he would object if someone thought he was wrong. But what is so surprising about a new administration thinking the guys they threw out of the White House were wrong about a number of things, including Iraq?
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