"The notion somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat there and didn't do that is just flatly false - and I think the 9/11 commission understood that," Rice said during a wide-ranging meeting with Post editors and reporters.
This coming from the former National Security Advisor who pushed aside Richard Clarke, the in-house expert on al-Qaeda. This coming from the White House staffer who pretty much ignored the presidential briefing memo about Osama bin Laden's plans to strike within the U.S. This coming from a key player in the Bush Administration, which fought against even having a 9/11 Commission look into 9/11. They didn't want anyone looking into it.
"What we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years," Rice added.
She also whines about analyses by our own U.S. intelligence agencies that what the Bush Administration is doing is making things worse.
Transitioning to the global war on terror, an animated Rice questioned, "When are we going to stop blaming ourselves for the rise of terrorism?"
This is the perspective problem the entire Bush Administration seems to have: More concern about criticism of them, more concern about the political prospects of the GOP, more concern about spinning themselves into hero status, than any concern in actually doing something effective or at least making sure they're not just making things worse.
When, Condi? When you stop being a major cause of the rise of terrorism.
Asked about recently leaked internal U.S. intelligence estimates that claimed the Iraq war was fueling terrorist recruiting, Rice said: "Now that we're fighting back, of course they are fighting back, too."
"I find it just extraordinary that the argument is, all right, so they're using the fact they're being challenged in the Middle East and challenged in Iraq to recruit, therefore you've made the war on terrorism worse.
"It's as if we were in a good place on Sept. 11. Clearly, we weren't," she added.
Except, Condi, that the terrorists weren't even in Iraq until you and Bush invaded there. The terrorists were in Afghanistan.
Remember Afghanistan? That's the place where Osama has been, by many accounts, all this time. That's where al-Qaeda planned 9/11. That's where the Taliban government sheltered these terrorists.
We do not know what you have done, to prevent another 9/11.
You have failed us — then leveraged that failure, to justify a purposeless war in Iraq which will have, all too soon, claimed more American lives than did 9/11.
You have failed us anew in Afghanistan.
And you have now tried to hide your failures, by blaming your predecessor.
And now you exploit your failure, to rationalize brazen torture — which doesn’t work anyway; which only condemns our soldiers to water-boarding; which only humiliates our country further in the world; and which no true American would ever condone, let alone advocate.And there it is, sir:
Are yours the actions of a true American?
Here are some relevant videos via YouTube:
Clinton refuses to roll over for Chris Wallace on Fox
Olbermann on Clinton, and the Bush Administration's passing the buck
The fantasy comes in many forms. There's the notion that 9/11 was planned by Saddam Hussein, that popular non-fact suggested as true by the Bush Administration and held as gospel by many Americans even today.
There's the fantasy that terrorist without industry, without nations, without centralized control are "fascists" while nations that suspend civil liberties and quash dissent and torture prisoners and kill civilians in bloody occupations somehow could never be "fascist."
There's the fantasy that patriotism can be measured by winning a political argument, like, say, sticking it out in Iraq, rather than winning this war on terror, whose goal is in conflict with the Iraq occupation.
There's the fantasy that the Geneva Conventions are "quaint" and don't apply to America.
There's the fantasy that being "strong" can make up for being stupid.
"This is example No. 1," said Martin Franks, executive vice president of CBS Corp., of the decision by two dozen CBS affiliates to replace or delay "9/11" â€” which has already aired twice without controversy â€” over concerns about some of the language used by the firefighters in it.
"We don't think it's appropriate to sanitize the reality of the hell of Sept. 11th," Franks said. "It shows the incredible stress that these heroes were under. To sanitize it in some way robs it of the horror they faced."
The stations, including Fox Television Stations Inc. and Sinclair, cite the FCC's large and arbitrarily enforced censorship laws. However, the political views of Fox and Sinclair are not exactly secret.
Still it's hard to argue with a bunch of FCC boobs who got all upset over Janet Jackson's boob -- or the boobs in Congress who facilitated such overreaction.
Congress recently boosted the maximum fines the FCC can impose for indecency from $32,500 to $325,000.
So far, about a dozen CBS affiliates have indicated they won't show the documentary, another dozen say they will delay it until later at night and two dozen others are considering what to do.
So on this upcoming 5-year anniversary of 9/11, we can reflect on how tough the US government has gotten on the terror of four-letter words uttered by true American heroes.
Afghanistan? (Remember that Taliban country where 9/11 was planned and where al-Qaeda has been holed up for years?) That should be a front in the war on Islamic fundamentalist extremism and terrorism, but the Bush Administration has pretty much ignored it. What happened to the rebuilding? What happened to forging a new society? Oh, yeah, that's right: Saddam was "thumbing his nose" at Bush, so we had to drop going after al-Qaeda and start punching the tarbabe called Iraq.
"Staying the course" in Iraq? That is failed imperialism, a conversion of what was a non-critical foreign relations problem into a bloody costly disaster.
And yet people like Joe Lieberman continue to equate Iraq with fighting terrorism.
The American people can smell bullshit, and the bulloney that the war on Iraq had anything to do with fighting "terrorism" after 9/11 is pretty damned ripe.
Kim Ponders on Blogher writes a compelling post Fear Up Harsh where she begins,
Last weekâ€™s New Yorker highlighted the 2 Â½ year efforts of Alberto J. Mora, the Navyâ€™s former general counsel, to avoid interrogation techniques like â€œfear up harshâ€?â€”increasing the prisonerâ€™s fear level to such extreme that he feels compelled to confessâ€”that violate the Geneva Conventions.
This goes to the highest levels in the government,
That was the point Mora made when he went public in the New Yorker with a 22-page memo documenting his long, unsuccessful struggle to keep Bush administration officials not only within the law, but also within the our long-standing tradition of fair and humane war practice.
The blog, the New Yorker Article, and the 22-page memo are truly worth a careful reading.
Author Ponders, concludes,
Our alarming disregard of the Geneva Conventions after the 9/11 attacks is, to me, the worst crime we have committed against ourselves as a free and open democracy since the days of Japanese internment during WWII. In allowing ourselves to commit torture on war criminals, we have negated the very values we stand for.
Forrest Church in his book the "Seven Deadly Virtues" reminds us that we must pick our enemies carefully, for in the end, we will become like them.
This latest revelation reminds us just how far down that road the United States has gone.
For the first time since I became public editor, the executive editor and the publisher have declined to respond to my requests for information about news-related decision-making. My queries concerned the timing of the exclusive Dec. 16 article about President Bush's secret decision in the months after 9/11 to authorize the warrantless eavesdropping on Americans in the United States.
I e-mailed a list of 28 questions to Bill Keller, the executive editor, on Dec. 19, three days after the article appeared. He promptly declined to respond to them. I then sent the same questions to Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher, who also declined to respond. They held out no hope for a fuller explanation in the future....which, of course, makes everybody only less curious, right?
At the outset, it's essential to acknowledge the far-reaching importance of the eavesdropping article's content to Times readers and to the rest of the nation. Whatever its path to publication, Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Keller deserve credit for its eventual appearance in the face of strong White House pressure to kill it. And the basic accuracy of the account of the eavesdropping stands unchallenged - a testament to the talent in the trenches.
But the explanation of the timing and editing of the front-page article by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau caused major concern for scores of Times readers. The terse one-paragraph explanation noted that the White House had asked for the article to be killed. "After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting," it said. "Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted."
If Times editors hoped the brief mention of the one-year delay and the omitted sensitive information would assure readers that great caution had been exercised in publishing the article, I think they miscalculated. The mention of a one-year delay, almost in passing, cried out for a fuller explanation. And the gaps left by the explanation hardly matched the paper's recent bold commitments to readers to explain how news decisions are made.And then there's the question of the timing. Just when did the Times have the story?
The most obvious and troublesome omission in the explanation was the failure to address whether The Times knew about the eavesdropping operation before the Nov. 2, 2004, presidential election. That point was hard to ignore when the explanation in the article referred rather vaguely to having "delayed publication for a year." To me, this language means the article was fully confirmed and ready to publish a year ago - after perhaps weeks of reporting on the initial tip - and then was delayed.
Mr. Keller dealt directly with the timing of the initial tip in his later statements. The eavesdropping information "first became known to Times reporters" a year ago, he said. These two different descriptions of the article's status in the general vicinity of Election Day last year leave me puzzled.
For me, however, the most obvious question is still this: If no one at The Times was aware of the eavesdropping prior to the election, why wouldn't the paper have been eager to make that clear to readers in the original explanation and avoid that politically charged issue? The paper's silence leaves me with uncomfortable doubts.These are disturbing questions that the Times publisher and editor are refusing to answer. Why?
And if James Risen's book on the subject, "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration," weren't about to be published this month, would the Times have bothered to run the story at all?