"And what [last week's] plot reminds us is that five years after 9/11, the United States has not eliminated al-Qa'ida. We eliminated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in under four years, but five years into this war against al-Qa'ida, they're out there still plotting major attacks against the United States." —ABC News consultant Richard Clarke
Well there's a sane voice in the world, eh? This statement of a career public official, longtime terror expert, Clinton apologist, and Bush critic needs further examination.
What is it that the esteemed terror/security expert draws from the foiled terror plot last week? Not that the world has learned to do a better job in dealing with Islamic fascists, or that a plot of this sort was unable to be carried out in our post-9/11 world but that we haven't eliminated al-Qa'ida! Who thought that we would have eliminated al Qa'ida by now? Certainly not Richard Clarke who has been criticized for riding the fence and worrying about political considerations too much to be bothered with doing anything to actually stop bin Laden. The Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti writes: "Scheuer (former chief of the bin Laden Unit at the Counterterrorist Center at the CIA) believes that Clarke’s risk aversion and politicking negatively impacted the hunt for Bin Laden prior to September 11, 2001. Scheuer stated that his unit, codename 'Alec,' had provided information that could have led to the capture and or killing of Osama bin Laden on ten different occasions, only to have his recommendations for action turned down by senior intelligence officials, including Clarke." I'm certain you could not find any member of the Bush camp after 9/11 saying publicly that al Qa'ida will be completely defeated in five years, so what's Clarke talking about?
Could his comments be nothing more than a partisan cheapshot aimed at the current administration? You betcha! He has been a proven liar in the past few years and every time the lie has been one for partisan reasons. In 1999, he was all for the suggestion that al Qa'ida was in bed with Sadaam Hussein. He changed his mind during the politically heated run-up to the 2004 election, though and said there was no such link. During the aftermath of the 9/11 crisis, it was Clarke who made the decision to fly the bin Laden family out of the country. He stated under oath, however, that the decision was made by someone in the Bush administration before admitted later that he had authorized it himself and still stood by his decision. In his book, Against All Enemies-published in March, 2004, he stated that Donmald Rumsfeld, "who looked distracted throughout the session, took the (Deputy Defense Secretary Paul) Wolfowitz line that there were other terrorists concerns, like Iraq". This meeting was held on September 4, 2001. The only problem with this statement is that Rumsfeld was not in attendance at that meeting. Politicking with the facts, Mr. Clarke?
Yes, the United States and its allies defeated Germany and Japan in four years and we have not finished the war on terror in over five. Is that a news flash? How is it that the war against the Axis powers ended in only four years? Does anyone remember the "disproportionate response" that finished off the will of the Japanese to continue fighting? Perhaps if we fought that kind of war against the jihadists we could win it in les than five years, too. I imagine Mr. Clarke would not be too happy with that type of prosecution of the WOT, though.
When I see the news that this terrible plot was thwarted I am proud that we may have learned a few things about fighting this enemy. I am heartened that some of our techniques for prosecuting this war on terror are working. I am glad that different agencies and different countries are working together to resolve this problem. And I pray that most of the partisan Democrats and nattering, naysaying career politicians in the Executive Branch are either getting with the program or retiring, like Richard Clarke.