Well I can say the man has my respect for now. I've been watching some of the other people testify in front of the comission the past two days, but I was particularly interested in seeing how convincing Clarke was in front of this panel. I was particularly unimpressed by George Tenet who frequently threw his hands up (or down) and said "gee I don't know" or "ask someone else" during this morning's session. I was hoping to get something different from Clark and I did. In spades.
I've never been one to run right out and buy the latest book on political scandal or the like, and I haven't yet read Clarke's book...
...I must say though, he took all of the badgering from James Thomson (who regretably came off as someone who was interested less in obtaining valuable information from Clarke, and more interested in making him look bad with snide comments... being from Illinois I was a embarrased) with great poise. He took their baited questions, answered them logically and stared them right in the eye all the while.
The dead silence after he mentioned the President as having undermined the WOT by handling the Iraq situation as he did, was just... compelling. Clarke didn't even blink (seemed like about 20 seconds), as the panel took in what he said and tried to regain their train of thought. This guy was 100% sincere in his criticisms and disappointment in the whole situation leading to 9/11; he is clearly not some political tool of John Kerry or anyone else. To say otherwise is to reveal nothing but the political motive of discrediting him.
Overall I was impressed with his answers and am more -- and not less --compelled to read his book (which I figured I would be less compelled). The man obviously has no gripe against GOP leadership of this country in general, given his track record under Republican administrations and his own stated affiliaition (Republican). What's more he obviously was not covering his own ass in any respect I could discern... unlike Tenet, who seemed to dodge every other question.
Thus it seems to me whatever criticisms are in his book ought to at least be read and considered in the grand scheme of things this year.
How many experts and respected officials do we need to resign from the Bush Administration before the GOP die-hards in this country start to recognize there is a real problem and its not just politics as usual? Aside from the four high ranking officials from the EPA who have left (all calling Bush's policies deeply flawed and geared toward corporate interests), and the former Secretary of the Treasury... we now have Richard Clarke.
Are we to believe that all of these people simply did their jobs badly in the end, and so quit and criticized Bush as a matter of sour grapes and nothing more?? To anyone who wants to believe that, I recommend therapy. Denial and all that....