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March 27, 2004

EDWARD JAY EPSTEIN:

Question:

Richard A. Clarke makes assertions in his book Against All Enemies that can be easily checked against external and unambiguous sources. Is Clarke truthful in verifiable assertions he makes?

Answer:

No, in at least one instance Clarke totally fabricates a position he attributes to another author's book, and then use his fabrication to discredit that author's position.

Ouch.

UPDATE: Mark Steyn:

Does this mean Clarke is Enron - an equal-opportunity scandal whose explicitly political aspects are too ambiguous to offer crude party advantage? Not quite. Although his book sets out to praise Clinton and bury Bush, he can't quite pull it off. Except for his suggestion to send in a team of "ninjas" to take out Osama, Clinton had virtually no interest in the subject.

In October 2000, Clarke and Special Forces Colonel Mike Sheehan leave the White House after a meeting to discuss al-Qa'eda's attack on the USS Cole: "'What's it gonna take, Dick?' Sheehan demanded. 'Who the s*** do they think attacked the Cole, f****** Martians? The Pentagon brass won't let Delta go get bin Laden. Does al-Qa'eda have to attack the Pentagon to get their attention?'"

Apparently so. The attack, on the Cole, which killed 17 US sailors, was deemed by Clinton's Defence Secretary Bill Cohen as "not sufficiently provocative" to warrant a response. You'll have to do better than that, Osama! So he did. And now the same people who claim Bush had no right to be "pre-emptive" about Iraq insist he should have been about September 11. . . .

Bush got it right: go to where the terrorists are, overthrow their sponsoring regimes, destroy their camps, kill their leaders.

Instead, all the Islamists who went to Afghanistan in the 1990s graduated from Camp Osama and were dispersed throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and North America, where they lurk to this day. That's the Clarke-Clinton legacy. And, if it were mine, I wouldn't be going around boasting about it.

Double-ouch.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jon Henke emails:

I've noticed the Democrats are calling the Administration's response to Clarke "character assassination". Odd, considering the response has largely consisted of pointing out Clarke's own words.

Wouldn't that more accurately be called "character suicide"?

I prefer "self-Fisking," though I suppose that might sound a little racy to blogosphere neophytes. . . .