Richard Clarkeís stunning vision for the future
Dateline: above the garage in Portsmouth RI, 25 April
Reference: ìThe Wrong Debate on Terrorism,î by Richard Clarke, New York Times, 25 April, p. WK15.
Classic Richard Clarke: read this op-ed and see if you can find one decent answer, one transformational proposal, one scrap of strategy, or even one shred of vision about how we win a global war on terrorism. Clarke was always the consummate bureaucrat and it shows: if you need somebody to edit a policy documents, hereís your man. But if you want someone with a vision of what to do next, heís not.
This isnít even an op-ed, itís a bad policy memo.
Here are some of the brilliant, backward looking observations. See if any strike you as new:
- ìÖwe are seriously threatened by an ideological war within Islam.î [never heard that one before]
- ìI do not pretend to know the formula for winning that ideological war.î [which is why you have a bestselling book on combating global terrorism?]
- ìBut I do know we cannot win it without significant help from our Muslim friends.î [do you mean that if weíre going to win this ideological war, some of those people actually have to like us and agree with us?]
- ìWhat we have tried in the war of ideas has also fallen short.î [hmmm, so true]
- We shouldnít undermine existing regimes in the Middle East unless we have game plans for their replacement. [do you think heís talking about Iraq?]
- We have to deal with Israel and Palestine too. [thanks, forgot about that one completely]
- The law enforcement community and the intelligence community werenít prepared for 9/11. [easy for him to say, he was a big player in the latter for about two decadesówhat a minute!]
- ìRather than creating new organizations, we need to give the C.I.A. and F.B.I. makeovers. They cannot continue to be dominated by careerists . . .î [not that he was one]
- ìIn the new F.B.I., marksmanship, arrests and skill on the physical training obstacle course should no longer be prerequisites for recruitment and retention.î [man, I think heís onto something really big here!]
- ìFinally, we must try to achieve a level of public discourse on these issues that is simultaneously energetic and mutually respectful.î [this from a man whoís famous for consistently displaying a lack of ability to play well with others over a very long bureaucratic careeróin short, a celebrated asshole.]
Wow, what an article! This gist of it captured in the highlighted text box: ìTo defeat Al Qaeda, weíll have to stop playing politics.î
This guy is good. Damn it! Heís brilliant. Answering so many questions about what to do and where to go and how we can succeed in the endóif only we stop playing politics.
Like telling stories against your former bosses in government.
Like timing your book release to your testimony in front of blue-ribbon commissions.