Does anybody remember the nasty insinuations shortly after 9/11 about how Bush "ran away" from Washington for fear of attacks on the White House? The Salon wing of the punditocracy, for example, insisted that, in Joe Conason's words, "The Bush administration told an outrageous lie that the president was a target of terrorists." In classic Conason style, he turned his outrage to 11 on every knob.
Whatever anyone thinks of this president or his political legitimacy, there are few issues more fundamental in a constitutional democracy than the physical security of the head of state, especially when the nation is under attack. The tale of the supposed targeting of the president, the White House and Air Force One by terrorists is among the most serious fabrications ever promulgated by federal officials....
....The question isn't whether Bush ought to have flown back to Washington immediately. He may well have had ample reason not to. The question is whether the officials in charge of national security and their spokespeople have been candid about one of their most crucial responsibilities. If the president cares at all about honor and integrity, he will demand that his aides either reveal the truth or tender their resignations.
Well, it turns out that Richard Clarke is claiming all of the credit for the decision to keep the President out of Washington that day. He's actually claiming he ordered the President away. But now that Clarke is a new Dashboard Saint of the Church of Bush-Is-Always-Wrong, nobody seems to care about that. In Joe Conason's lengthy interview, the only reference to the charges which Conason once considered fundamental to our democracy, is this question:
In the first chapter of your book, which I must say is gripping, you give your account of your actions on 9/11, when great authority was turned over to you [by Cheney and Rice]. Is there an issue of disloyalty or ingratitude there? To be honest, it seemed to me that you saved their asses that day.
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Jonah Goldberg makes a good point (once again) about how Bush-haters are now happy to give Clarke credit about keeping Bush out of DC on 9/11 when before they'd been knocking Bush about flying around the country.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 8:54 AM