March 29, 2004

I THINK THAT CONDI RICE SHOULD TESTIFY, in spite of the Administration’s reasonable concerns, which all Administrations have, about that sort of thing. But when she testifies, I think she should open with this:

This administration came into office to discover that al Qaeda had been allowed to grow into a full-blown menace. It lost six precious weeks to the Florida recount – and then weeks after Inauguration Day to the go-slow confirmation procedures of a 50-50 Senate. As late as the summer of 2001, pitifully few of Bush’s own people had taken their jobs at State, Defense, and the NSC. Then it was hit by 9/11. And now, now the same people who allowed al Qaeda to grow up, who delayed the staffing of the administration, who did nothing when it was their turn to act, who said nothing when they could have spoken in advance of the attack – these same people accuse George Bush of doing too little? There’s a long answer to give folks like that – and also a short one. And the short one is: How dare you?

As I’ve said before, I’m willing to let bygones be bygones before September 11, despite the Clinton Administration’s limp record on terror. (Cluelessly limp. Remember Clarke boasted in 1999 that our response to the 1993 WTC bombing was scaring Al Qaeda, which is proof of cluelessness beyond contradiction.) But the Bush Administration, to its credit, figured out that we were at war after September 11. Its critics keep trying to deny that fact, except, curiously, when they switch from attacking Bush for doing too much, to attacking Bush for doing too little. (Via Steven Antler).

UPDATE: Yes, yes, I know that Clarke refused to testify under oath.

ANOTHER UPDATE: On the other hand, this is the best reason for Rice to keep quiet that I’ve heard yet: “Rice Withholding Testimony for Her Own Book.”