Iraq defines George W. Bush. Iraq will either reelect him or defeat him. On September 12th, 2001, while more than 2,000 of my fellow New Yorkers were still buried in the ruins on the west side, President Bush was thinking of Iraq. Finally back in Washington, with his security advisors linking the attacks to al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, the President demanded of White House counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke that he explore every possible link to Saddam Hussein and Iraq.
Clarke, a Republican, has dared to speak up in a new book that is badly timed for the Administration. Now, the White House has launched an attack to paint Clarke as another in a line of disgruntled, secert partisans. Clearly, abject political fear. Ask Valerie Plame. Or Paul O'Neill.
Better yet, ask this soldier about the White House obsession. Ask about nearly 600 comrades dead, thousands maimed - all the while the al Qaeda movement metastisizes. Ask the dead of Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Spain. And ask the dead of New York.