U.S. intelligence whistle blower, Pledge critic deserve to be heard

Todd Vanderwerff

Todd Vanderwerff

I don’t know if Richard Clarke or any of the other recent intelligence community whistle blowers know what they’re talking about or if they just want to draw attention to themselves. Since Clarke has a book to sell touting the inefficiencies of the federal governement’s counter-terrorism efforts, one would assume that he would be an all-out PR machine right about now, aggressively pushing his point of view, the facts be damned.

The problem with this view, however, is the fact that Clarke is not acting like a man who has a book to sell. He’s been acting like a man who feels deeply that he did something wrong and that he did not serve the people he was to work for to the best of his abilities.

Of course, Clarke could be a terrific actor who just decided to go into public service rather than tromp across the stages of Broadway or the screens of Hollywood. But look at the guy. He’s worn-down, tired looking. If he’s acting, Sean Penn should hang on tightly to his Oscar because Richard Clarke is the best actor of the year.

Perhaps Richard Clarke is just a partisan wag, who wishes to kick Bush while he’s (a little bit) down. Of course, then one must ignore the fact that Clarke served Reagan and both Bushes to his utmost. One must also ignore the fact that he has several criticisms of the way Clinton handled the terrorism situation in the 1990s.

To read Clarke’s book (which I have not yet completed) is to read sheer urgency. Clarke honestly believes that the United States is not dealing with terrorism adequately. He brings up accusation after accusation against the Bush White House in this regard. These accusations have been backed up by documents and other sources (in the few cases where Clarke is not documented, others are filling in the gaps).

Of course, the White House could answer these charges if it wanted to. Certainly it at least has an official party line?

For whatever reason, however, the White House has done little to rebuke Clarke’s accusations (the one they did rebuke-that Clarke and Bush did not meet immediately after Sept. 11-was later proven to be something they shouldn’t have rebuked; in fact, the White House admitted Clarke was right Sunday). The White House, instead, is attacking Clarke’s motives. What does this mean? I don’t know. It seems to indicate that they rather think he’s beneath them, but that seems rather stupid since a.) they worked with him and b.) his accusations hurt Bush’s credibility.

I don’t honestly believe that this will affect Bush’s chances at re-election (unless it uncovers some huge level of corruption no one has even guessed at yet), but it is interesting that Bush’s administration refuses to discuss the issues Clarke has raised, instead wishing to slum around in low blows and character attacks.

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Have you been following the Supreme Court case about whether the “under God” should remain in the Pledge of Allegiance?

I’m aware that a vast majority of you probably think “under God” is the bees’ knees, but bear with me here. The guy who wants “under God” taken out needs to be made into a movie. His story is just crazy enough to make a great bio-pic.

This man divorced his wife, a born-again Christian, then decided he didn’t want his daughter (of whom he does not have custody) to say the Pledge if it said “under God.” So, he brushed off his law school learnin’ (which he hadn’t used in years) and got the Ninth Circuit Court to rule “under God” unconstitutional. Then, he went to the Supreme Court, where he got Antonin Scalia to recuse himself (the Democrats can’t even do that) and argued the court from what was a likely 8-0 vote against him to a possible 4-4 tie.

Whatever you say about his cause, he’s got chutzpah and that’s the sort of thing we make movies about. Me? I think the words “under God” are probably OK in the Pledge, but I’m not an atheist. How do I know how this guy feels every time he sees his daughter recite it?

Should infinitessimal minorities be able to exert their wills on the majority? That’s a question we probably will never answer here in America, but at least we have a system that allows us to raise these sorts of issues without civil wars (well, except that one time).

Todd VanDerWerff is our editor-in-chief (though he’s only got a few issues left now). You can verbally assault him at [email protected]