Richard Clarke may still be a Republican

To the Editor, Portland Oregonian:

Both today and yesterday you printed columns disparaging Richard Clarke’s testimony about 9/11 preparedness. Debra Saunders claims that Clarke is part of “the Clinton machine” and explains that 9/11 was all Clinton’s fault. David Reinhard says that it’s impossible to take Clarke seriously because his friend Rand Beers now works for John Kerry.

Beers and Clarke both worked for Bush as experts on counter-terrorism – Beers took over when Clarke resigned. Neither was a Democrat then, and Clarke isn’t one now. They resigned because they were dissatisfied with Bush’s counter-terrorism performance — Clarke is now giving us the details.

Contra Saunders, Clarke does not exonerate either Clinton or himself. Contra Reinhard, Clarke’s book is being published now because of a three-month security-review delay – not because of the upcoming election.

Reinhard and Saunders are trying to discredit Clarke because they think his book will hurt Bush. Aren’t they the ones being political?

John Emerson

(150 words — count ’em.)

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They don’t usually print my letters; we’ll see.

(UPDATE: They did: Friday, March 26)

Here are some links about Clarke. Clarke has the Republicans terrified — Bush’s anti-terrorist leadership is one of the very few positive things they had to run on, and without it they’re doomed. They’re scarcely contesting his facts at all, and are mostly just trying to discredit him.

Talking Points Memo: just read everything.

Brad Delong: Republican Attack Monkeys

Billmon: Clarke will be hard to discredit

Conason interview of Clarke

Sketch of Clarke’s career

Summary of administration smears against Clarke

Daniel Benjamin (“The Age of Sacred Terror”) backs Clarke

Clarke and Beers are only two of many professionals to resign from the Bush administration