Here it is.
Having served both the 42nd and 43rd Presidents, Clarke was supposed to be the most authoritative proponent to advance the Democrats’ agreed timeline of the last decade – to whit, from January 1993 to January 2001, Bill Clinton focused like a laser on crafting a brilliant plan to destroy al-Qa’eda, but, alas, just as he had dotted every “i”, crossed every “t” and sent the intern to the photocopier, his eight years was up, so Bill gave it to the new guy as he was showing him the Oval Office – “That carpet under the desk could use replacing. Oh, and here’s my brilliant plan to destroy al-Qa’eda, which you guys really need to implement right away.”
The details of the brilliant plan need not concern us, which is just as well, as there aren’t any. But the broader point, as The New York Times noted, is that “there was at least no question about the Clinton administration’s commitment to combat terrorism”.
Yessir, for eight years the Clinton administration was relentless in its commitment: no sooner did al-Qa’eda bomb the World Trade Center first time round, or blow up an American embassy, or a barracks, or a warship, or turn an entire nation into a terrorist training camp, than the Clinton team would redouble their determination to sit down and talk through the options for a couple more years. Then Bush took over and suddenly the superbly successful fight against terror all went to hell.
Richard Clarke was supposed to be the expert who could make this argument with a straight face.