The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Monday, April 12, 2004


Neocon golden girl? Maybe not.


Onetime National Security Council Staffer Roger Morris paints a distinctly unflattering portrait of the most-hyped National Security Advisor in American history. While the neoconservative apologists have been running about making the point that the August 6th presidential daily briefing did not specifically forecast 9/11, Morris makes a deeper allegation against Queen Condi. This time, it's structural.

Ms. Rice's defence -- to blame "structural" problems melding FBI and CIA reporting or lack of responsiveness to "tasking" added FBI surveillance -- only begged the point commissioners seemed loath to make: It's well understood that U.S. national security policy is beset by bureaucratic inertia, relentless parochial bias and bitter departmental rivalries. Overcoming those problems and ensuring responsiveness was the very essence of the National Security Adviser's job.

... Which puts paid to the leading Rice defence: that she could not be expected to concern herself with the daily chatter about potential terrorist attacks. Well, of course not -- but she had to direct the inter-bureaucracy wrangling so that people on the ground could investigate and respond. Morris says that she didn't.

As planes came screaming out of the skies on the morning of Sept. 11, a vaguely informed commander-in-chief presided over a government in which all the old fiefdoms of CIA, FBI, State and Defence departments operated in their usual quibbling and torpor. No one knew where the investigations stood in all the FBI's mini-fiefdom field offices, because no one at the NSC was asking (and if no one at the NSC is asking, likely no one is asking). Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had not yet appointed an assistant secretary for counterterrorism. The decision to keep on Clinton administration terrorism expert Richard Clarke was the last major staffing decision Ms. Rice had made on assembling her office a year earlier (and she cut his staff).

Clearly Mr. Clarke and his work were no priority for the National Security Adviser. Yet only the co-ordination she herself oversees stood between al-Qaeda and almost 3,000 victims.

Ouch. But there's two more shots:

When she was the elder Bush's aide on Soviet and East European affairs in the early 1990s, Ms. Rice by all accounts mistook Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's staying power against forces of reform; her blunders in policies toward the former Yugoslavia did much to set the stage for Balkans carnage.

And even as she appeared at her most adept sparring with the 9/11 commissioners, at the bottom of the TV screens ran news tape of the exploding combat in the dead-end war on Iraq. Ms. Rice was a full party to the now notorious intelligence claims about Iraqi weaponry and ties to terrorists; she bears major responsibility for the debacle of the occupation as well.

Devastating stuff; I expect that the rightwing blogosphere (shameless bastards all) will be trying to rip this one to shreds. After all, when you've been getting discredited by recent events, their only counter-move is to shout even louder.

Yeah, I haven't written much about Bush or Iraq compared to this time last year. But my belief is still the same: This war wasn't justified, and it was sold with lies: first a bogus 9/11 connection, then bogus WMD, then supposed claims of bringing 'freedom' and 'democracy' to Iraq. The 'real' justification -- to establish Iraq as a centre of change in the Middle East and the Islamic world -- was never spoken. It was also an atrociously bad gamble, with a very small chance of a favourable result, and an excellent chance of inflaming the region and making Iraq the new front for those that hate America (and I mean real hatred, not this so-called Anti-Americanism that people in Canada bray about) to go and wreak havoc. We got the latter. Thanks, George. Thanks, Condi.

EVEN MORE: Fred Kaplan wrote a similarly scathing critique in Slate this past Thursday. (via, yet another of those sites that I've been ignoring.)
Comments: Post a Comment

Reports, opinions, columns, and anything else on this site, are © 2002-2003 Ian King unless otherwise noted. Permission granted to use material on this site for non-commercial purposes provided that the work is attributed to the original author. All other uses require specific permission of the original author. Contact weblog owner with any inquiries.

Feel free to link to this web log. The management likes getting lots of traffic.