A Clarke To Reckon With

I'm reading through the transcripts of Richard Clarke's testimony at the 9/11 commission hearings and it's hard to focus on anything else.  

Right from his opening comments, he demonstrates more courage and integrity than the entire Bush administration put together:

"I welcome these hearings because of the opportunity that they provide to the American people to better understand why the tragedy of 9/11 happened and what we must do to prevent a reoccurance.

"I also welcome the hearings because it is finally a forum where I can apologize to the loved ones of the victims of 9/11.

"To them who are here in the room, to those who are watching on television, your government failed you, those entrusted with protecting you failed you and I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn't matter because we failed.

"And for that failure, I would ask -- once all the facts are out -- for your understanding and for your forgiveness."

As victims' family members have commented, Clarke is now on record as the first and only member of the administration to have actually apologized for how badly the ball got dropped.

The rest of his testimony, which is absolutely gripping stuff, succeeds in making the point, once again, that there was no failure of intelligence.  The intelligence was all there, and it was accurate. 

As Sidney Blumenthal pointed out, in his piece about the search for WMDs, the abundantly clear and compelling intelligence was simply ignored.

The only failure of intelligence was the one that continues to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The American people, and the people of the world, have a reasonable right to expect that the one person charged with making most of the really big decisions on this ball of dirt is a person of above average intelligence. 

George, you've failed.