Monday, March 29, 2004

U. S. Commission on National Security

I was brought to this subject by a recent column by Molly Ivins, God bless her spunky soul. The focus here is the report of the Hart-Rudman Commission, turned over on January 31, 2001, almost exactly the time Richard Clarke made his recommendations to the Bush White House. The general intent of the Report is to strengthen our homeland security and take the offensive on terror, suggestions Mr. Clarke made as well.

According to the Committee which wrote the report:
We have taken a broad view of national security. In the new era, sharp distinctions between "foreign" and "domestic" no longer apply. We do not equate national security with "defense." We do believe in the centrality of strategy, and of seizing opportunities as well as confronting dangers. If the structures and processes of the U.S. government stand still amid a world of change, the United States will lose its capacity to shape history, and will instead be shaped by it.Executive Summary of the Hart Rudman Report -- FASCINATING reading
Molly Ivins rightly points out that the Bush Administration did not only dismiss Clarke's suggestions, but also the recommendations of this bipartisan committee, purportedly because it was being championed by Congress. Yes, they were afraid to lose the credit for reshaping the central force of the nations' foreign policy as regards terror.

Ms. Ivins:
True, the report was initiated by Clinton, but the commission was bipartisan and included former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and other Republicans. On May 5, the White House announced that rather than adopt Hart-Rudman, it was forming its own committee on terrorism headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. That group never met.
All this can be proven, of course. That the White House rejected the Congressional approach because it came from the bipartisan commission, that the Cheney group never met before 9/11. The moral of this story is far more damning that the Bush Administration not listening to Clarke, but it has become familiar. They won't listen to any Americans who aren't in the core of the BushCorp team.

But, didn't Mr. Bush boast about his abilities in bringing people together, in forming bipartisan coalitions when he was Governor of Texas? Or does he forget that, just as he forgot he was in the Situation Room on 9/12?

Rinse and spit. Please try to hit the bowl.