Richard Clarke was Democrats’ awesome uncle for long stretches of the Bush administration, getting them drunk on blistering rhetoric about Bush’s failure to stop bin Laden and launching wars based on informants the Germans thought were too eccentric to trust. “Now’s zhe time on Sprockets venn ve reject obviously faulty intelligence.”
But launching sustained attacks on one party does not preclude one from being a fucking centrist. In 2008 he wrote a book declaring that “the politics have to be taken out of national security.” Why? Because partisanship is destroying teh institutionz:
I think the record is fairly indisputable that national security issues have been used for partisan electoral advantage in recent years: terrorism threats have been overhyped near elections, predictions have been made about terrorist attacks occurring if the other party wins, people’s patriotism has been questioned.
The mating call of the centrist is to describe deplorable behavior by one party as a problem of “partisanship”. My, how swiftly tumescence blooms when those magical syllables are spoken. Because denying a problem lies with a particular party makes it easier to argue that institutions need to be reorganized to fix dire problems. And from there it’s child’s play to advocate changes to institutions that would force them to operate according to specific visions of governmental power that never have to be acknowledged or challenged.
The desire to remove “politics and partisanship” from the operation of national security policy reveals his true master: the institutional apparatus of the national security state. When it appears that apparatus is being manipulated for partisan advantage, he balks; he’s complained about the politically-motivated nature of sting operations which have little national security value, fer instance. But when an incident or program can be used to justify an expansive vision of national security goals and powers, watch out.
Connecting everything that happens everywhere to Iran flexing its terrorist muscles to threaten Israel. Law enforcement programs that gain information with no relevance to stopping terrorist organizations. Drone strikes everywhere, on everyone.
Clarke advocates a maximalist vision of the US security state in which the government can do anything, anywhere to anyone. And that it can’t be sullied with “politics”.
Raise your hand if you’re a centrist.