Tuesday, September 26

Condi Speaks Up

Condi's reaction to Clinton's temper tantrum...

Some excerpts:

"The notion somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat there and didn't do that (try to kill Bin Laden) is just flatly false - and I think the 9/11 commission understood that," Rice said during a wide-ranging meeting with Post editors and reporters.

"What we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding (8) years," Rice added.

The secretary of state also sharply disputed Clinton's claim that he "left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy" for the incoming Bush team during the presidential transition in 2001.

"We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al Qaeda," Rice responded during the hourlong session

She also said Clinton's claims that Richard Clarke - the White House anti-terror guru hyped by Clinton as the country's "best guy" - had been demoted by Bush were bogus.

"Richard Clarke was the counterterrorism czar when 9/11 happened. And he left when he did not become deputy director of homeland security, some several months later," she said.

And on the war on terror:

Transitioning to the global war on terror, an animated Rice questioned, "When are we going to stop blaming ourselves for the rise of terrorism?"

Asked about recently leaked internal U.S. intelligence estimates that claimed the Iraq war was fueling terrorist recruiting, Rice said: "Now that we're fighting back, of course they are fighting back, too."

"I find it just extraordinary that the argument is, all right, so they're using the fact they're being challenged in the Middle East and challenged in Iraq to recruit, therefore you've made the war on terrorism worse.

"It's as if we were in a good place on Sept. 11. Clearly, we weren't," she added.

"These are people who want to fight against us, and they're going to find a reason. And yes, they will recruit, but it doesn't mean you stop pursuing strategies that are ultimately going to stop them," Rice said.

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