URGENCY….John “Zizka” Emerson makes a good point about Condoleezza Rice’s testimony on Thursday:

Rice spoke repeatedly about “structural and legal impediments”, “structural problems”, “structural inability”, etc., etc. The basic idea is that the failure to respond to warnings about terrorism was because of problems in the bureaucracy, and that the Bush administration was working on these problems when 9/11 hit.

Richard Clarke knew all about structural problems. When Clinton’s National Security Adviser Sandy Berger “convened the Principals [Cabinet-level officials] in crisis mode”, he was taking steps to get all of the top people in the Clinton Administration to work at overcoming the structural problems of the system.

This really does get to the heart of Clarke’s critique: when “chatter” increased in December of 1999, Clinton pulled out all the stops and made sure the bureaucracy understood the urgency of the problem. The result was several millennium plots foiled.

But when the chatter increased in July of 2001, President Bush didn’t see it as an urgent issue. Instead of sounding the alarm, he went on vacation.

And since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a couple of pictures. On the left is Fallujah yesterday, the center of a week-old uprising that threatens our entire mission in Iraq. On the right is our war president, George Bush, demonstrating his sense of urgency over this problem by, yes, taking yet another vacation. In case you’re curious, he was leading a nature tour of his ranch in Crawford.

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