Neil Cavuto: Alright, six days to 9/11, five years since America was attacked by terrorists, proof that the nation is more secure? Depends on who you talk to. Democratic leaders out with a report called “The Neo Con”. It claims that Bush Republicans have failed in the War on Terror.
(video of Harry Reid)
Neil Cavuto: Alright, to General Wesley Clark, right now his thoughts on that, part of this report issued today. General, we haven’t been attacked almost five years. That’s not bad.
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, I, I’m delighted that we haven’t, and I hope we’ll never be attacked. The attack on 9/11 occurred on the President’s watch. He took us into a war with Iraq we didn’t have to fight. It’s been used to incentivize recruiting in Al Qaeda. The number of people who are affiliated with Al Qaeda worldwide has more than doubled since 2001. Our Armed Forces are bogged down in Iraq. We haven’t been able to effectively engage with North Korea. We’re hearing the tom-toms beating for war with Iran. I think the American people can judge. This administration’s policy has been a mistake, and he’s not made us safer. He’s left us more vulnerable.
Neil Cavuto: Let me ask you, General, the folks we’re fighting in Iraq right now, if we weren’t fighting them in Iraq right now, where would they be?
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well those, a lot of those folks who wouldn’t be fighting at all, because what we did is we incentivized a whole generation of young radical people to come and defend Islam against the United States. That’s the foreign terrorists that are there, anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 to 3,000.
Neil Cavuto: So, so General, who, who incentivized the USS Cole attack? Who incentivized the ’93 attack on the World Trade Center?
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, you’re- now you’ve just changed the question. You changed the question. We did not have to attack Iraq. What we could have done is focused on Afghanistan and finished the job in Afghanistan, but Neil, we didn’t do that. You realize when we went into Afghanistan, we left Afghanistan again after only a couple of months. We left 8,000 combat troops there. They- we did none of the reconstruction. We didn’t help the Afghan people recreate their economy. It had been devastated-
Neil Cavuto: Well, could I ask you this, General?
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: -by the Soviets. So, we left a problem.
Neil Cavuto: We, we, then didn’t, we didn’t respond- Well, wait a minute. We didn’t respond to the USS Cole in any measurable way. We didn’t respond to the ’93 attacks on the World Trade Center in any way. So, is it just because this President’s a Republican that you’re bashing him and the prior one was not that you’re not.
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: No. It has nothing to do with that. In fact, you know, the people who attacked us at the World Trade Center, we arrested them. We broke up that ring. As far as the Cole attacks were concerned, a complete plan was worked up. By the time they had worked the plan up, it was December of 2000. The administration was about to go out of office. A Republican was going to come in. I think Richard Clarke has told the full story of passing on a twenty-page plan along with all the details to the National Security Advisor Condeleeza Rice. They never got a hearing. This President went on vacation in August of 2001, despite the warnings that Al Qaeda was trying to attack the United States-
Neil Cavuto: But there were, there were warning- Bu, but, but General-
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: -without ever summoning his cabinet officers together.
Neil Cavuto: Here’s what makes me question-
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: That’s dereliction!
Neil Cavuto: Here’s what makes me question how genuine you are on this issue. There were plenty of warnings in plenty of prior attacks and enough blame to go around in plenty of prior administrations, both Democrat and Republican, but what bothers a lot of folks who see this issue trumpeted as political theater today is that nothing is acknowledged about how five years after we were attacked in this country, we have not been attacked again in this country. Would it have killed any of you at this presser today to have at least acknowledged that?
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, Senator Harry Reid did Acknowledge the fact that we haven’t been attacked. But let me give you an example, Neil. In 1999, we got word and intercepted a terrorist group that was trying to attack Los Angeles Airport for New Years of 2000. We broke that attack up. That’s because we had an effective White House counter-terrorism strategy that was coordinating the agencies. That strategy fell apart in the early months of the Bush administration. You can talk to the people. It’s, it’s a, it’s a matter of record. This administration wanted to focus on weapons of mass destruction coming from North Korea. They wanted to focus on an ABM. They did not focus on the problem of terrorism until it was too late.
Neil Cavuto: Alright, General.
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: And then they took us to a war we didn’t have to fight in Iraq that has made the problem more difficult to come to terms with.
Neil Cavuto: Alright, General Wesley Clark, thank you.
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Thank you Neil.