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The Night of 9/11 – A Night of Jokes?

Here’s Richard Clarke recounting the night of 9/11 with Chris Matthews:

CLARKE: He had been on the job for eight months. He had just gotten kicked in the stomach by the worst attack since 1941.


CLARKE: He wanted to prove the United States was a big, bad guy.

MATTHEWS: So, a big bang in response?

CLARKE: A big bang in response.

And they actually said—on 9/11, they actually sat around saying that night…


CLARKE: … well, we will do Afghanistan, but that‘s not enough.

MATTHEWS: OK. With that kind of thinking, FDR would have invaded China…

CLARKE: You‘re exactly right.

MATTHEWS: … after Pearl Harbor. Get—let‘s get a bigger country to attack.

CLARKE: Yes. Well, I said that. I said that in the meeting that night, except I said Mexico.


MATTHEWS: Yes. Just pick a target.

CLARKE: And that kind of—that kind of…

MATTHEWS: They didn‘t get the joke?

CLARKE: Well, they didn‘t—they didn‘t get the joke, and they didn‘t include me in any meetings for the rest of the day.

MATTHEWS: Ah. Irony wasn‘t appreciated…

CLARKE: Not at all.

Imagine that. Joking on the night of 9/11 wasn’t appreciated. Not surprising coming from the man who advocated not talking about bin Laden prior to 9/11 (WSJ April 2001):

That view was, and still is, what officials believe. But National Security Council counterterrorism chief Richard Clark, who held the same job during the Clinton administration, has been urging Mr. Bush’s national security team not to talk about Mr. bin Laden in such alarmist terms, preferably not at all.

(And as a side note, the Matthews suggestion that going to war with Iraq is akin to FDR making war on China afterPearl Harbor is one of the more ludicrous things he’s said in quite some time. China was at war with Japan at the time of Pearl Harbor. For the Matthews analogy to work, the U.S. would have attacked Israel post 9/11.)


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