Illustration by Bob AulRichard A. Clarke served as the National Security Council's head of counterterrorism under Republicans and Democrats, from George H.W. Bush to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. But the Virginia conservative left the Bush administration when it became clear that its War on Terror was among the greatest strategic mistakes in American foreign policy. Salon.com's Joe Conason interviewed Clarke following the publication of Clarke's new book,Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror. Conason asked Clarke about Vice President Dick Cheney's assertion that no U.S. administration had ever responded to the terrorist threat:
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It's possible that the vice president has spent so little time studying the terrorist phenomenon that he doesn't know about the successes in the 1990s. There were many. The Clinton administration stopped Iraqi terrorism against the United States through military intervention. It stopped Iranian terrorism against the United States through covert action. It stopped the al-Qaida attempt to have a dominant influence in Bosnia. It stopped the terrorist attacks at the millennium. It stopped many other terrorist attacks, including on the U.S. embassy in Albania. And it began a lethal covert-action program against al-Qaida; it also launched military strikes against al-Qaida. Maybe the vice president was so busy running Halliburton at the time that he didn't notice.