In a moment Ill

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In a moment I’ll discuss Richard Clarke’s very strong performances on the two Sunday shows I watched this morning (Russert and Blitzer). But let me first note Richard Perle’s comments in response to Clarke’s on CNN — which just finished up a few moments ago, just before 1 PM on the East Coast.

Given the character assassination and attacks peddled by administration surrogates over the last week, I did not know quite what to expect. But I must say I was surprised.

I don’t think I heard Perle utter one ad hominem attack. There was some disinformation about operational links between Iraq and al Qaida. But by and large he argued that Clarke simply didn’t grasp the nature of the war on terrorism. And he focused on what really is the central issue — whether the war on terrorism is principally a battle against states (which sponsor terrorist groups or, we might say, launder violence through them) or transnational terrorist organizations who are not fundamentally reliant on state sponsors.

That’s the essential question. And in a new column out in Newsweek Fareed Zakaria tackles it.

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