Richard Clarke was a high level civil servant in the Clinton and Bush administrations (at least early on). Today in the Washington Post, he writes about how the Iraq debacle has sucked all the oxygen out of the room where the important people meet, leaving no time to deal with other problems.
In the end, there are only 12 seats at the conference table in the White House Situation Room, and the key players' schedules mean that they can seldom meet there together in person or on secure video conference for more than about 10 hours each week. When issues don't receive first-tier consideration, they can slip by for months.HIS number one of those that have been neglected is
Global warming: When the possibility of invading Iraq surfaced in 2001, senior Bush administration officials hadn't thought much about global warming, except to wonder whether it was caused by human activity or by sunspots. Today, the world's scientists and many national leaders worry that the world has passed the point of no return on global warming. If it has, then human damage to the ecosphere will cause more major cities to flood and make the planet significantly less conducive to human habitation -- all over the lifetime of a child now in kindergarten. British Prime Minister Tony Blair keeps trying to convince President Bush of the magnitude of the problem, but in every session between the two leaders Iraq squeezes out the time to discuss the pending planetary disaster.
Read his formulation carefully. Now tell me that S. Fred and Co. are innocent little tooth faries.