Friday, April 02, 2004


This afternoon I was listening to Air America and a caller mentioned a speech Joe Biden gave on Sept. 10th, 2001 in which he was deeply critical of the Bush administration's obsession with national missile defense. Tonight Josh Marshal also mentions that same speech, which included this eerie quote:

Sure, we'll do all we can to defend ourselves against any threat, nobody denies that, but even the Joint Chiefs says that a strategic nuclear attack is less likely than a regional conflict, a major theater war, terrorist attacks at home or abroad, or any number of other real issues. We'll have diverted all that money to address the least likely threat, while the real threat comes to this country in the hold of a ship, the belly of a plane, or smuggled into a city in the middle of the night in a vial in a backpack.

(emphasis mine)

This is relevant because of the recent revelation that Condoleeza Rice was scheduled to give a speech the next day on national security that barely even mentioned the threat of terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda. Josh reveals that Condi's speech was apparently meant to be the rebuttal to Biden's speech and that both speeches were part of a intense, behind-the-scenes battle in Washington over the issue of missile defense and asymmetric threats.

This is particularly important to me because I saw Biden's speech repeated on C-SPAN the night of September 10th and I have often thought of it since then. Little did I realize how significant a speech it was until now, otherwise I might have brought it up earlier. Read the speech if you want to appreciate what is probably the last bit of public discussion of national security that will not be tainted by 9/11.


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