1,750. 10/12/2000

“Even after the [USS] Cole bombing [on October 12, 2000], [Counterterrorism Coordinator Richard] Clarke could not persuade Defense Secretary William Cohen or his top uniformed officer, Hugh Shelton, to take an offensive strike against al Qaeda or the Taliban seriously. ‘Although we fully shared Mr. Clarke’s anger and frustration,’ recalled [then-Secretary of State] Madeleine Albright [on March 23, 2004], ‘it was not clear that air strikes directed at training camps would cause any significant disruption to al Qaeda.’ Clarke had by now given up on the Pentagon. Their ‘overwhelming message,’ he said later, ‘was *we don’t want to do this.* ‘ Even after a direct assault on American sailors aboard the Cole, the consensus among the Pentagon’s civilian and uniformed leaders, Clarke remembered, was ‘that their capacity not be utilized for commando operations in Afghanistan.’ ”

 – Steve Coll, Ghost Wars, Pages 538-539

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