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Monday, September 25, 2006

A Glimpse of Narcissistic Rage (Truth or Consequences)

Isn't it interesting that the same people infesting our intelligence agencies who have been trying to undermine President Bush for 5 1/2 years would now leak a document claiming our policies have increased terrorism and made us less safe at the same time as this performance by former President Clinton? Isn't it interesting that Nancy Pelosi would simultaneously make this statement: "Five years after 9/11, and Osama bin Laden is still free and not a single terrorist who planned 9/11 has been caught and brought to justice. President Bush should read the intelligence carefully before giving another misleading speech about progress in the war on terrorism."?

Apparently she hasn't been paying much attention to the war on terror... If she was, she'd know that a number of people connected directly to 9/11 have been captured. Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, who helped plan the attacks; Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, who managed funding for the attacks; and Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, the liason between the hijackers and the al Qaeda leadership, have all been captured
.


A great deal of what is being said and written about Bill Clinton’s raging performance on Fox Sunday night is as unpleasant as was his demeanor toward Chris Wallace. This column (excerpt) lays out the claims made and the facts known about as well as anyone can:

September 25, 2006

Bill Clinton: Play It as It Lies
By Ronald A. Cass, Real Clear Politics

“Former President Bill Clinton, never one to let truth stand in the way of a good line, has decided to reincarnate himself as our tough, anti-terror President. The man who ran away from military service and displayed striking contempt for our armed forces has now announced that he did more - and would do more - to combat Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda than anyone else. In his view, he should be recognized as the best man to fight that enemy.

Speaking to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, Clinton made a bevy of startlingly anti-factual remarks. He announced, for instance, that conservatives had criticized him for obsessing about bin Laden during his presidency - rather than the truth that he was roundly condemned for doing next to nothing about this serious threat to American security. Clinton blamed the Bush Administration for failing to stop the al-Qaeda terrorists before 9/11, saying that the Administration had eight months to get bin Laden and didn't. That conveniently overlooks that Clinton's Administration had eight years to do that job, with al-Qaeda using the last two of those years to plan 9/11.

One of Clinton's bigger whoppers was this declaration about the fight against bin Laden: "I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since. And if I were still president, we'd have 20,000 more troops [in Afghanistan] trying to kill him."

The man who was in the Soviet Union demonstrating against the American military during Vietnam, who as President left our armed forces short on so many fronts, now is - in his own 20/20 hindsight - The Defense President. Now he criticizes the Bush Administration for not doing enough, proclaims himself the champion of effective military action, and implies none too subtly that the fight against terrorism would go better if we had a Clinton in the White House instead of a Bush.

This isn't mere spin. It's full-scale invention


Before anyone starts taking our most recent ex-President too seriously, let's review the bidding. Clinton wasn't the President who ordered the armed forces to go after bin Laden without reservation, to get him "dead or alive." He wasn't the one who sent thousands of troops after al-Qaeda and nations that harbor and support terrorists.

Instead, President Clinton responded to attacks on our troops in Somalia by withdrawing, and responded to attacks by al-Qaeda on our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya by bombing the aspirin factory of an innocent pharmaceutical firm in Sudan. He reacted to al-Qaeda's bombing of the USS Cole by lobbing a few cruise missiles at empty tents in the desert. He turned down Sudanese offers to cooperate in tracking down and capturing bin Laden.

The bipartisan 9/11 Commission concluded that - far from doing more than anyone to kill the brutal murderer who now is the international face of terrorism - President Clinton had flatly refused to allow the military or CIA to kill Osama bin Laden. Clinton's instructions were that bin Laden should be taken, if at all, alive not dead. CIA officials reported that this instruction cut the chance of success in half.

That is not to say that the Clinton Administration wasn't in a better position to eliminate bin Laden. Evidence before the Commission showed that the Clinton Administration had live footage of Osama bin Laden at a camp in Afghanistan in the Fall of 2000, a year before the 9/11 attacks, but didn't act. NBC's Tom Brokaw, playing the tape on-air in 2004, noted rightly that this was an enormous opportunity lost. Having gotten bin Laden in your sights isn't something to brag about if you weren't willing to pull the trigger.

Clinton, like all presidents, had some top-notch advisers, including some thoughtful advisers on military and foreign affairs. But he is quintessentially a temporizer, one who always has had difficulty reaching a conclusion and sticking to it, and not someone who was terribly interested in either preserving our military power or using it effectively in world affairs. He'd much rather talk one on one with world leaders, persuaded he could convince them to do what he wanted by the concerted application of charm.

Talk and compromise - not clear moral principles and the will to do whatever is needed to support them - were the hallmarks of the Clinton Administration, reflecting the person at the top. Nothing Clinton says now can change that, though he still evinces conviction that he can talk us into anything - just as he thought he could when he denied point blank having had anything to do with Monica Lewinsky.

Clinton always has been the one who, caught in a compromising position, would disarmingly ask, as the parody has it, "what are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?" His instinct for lying, even under oath, earned him the second presidential impeachment in American history.

Contrast Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Consider, for example, their different approaches to Yasser Arafat.

The Clintons cozy relationship with the Arafats was symbolized by Mrs. Clinton's embrace of Mrs. Arafat - on stage immediately after a speech by Mrs. Arafat condemning Israel. President Clinton's relationship, though less picturesque, was no less close. Arafat was the world leader Clinton met with most often. Clinton was certain he could talk Arafat into making peace in the Middle East - and secure Clinton's legacy. Clinton invited Arafat and Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak to the now infamous Camp David summit meeting of 2000. He pressured Barak to offer heroic compromises, only to have Arafat at the last minute turn to Intifada to try to get more. In the end, Clinton's charm wasn't enough.

President Bush, in sharp distinction, saw Arafat as a terrorist and refused to meet with him unless he renounced the destruction of Israel as a goal and terror against civilians as a means. Bush, not Clinton, assured Israel of our full support against terrorism - and meant it….

Someone else should be trusted to do the scoring when it comes to Clinton's time in office. In the history books, he deserves to be counted as the President who did not protect us against al-Qaeda, who left the impression they could attack us without penalty, whose wasted opportunities contributed to the travesty of 9/11.

Tough talk now should not be allowed to obscure that fact. Lies now should not go unanswered.” Ronald A. Cass

Ronald A. Cass is Chairman of the Center for the Rule of Law, Dean Emeritus of Boston University School of Law, and author of “The Rule of Law in America” (Johns Hopkins University Press).

To see the entire article, click here.

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1 Comments:

At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Joe Alves Jr. said...

Clinton needed a fall guy when he attacked Chris Wallace for asking him a question that too many of Clinton's softball left wing journalist pals wouldn't dare to ask him. Like most political spinners, he wants to try and re-write history to hide the things that he should have done but didn't do, because he was so tied up in chasing everything that wore a skirt. I'm not saying that Clinton didn't do some good things when he was in office. I'm sure he did, but at the moment I just can't seem to think of anything. I remember that while he was in office he increased our taxes when he really had no reason to, and with the help of his HUD chief, Andrew Couomo, they devised a plan that involved mayors of major cities to file frivolous law suits against the American firearms manufacturers, to put them out of business. And,--how about all the fun times that he spent in his "oral" office? These are the things that I remember about Clinton while he was in office. Now, everything is coming back on poor Bubba, and it's biting him in the butt, so he's angry about that! "What right does this right wing conservative from the Fox Channel have to ask me a question like that?" "This is nothing but another Right Wing conspiracy to get back at me!" "I can tell by the smirk on your face that you got me with a "Gotcha!" Of course, It was okay one day when he stood up at a rally and accused Bush of being a liar, and as I recall, he had a big smirk on his face that day. George Bush just gave a press conference a few minutes ago, and some lady in the crowd asked him one of these controversial questions about something that happened prior to 9 /11, and he told her flat out; "I don't have the time do any finger pointing." "I'm too busy trying to protect the American People." "History will tell the story." I agree with him. History will tell the story, provided we don't get another draft dodger in the White House, like Bubba.

 

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