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Bill Clinton and the Osama finger wag
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, September 24, 2006

Chris Wallace got Bill Clinton all riled up in an interview that aired today. In it Wallace had the temerity to ask Clinton why he didn't do more to catch Osama bin Laden.

In fact the question was:
CW: When we announced that you were going to be on FOX News Sunday, I got a lot of email from viewers, and I’ve got to say, I was surprised most of them wanted me to ask you this question: Why didn’t you do more to put Bin Laden and al Qaeda out of business when you were President? There’s a new book out which I suspect you’ve read called The Looming Tower. And it talks about how the fact that when you pulled troops out of Somalia in 1993, Bin Laden said, "I have seen the frailty and the weakness and the cowardice of US troops." Then there was the bombing of the embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole

WJC: Okay…

CW: …May I just finish the question, sir? And after the attack, the book says Bin Laden separated his leaders because he expected an attack and there was no response. I understand that hindsight is 20/20…

WJC: No, let’s talk about…

CW: …but the question is why didn’t you do more? Connect the dots and put them out of business?
As you can tell the heat began to build immediately after it became evident where the question was headed. And immediately, Clinton became defensive. Don't forget it's only a couple of weeks after "Path to 9/11" aired in which Clinton was savaged. And he was angry then. Of course Clinton mentions that program (characterizing its producer as a 'right-wing conservative') and the fact that "Bush's neocons" thought he was, in fact, too "obsessed" with bin Laden than he should have been to imply he was, despite the program's claims, involved in chasing bin Laden down.

I'm not sure how that could really be true given the lack of action taken to find and kill or capture bin Laden, but as I pointed out in a post when the 9/11 report was issued, Clinton and Clarke (who he touts as the go-to guy on all of this) really did nothing during this time, except plan. Interestingly it is Clarke's book which Clinton says contains the definitive "factual assertions" which apparently Clinton feels absolve him of blame. But, back to the post I reference. I point out in there that essentially all that happened then is that plan after plan was developed with no action actually taken, ever, to actually kill or capture bin Laden. It was all a paper drill.

Clinton essentially confirms that in the interview and provides a raft of excuses as to why nothing ever happened:
I authorized the CIA to get groups together to try to kill him. The CIA was run by George Tenet, who President Bush gave the Medal of Freedom to and said he did a good job. The country never had a comprehensive anti-terror operation until I came to office. If you can criticize me for one thing, you can criticize me for this: after the Cole, I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and launch a full scale attack/search for Bin Laden. But we needed basing rights in Uzbekistan, which we got (only) after 9/11. The CIA and the FBI refused to certify that Bin Laden was responsible while I was there. They refused to certify. So that meant I would have had to send a few hundred Special Forces in helicopters and refuel at night. Even the 9/11 Commission didn’t do (think we should have done) that. Now the 9/11 Commission was a political document, too? All I’m asking is if anybody wants to say I didn’t do enough, you read Richard Clarke’s book.
Now consider this. His intent was to overthrow the Taliban and then launch a full scale attack/search for bin Laden. His entire argument for not doing anything hinges on three items:

1. He couldn't get basing rights in Uzbekistan.

OK. That has what to do with anything?

Look at how we initially assaulted the Taliban when Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) began:
When the terrorist ignored those demands, about 15 land-based bombers and 25 Navy strike aircraft from carriers launched the first strikes in Operation Enduring Freedom. In addition, U.S. and British ships and submarines launched some 50 Tomahawk missiles, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers reported that day.
Long-range bombers, air refueled and able to travel tens of thousands of miles. Navy strike aircraft from carriers. Tomahawk missiles. 40 aircraft and 50 tomahawks. Not the most formidable force in the world, but certainly adequate to the job. The same forces were available to Clinton.

Bases in Uzbekistan weren't necessary.

2. He would have had to send in a few hundred Special Forces by helicopter with refueling at night.

Why? Again, with OEF, we destroyed their capability to strike back initially with those 40 aircraft and 50 tomahawks. There was a reason for that:
The forces targeted Taliban-held airfields, terrorist training camps, command-and-control nodes, and anti-aircraft positions in what defense leaders described as a blend of 21st-century technology and 19th-century military tactics. The effort combined air power, precision-guided munitions and state-of-the-art communications with thousands of Afghan warriors on horseback or foot.
This strategy and knowledge wasn't available a few years earlier?

And then we sent in "a few hundred Special Forces" etc:
Initially, the operation involved a relatively small force — a few hundred special operations forces and thousands of Afghan forces in the Northern Alliance supported by powerful U.S. air support. U.S. Marines and soldiers joined the force to clean out remnants of terrorist elements still in Afghanistan.
Somehow we managed to do that without helicopters refueling at night.

All this to say, militarily, Clinton's spouting a crock of crap. We did, in OEF, what he said he couldn't do because of Uzbekistan and night air-refueling. Nonsense.

3. "The CIA and the FBI refused to certify that Bin Laden was responsible while I was there. They refused to certify."

So what? That's why the president gets paid the big bucks. To make decisions like that. Everyone but the CIA and FBI apparently knew who was responsible. Since when do those agencies get a defacto veto on whether or not to strike an enemy? Yet the Clinton claim is that since the FBI and CIA wouldn't "certify" he couldn't do the conventional OEF kind of thing that Bush did, he was stuck with the more clandestine route based out of Uzbekistan (and, of course, out of the question when Uzbekistan said no).

Again, no one had any more evidence on Oct. 7, 2001 that bin Laden was responsible for 9/11 than Clinton had that he was responsible for the USS Cole, but we went in anyway and weren't worried about the CIA or FBI "certifying" anything. In fact, I don't recall a single mention of that even being necessary. But that is indeed the major reason being used for inaction by Clinton. In fact, he mentions it again later on in the interview:
I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get Bin Laden. I regret it, but I did try. And I did everything I thought I responsibly could. The entire military was against sending Special Forces into Afghanistan and refueling by helicopter and no one thought we could do it otherwise. We could not get the CIA and the FBI to certify that al Qaeda was responsible while I was President. [Not] until I left office. And yet I get asked about this all the time and they had three times as much time to get him as I did and no one ever asks them about this. I think that’s strange.
As for the last part, I'm not sure what context, mathematically speaking, Clinton is framing this, but unless he means that he only knew bin Laden was a threat for the last 2 years of his administration (which would coincide with the Embassy bombings in Africa in August of 1998) and Bush has been in for 6, it doesn't make much sense. And even that's not particularly convincing since almost everyone acknowledges that al-Qaeda has been significantly degraded and, in fact, decimated, since 9/11. They certainly lost none of their capability during the last 2 years of the Clinton administration.

Whether or not bin Laden is leading much of anything anymore (or whether he's even alive) seems questionable. But it is certain that the organization he led then has taken a pretty severe beating in all important areas.

To Clinton's point that the Bush administration downplayed and down-graded the significance of terror and bin Laden, that's entirely possible. But given that the intentions and plans cooked up on Clinton's watch were never executed and despite all the talk about the danger of bin Laden, in fact, the Clinton administration had done virtually nothing to neutralize him beyond planning - Clinton and Clarke's protestations notwithstanding.

So I can see why Clinton's a little exercised. This bit of history isn't revealing itself in a very flattering light for a guy so concerned with his legacy. And I've got to tell you, if the only real argument you can muster in your defense is to refer to Richard Clarke's book, you are indeed in trouble.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Recall this 1998 indictment of UBL by the Clinton DOJ.

So, was the stuff that went into this indictment just "fluff" by some aAG, or was there a factual basis, or perhaps the grand jury was just lied to.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
I didn’t see the interview, Did chris Wallace ask about the refusal of extradition of UBL from Somalia by the state department in 1996? (or was it 98)
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
I’m a Conservative Republican....Clinton, in the words of the Economist, "...always takes the easy path." Clinton never wanted to put his poll number on the line, Clinton needed to be "loved." It’s not that Clinton COULDN’T have mounted an effort to capture or kill UBL. It was that he didn’t want to take the RISK. Body bags and dead Afghans might sour his standing with the "Soccer Mom’s." It was EASIER to do NOTHING than to risk his numbers. That’s his "sin."
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
1. Clinton said he authorized the killing of Bin Laden...I thought by law they could only capture him? (Thus all the crazy plans with ergonomic chairs and special tapes for his beard.)

2. Tommy Frank’s autobiogrpahy: I did not get one piece of actionable intelligence from Richard Clarke.

hmmmm, sounds a lot like tons of planning and no action on Clarke’s part.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
And exactly when are you going to ask the question about what caused UBL to pull the trigger on 9/11? Was he just having a bad hair day? Trained in advance, positioned to take action, the perpetrators chose to attack on a specific day. What caused UBL and Zawahiri to decide on 9/11? Did they flip a coin?
I am tired, just plain tired of this meme: "It’s all Bill Clinton’s fault"
Well, President Bush hasn’t caught the SOB either so let us not be so high and mighty. And Bush has devoted his Presidency to the task over 5 years.
Second, for all our grandiose and macho talk, we did exactly what UBL wanted, we pulled out of Saudi Arabia. Less than 300 Americans left in country, down from thousands. Why? Because we were afraid of the SOB’s reach and so is the House of Saud.
Third, of the the top ten countries ravaged by terrorism, the US is not even listed. And the top four countries with terrorism are, religiously speaking,: Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, and Jewish. If the Hindus had been piloting those planes, we would be all over India. And if they were Catholic, we would be all over Colombia. I guess people would have found a reason to blame Clinton for both of those, too.
So let us stop all this foolishness and finger pointing and macho swagger. It is five years later and the US is no safer today than it was on 9/10. What is there to be proud of in that record?

Written By: Wisconsin Dale
URL: http://
I am tired, just plain tired of this meme: "It’s all Bill Clinton’s fault"
Where in this interview did you see this meme? Clinton’s failures are just that- his failures. As noted previously, every Pres. since (and including) Carter shares blame.

Stop trying to deflect the issue
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
Harun, I BELIEVE the assassination rule applies to heads of state, i.e., no dead Allende’s not no dead terrorists. Clinton was caught up in "The Law Enforcement" Paradigm. Killing UBL, was not good, putting him in jail WAS. Of course jail would have meant court and court would have meant evidence. And the evidence that UBL was some kind of mastermind of terrorism was probably not "beyond a reasonable doubt", at least evidence that the Administration was wanting to bring to court.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
But I do appreciate the litany of DNC talking points Wisconsin Dale...
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
Clinton also asks why Wallace hasn’t asked the same questions of the Bush Administration. What about their inaction and failure to understand the threat of terror and radical Islam? Why haven’t they done more to find Bin Laden? With all the money we funnel into intelligence and the ‘War on Terror’ they haven’t been able to find him in 5 years! Instead, they have spent the time endlessly pursuing a policy in Iraq that has not only exacerbated the radical movement in the Middle East, but has needlessly taken the lives of countless Iraqi citizens and U.S. soldiers. It seems hypocritical at best to fault Clinton without making reference to the mistakes and ultimately the blunders of the Republican leadership.
Written By: SD CA
URL: http://
Gee Wisconsin Dale, UBL and his "posse" managed to strike every 2-3 years, and here we are FIVE YEARS after 9-11, I’d say we managed to disrupt his life and plots fairly well.

Again to echo Shark, tell Howard that you gave your best, though.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Go Bill! It’s about time that weasel Chris Wallace and the FOX News network got it fed back to them.

I live in the DC area and have friends who have been involved in both administrations policies towards terrorism. ALL agree that Clinton had a much more direct process in the hunt for Bin Laden. After Bush got into office, everything fell apart.

As for some of the comments about basing rights and whether the FBI and CIA certified that it was Bin Laden who hit the Cole: Without basing rights, a large scale attack into Afganistan could not take place. For a large force, you need close support fo your troops. Also, with the FBI (who at the time was being run by Louy Freeh, a GOP hack) and CIA not confirming Bin Ladens role, only a small special forces team could be sent in - with no support, and not even the exact where abouts of Bin Laden. It would have been a disaster.

None of this is pointed out be the right-wingers and Neocons, who drape themselves in religon but commit false witness to any of their enemies they see fit. Whether it be the Democrats, moderates, troops or average citizen.

Go Bill Clinton!
Written By: Rob
URL: http://
Frankly, I think Clinton had every right to be angry. First, he was told that the interview would be about his project, but 3 minutes into it, Wallace started in about UBL. So that’s the context.

Second, he’s absolutely right that those people who are criticizing him the loudest now are also the most hypocritical. No one (except maybe Richard Clark) was pushing for large scale military action in Afghanistan. And no president has ever launched a military campaign right before leaving office, which is what Clinton would have had to do (leaving Bush to clean up the mess). Had Clinton done that, he would have been slammed by Republicans. So instead, Clark and others drew up plans and gave them to the incoming Bush administration officials. Those plans immediately began gathering dust.

Now it’s fine to look back with hindsight and talk about what could have been done differently, but most of the people making such criticism seem to gloss over the fact that Clinton’s political opponents (and his immediate successor in office) were far less concerned about Bin Laden and the terrorism issue than he was. 9/11 was a wake up call to everyone, particularly the GOP. So I sympathize with Clinton. Much of the criticism being directed at him now is hypocritical BS coming from people who had their heads way up their asses in the 90s and are now pretending otherwise.
Written By: Anonymous Liberal

Franklin Roosevelt, arguably, utterly failed to see Pearl Harbor coming. In the long view of history, he was entirely forgiven, because he was around during the buildup, but also during the response. His response wiped away his culpability in not predicting the event.

Nobody predicted 9/11, and without 9/11 occuring, nobody would have considered it worth it to send US troops into Afghanistan in large numbers to overthrow the Taliban - and regardless of the fact that it took only a few hundred to take out the Taliban, it took a lot more than that once they were gone. Bill Clinton has a point when he describes a military and intelligence apparatus uninterested and possibly even hostile to the forceful and glaringly visible actions that would have been neccesary, apparently, to nab Bin Laden before 9/11. It was a time when US casualties were, collectively, seized upon as immediate, de jure evidence of policy failure.

If Bin Laden hadn’t killed thousands of Americans on our own soil, probably 9 of any 10 presidents would have played it the way Clinton played it - taking oppotunistic potshots. President Reagan essentially did the same two things - take potshots, and back locals.

The most obvious way to see this is - what are we doing *now*, outside of the Iraq war? We’re not overthrowing governments left and right to get at significant terrorist threats. The US for the most part only engages in one massive project like that at a time, and we were in Kosovo...

9/11 made a lot of things easy that may have been possible, but would have seemed illogical. Bill Clinton caught a raw break by being in power before a paradigm-changing event, and not being in power afterwards. I’m pretty sure he would have wiped out the Taliban after 9/11 as well.

Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
We must be getting close to elections. The new conservative mantra is, "It’s Bill’s fault." If republican’s can’t defend their 5 year record, then deflect it.
Written By: Rob
URL: http://
"Go Bill Clinton!"

Amen! Please. Far away.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Am I confused or did the 911 attack happen on GWB’s administration? Aren’t they the ones who went "on vacation" when they should have been paying attention to the facts of global terrorism?
I seem to remember the guys responsible for the WTC terror attempt that occured a few months into Clinton’s first term are now rotting in jail. I also seem to remember that Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols getting their justice for the A.P. Murrow Building attack. I also seem to remember the Clinton attempt to initiate congressional approval for strong counter terrorism measures exactly 10 years ago.
I cannot as a liberal with strong libertarian leanings give cover for an administration that guts the constitution. I don’t care if they are Repubs or Dems.
Get out and vote. It is the second best weapon we have to stay free.
Peace all.
Written By: Dennis Francis
Clinton also asks why Wallace hasn’t asked the same questions of the Bush Administration
It’s pretty obvious that Clinton is angry because he’s finally been asked a toughie, as opposed to all the slobbering and genuflecting he’s gotten on this last media blitz.

But it’s funny to see the usual list of DNC talking points being listed here by the lefties.

Hint: Pointing out Clinton’s faults doesn’t mean that he’s the ONLY one to blame. Related hint: noting that Bush may have made mistakes doesn’t let Clinton off the hook for his failures. But if that’s the playground the left wants to take this issue to, go ahead. You’ve lost it before and you’ll lose it again.

In the meantime, excuse me while I chuckle at those 2 oldest of Left-wing moonbat chestnuts making appearances in this kerfluffle:
1) FOX EVIL!!!!
2) Vast Right Conspiracy.

All that’s left is for MK to show up and blame Rove, Israel, or both.
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
" First, he was told that the interview would be about his project, but 3 minutes into it, Wallace started in about UBL. So that’s the context."

I don’t think so. There were, according to Wallace, 10 questions, five of them on Clinton’s project. Check the video; ten minutes of unstoppable ranting by Clinton. Reminds me of the "I didn’t have sex with that woman,..." rant. Given Clinton’s documented self-serving and tenuous grasp of truth, it can only be a matter of days before someone lists all the half-truths and untruths put forth by him during this memorable interview.

Short comments by Chris Wallace;


Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"All that’s left is for MK to show up and blame Rove, Israel, or both."

Well, Chris Wallace looks kind of Jewish to me.

Wow! This sure kicked over an anthill. Reminds me of the good old days of the Clinton administration. Sex, conspiracies, evil right-wingers(but that is redundant, yes?), something for everyone. I must admit I had a lot of laughs then, but he is getting rather tiresome.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Franklin Roosevelt, arguably, utterly failed to see Pearl Harbor coming. In the long view of history, he was entirely forgiven, because he was around during the buildup, but also during the response. His response wiped away his culpability in not predicting the event.
And exactly who do you see blaming Bill Clinton for not predicting 9/11? The question was "Why didn’t you do more to put Bin Laden and al Qaeda out of business when you were President?"

That being said, I believe Clinton is being unfairly attacked. Not that his interview responses weren’t bullsh*t, as McQ demonstrates, but on 9/11 Bin Laden raised the bar on everyone, not just Clinton. He shocked everyone. Bin Laden redefined—in all of our minds, not just Clinton’s— what terrorism is, and what determined terrorists are capable of. In a couple of hours, Bin Laden transformed terrorism from a mere security issue to a full-blown national and global security issue. We didn’t bring war to terrorism following 9/11, but rather that morning Bin Laden brought terrorism to war.

Terrorism is war.

Written By: Peter Jackson
Dear Clinton supporters,

Stop being so defensive. Yes, even St. Clinton made a few errors - wow, he is human after all. Not to mention many of his failures stem from systemic problems of that time and some that still exist, i.e. assassination rules, or our armed forces needing 2 division to send in one seal team, etc. I don’t think we’re really laying the blame on too thick.

However, we all know that one ounce prevention is worth a pound of cure, which is why are focusing on his record. You know, those who do not learn from history...

Written By: Harun
URL: http://
This bit of history isn’t revealing itself in a very flattering light for a guy so concerned with his legacy.
Justly or unjustly, Clinton’s legacy is pretty much sealed already. It starts with another wagging finger, and a statement that began "I want you to listen to me..."

Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Oh, and BTW, what exactly was Sandy Berger trying to smuggle out in his pants?

Just curious.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Clinton set up a Terrorism Task Force specifically to capture Bin Laden during his term as president. GW Bush dissolved it as soon as he took office. Them’s the facts and they speak volumes.

Chris Wallace is just about the worst journalist working today.
Written By: Obie
URL: http://
god i love the internet:

the best was some neo con idiot trying to discredit this link by saying CNN made it up, post 2001
Written By: Neocons really do suck
URL: http://
There is one point about the interview that I haven’t seen discussed.

Given Bill Clinton’s comments today, a few of the less mentioned, so would say less important, lines are completely off the mark. Now juxtapose that with the uncontested reports that say he has a "photographic memory" or at least something real close, and you have to ask yourself if Bill Clinton is still within that cacoon that isolates Presidents from the rest of America (i.e. Bush 41 and UPC reader).
Written By: Neo
URL: http://

How about a link?
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Bill Clinton made the mistake of not heeding the NIE Memo, "Osama Bin Ladin determined to attack the US".

If he heeded that memo, 9/11 would not have happened.

Its all Clinton’s fualt.
Written By: Aldous
URL: http://
Somehow we managed to do that without helicopters refueling at night.
Somehow you got overflight permission from the stans. Somehow you got intelligence cooperation with Iran. Somehow you got the Russian airforce to sit on its hands and do nothing. Somehow Pakistan decided to stop supplying the Taliban. Somehow the worlds largest opium producers transmorgified into thousands of Afghan forces in the Northern Alliance. Somehow it became viable to insert a couple of hundred of light infantry into territory that was totally hostile in every direction.

Carter tried the same dammed thing in the Iran hostage crisis, without all of the above and it did not work in a very bad way. In fact I am pretty sure you use this screw up to hammer Carter, and rightly so.

What do you think Clinton should have done to garner all the support Bush got from France, the druglords, Russia, Mr "massacre 500" Uzbekistan, Iran, Paki-"rogue nuclear weapons R us"-stan? Remember this is pre 11th September 2001.

PS - just kidding about France.
Written By: unaha-closp
Bill should have had all these Christofascists killed instead.
Written By: Simon Magus
URL: http://
This is bias. If you wikipedia Clinton he have pass a lot of laws that were anti terrorist laws. He put Osama on top of his list as the most dangerous person. Clinton have on countless occassion tried to bring peace to the middle east by arranging meetings with Sheron (Sp?) and Ari Fat (sp?) which is in my mind a effort in reducing terrorism.

Anyway, lol you guys blacklist profanity or obscenity? Your website is bias, one sided, and is a joke.
Written By: digitalzombie
URL: http://
I predict ..

According to the previously established rules for Clinton vs. VRWC, sometime in the next few weeks we will learn that Richard Clarke has Alzheimer’s Disease. This will render any additional information from Richard Clarke useless.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
My, my, my!
It seems the neos get just a might touchy, when someone dares to talk back.
Okay, Clinton didn’t get Bin Laden.
So, Bush hasn’t got Bin Laded ("It’s not imortant" was his latest comment), AND he got us into the mess in Iraq.
I’ll take Clintom on this issue any day. He didn’t make the situation better, but at least he didn’t make it worse.
Instead of spreading democracy, we are spreading terror. Now there’s an achievement you can all brag about.
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Where do you Neo’s get off blaming Clinton for your failures? Your arguements hold as much water as a wicker basket, as 1, like many posters stated, the Bush administration went on vaction when they recieved "Osama Bin Laden Determined to Attack the US", and 2, the Bush administration determined it was more necessary to start an unrelated war in Iraq instead of practicing what they preach, to "stay the course" in Afghanistan and abolish the real threat. These past 5 years have demonstrated that accountability has never been a feature of the GOP; and when the ball was thrown to them, they dropped it. End of story. Neocons were in office during 9/11, NOT Dems.

But wait, doesn’t PNAC state we need to fight and win a "multi-front threatre war" to demonstrate our military superiority? Fat lot of good those chickenhawks have done us. Check out the headlines above this one, headlines such as "New NIE Document Determines Iraq War has made the US LESS Safe". Who are you going to blame WHEN (not if) we get attacked again? Are we winning hearts and minds yet?

Holy coincidence Batman! PNAC also USED to say they needed an attack on American soil on the scale of Pearl Harbor for "these radical Reaganite philosophies to gain popular support".

Kiss my ass, your days are numbered and you know it. ...And the number today is 48....
Written By: Jimbo Jones
URL: http://
Reading the exchanges, I can tell by the grammer quality that most of these lefties are DU-ers.
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
They also seem to be ready at a moments notice to fly around the ’sphere defending Clinton. Reminds me of the run in with the Scientologists a while back...

Christofascist? Learn a new word everyday.

Your website is bias, one sided, and is a joke- well it is a poli-blog. They tend to advertise their own opinions. What were you expecting?
Written By: Joe Canadian
URL: http://
"Osama Bin Laden Determined to Attack the US",

Given that this information, along with the intelligence about al Qaeda using planes as missiles and terrorists attending flight schools was several years old as of the time Bush received it in the summer of 2001, it begs the question: How, with Clinton’s laser like focus on terrorism and Richard Clarke’s unassailable competence, did Mohammad Atta, al Hamzi and al Midhar all get into the country and begin training at flight schools in 2000?
a policy in Iraq that has not only exacerbated the radical movement in the Middle East
I love this one. Liberals mindlessly repeat this claim without ever providing a single fact to substantiate it. Remember that British report about 23,000 terrorists being trained by al Qaeda that Al Gore trotted out in 2004, in an effort to blame Bush and the war in Iraq for the creation of terrorists? That was a report about the al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan prior to 9/11. That’s right, "laser beam Bill’s" focus on terror resulted in 23,000 trained terrorists coming out of Afghanistan completely unmolested. How many more terrorists are there now than there would have been if we had never invaded Iraq? We have killed literally thousands of of foreign jihadists in Iraq who previously would have gone to Afghanistan for terrorist training if it had remained the sanctuary that it was during the Clinton regime.

It’s also a total crock for idiot liberals to claim that Bush failed to implement policies left for him by Clinton. After Clinton played politics with the transition efforts of the Bush adminstration (they had to raise private funds to begin their staffing efforts because Clinton withheld the federal funds he was legally obligated to provide in revenge for Florida) Democrats in the Senate refused to hold confirmation hearings for Robert Mueller until August 2001. Bush didn’t have his FBI Director until two-three weeks before 9/11 happened and without his appointees he wasn’t able to implement policy.

Finally, liberals come up with these idiotic excuses about basing rights and certification by the CIA and FBI of the Cole attack (as if we hadn’t known about al Qaeda since at least 1996 and that they were responsible for the 1998 African Embassy attacks which obviates any attempt to say Clinton couldn’t have acted against them prior to the Cole attack). The excuses are all just BS. You know how I know that? I just look to liberal hero Richard Clarke. In his book he explains why Clinton didn’t attack al Qaeda in Afghanistan, it just wasn’t a priority

Clarke also told Andrea Mitchell that the Clinton adminsitration never had a plan to deal with al Qaeda after the Cole attack. They merely had some studies they had done and never intended to do anything about it regardless of whether it was late in Clinton’s last term. Mitchell asked Clarke what was being "planned in December 2000 to respond to the Cole attack and Clarke responded as follows:
CLARKE: There was never a plan, Andrea. What there was was these two things: One, a description of the existing strategy, which included a description of the threat. And two, those things which had been looked at over the course of two years, and which were still on the table.
QUESTION: So there was nothing that developed, no documents or no new plan of any sort?
CLARKE: There was no new plan.

Written By: Anonymous
What was the Bush Administration’s policies in the summer of 2001 that led to the pre-emptive attack on the US on 9/11? That is the 500 pound gorilla in the room.
Written By: Wisconsin Dale
URL: http://
What was the Bush Administration’s policies in the summer of 2001 that led to the pre-emptive attack on the US on 9/11? That is the 500 pound gorilla in the room.
Not unless you believe the plan was conceived, put together, terrorists trained in flight schools and executed all within that time-frame.

The "dots" extend well back into the Clinton administration. The same question applies there with the lead up to the Bush administration taking office.
Written By: McQ
Reminds me of the run in with the Scientologists a while back...
I was thinking the same thing. But really, I’m not sure which is more annoying.

Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://
For those actually interested in what the 9/11 report said and specifically what Clarke contributed should revisit this.

Written By: McQ
What was the Bush Administration’s policies in the summer of 2001 that led to the pre-emptive attack on the US on 9/11? That is the 500 pound gorilla in the room
I’m sure you’ll tell us. I can’t wait to hear it.
Written By: shark
URL: http://
"Clinton set up a Terrorism Task Force specifically to capture Bin Laden during his term as president."

I thought he said he was trying to kill Mr. Laden? And didn’t he say that he turned down the Somali offer because he didn’t have legal justification?


Did you get this far in your cite?

"If they want to, they can study the thing" already, Hatch asserted. He also said he had some problems with the president’s proposals to expand wiretapping"

Is it your position that the president can’t assign people to study an issue withou the consent of congress? Are you in favour of expanding wiretapping?

"They also seem to be ready at a moments notice to fly around the ’sphere defending Clinton. Reminds me of the run in with the Scientologists a while back..."

Nooo! Not the S word! You know not what dark powers you invoke!


"Clarke also told Andrea Mitchell that the Clinton adminsitration never had a plan to deal with al Qaeda after the Cole attack."

Well, that all depends on what your definition of the word plan is.

Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I have to clear up some misinformation here. Rob, you stated Freeh was a GOP hack. Nothing could be further from the truth. Freeh was a career FBI agent and Judge. And he was appointed by Clinton. My definition of a political ’hack’ is someone that achieves their position based on their party loyalty. Freeh fails this litmus on both points; first, he was a career FBI agent, second, he was appointed by Clinton. You think a Dem is going to appoint a GOP hack? Just because Freeh doesn’t like Clinton and has been critical of him in the media doesn’t make him a political hack.
Written By: civdiv
URL: http://
Billons of tax payer’s money spent.
Boosting the biggest profit for oil companies.
More terrorists than 5 years ago.

Yours truly,
Mission accomplished.
Written By: alwaysothersfaults
URL: http://
Let’s see, it appears QandO has been inundated with Clinton apologists.

Clinton failed to react to the information concerning Osama Bin Laden during the 1998 and on period. He got a very similar PDB to the now infamous "Bin Laden determined to attack the United States" one thrown around by raving idiots who want to demonize Bush. George W. Bush failed to react to information concerning Osama Bin Laden during the beginning of his term.

Why can’t this just be admitted? Why must Clinton be defended at all costs?

Also, I wish you apologists would get your foreign policies straight. So it was good for Clinton to face-off with Saddam Hussein in his second term? Labeling him a threat as long as he was in power? It was good to pass the Iraqi Liberation Act in Clinton’s second term? All the "Iraq is dangerous" intelligence gathered during the Clinton years all of a sudden became null and void once "BusHitler" and his neoconservate cadre of "chickenhawks" felt like acting upon it? Are you guys isolationists or not? Should we have taken Saddam out of power or not? If not, should we intervene in Darfur?

Many of you trump up a cause du-jour and then stop shy of getting your hands dirty in the cause of saving human life and goodness. Sounds remarkably Clintonite doesn’t it? Having your cake and eating it too. Making plans for decisive action and deciding not to act.

The failure to address terrorism adequately was clearly the result of a systemic problem within the American political culture, and in the entire government. 9/11 brought this systemic failure to light, and suddenly all that stuff in Bush’s campaign speeches about "no nation-building" seemed not to matter. In fact, he adopted a positively Clinton-esque strategy, if with a bit more muscle (no doubt the shattering changes in the political landscape resulting from 9/11 had a great deal to do with Bush’s ability to act). It is possible there were errors in evaluating the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, but the numerous statements thrown about by the late Clinton administration made Saddam seem priority numero uno.
“. . . Heavy as they are, the costs of inaction must be weighed against the price of inaction. If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors; he will make war on his own people. And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them”

Would you like to know who said that? President Clinton, months after signing the Iraqi Liberation Act into law. [H/T to The Anchoress for a great blog entry with great quotes and analysis]

So there was already bipartisan support stretching back to your golden-age-of-everything Clinton era for a case against Saddam. Yet, even if the threat was overestimated, it simply was a reverse of the systemic underestimation of threats to national security prevalent throughout the Clinton administration and the early Bush administration.

Throw out your cute little talking points as much as you like, but please do try and grow up.

Also, upon what is this talk of more terrorists now than before, based? Do you have a crystal ball? Do you routinely take a terror census? What caused this supposed increase in number of terrorists?

The only case you really have for saying that America is less safe now, has to do with how many of our troops, and much of our resources are tangled up in Iraq. Yet what exactly as the alternative? Leave unaccounted for biological and chemical weapons in the hands of someone deemed so dangerous by Saint Clinton? Leave the Iraqi people to an even greater sectarian bloodbath?

Normally I would refrain from posing so many questions, but you guys seem really to have no answers.

Granted, the counter-insurgency plans were less than ideal, and maybe even entirely a failure. But what was the alternative? After all, it was the official policy of the United States government since 1998 to advocate regime change in Iraq, and what kind of signal would it have sent to the tin-pot dictators and terrorists around the world if the United States had let the U.N. sanctions against Saddam go unheeded?

I do not claim Bush has been perfect, or even that he has done a particularly commendable job of dealing with the Iraq situation, but neither am I duplicitious enough to cling to hollow illusions of Presidents past. The plain truth is no one knew 9/11 was going to happen. Two different presidents were warned clearly (though in vague terms) that Bin Laden was determined to attack on U.S. soil. Two presidents lacked the imagination and foresight to prevent the attack.

Any other fun little slogans you care to throw about? Want me to go into the facile "Bush lied, people died" garbage? Or would you like me to go into the various 9/11 conspiracy theories? Please, I will field whatever questions you have.

Sorry if I have rambled on, but the flood of parrots has irked me something fierce.
Written By: Alfred
URL: http://
Perhaps that last line should have read ". . . but the flood of parrots has ruffled my feathers"?
Written By: Alfred
URL: http://
I did two tours as a Marine in Somolia. Their are two big reasons why our efforts in Somolia went south. The first is Clinton and the State Dept. Go look in the USMC’s ’Small Wars Manual’ published back in the 1930s. If you choose sides in a civil war, you need to go heavy to make sure you can crush that side. Otherwise you stay in the middle, so neither side regards you as a threat. The State Dept made Aidid the target, and thus forced the US Military to choose sides. So we went from a Humanitarian Mission to a Peace-making mission. Boutros-Boutros Ghalli has a little something to do with it also as he was an Aidid-antagonist going back to when he was the Foreign Minister of Egypt.

The second reason was that any mission undertaken by the UN as it was and is contructed is bound to fail. The UN, at least in the realm of military actions (and in just about everything else), is completely ineffective. In Somolia we either needed to go in heavy, say 30,000 US troops or so for at least a year, or we shouldn’t have gone in at all. When we made the UN part of the solution, we failed the mission.
Written By: civdiv
URL: http://

Written By: digitalzombie
URL: http://
I’m not sure what the point of the links are. To prove Clinton was weak on terrorism, you only have to look as far as the Khobar Towers bombing. He refused repeated requests to formally ask the Saudis to allow FBI agents to interview the people the Saudis arrested who were involved in the attack. Finally Freeh asked Bush 41 to ask the Saudis, as he was good friends with Prince Bandar. When through these interrogations it was learned that Iran had planned and directed the attack, Clinton did everything he could to keep it out of the media as he wanted to improve relations with Iran.

Add in at least two occassions when Clinton refused to target Bin Laden when he had been positively ID’d at a specific location and you have someone pretty weak on terrorism.
Written By: civdiv
URL: http://

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