Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Righties and bin Laden, Sittin' in a Tree...

Jeez, these guys are unbelievable. Instapundit links to this post from Austin Bay without disapproval. Follow the link and you'll find excerpts from a captured al Qaeda letter. You'll note that the only words highlighted are:

"I believe that the buffoon Clinton was motivated by election considerations and a personal
inclination toward flamboyance, as if for a fleeting moment he believed the falsehood that he was the leader of the most powerful country in the world."

The title of the post also strongly suggests that these claims about Clinton are to be taken seriously.

Soooo let me get this straight. Bin Laden (or someone similar) thinks--or, rather, says that he thinks--that Clinton was an idiot, ergo this should give the psycho-righty-Clinton-bashers some some happy? Have these guys forgotten that (a) bin Laden is evil and (b) bin Laden is a liar? And what happened to the right's bin Laden said x so even if x is true it can't be true orientation?

And, um, it was Reagan's retreat from Beirut after the bombing of the marine barracks that gave us a reputation among terrorists for having a glass jaw.

Christ, these people accuse the left of being deranged about Bush, but five years after the end of his term they're still fishing for ways to throw elbows at Clinton. Nutty.


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Yes, Reagan's retreat from Beirut kicked it all off, I think. The United States already had a reputation as a paper tiger whose specialty was big talk followed by a cut-and-run.

Black Hawk Down worked to further that idea, as once again the US abandoned an entire country because of a smallish number of casualties. (It was Saddam's favorite movie, wasn't it?)

Which brings us to the current day, of course...

5:58 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Agreed. And that's one big reason why I've been generally in favor of us seeing this thing through. But it's been so botched that I'm not sure that'll be possible.

Re: leaving Somalia: you've got to admit that that's one of many sub-optimal decisions Clinton made in part because the Republicans dogged him so mercilessly at every possible opportunity. If he'd have stayed, it would just have been one more front he had to defend against the Clinton-bashers.

There's a lesson there, but I can'

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll give a ditto too.

An important question one needs to answer re: Iraq is: to the extent one believes the initial intervention was improper, must one then logically believe it's proper to leave immediately?

Like you, Winston, I'd answer in the negative, at least in a logical sense. It's a matter of responsibility.

But I'm moving closer to the advisability of leaving, based on pragmatic concerns - my perception of competence, or lack thereof, in the current leadership; the question of whether we do more harm than good by staying. There is also the question of whether the Iraqis, now ostensibly a sovereign people, want us there.

In terms of Somalia, I also agree it was a mistake to leave. It's funny, at the time it looked like, and may indeed have been, a purely humanitarian intervention - Bush had seen firsthand the suffering in Sudan in the mid-80s, he had just lost his mother and an election, and whether for these reasons or not, decided he could not sit by and allow madness to continue there.

Oddly enough, after we left (perhaps not immediately after), it degenerated into a failed state which has both produced many terrorists and functioned as a terrorist training ground. So in retrospect, the decision to leave was a bad one on strategic grounds, however else one might look at it from a moral standpoint.

Unfortunately, I fear that Iraq may be destined for a similar fate. That's the thing that really compounds the stupidity of the thing, because whatever else you could say about it pre-invasion, it was not a breeding ground for Al Qaeda and the like.

10:58 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Black Hawk Down happened during the Clinton administaration, which is what I think LC meant to type. That does not detract from the LC's point. If politics is to stop at the water's edge, it should be stipulated that such a thing could easily have happened during a GOP administration, and pretty much did happen under Reagan.

Well-observed that leaving Somalia turned it into a terrorist breeding ground; counterintuitive is that our remaining in Iraq is thought to have the same effect. Perhaps it has nothing to do with us.

I do believe that calling for a withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, because of the points made above, is a principled position, ala Vietnam. But short of that, carping about the situation should be left to our fighting men, I think. Just like during WWII, which we ended up winning.

Not so strangely enough, it was those with their lives on the line, our fighting men in Vietnam (not John Kerry's band of dissidents, thank you), who came back home with zero good news that we were getting anywhere, who swung the decision to bail.

And we weren't getting anywhere. Zero good news.

I think a change will come soon in Iraq, that we will not continue to play a losing hand, if such is the case. The Iraqi populace has already turned against al-Qaeda's indiscriminate murder, so mission accomplished on that front. And we have cleared the road to self-determination. If the Sunnis and Shias want to descend into fratricide yet again, like the Iran-Iraq war, we cannot and should not stop them. A pox on them both, and on them all, if they choose murdering each other over living together in peace.

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom - It was Bush who made the decision to enter Somolia, after he had lost the election to Clinton, but before the inauguration in January. Our military presence there carried over into Clinton's term, who made the decision to pull our troops out after the 'Black Hawk Down' incident. Not that this has very much to do with the question at hand...

2:09 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Ah, thank you for the correction, J. I withdraw my attempted correction of the esteemed LC. I had lost the narrative thread.

3:48 AM  

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