Thursday, November 29, 2007

New bin Laden Tape

Details at al Jazeera.

Have I mentioned how I rather think we should have killed that SOB for perpetrating that mass murder of Americans? I think it would have been better than starting an unrelated war. But that's just me.


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

According to Richard C. Clarke, Bush critic, former terrorism chief and author of Against All Enemies, it was Presdent Clinton who wussed out in dealing with Usama bin Laden because Clinton was afraid of the Republicans.

True "fact."

Geez who's afraid of Republicans?????

"Because of the intensity of the political opposition that Clinton engendered, he had been heavily criticized for bombing al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, for engaging in ‘Wag the Dog’ tactics to divert attention from a scandal about his personal life. For similar reasons, he could not fire the recalcitrant FBI Director who had failed to fix the Bureau or to uncover terrorists in the United States. He had given the CIA unprecedented authority to go after bin Laden personally and al Qaeda, but had not taken steps when they did little or nothing. Because Clinton was criticized as a Vietnam War opponent without a military record, he was limited in his ability to direct the military to engage in anti-terrorist commando operations they did not want to conduct. He had tried that in Somalia, and the military had made mistakes and blamed him. In the absence of a bigger provocation from al Qaeda to silence his critics, Clinton thought he could do no more."
---Richard C. Clarke, Against Alll Enemies, p. 225

Now, I'm easy on Bill Clinton because the presidency's a tough job and Clinton was an OK guy, but WTF?

I mean WTF? Screw Congress if they have no grapes. That's what we have a president for.

5:45 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Clinton was severely weakened by the burden of fighting conservatives at every turn. We've had this conversation many times before. Every president has a finite amount of political capital. Republicans made sure that Clinton had to expend capital every day just to tread water. To ignore these facts is to live in a fantasy world. That's just the way politics works in a democracy.

There was a lot of uncertainty involved in the OBL case. The Clinton admin was fairly convinced that he was a big threat, but not certain. What they WERE certain of was that they'd pay a heavy political price for going after him--expending their already depleted political capital. And, of course, they were right. As soon as they did the right thing, the "wag the dog" charges began, and the incident was put to cynical political use by Republicans to turn up the heat on the Lewinsky affair.

The majority of the blame here lies with Republicans. This is not to say that Clinton might not have acted better. But--again to give some perspective here--note how much better Clinton acted than Bush. His admin chose NOT to pursue al Q in part *specifically because Clinton had been pursuing them.* They were so blinded by partisanship that they actually elected to ignore a threat because Clinton had been concerned with it.

Anyone who chooses to sort through those facts in order to try to make Clinton the villain is partisan indeed.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Clarke's indictment speaks for itself, and needs no help from partisans.

And no, we haven't "discussed" it, WS. Some of Clinton's timidity happened even while the Democrats still controlled congress.

Neither was Clinton as hamstrung as you present it. Even in 1999, after his impeachment, he got his "good" war in Kosovo, even tho he, um, "lied" us into it.

3:46 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I suppose I need an acronym for 'We've discussed it before' or 'See previous discussions.'

We HAVE discussed this before. The Clinton administration, unlike the Bush, seems to have been genuinely mistaken. Right in principle, but wrong numbers. The Bush admin's deceptions were multifarious. And, as I've pointed out before, Congress is not the only relevant other player. Clinton was battling defamation by conservatives through his entire admin. Furthermore, it seems that by the time Clinton was fairly sure of the problem, he'd lost control of Congress.

So although it would be *possible*, by nipping and tucking and spinning, exaggerating and so forth selectively, to make Clinton look like Bush, it would be a massive distortion of the actual facts. And one would think that neither one of us would want to do that. Vast differences of degree matter.

Really, without some new evidence here, I don't see that it's productive to go over the same ground again and again.

11:04 AM  

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