Sunday, September 03, 2006

Revisionist History and the Clinton Legacy

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Charles points out that the Kossacks are going insane over a 9/11 special that puts partial blame where it belongs; at the feet of Bill Clinton.

Note: In a poll at the Kos link, they are asking the following:

What is the greater threat to Democracy?

The two choices are:

*Corporate media consolidation


As of this moment, 'corporate media consolidation' is leading 75% to 24%. Can anyone truly believe that these people are serious about the battle against terror?

But I digress.

They are in full outrage and revisionist mode that the director has the guts to say what they themselves will never acknowledge; that the planning for the 9/11 attacks was highly active during the last years of Clinton's second term.

Clinton has gotten off easy when you look back on the many screw-ups that emboldened al-Qaeda and cost American lives. A review of the events and the (non) response from the Clinton administration shows how the terrorist elements grew bolder:

1993-The first attack on the World Trade Center. Ramzi Yousef planned and executed the daring attack that could have been far more devastating than it was. Six Americans died and many more were wounded. Clinton visited the attack site exactly zero times and dealt with the attack as a law issue instead of an ideologically driven act of terror. Several men were convicted--including Yousef and the blind sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman--and are currently serving life terms in prison. While the investigation and eventual conviction was handled correctly, Clinton chose not to infiltrate the foreign terror groups at the time thus allowing them to flourish without the knowledge we could have amassed. We also showed what could only be defined as weakness by the Arab world by not responding militarily.

1993-The first "victory" claimed by bin-Laden occurred in Mogadishu, Somalia. Clinton cut and ran after a series of blunders left US Army Rangers and Delta Force personnel in a running battle with armed insurgents. The Clinton administration was always averse to anything military and would not allow the commanders to utilize the weapons that were required (most importantly, the AC-130 gunship). The withdrawal strategy executed by Clinton again emboldened bin-Laden and he felt that he could attack American interests repeatedly with impunity.

1998-Al-Qaeda-trained forces attacked the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in a near simultaneous operation. More than 200 people were murdered in Nairobi including twelve Americans. In Dar es Salaam, 11 people were killed. The Clinton administration responded by again treating the attacks as law enforcement cases (in fact the administration indicted bin-Laden in November 1998) and launched cruise missiles into Afghanistan and the Sudan. Much was made of Clinton "almost" getting bin-Laden in the attack on Khost but evidence is sketchy at best that he was even at the base. As for the attack in Sudan, until that point it was by far the single incident that gave the Muslim world an event to rally around. It turned out to be simply a pharmaceutical plant. While the US did indeed respond militarily, the lack of human intelligence in the mideast hurt us dramatically. Bin-Laden now had it confirmed that the Clinton administration would not put boots on the ground to defend the nation from al-Qaeda and their off-shoots. Al-Qaeda could withstand cruise missile attacks into the Afghan frontier.

In late 1998 on the eve of impeachment hearings, Clinton ordered an attack on Iraq unilaterally. With it's wag-the-dog aura, it was the most explicit example yet to the Arab and Muslim world that Clinton and America would lob 200 missiles into a country simply to get the scandal off the front page. This one event solidified in the minds of citizens of the mideast that the US president in particular and the nation by extension would indiscriminately bomb a nation for no other reason than it wanted avoid impeachment. The use of military assets in this way is the one stain that can never be wiped away by the revisionist left.

2000-Terrorist elements in Yemen attack the USS Cole in Aden. More than any incident, this showed the unseriousness of the Clinton administration with regard to a strong response to terror acts. The military realized immediately what this attack meant and knew that they had to respond. The planning was laid out for the administration by senior military personnel and Clinton once again chose not to respond. The demoralizing effect the inaction had on the military was devastating.

Clinton instead chose to go the investigatory and law enforcement route, which was nearly impossible because of the Yemeni government's constant intrusion. Several men were indicted and convicted but "escaped" recently to continue their work. The US did take out the alleged master mind in 2002 using a Predator drone. The move sparked condemnation by some minor world leaders.

The 9/11 plot was already well into the planning stages on the day George W. Bush was inaugurated. Bin-Laden knew full well that the Clinton administration would not respond in a way that would possibly put civilians or military members in danger so he could act with total impunity. We would pay dearly because of his policies.

I've left out several other incidents such as attacks in Saudi Arabia, etc.

The Clinton response to these many acts of terror showed not only the unseriousness of him and the majority of his party. It also showed that no single act would be cause enough for the administration to react in a military way. Even when these events were taken as a group, it was not enough to compel the adminsitration to defend us as a nation.

Was Clinton completely responsible? No he was not. You can trace our perceived weakness back to Carter's handling of the Iranian hostage situation and the Reagan administrations cut and run strategy after the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut.

That said, Clinton deserves the lions share of responsibility. To revise history and whitewash the errors made by Clinton is to do a disservice to history and to those who perished on 9/11.

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