Bill Clinton: Architect of the "War on Terror"? - U2 Feedback

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Old 05-20-2004, 04:18 PM   #1
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Bill Clinton: Architect of the "War on Terror"?

Lots of Republicans like to knock Bill Clinton. After all, what else are they to do? It was a conservative addiction during the 1990s, and I understand how hard it is to quit anything cold turkey.

But the evidence is much to the contrary:

1) Mentioned the most on Clinton's "failures" is the 1993 WTC attack. And doesn't that look bad? Except when you keep in mind that it was 38 days into Clinton's first term. Wouldn't it, thus, mean that Bush, Sr.'s lack of terrorism intelligence is to blame? Those directly responsible, though, are currently behind bars.

2) During the Clinton Administration, there were plenty of terrorist threats. Plots to kill the Pope. Plots to blow up 12 U.S. airliners. Plots against the FBI, the UN, the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C., and other places. But they were thwarted, and, thus, his successes were ignored. "Oops."

3) The Clinton Administration tripled the counterterrorism budget for the FBI, and doubled counterterrorism funding overall. ("By any measure available, Clinton left office having given greater priority to terrorism than any president before him." - Barton Gellman, "Washington Post") Clinton proposed additional antiterrorism funding in 1996, but GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch retorted that Clinton "would be wise to utilize the resources Congress has already provided before it requests additional funding." After the Oklahoma City bombing the year prior, the GOP rejected Clinton's proposed expansion of intelligence agencies' wiretap authority to combat terrorism. GOP Rep. Newt Gingrich was opposed to it.

4) After Clinton struck targets in Sudan and Afghanistan with Tomahawk missiled in 1998, Gingrich replied, "The President did exactly the right thing. By doing this we're sending the signal there are no sanctuaries for terrorists." On Sep. 13, 2001, however, Gingrich derided this same moment, calling it "inadequate" and a "Clinton policy" failure on FOX News.

5) After the embassy bombings, Clinton issued an executive order authorizing the assassination of Osama bin Laden. The executive order prohibiting the assassination of heads of state clearly did not apply to bin Laden, as he was not a head of state, but FOX News regularly derided Clinton, saying that the CIA was not authorized to assassinate bin Laden. Clearly untrue.

6) After the USS Cole bombing in October 2000, Clinton moved to destroy Al Qaeda, but not through a hasty retaliation against a sovereign nation. After all, even Bush said this was a "different kind of war," even if he merely fought it the same way as his predecessors did. This is where Richard Clarke comes in. He developed a plan by December 2000, which amounted to, as a senior Bush administration official told "Time" in August 2002, "everything we've done since 9/11." Yup, that's right. Clarke drew up a plan to break up Al Qaeda cells, attack financial support for the organization, freeze its assets, stop fake charities, give aid to governments threatened by Al Qaeda, scale up covert action in Afghanistan to eliminate training camps, bulk up support for the Northern Alliance, and put special forces in Afghanistan.

But where did Clinton go wrong? His successor, our current President Bush, was to be inaugurated the following month, and Clinton did not want to start a war at the end of his term and then hand it over to Bush hastily. Instead, he trusted Bush would implement his plan, and Clinton Administration official briefed the incoming administration officials on the seriousness of Al-Qaeda and what they had planned. Condoleezza Rice, apparently, was so impressed with Clarke that she asked him to remain the head of counterterrorism efforts.

Clarke briefed this same message to Dick Cheney in February 2000, who, in contrast to Dr. Rice, was unimpressed. According to "Time," outgoing Clinton officials thought "the Bush team thought the Clintonites had become obsessed with terrorism." The Bush Administration, in contrast, were obsessed with constructing a "missile shield" and Rumsfeld was more interested in restructuring the existing military forces.

7) On February 15, 2001, a commission led by former senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman warned of impending "mass casulty terrorism" and recommended the creation of a "National Homeland Security Agency." The Bush Administration ignored this report until after 9/11.

8) In mid-July 2001, an FBI agent reported suspicion over Middle Eastern students at a flight school. Richard Clarke and CIA Director George Tenet were concerned over increasing "chatter" over possible terrorist activity. They attempted to schedule a meeting to the Principals Committee--Cheney, Rice, Tenet, Powell, and Rumsfeld--for August, but too many were on vacation. In fact, Bush spent 42% of his first seven months in either Camp David or his ranch in Crawford, Texas. On September 4, 2001, the Principals Committee met and decided to advise Bush to adopt Clarke's December 2000 plan ("the war on terror") with a "phased-in approach." Thus, when Bush Administration officials claim that they were planning to get Al Qaeda before 9/11, they weren't lying; but the amount of time wasted shows that they did not take it seriously until 7 days before 9/11. The Principals Committee did not meet with Bush on this plan before 9/11.

9) On September 9, 2001, Congress proposed a $600 million boost for antiterrorism programs. The money was to come from the missile defense shield funding. The Bush Administration threatened a veto.

10) Acting FBI director, Thomas J. Pickard met with AG John Ashcroft to request $58 million for new field agents, translators, and intelligence analysts to fight terrorism. On September 10, 2001, he received his response: a flat out rejection.

So, you see folks, the Bush Administration should not be commended for its behavior. In fact, considering the actions of Clinton and Clinton-era officials, such as Richard Clarke and CIA Director George Tenet, if Gore had become president, maybe things would have been different. Maybe.

So what does this mean overall? Partisan politics have too much to do with the American political arena, and it is both parties' faults. If the "war on terror" had been implemented by Clinton, as planned, then the Democrats would be more supportive of it. Of course, not that they aren't more supportive now; their opposition has been on Iraq, not Afghanistan, and Iraq had nothing to do with the "war on terror." But we do know what would have happened had Clinton implemented any form of antiterrorism; the GOP-led Congress would have fought it tooth-and-nail. In fact, that's precisely what they did in the 1990s.

I wrote this thread not to point fingers at the GOP as much as how sick and tired I am of the relentless Clinton bashing that comes from Republicans. FOX News is the worst thing that has ever happened to this nation. Their "fair and balanced" lying has poisoned this nation, ever since it hired "fair and balanced" GOP operative, Roger Ailes in 1996 (and he still heads it today). Most of the lies about liberals that exist today are because of this network. But, hey, what a way to lie about liberals, when you constantly accuse liberalism of doing the same thing to them? It's nothing short of Machiavellian.

There's a book I'd suggest (and, for all you plagiarism fiends, it is also the source of what I wrote above). It's Al Franken's "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them." I'm hearing the neocons groan now, but he, at least, cites his sources better than Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity (in fact, he points out how both blatantly lied and misled people on their footnotes/charts/graphs). But here's a bold challenge for all who disagree with this: come up with proof. And, of course, cite your sources. I don't want you to plagiarize either.

What do y'all think?

Melon
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Old 05-20-2004, 04:38 PM   #2
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Amen!
edited to add

In no way do I think Clinton was perfect - hardly. I especially dislike his trade policies. ( I could care less about his sex life)
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Old 05-20-2004, 04:45 PM   #3
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Make sure to check out (if you haven't already) David Brock's excellent mediamatters.org. Sort of like Lying Liars in real-time, only not as funny.
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Old 05-20-2004, 04:48 PM   #4
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Is Clinton still trying to define his legacy?
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Old 05-20-2004, 04:54 PM   #5
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Wow, Melon is Bill Clinton!!!!!!!!!!11111one

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Old 05-20-2004, 05:04 PM   #6
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No. He didn't need to redefine his legacy. It's just time to set the record straight for once from the plethora of lying from conservative media pundits and sources.

The Democrats should have done this a long time ago, but they spent too much time being spineless.

I'll add another tidbit, even if it is a bit unrelated:

--Al Gore did take the initiative to *help* create the internet (the "Al Gore invented the internet" comment was overblown by Rush)--like any politician does by pushing for government funding. Prior to Gore and a handful of other senators' push for funding, it was known as the "arpanet," a closed computer network used by universities and the military.

Melon
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Old 05-20-2004, 05:43 PM   #7
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Interesting....I put my faith in Breakdown by Gertz before I trust snippets from Al Franken's book.

Gertz puts it on both administrations. Clinton did much to remove field agents in favor of high tech intercepts.

I owuld not put the blame squarely on Clinton. It is mass failure over three administrations.

I have read Clarke's book...and he comes off as very intelligent when he is staying on topic. He throughs too many side stroies in about Cheney and others making it seem like he was bitter.
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Old 05-20-2004, 06:36 PM   #8
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Al Franken does comedy.
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Old 05-20-2004, 06:42 PM   #9
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Then buy the Franken book and read it, if you distrust snippets. I am skeptical of them too, actually, so that's why I like reading whole books.

I read all 354 pages over less than two days (spilled over into the morning of the second day; finished at 10 am), so there shouldn't be a time problem.

But you have to admit. Bush II clearly had his eye on a missile shield far more than he did on terrorism, prior to 9/11. I never heard one peep on terrorism before it, and the evidence certainly suggests that he never had any intention of dealing with terrorism either.

A massive failure over three administrations? Maybe. Clinton's failure was trusting Bush and getting a GOP Congress.

And you put your faith on Gertz's book first? What an enjoyable little review I read then:

"From the bestselling author of a scathing indictment of Clintonian foreign policy, Betrayal, comes an unbalanced but revealing expose on the mistakes, misdirections and blunders behind 'the most damaging intelligence failure since Pearl Harbor.' ... But while the insights into a government overrun by bureaucracy can be fascinating (and infuriating), Gertz seldom assigns any blame toward either George H.W. or George W. Bush's policies in the Middle East. He saves his condemnation, instead, for the Clinton administration (again). This one-sided portrayal may leave the critical reader feeling as if only half the story is being told, as Gertz's strong conservative bent distorts what could have been an important and well-informed look at the terrorist disaster."

I would trust the 9/11 testimony before I would trust Gertz. "The Daily Show" made fun of the contradiction between the Bush Administration's attempt to discredit Richard Clarke and actual testimony, where Bush Administration officials were very glowing over his performance. Officials also made comments on the fact that this "war on terror" was a continuation of Clinton-era policy, to some degree.

Now I'm not about to say that Franken's book is "unbalanced," by the sheer fact that it is a liberal writer. Yes, I almost think that "unbalanced" means absolutely nothing; a catch phrase designed to mean everything and nothing, and, ultimately, to either blame everyone or blame no one. But, with that definition, Gertz is, at least, the other end of the scale, or, at most, a scathing partisan liar who wanted to pass the buck to Clinton.

So, again, since you distrust snippets, I'd suggest to read the whole Franken book and tell me what you think.

Melon
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Old 05-20-2004, 06:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Al Franken does comedy.
And so are Rush Limbaugh and all the FOX News commentators. At least, they cry "entertainment" every time they get caught saying something offensive.

"Franken occupies a unique place in the modern political dialogue as perhaps the media's only comedy writer and performer who is also a Harvard fellow as well as a liberal political commentator." - Amazon.com's official review (not a user review)

This book was also written with 14 Harvard research assistants, so, while there are comedy elements, it is meant to be as factual as humanly possible. Can Ann Coulter say that about "Treason"?

Melon
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Old 05-20-2004, 06:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
This book was also written with 14 Harvard research assistants, so, while there are comedy elements, it is meant to be as factual as humanly possible. Can Ann Coulter say that about "Treason"?
Don't know - never read Coulter.
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Old 05-20-2004, 07:02 PM   #12
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Praise the lord that be.

No administration is perfect but when you line up Clinton's to the Bush ii's, there is no comparison. The solution to FOX news? Don't watch it. I never do. It's entertainment, they have no real credibility.
Richard Clarkes book is on my reading list, as well as Clinton's soon to be released memoirs.
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Old 05-20-2004, 09:18 PM   #13
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Let me understand this....

You have not read Gertz....whom you call a liar..... and you want me to read a comedian's book?

I did say that Gertz placed the blame on both administrations. It is kind of difficult to follow the trail of why things went wrong without going back a few years.

I have read the Clarke book.
I have read the 1st Woodward book.
I have read the Gertz book.

Clarke does a decent job at portraying things that I was not aware of. He does a great job at showing what the Clinton administration was successful at in the war on terror.

Gertz does a great job at demonstrating what went wrong to criple our intelligence agencies, and points to some of the flaws in the Clinton approach ALA lobbing missles into the Sudan, which you list above as a positive. It was a civilian asprin factory. Many in the intel business were opposed to that action.

There were failures on both sides of the fence. You cannot possibly believe that Al Franken is going to give you the best view.

I will read it because I value your opinion. However, how would it look if I ripped apart his book based on a reviewers opinion.
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Old 05-20-2004, 09:32 PM   #14
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I'm currently reading Al Franken's book. I like it. Yeah, he's a comedian. He is, of course, a liberal, and in that sense he's not "balanced" but I plan to go see him in October when he's here.
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Old 05-21-2004, 02:24 PM   #15
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And why would Gertz? The man clearly has a political ax to grind. Who the hell is he anyway? He "demonstrates" what went wrong with the intelligence agencies...how do we know he's even telling the truth? Is it the same "fair and balanced" truth from FOX News? The fact that he places *all* the blame on Clinton, especially when Bush II clearly was uninterested in fighting terrorism, prior to 9/11, when the new GOP line became "blame Clinton" means that I am skeptical. That I will admit.

I'm glad you've read the other two books, though, in addition to Gertz, so I'm not complaining about you. And, by default, Franken loses his credibility, because it is deemed that comedians cannot be credible in any form. By that logic, I don't understand why anyone gives FOX News the time of day, but I digress.

There are lots of double standards and finger pointing, and the prime reason for me posting this was not to say that Clinton was perfect. The main reason I posted it was to counter the prevailing opinion that Clinton did *nothing* to fight terrorism and that Bush is the only one who *can* fight it. No, it almost appears that it was the opposite.

With that, I must go. A severe T-storm is about to blow in here in MI. Thankfully, we never get these in Boston.

Melon
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