Skip to comments.Clinton and Al Qaeda
Posted on 09/16/2002 3:02:57 PM PDT by Molly Pitcher
CLINTON AND AL QAEDA:
If you haven't yet, read Lawrence Wright's extraordinary piece of reporting in the New Yorker. It's not online and it's endless, but every page tells you something new about the provenance of al Qaeda, its roots in Egyptian radicalism, and its emergence in the 1990s as such a lethal force. But one thing that deeply impressed me is how damning an indictment this piece is of former president Clinton.
What Wright shows is that Clinton's passivity and inconsistency in the face of Islamist terrorism undoubtedly made matters far worse than they otherwise would have been. By engaging in piece-meal, ineffective and disastrous retreats and half-hearted swipes, Clinton not only failed to stop al Qaeda, he gave it new strength and vigor.
It started early on with Clinton's panicked withdrawal from Somalia:
Bin Laden glorified in the fact that his men had trained the Somali militiamen who shot down two American helicopters in the "Black Hawk Down" incident, in October of , prompting president Clinton to withdraw all American soldiers from the country. "Based on the reports we received from our brothers in Somalia," bin Laden Said, "we learned that they saw the weakness, frailty and cowardice of U.S. troops. Only eighteen U.S. troops were killed. Nonetheless, they fled in the heart of darkness."... Emboldened by the success of the "Black Hawk Down" incident in Somalia, bin Laden escalated his campaign against America.
When the Islamists saw how Washington responded to their terror, they ratcheted their campaign up. And why wouldn't they have? Perhaps the worst of all worlds was Clinton's highly dubious decision to send missiles to attack al Qaeda in Sudan and Afghanistan. Here's Wright again:
The strikes which, in the big-chested parlance of military planners, were dubbed Operation Infinite Reach, cost American taxpayer seventy-nine million dollars, but they merely exposed the inadequacy of American intelligence. President Clinton later explained that one of the strikes had been aimed at a "gathering of key terrorist leaders," but the meeting in question had occurred a month earlier ... The failure of Operation Infinite Reach established bin Laden as a legendary figure not just in the Muslim world but wherever America, with the clamor of its narcissistic culture and the presence of its military forces, had made itself unwelcome. When bin Laden's voice came crackling across the radio transmission - "By the grace of God, I am alive!" - the forces of anti-Americanism had found their champion. Those who had objected the the slaughter of innocents in the embassies in East Africa, many of whom were Muslims, were cowed by the popular response to this man whose defiance of America now seemed blessed by divine favor.The day after the strikes, Zawahiri called a reporter in Karachi, with a message: "Tell the Americans that we aren't afraid of bombardment, threats, and acts of aggression... The war has only just begun; the Americans should now await the answer."
Part of that answer was 9/11. Notice that this story isn't written by a conservative opponent of Clinton or in a conservative magazine. It's by a superb reporter in a left-liberal magazine. No, Clinton is not responsible for al Qaeda, just as Chamberlain wasn't responsible for Hitler.
But Clinton is absolutely responsible for the consequences of his inaction and his appeasement. And it's vital, if we are to prevent a repeat of the fecklessness of the 1990s, that we remember this lesson and take it to heart.
The New Yorker, usually liberal to leftist, came thru on this one.
"How many Democrats have come out clearly either for or against a war with Iraq? Very, very few. Daschle bravely said yesterday that the Democrats were "not prepared to make any commitment" to voting on a war resolution until yet more questions are answered. He's scared shitless."
But it changed dramatically, and insufferably so, when Tina Brown became editor. My single letter-to-the-editor was responded to personally and insultingly.
I cancelled my sub only months into Tina Brown's tenure. Apparently she stacked the editorial desk for some time to come.
Know what you mean about buying the magazine....haven't bought one in years.
I probably should have photocopied the article at the library, but that was off my route this afternoon, and I was impatient to get hold of the piece, so bought it I did.
The NY'er has had some very worthy reading of late, not the least of which is a damning article about the demonization of DDT, and how we'd all be better off if it were still in use.
I know, I know... I was as amazed as anyone...
I thought Clinton just said he missed bin Laden by only an hour. Maybe he meant an hour in a different galaxy. It's all relative, you know.
Yes, that's one of the points Limbaugh was bringing up too..
Yep. The record does show that, in several distinct, unmistakeable areas:
1) A crater in a field in Pennsylvania (Flight 93)
2) The crumbled walls of the Pentagon.
3) The pile of rubble that was once the World Trade Center
4) The piles of rubble that were once US Embassies in Africa.
5) The pile of rubble that was once barracks for US Air Force personnel in Saudi Arabia.
6) The gaping hole in the hull of the USS Cole.
7) The big hole that was once a parking garage for the World Trade Center.
8) The pile of rubble that was once the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
Yes - the record is VERY VERY clear on how much the Clintons had done to fight terrorism....