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.
Oh yeh... How could I forget that??? Sheesh...
MHT, my understanding is that Atlantic Monthly is not online, but haven't actually checked... will do that now.
Here's the link to the mag's website, and as Sullivan says above, the article doesn't seem to be online...
Please see Molly Pitcher's Post #1. Rush Limbaugh brought this article to light this afternoon.
BTW, thanks for your really fantastic work with your 'ping list subscriptions'. What a wonderful timesaver your service is!
Excellent response, NCG.
Thanks for the ping, Molly Pitcher. It is indeed refreshing to read enlightened prose from the left.
.45MAN - ***ping***
I guess it all depends on what the definitions of "is" and "alone" are. Once he nails those down, I'm confident he'll move on to time and space theory.
Will Clinton EVER be held accountable???!!
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