"Kerry: wrong on defense. Oh wait, I mean me."
April 1, 2004 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Missile Defense- the biggest security lapse on 9/11. Condoleeza Rice was to deliver a speech regarding the White House's position on national security on September 11th, 2001. The speech contained no mention of al-Qaeda and stated missile defense as the central focus of security, implicating Bill Clinton for "not doing enough about the real threat - long-range missiles." An interesting revelation coming from the campaign claiming their opponents are "wrong on defense."
posted by XQUZYPHYR (37 comments total)

 
lets not forget her article in Foreign Affairs magazine (2000) with nary a word about al queda and the threat from stateless (or saudi as the case may be) terrorism. if there is anyone who deserved a pink slip for 9-11 failures - it's condi.
posted by specialk420 at 10:59 AM on April 1, 2004


Dude. I totally can't wait until Condolezza perjures herself!!!
posted by VulcanMike at 11:04 AM on April 1, 2004


Point me to any Democratic politician who publicly denounced Al Qaeda as a major threat to US national security PRIOR to 9/11. Otherwise, her speech was Republican status quo at the time, urging Congress to fund a Star Wars initiative. I'm not sure if it was 2001 or early 2001 when plenty of anti-ICBM tests were being done. But quite frankly, this article means jack.
posted by BlueTrain at 11:09 AM on April 1, 2004


Bluetrain: (yawn) Without even trying, here is a start.
And itsn't the Republican status quo (no focus on the real threat) the issue here? I say Jack.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 11:17 AM on April 1, 2004


day after day, i say to myself, "i don't see how the bush admin could look any worse."

and day after day, it does.

which then leads me to think, "i don't see how on earth we're going to be allowed to have a fair election this fall with the bush admin looking this way."

bluetrain: so, as usual, behavior on the part of the democrats completely excuses -- even vindicates -- behavior on the part of the repubs? based on that logic and the behavior of this admin, the next dem president has the license to run absolutely buck wild, and you won't be able to say a damn thing.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:18 AM on April 1, 2004


BlueTrain,

Google on President Clinton.
Then try Sandy Berger.
Then try Richard Clarke.
Then try Gary Hart.
And on and on and on.
Not that ALL of the people who tried to get the attention of the doofuses in the WhiteWash House were Democratic politicians but you should already know the particulars on this subject, being a reader of MeFi and all. [cough]

Head, sand, willfully so.
posted by nofundy at 11:19 AM on April 1, 2004


And if you want more credible links than the World Socialists (it was the first link), here is the Google search. There are some good articles from CNN with quotes from Clinton about the threat of Osama.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 11:22 AM on April 1, 2004


The Republican party line for the last year: "But Mommy, he started it!"
posted by callmejay at 11:25 AM on April 1, 2004


What an amazing thread. Imagine implicating an administration that had 7 months in office, versus the 8 YEARS that the previous admininstration had.

8 years.

7 months

From leftydoublethink link:

it is obvious that the military strikes were undertaken not to counter an unspecified terrorist threat to the United States, but to stave off the more immediate danger of a political collapse of the Clinton administration.
posted by a3matrix at 11:34 AM on April 1, 2004


On September 10 '01 I listened to Joe Biden give a speech at the National Press Club, in which he talked about how the people who were really likely to attack us were not folks we could defend ourselves against using national missile defense system (the then-current big defense controversy), but rather the folks who would smuggle their nukes in a barge into New York harbor, or some other low-profile scheme. I don't remember him specifcally mentioning al Qaeda or bin Laden, but he may have. (I'll let someone with RealAudio take a listen and let us know...)

That kinda stuck in my mind, let me tell you.
posted by nickmark at 11:41 AM on April 1, 2004


So if Clinton didn't do enough for 8 years, Bush's not doing anything for 7 months is okay? At least the Clinton administration was trying.
posted by callmejay at 11:42 AM on April 1, 2004


it's not a partisan issue-- there were demos and repubs who recognized the threat and wanted to do something about it. but Bush wasn't the guy, most of his administration is old school (massive defense entitlements, cold-war mentality, obsession with Iraq)...

The irony is that the people pumping this thing up are the same ones who (rightly in my opinion) hate the neo-cons.

Well, tough luck because the neo-con crowd was probably the only one with the eye on the ball in the Middle East. I disagree with their solutions but you can't deny they weren't thinking about the problem. So-- does that mean you wanted Bush to be more of a neo-con from the start? Didn't think so.
posted by chaz at 11:42 AM on April 1, 2004


so, as usual, behavior on the part of the democrats completely excuses -- even vindicates -- behavior on the part of the repubs?

I never made that assertion. What I suggested was that I couldn't name a single Democratic politician that considered Al Qaeda a major threat, prior to 9/11, which means that both sides were equally ignorant of potential threats.

Regarding Clinton, in a previous thread I said this:

but one has to wonder about the parallels between Clinton's inability to follow through and current pressure against the Bush Administration. - me

And using a3matrix's argument, and Clinton's failure, logic tells us that Bush should remain devoted to Iraq and the War on Terrorism, despite public pressure, because he might be right.

You can't have it both ways. Clinton didn't prove his intelligence in '98, therefore buckling to pressure. Bush is in a current dilemma. Seems that the public is to blame for Clinton and Bush's failures, for lacking the patience to see a mission through to its end.
posted by BlueTrain at 11:47 AM on April 1, 2004


Hey man, I'm not arguing, can't we all just get along?

At least the Clinton administration was trying.

That is a total laugh. I was in Spec Ops from 92-97, Clinton did shit, other than just about deplete our cruise missles.


Bush should remain devoted to Iraq and the War on Terrorism, despite public pressure, because he might be right.

Bush never should have gone into Iraq in the first place. There was no cause. At least none tied to Sept 11th. Bush argued a lot about UN violations, which he should have left to the UN.
posted by a3matrix at 12:00 PM on April 1, 2004


Bluetrain, so at what point does Bush get to start taking responsibility for things? 1 year into his administration? 2 years?
posted by bshort at 12:03 PM on April 1, 2004


Well, tough luck because the neo-con crowd was probably the only one with the eye on the ball in the Middle East. I disagree with their solutions but you can't deny they weren't thinking about the problem.

Absolute nonsense, and an indication that people have swallowed the neocon line. Read Rebuilding America's Defenses. Read the relevant Defense Policy Guidance, the infamous Letter to Clinton, and on and on. Absolutely nothing that the neocons wrote before 9/11 had fuck-all to do with terrorism. Indeed, just the opposite is true: it was from this font of policy folly that the Bush administration plucked their bizarre overemphasis on states in the first place.

The "Vulcans," as they call themselves, were certainly thinking about Iraq and the Middle East before 9/11, but not at all in terms of dealing with extra-state threats or international terrorism. Their agenda has always been American military hegemony, and the language of terrorism was very consciously and very conspicuously grafted onto their proposals after 9/11.

I pray that anyone who would agree with your assessment takes a gander back at the written record of neocon thought before 9/11. Our misguided Iraq policy is largely a function of that thought, and (as Clarke and O'Neill have shown) any new emphasis on real counterterrorism measures have only come as the result of gains in the inter-administration battles against the neocons.

And using a3matrix's argument, and Clinton's failure, logic tells us that Bush should remain devoted to Iraq and the War on Terrorism, despite public pressure, because he might be right.

You miss the point. Nomenclature aside, Bush's War on Terror is far more of a realization of the neoconservative fantasy "Total War" than it is an actual and concerted concentration of reosurces to battle and dissolve international terrorism. Were Bush earnestly agitating for sensible anti-terrorist measures (as he largely was during the Afghansistan phase) he would receive near unanimous support (as he did then, even on MeFi).
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:04 PM on April 1, 2004


hmm well maybe I was wrong :( but it seemed smart at the time.
posted by chaz at 12:08 PM on April 1, 2004


so at what point does Bush get to start taking responsibility for things?

Now. Immediately. Yesterday. I'm not giving Bush a free pass just because I sense a Clinton failure. It's a bigger picture than: 9/11, then the world began. Democrats in Congress were silent about Al Qaeda prior to 9/11; therefore, Rice's 9/11 speech was perfectly valid considering the administration's defense policy at the time.

Were Bush earnestly agitating for sensible anti-terrorist measures (as he largely was during the Afghansistan phase) he would receive near unanimous support (as he did then, even on MeFi).

Someone had to be held responsible for 9/11, immediately. That's why Bush got unanimous support for Afghanistan. Quite frankly, if Bush used the same intelligence source for Afghanistan that he did for Iraq, I doubt the validity of either use of military force.
posted by BlueTrain at 12:13 PM on April 1, 2004


sure, the clinton administration had 8 years to "get" al qaeda (during which they blew us up 0 times, complicating the getting process). but on their way out when they tried to give the bush administration the heads up, they were still stuck in the 80s and wanted to get people worried about missilies instead.

the real point of contention is, why didn't the bush administration listen to the clinton administration, and what was the consequence?
posted by mcsweetie at 12:40 PM on April 1, 2004


Democrats in Congress were silent about Al Qaeda prior to 9/11

Head, sand, Joe Biden link above. Read it.

Ther really awful truth is that the aWol administration is STILL dropping the ball on fighting terrorism! Read it and believe it.
posted by nofundy at 12:57 PM on April 1, 2004


What I suggested was that I couldn't name a single Democratic politician that considered Al Qaeda a major threat, prior to 9/11, which means that both sides were equally ignorant of potential threats.

what have you been smoking bluetrain? last time i heard you were a dean supporter... now you are bush defender?
posted by specialk420 at 1:27 PM on April 1, 2004


The commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks isn't getting a full picture of former President Clinton's terrorism policies because the Bush administration won't forward all of Clinton's records to the panel, a lawyer said.
Bruce Lindsey, Clinton's legal representative for records and a longtime confidant of the former president, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that only about 25 percent of nearly 11,000 pages have been turned over.


The champions of selective disclosure strike again.
posted by y2karl at 1:28 PM on April 1, 2004


Speaking of missile-defense: Why spend billions on a system that might never work?
posted by homunculus at 1:30 PM on April 1, 2004


It's too bad Condi and Dick ignored Hart's and Rudman's report, which predicted a catastrophic terrorist attack on American soil.
posted by homunculus at 1:46 PM on April 1, 2004


That is a total laugh. I was in Spec Ops from 92-97, Clinton did shit, other than just about deplete our cruise missles.

Kevin Drum quotes from Clarke's book:

To the complete frutration of Berger, Albright,
and me, the CIA finally admitted it could do nothing to effect a snatch in Khartoum. DOD was only able to generate options, once again, that looked like going to war with Sudan.

Two years later [Colonel Mike] Sheehan was visiting the headquarters of the Joint Special Operations Command (which includes Delta Force) at Fort Bragg. He struck up a conversation with two fellow Green Berets. They told each other stories about operations they had done and about "the ones that got away," missions planned but not carried out. The two told Sheehan about the plan they had to snatch an al Qaeda leader in a Khartoum hotel. "Woulda been so sweet. Six guys. Two cars. In and out. Easy egress across the border and fly out, low risk."

"Really?" Sheehan asked, pretending not to know about the proposed snatch. "What happened? Why didn't you get to do it?"

"Fuckin' White House," the Green Beret said in disgust. "Clinton said no."

"How do you know that?" Mike innocently inquired.

"Pentagon told us."


The White House wanted to do it. The plan was feasible. The team itself was eager to go. But it didn't happen.

But at least the military bureaucracy once again got to demonstrate their contempt for their commander in chief. It really shows a charming dedication to defending the interests of the United States, doesn't it?


posted by y2karl at 1:52 PM on April 1, 2004


Clinton had 3-4 years to get said "military bureaucracy" under his thumb, and he failed?
posted by trharlan at 2:01 PM on April 1, 2004


Is it gonna take a Constitutional amendment to get Bush apologists to live in the now? Clinton isn't President any more. If he screwed up, it has little or nothing to do with the guy who is President now. If, and its a big fucking if, Bush screwed up because Clinton did before him, than so what? The end result is the same ... the sitting President, who's running for re-election, screwed up, proved the incompetence of his administration, and needs to be shown the door.

At work, I don't fail to fire the incompetent because their predecessor was incompetent as well, or because I'm afraid that their replacement will be incompetent. Why is it so fricken easy to excuse Bush, based on Clinton's actions, or fear of Kerry's? That in and of itself, speaks to the incompetence of Bush's defenders.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:21 PM on April 1, 2004


Aw, Wulfie, now. Play nice. Repubs have been just too busy to prevent the worst foreign attack ever on U.S. soil.

As you no doubt recall, Republicans were too busy protecting America from the horrible dangers of oral copulation in the White House before 2000. Then, just after the election, they were too busy concocting political falsehoods about the White House being trashed to listen to Clinton's security experts about imminent threats. After 2000, they were just too busy pushing fabulous missile defense shields against a 1950-ish "nucular" attack. How can you or anyone really expect that Dear Leader and Dickie and Condi would have had the time to keep up to date on real threats?

Hell, no doubt they're even too busy today to worry about America's security, what with keeping us all safe from the terrorism of gay marriage, a woman's right to make decisions about her own body, etc etc..
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:25 PM on April 1, 2004


What I suggested was that I couldn't name a single Democratic politician that considered Al Qaeda a major threat, prior to 9/11, which means that both sides were equally ignorant of potential threats.

No, it means that you were ignorant of Democratic politicians.

Unless you're omnipotent that is...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:28 PM on April 1, 2004


"Clinton had 3-4 years to get said "military bureaucracy" under his thumb, and he failed? - posted by trharlan at 2:01 PM PST on April 1" - Yup, Clinton failed to do this. This failure has deep roots in the ongoing US cultural wars, and no president can suddenly uproot such a cultural history. The polarization of America has been developing for decades.

But, in casting their lot with the Bush Administration, many members of the US military are now getting an unforgettable lesson - Republicans are no longer your saviors. They will, in fact, use you as a tool - regardless of any previous promises - to advance their political agenda.
posted by troutfishing at 5:40 PM on April 1, 2004


Former Sen. Gary Hart says he, too, warned Rice about an imminent terror attack on two occasions before 9/11.
posted by homunculus at 8:25 PM on April 1, 2004


The fact that the American government let 9/11 represents a colossal, inexcusable failure on the part of recent administrations. The threat was evident for quite some time beforehand. Does some commission really need to explain that powerful, well-financed terrorist organizations are a danger?

What frightens me even more is that the attempts to reform national security seem either half-assed or misdirected. Oh sure, there was a lot of saber-rattling, and all this Patriot Act business, and now Grandma has to take off her orthopedic shoes in the airport, but were they any more than band-aid solutions and/or gestures made for political gain? I would really like to think that, but...

Right now, the American public is still on edge and overly suspicious, crying "terrorist" left and right -- for better or for worse, I think this *is* making the true terrorists' work somewhat harder (note: anyone who makes a Bush administration pun on the preceding sentence earns the title of dunce... well, unless it's actually funny). But what happens in a few years when the memory of 9/11 is not so fresh in our minds and yet the national defense mechanisms are as crummy as ever?

I refuse to believe that with all its money and power, America can't produce a more effective national security system.
posted by Krrrlson at 10:26 PM on April 1, 2004


'I saw papers that show US knew al-Qa'ida would attack cities with aeroplanes'
posted by y2karl at 8:43 AM on April 2, 2004


Gee,

Where did the Defenders of All Things Dubya go?

Hello? Hello? HELLO!! Hmmm... No one home?

OK.

Don't answer.

Just read all the great links provided and TRY TO REMEMBER the information this time please.

[grumbling] why must these facts be repeated over and over? damn thick headed bunch! [/grumbling]
posted by nofundy at 10:22 AM on April 2, 2004


Clinton isn't President any more. If he screwed up, it has little or nothing to do with the guy who is President now. If, and its a big fucking if, Bush screwed up because Clinton did before him, than so what? The end result is the same

So what you are saying is, Bush had seven months to clean up all the shit left over from Clinton, and because he didn't it is all his fault?

Clinton could have had another 4 in office, it wouldn't have stopped the attacks. Would have been interesting to see where he lobbed cruise missles though.
posted by a3matrix at 11:11 AM on April 2, 2004


Clinton could have had another 4 in office, it wouldn't have stopped the attacks. Would have been interesting to see where he lobbed cruise missles though.

Hello?
posted by y2karl at 12:28 PM on April 2, 2004


Clinton could have had another 4 in office, it wouldn't have stopped the attacks.

I'm not certain that I've ever read something more ridiculous in my entire life. Clinton didn't have four more years, couldn't have four more years, and its not even rational to conjecture about it. His staff warned the incoming admin and the Bush camp proved themselves incompetent.

The Cole attack happened in mid-October, 2000, and to start a war or campaign, for a lame duck not-so-well-liked President would have been the height of folly. But the Clinton administration handed the incoming Bush administration ALL the fricken tools they needed to attack and hamper al Queda, and the Bushies did nothing but arrogantly assume that they knew more. That was foolish; that was stupid, that was incompetent. People died, and continue to die, because of that incompetence, and that is precisely what you're defending. Good luck with that.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:53 PM on April 2, 2004


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