A survey of the political climate surrounding President Clinton's strike against bin Laden.
September 23, 2001 2:48 AM   Subscribe

A survey of the political climate surrounding President Clinton's strike against bin Laden. Warning: ancient history (1998). Was he really "wagging the dog", or did he have a valid objective after all?
posted by Jack Torrance (6 comments total)
great link but that this page failed to note is bin Laden's activities which led Clinton to bomb his camps. From a normal reader's standpoint, without knowledge of bin Laden, many people would think all of the embassey and WTC tragedies were a direct result from the Clinton 'wag the dog' theory.
posted by jasonspaceman at 6:45 AM on September 23, 2001

alamogirl is a well-known Free Republic personality who appeared in the aftermath of Waco and has assembled many such pages supporting various legitimate grievances against the Clinton adminsitration often mixed with the most laughable conspiracy theories, all of which find every possible reason to accuse Democrats but somehow fail to find any reason to ever accuse Republicans (unless, of course, they voted against impeachment).

If Alamo Girl were presently investigating the Bush-BCCI-binladin connections, I'd be more likely to believe the aggregate of this research, but she ain't.

It's like the people who accuse Clinton of closing all the military bases leaving us defenseless against airliner bombs, while failing to note that not only had there never been an operational plan to defend against same, but Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asked one month ago for a 25% reduction in the bases he has to support in order to devote funds to other priorities, and expected an uphill battle against congressmen defending their local pork.
posted by dhartung at 1:33 PM on September 23, 2001

I was reading a news ticker (Fox, CNN, MSNBC, can't remember which, I was flipping) and came across a line saying that Pres. Clinton claims to have made a request similar to Bush's "Dead of Alive" order in regards to bin Laden. I typed "Bill Clinton Osama bin Laden" into Google and this was what I came up with.

The impression I was left with was that while America and our increasingly sensationalistic media (which I'm becoming addicted to, admittedly) were reeling from the Lewinsky affair, there was serious business to contend with. Also, it appealed to my belief that you should eradicate a problem while it is still small. None the less, it appears that Clinton had the right idea, he just used bad timing and poor planning in dealing with it, regardless of wether or not bin Laden is indirectly responsible for the recent attacks.
posted by Jack Torrance at 5:45 PM on September 23, 2001

In other words, the attack on the USS Cole and the American Embassies should have been reason enough launch a full scale strike (like the one we're about to witness) on bin Laden and the al Queda in order to prevent, say, another Cole/Embassy-style bombing.
posted by Jack Torrance at 6:00 PM on September 23, 2001

Yeah Jack, what you're saying is mostly correct. The failing, however, was not Clinton's but his fanatical enemies here at home. Seems they couldn't be bothered with anything not directly related to Clinton's zipper. At least one of those fanatics paid for that obsession with her life. Shows how hatred blinds people to the real issues of society.
On a similar note, it was so refreshing to watch Brokaw interview Clinton the other night and see an intelligent and lucid leader who has a command of these important issues.
posted by nofundy at 6:13 AM on September 24, 2001

Clinton's commander of that theater at the time didn't seem to think it was a high-probability operation. From Byron York:

The former president's statements left the impression that he was hot on the trail of bin Laden and came excruciatingly close to killing him. But one of Clinton's top military commanders, who was deeply involved in the Afghanistan operation, has a different recollection. In an interview with National Review Online, retired general Anthony Zinni, commander of U.S. forces in the region at the time, described the 1998 cruise-missile raid as a "million-to-one-shot."

"There was a possibility [bin Laden] could have been there," Zinni recalls. "My intelligence people did not put a lot of faith in that....As I was given this mission to do, I did not see that anyone had any degree of assurance or reliability that that was going to happen."

In other words, when Clinton says lately that he "just missed" bin Laden by a mere sliver of time, he's reconstructing history.
posted by mikewas at 4:04 PM on September 24, 2001

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