Sunday, July 20, 2008

9/11 Was Bill Clinton’s Fault

-- by Neil Reedy

There. Someone had to say it. The current circus show performed by the 9/11 Commission tries to suggest that President Bush ignored vital warning signs that could have prevented 9/11. This conclusion is of course absurd considering the 8 months of Bush vs. 8 years of Clinton and the years of planning 9/11 took, but there’s another motivation. Democrats and the media are creating doubt about Bush’s response to terrorism and spreading the popular myth that both Bush and Clinton administrations equally failed to prevent 9/11 to rob Bush of a campaign issue. But this effort by Democrats and their media supporters blurs what history will ultimately conclude—President Clinton created a culture allowing Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network to flourish. His failure to recognize terrorism’s threat to American interests undermined efforts to fight it.

The culture Clinton created departed from his predecessors’ policies that defended American national interest. Clinton wasn’t afraid to use American military power in Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo, but he pursued classic liberal foreign policy objectives. Charles Krauthammer explains that modern liberals have “great difficulty seeing national interest as a justification for wielding power,” and barring cases where the U.S. is directly attacked, they prefer purely humanitarian exercises that don’t pursue “self interest.” This clash between conservative pursuit of American national interest and liberal preference for broader ideals nicely describes the differences in recent Republican and Democrat presidencies. 9/11 showed the consequences of ignoring America’s “self” interest.

Clinton institutionalized this classic liberal view of American foreign policy in the Cold War’s aftermath. His reckless disregard for American national interest explains recent developments regarding fighting terrorism in the 90s. This CIA collects information and performs operations to protect American interest abroad. Since it represents a key component of American national interest, Clinton instinctively did not trust it. Information sharing among intelligence agencies clearly benefited American national interest considering the high number of terror attacks. But since this interest was suspect, the administration didn’t prioritize counterintelligence. The Gorelick memo recently unearthed in the 9/11 hearings illustrates the Clintonian intelligence view. The infamous “wall” between counterintelligence and domestic law enforcement protected civil liberties, considered more precious than national security (Clinton once said “race” was the most important issue facing America). Today, it’s well known that Clinton didn’t meet with his CIA chief James Woolsey who said, “the intelligence agencies during the Clinton administration were told they were not to give policy advice.” When a plane crashed on the White House lawn, a joke said Woolsey was trying to make an appointment. This neglect of American interests ignored U.S. security.

Instead of preserving American world dominance, Clinton sought to strengthen the U.N. for a future when America was no longer the world’s dominant superpower. This view created a culture of internationalism and allowed enemies to flourish. The U.N.’s ineffective response to Saddam’s violations, and their corruption in the oil for food scandal show this policy’s failure.

Responding with overwhelming force to direct terror attacks on America conflicted with Clinton’s pursuit of broad foreign policy objectives. Former Clinton advisor, Dick Morris, urged Clinton to “break the international back of terrorism” in Behind the Oval Office, but he didn’t act. Distrusting the CIA, the Clinton administration charged the FBI and other domestic law enforcement agencies with combating terrorism, not exactly the most effective means of fighting cave dwellers. The U.S. response to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing set the tone for America’s response to terror attacks. The public trial revealed that the twin towers could withstand a blast from a small plane, but not a larger one. The CIA was not given one piece of evidence in this attack for fear of breaking “the wall.” The 1993 U.S. intervention in Somalia further demonstrated the administration’s unwillingness to protect the national interest. Bin Laden himself said of this incident, “The youth ... realized more than before that the American soldier was a paper tiger and after a few blows ran in defeat.” The half-measured responses to the USS Cole, Khobar towers, and President Bush’s assassination attempt also show how Clinton’s internationalism disregarded clear threats to American.

It’s reasonable to assume that President Bush deserves blame if he continued Clinton’s view, but recent evidence shows otherwise. Bush’s statement that he’s tired of the U.S. “swatting flies,” referring to terrorists, shows he understood the terror threat better than the Clinton administration, and well before 9/11. CNN reported that even before his inauguration, Bush revived daily meetings with the CIA, a stark contrast to Clinton. The Bush administration also pursued long-term plans to root out the Afghan and Iraqi regimes. Finally, the backgrounds of Bush’s cabinet members show their impressive foreign policy experience. Clearly, Bush recognized the importance of the president’s responsibility to protect the national interest by resurrecting the procedures of Clinton’s predecessors.

Clinton’s policies were probably well-intentioned, but history does not judge intentions. The opportunity to combat terrorism existed—he could have even made an international case for fighting terror, but chose not to. His irresponsible disregard for America’s national interest created the perception of American weakness abroad. Presidential scholar Clinton Rossiter once wrote of the U.S. president, “He is never for one day allowed to forget that he will be held accountable by people, Congress, and history for the nation’s readiness to meet an enemy assault.” The 9/11 Commission should realize which president remembered and which forgot.

-- Neil Reedy is a graduate student in the Master's of Political Science program at Villanova University. He graduated from Villanova in May 2001 w/ a Bachelor's degree in History and Political Science.

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League of Liberal Women Voters

John R. McCommas
29 Kathleen Drive Unit 7A
Willimantic CT 06226

Dear President Jara N. Burnett:

In my time as an legislative intern you people had an opinion on every liberal piece of legislation there was. -- And you always sided with the liberal Democrats so how can you be non-partisan? For example you backed that Welfare For Politicians bill under the misconception is was "reform".

You people are lobbyists. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being a lobbyist. What I object to is you folks pretending to be otherwise.

Sorry but that's how I see it and I tell everyone I know that. No real Republican should have anything to do with your organization. Any Republicans that are involved with you must either be unaware of what you quietly do at the capital or are R.I.N.O's.

-- This is one story I just love to tell: At one hearing one of you people showed up and started misrepresenting something. I don't remember what. A male state rep. ripped your representative to shreds. Not knowing any better, I felt a bit sorry for her. My female boss then leaned back and whispered in my ear "You know I am getting really sick of these women too and I am one of them!"

That man is now a judge -- one of the few that is actually a Republican.

I love that story but I'll bet you don't.

-- John R. McCommas


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Goodbye Jesse Helms

Like most Americans, particularly those of us in Blue States with newspapers like the Hartford Courant, I was taught to hate Senator Jesse Helms before I actually knew anything about him. He was a bigot, a right wing extremist and hated gay people.

Then I learned the facts. I saw him interviewed on CNN's 'Evans and Novak' and quite to the contrary of what I heard and believed, I found Helms to be a profoundly reasonable gentleman. I think Helms was wrong to oppose such things as as the Civil Rights Act, Aids research and a Clinton nominee because she was a lesbian but come on! The man was from the deep south of a certain generation. There just are some things that the older generation will never understand. As long as they are in the minority, we can forgive them for it. Put another way --if the feminists can forgive (and remain silent) O.J. Simpson for wife-beating and double murder, if the Democrats/MSM can forgive Willie Horton for murdering Joseph Fournier, than I can forgive Helms for being old fashioned.

On balance Helms was more right than wrong on any number of issues important to me. My own senators from Connecticut can not say the same . The liberals in and out of the media targeted Helms for defeat over and over but they never beat him. Helms walked away from the senate a winner in 1991 and died, fittingly, on America's birthday yesterday.

For all the criticism I have hear about Jesse Helms, I have yet to find much that holds up to scrutiny. Even the disparaged 'hands' ad wasn't in my view racist. It was a fair, even respectful, ad on an important issue. Obviously the majority of North Carolina citizens agreed.

Helms beat Harvey Ganntt not once but twice. The media never forgave him for that.
Helms also opposed the late Robert Mapplethorpe being given public funds for such "art" as a whip stuck up his own butt and poop-eating. Wow. How unreasonable is that! All I have to say is thank goodness someone said it.

Thanks for the memories Jesse!
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