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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13 Comments:

Blogger mccommas said...

As a general rule I don't like to cut and paste stuff but this smart op-ed is something I wanted on my blog. Its perfectly reasoned and needs to be shared. Please feel free to steal it yourself from me and pass it on.

I found it by responding to some sore loser, out of work liberal who has hundreds of bumper sticker pics on his flicker page.

Specifically this one:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tuaussi/1836349821/in/set-72157602730697638/?addedcomment=1#comment72157606275900537

I am so tired of the "No One Died When Clinton Lied" argument and the foolish people that believe it. It's so dishonest.

Generally I don't blame Clinton for 9-11, but as Mr. Reedy illustrates, a better case can be made against Bill Clinton than George Bush who was 8 months into his first term. If we had a chance to nab the terrorists before that act of war, it was dashed by "The Wall".

Democrats would be wise to stop bringing the subject up. It's not a winner for them.

July 20, 2008 9:25 AM  
Blogger Seane-Anna said...

And to think almost half the country is ready to elect Barack "I'm a citizen of the world" Obama, who's a protege of the anti-American internationalism embraced by Clinton and modern liberalism. What is happening to this nation?

July 30, 2008 8:22 AM  
Anonymous Stiltz said...

You're a sad, pathetic loser who's got his head in the sand. Go fuck yourself, coward.

May 13, 2009 10:54 AM  
Blogger mccommas said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 13, 2009 6:35 PM  
Blogger mccommas said...

That's not much of an argument buddy but this caliber of debate is what we have come to expect from the loony Left.

What is really pathetic is the current administration and the Old Media characterizing the 9-11 terrorists we got and waterboarded for life saving info as the new Rosa Parks.

If you all feel so bad for these mass-killers getting water dripped harmlessly up their noses than I can't help but wonder how you will feel about their executions!

May 13, 2009 6:39 PM  
Blogger FromCleveland440 said...

The "no one died when Clinton lied" argument is invalid. Because "If" Clinton had full attention of what was going on in Africa when instead of testifying in front of Ken Starr. His focus would have been there.. And again maybe not. Because you also had the 93 bombings,the Khovar Towers,and the USS Cole.

April 01, 2010 11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I recall, Clinton Tried to destroy Osama in Sudan long before 911 and was also going to try and flush him out of his Afghanistan hiding spot. But after the loss of innocent life in Sudan, and the real possibility of repeating the tragedy with only a 50/50 chance of getting Osama in Afghanistan, per the CIA, he did not go through with the missile attack. But it was still more than the George and Dick losers did. George Bush had numerous warnings by the CIA and Richard Clark of terrorists in the country and suspicions they were going to hijack airliners months before 911 and had plenty of time to increase security and make a no fly list, which would have probably caught at least a few of the terrorists and tipped off the flights involved. But George and Dick didn't believe it and instead did nothing. Not only that, but after 911 George attacked the wrong country! You know, the one with the easy oil pickins. They thought, and diverted most of our military resources from Afghanistan to Iraq. That killed more than 4000 of our own, and 100's of thousands of Iraqi civilians and made refugees of 2 million more. Now years later we are going back to Afghanistan thanks to Barac Obama. But it will be much tougher and more deadly to remove the taliban and alqaida so you can probably chalk up some of those extra casualties to George an d Dick too. Good work George and Dick. You weren't any better than the tin pot dictator you attacked in Iraq. You are guilty of the same things Saddam is. Attacking another country that was not a threat to us, just to plunder it's oil, just like Saddam did when he attacked Kuwait, You tortured people you thought might be a threat but weren't sure, and didn't have any evidence against, just like Saddam did, you spied on your fellow citizens , and you caused the deaths of thousands of our fellow citizens. Just like Saddam did with thousands of Iraqis and Kurds. But Saddam payed for his crimes, and George and Dick are free men. I wonder who the Lord will look with least favor on in the end.

September 22, 2010 2:58 PM  
Blogger mccommas said...

Oh so its all Paula's fault! Why if only she had dropped to her knees on cammand and gave him a right proper blow job than 9-11 would have never happened!

Interesting theory.....

September 26, 2010 12:53 PM  
Blogger Steve K. said...

Had an attack identical to 9/11 occurred the day after Clinton was inaugurated, the Republicans would have claimed it was totally his fault and immediately begun impeachment proceedings.

Before Bush was sworn in, Clinton's NSA director, Sandy Berger, met with Condeleeza Rice in her office and told her, "I believe that the Bush Administration will spend more time on terrorism generally, and on al-Qaeda specifically, than any other subject." http://tinyurl.com/5t6dt

The Clinton White House first proposed laws addressing international terrorism after the first World Trade bombing in 1993, requesting additional powers after the Oklahoma City bombing. The White House proposed a five-year, $1.5 billion plan that included hiring 1,000 new Federal law-enforcement officials and amending the privacy act to allow wider use of electronic surveillance of suspected terrorists. It also proposed a change in immigration laws to make it easier to deport aliens linked to terrorism, as well as the requirement that explosives contain taggants. http://tinyurl.com/37qzvse

To say that Clinton ignored the threat that international and domestic terrorism posed to our country is disingenuous at best, and an attempt to revise history at worst.

"Facts are stubborn things." - John Adams

January 04, 2011 5:25 PM  
Blogger mccommas said...

Clinton proposed...bla bla bla... Sandy Bunger (the same guy that caught stealing classified documents shoved down his pants)..bla bla bla if the same thing happened on Clinton's watch bla bla bla..

Not a lot of there there Steve. If you got a case, make it. ---Like I said, I don't think the Clintonistas foresaw how vulnerable "The Wall" made us.
Their lack of foresight however was their failing, conscious of it or not. You can't blame Bush for not fortelliing the sneak attack.

They cared more about lawyer stuff than our national defense. Clearly their mixed up values cost us big.

Just sayin...

January 05, 2011 6:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great! I guess that means the recession, which began in 2007, is actually Bush's fault and not Obama's. I guess that also means that the first WTC bombing and Oklahoma City are Bush Sr.'s fault. Awesome article.

March 19, 2011 5:53 AM  
Blogger Leroy Jenkins said...

Anyone referring to god or the lord is really hurting their argument. Come on now, lets stick to facts and not an imaginary guy in the sky.

December 31, 2012 10:53 AM  
Blogger drew jenn said...

No one knows how deep this thing runs. I suspect Clinton was involved somehow, based on his clinging to the official account. However, this had nothing to do with anyone's failure to address a terror threat, as the only terrorist are the US government!

January 27, 2014 7:44 PM  

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