Sunday, July 08, 2007

But, But Clinton!!

It's been a big part of conservative dogma to put all blame for failing to prevent 9/11 on Bill Clinton. Slick Willy was asleep at the wheel for 8 years, they cry! This hit its peak last September when Fox News' Chris Wallace sandbagged Clinton on the subject during a candid interview (video- here and here). Personally, I think trying to find blame for those attacks along partisan lines is just a way of emotional catharsis, but to claim that the current administration had a more realistic counter-terror ideology than the prior one is just silly.

Anyway, it turns out that the type of hard choices that President Clinton was forced to make from time to time were hardly unique. It turns out even big, tough neocon Don Rumsfeld had to make similar decisions during his reign as Secretary of Defense.

From today's NY Times: "Mr. Rumsfeld decided that the operation [to take out top al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan], which had ballooned from a small number of military personnel and C.I.A. operatives to several hundred, was cumbersome and put too many American lives at risk, the current and former officials said. He was also concerned that it could cause a rift with Pakistan, an often reluctant ally that has barred the American military from operating in its tribal areas, the officials said."

You won't see that article plugged on Blogs For Bush or the National Review.

This decision, of course, wouldn't be as frustrating if not for, beside the aftermentioned hypocritical Clinton bashing, the administration's decision-- with Rumsfeld as one of the top cheerleader-- to invade and occupy Iraq, despite it having no connection to al-Qaeda, and despite no concern whatsoever for the risk to American lives and those of local civilians. They rushed right in, guns-a-blazing, and have refused to concede error ever since. No, caution was reserved for when dealing with the actual terrorist strongholds. Ass backwards would be too nice a description of all this. I prefer criminal.

In the end, Kevin Drum notes, "maybe the world isn't quite the game of Risk that Bill Kristol thinks it is."

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