The anger exhibited by former President Clinton toward Chris Wallace this past weekend on a FoxNews interview has been news itself for the weekend and the first of this week. I can't really blame President Clinton for reacting angrily to what many of us perceive is a deliberate distortion of history in order to sway public attention away from the incompetence of the Bush Adminstration. In fact, the same idealogues who continue to attack the Clintons now (did you see Jerry Falwell's comment yesterday about Mrs. Clinton?) are the very people who have absolutely loathed them since they first stepped into the public arena in 1991. So, I don't really expect anything different from them. Ultimately, they will probably get their wish and Hillary Clinton will not run for president, or at least not be elected if she runs. She will remain in the Senate as a very powerful force for years to come though. And, if she ever becomes majority leader, watch out!
But, what President Clinton said in his anger with Chris Wallace must be kept in mind. Here's a quote from the transcript:
"What did I do? What did I do? I worked hard to try to kill him. I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill him. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since. And if I were still president, we'd have more than 20,000 troops there trying to kill him. Now, I've never criticized President Bush, and I don't think this is useful. But you know we do have a government that thinks Afghanistan is only one-seventh as important as Iraq. And you ask me about terror and Al Qaeda with that sort of dismissive thing? When all you have to do is read Richard Clarke's book to look at what we did in a comprehensive, systematic way to try to protect the country against terror. . . And so, I left office. And yet, I get asked about this all the time. They had three times as much time to deal with it, and nobody ever asks them about it. I think that's strange."
He tried to get Bin Laden and when he bombed Bin Laden's camp, Senators and Representatives from Ashcroft to Coats, to Specter blamed him for trying to take the national attention off of the Lewinsky scandal ("Wag the Dog"), a scandal created I might say by the extreme right wing in the country.
All that aside, let's assume Clinton didn't do all he could to get Bin Laden. Let's assume everything said about him is completely true. The fact of the matter is that when President Bush became president in January, 2001, the nation knew that Bin Laden was an imminent threat. They were getting daily intelligence briefings indicating that he was a dangerous risk. And, the one person in the govt. who knew more about it than anyone else was Richard Clarke, certainly not a partisan politician. And, they demoted Clarke and paid no attention to the Cole matter or to anything related to Bin Laden. When 9/11 happened, instead of embracing the world's compassion toward the U.S. and asking their help in going into Afghanistan to get Bin Laden, President Bush and his administration turned the nation's attention toward Sadaam Hussein, who had no direct ties to Al Queda. And, it as it turns out now, had absolutely no weapons of mass destruction. And, then after 9/11, even to this day, we have more troops in Iraq fighting a war that now the NIE says is creating more terrorists rather than less terrorists, and not nearly that many troops in Afghanistan trying to kill Bin Laden. So, who is the real incompetent president?