The Clinton Terror Record

As Dean Barnett points out, the Clinton record on fighting terrorism is pitiable enough that ABC shouldn’t need to “dramatize” it with fictional scenes of incompetence.
Now, I think I have been consistent in saying that I’m not that interested in pinning blame on Americans for the September 11 attacks; there’s way too much 20/20 hindsight out there. Nonetheless, it’s important to keep the historical record straight – not least as a reminder that those who want to return to the pre-September 11 policies are horrifically and dangerously mistaken, and also as a curative against recurring agitprop that seeks to blame President Bush for the problem. In that light, it’s important to keep the Clinton legacy on terrorism in perspective and understand why, with the benefit of that hindsight, it was such a disaster and should not be repeated. I’ve got a post up over at RedState (slightly updated from one I ran here two years ago) examining the timeline of Clinton’s responses to Al Qaeda and Iraq in the period from August 1998-January 2001.

11 thoughts on “The Clinton Terror Record”

  1. I agree, too much 20/20 hindsight on both sides. The real tragedy, though, is our policies since 9/11. On September 12, 2001 and right through the War in Afghanistan, the entire civilized world was on our side. If we had harnessed that support towards acheiving peace, we would all be living in a safer world. Instead, through our unilateral actions and a war of choice, we have alienated even most of our NATO allies.
    BTW, I did not review your timeline. I am sure it is detailed and accurate. But is it complete? Does it include all the Republican ‘wag the dog’ accusations from the Lewinsky obsessed right everytime Clinton spoke to the Pentagon? Does it include all the quotes from GOP Congressman accusing Clinton of overreaching in Kosovo?
    And finally, in the spirit of objectivity, I will agree its been a rough couple of years for Sandy Berger. First, security catches him trying to pilfer documents related to security from National Archives. Now, I understand he takes it on the chin in this soon to be released Walt Disney/Rush Limbaugh classic. Put the two together, and you start to wonder if there is something that he is/was hiding.

  2. Blaming any one president, or one congress, or one anything on how to deal with terrorism is ridiculous, but I guess very American. No question that Clinton’s misbehavior with Monica Lewinsky contributed to his distraction, but mainly because of the impeachment over it; the conservative wing tripped over themselves to get him from day one. So Patrick’s wag the dog comment is extrememely apt.
    If any one president is to blame, it’s Jimmy Carter, so in a way go back to Nixon for being so corrupt that Americans stupidly voted for Mr. Incompetent High and Mighty Carter. Who was as targeted by the left as Clinton was by the right. And on and on we go. Why Carter? He was the boob who gave the big assist for the Shah to finally lose power. Tha tis not from me, but from my several Iranian friends who were forced to leave in the late 70’s. But international terrorism has been an Islamic tactic for about 800 years.

  3. So if your not interested in pinning blame, do you support a film that seems to pin plenty of blame on one administration and absolve another?
    That’s not 20/20 hindsight, that’s rose-colored hagiography.

  4. Yes, I can give a pass to a President that was early in his administration and just settling in. I can not give a pass to previous administrations, not just Clinton, going bact to Carter. They all mishandled a number of situations. It all could have been stopped if we had been able to send the military into Iran when the hostages were taken, but alas, Carter had gutted the military to the point that it wasn’t possible (case in point the attempted rescue). In the big picture, Republican are just as much to blame for the state of the world as the Dims are, just not this administration. This was dropped in W’s lap and he is charged with trying to fix it.

  5. Carter’s lack of support for the Shah (he couldn’t decide from one day to the next whether he was for the Sha’s overthrow, or not) gave us virulent Islamic fundamentalism. Carter is to blame for this more than anyone else. Clinton at least talked about terrorism, and I think his heart was in the right place, but he didn’t act.

  6. Sorry, you can’t give Ronnie and H.W. a pass on this one. They had terrorist incident on their watches too and did nothing, just like Clinton.
    Crank, you are right about the film. Either make it 100% accurate or call it fiction. Based on a true story doesn’t work here.

  7. Sure, but the roots of the problem are Carter’s fecklessness on the Shah. He seems to have been personally inclined to preserve the Shah, at least after the crisis escalated, but he let the lefties in the State Dept. overrule him.
    As with all other foreign policy questions Carter has dealt with as Pres and ex-Pres, everything he touches turns to crap.

  8. Your rihgt John, but this sure would have been easier to nip in the bud 25 years ago than it will be now.

  9. Mr Furious, nobody gets a pass in the movie according to what I have read. And every branch of the government has to share in the blame, and every admin since the 70’s.

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