All you need to know: terror, war, and torture

Here it is, all you need to know about the Bush administration, the Iraq War, terrorism, and extra-Constitutional activities:

The Iraq War worsens the threat of terrorism.

Bush’s extra-legal activities do not result in increased arrests or convictions.

Torture is immoral.

Any questions?

  1. Widomaker

    I think the real question is whether America should return to Mr. Clinton’s policies or soldier on with Mr. Bush’s. What we need, instead of partisan hacking, is a cold-eyed look at what works against terrorists and what does not. The policies of the Clinton and Bush administrations ought to be put to the same
    iron test.
    While for conservatives it is easy to look back in hindsight and blame Bill Clinton, the full scale and nature of the terrorist
    threat was not widely appreciated until 9/11. Clinton’s response was FBI and Law Enforcement. Bush’s response was wide scale war across the Middle East. The success of this has varying success. The truth, after 9/11 the United States has not suffered another major terrorist attack. We have however, suffered over 3000 military deaths. Under Bill Clinton, we suffered an attack every year of his Presidency (more of that later).
    With that in mind, let us examine Mr. Clinton’s war on terror. Some 38 days after he was sworn in, al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center. He did not visit the twin towers that year, even though four days after the attack he was just across the Hudson River in New Jersey, talking about job training.
    Mr. Clinton said “no one knew that al Qaeda existed” in October 1993, during the tragic events in Somalia. But his national security adviser, Tony Lake, told that he first learned of bin Laden “sometime in 1993,” when he was thought of as a terror financier. U.S. Army Capt. James Francis Yacone, a black hawk squadron commander in Somalia, later testified that radio intercepts of enemy mortar crews firing at Americans were in Arabic, not Somali, suggesting the work of bin Laden’s agents (who spoke Arabic), not warlord Farah Aideed’s men (who did not). CIA and DIA reports also placed al Qaeda operatives in Somalia at the time.
    By the end of Mr. Clinton’s first year, al Qaeda had apparently attacked twice. The attacks would continue for every one of the Clinton years.
    *In 1994, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (who would later plan the 9/11 attacks) launched “Operation Bojinka” to down 11 U.S. planes simultaneously over the Pacific. A sharp-eyed Filipina police officer foiled the plot. The sole American response: increased law-enforcement cooperation with the Philippines.
    *In 1995, al Qaeda detonated a 220-pound car bomb outside the Office of Program Manager in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, killing five Americans and wounding 60 more. The FBI was sent in.
    *In 1996, al Qaeda bombed the barracks of American pilots patrolling the “no-fly zones” over Iraq, killing 19. Again, the FBI responded.
    *In 1997, al Qaeda consolidated its position in Afghanistan and bin Laden repeatedly declared war on the U.S. In February, bin Laden told an Arab TV network: “If someone can kill an American soldier, it is better than wasting time on other matters.” No response from the Clinton administration.
    *In 1998, al Qaeda simultaneously bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224, including 12 U.S. diplomats. Mr. Clinton ordered cruise-missile strikes on Afghanistan and Sudan in response. Here Mr. Clinton’s critics are wrong: The president was right to retaliate when America was attacked, irrespective of the Monica Lewinsky case.
    Still, “Operation Infinite Reach” was weakened by Clintonian compromise. The State Department feared that Pakistan might spot the American missiles in its air space and misinterpret it as an Indian attack. So Mr. Clinton told Gen. Joe Ralston, vice chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, to notify Pakistan’s army minutes before the Tomahawks passed over Pakistan. Given Pakistan’s links to jihadis at the time, it is not surprising that bin Laden was tipped off, fleeing some 45 minutes before the missiles arrived.
    *In 1999, the Clinton administration disrupted al Qaeda’s Millennium plots, a series of bombings stretching from Amman to Los Angeles. This shining success was mostly the work of Richard Clarke, a NSC senior director who forced agencies to work together. But the Millennium approach was short-lived. Over Mr. Clarke’s objections, policy reverted to the status quo.
    *In January 2000, al Qaeda tried and failed to attack the U.S.S. The Sullivans off Yemen. (Their boat sank before they could reach their target.) But in October 2000, an al Qaeda bomb ripped a hole in the hull of the U.S.S. Cole, killing 17 sailors and wounding another 39.
    When Mr. Clarke presented a plan to launch a massive cruise missile strike on al Qaeda and Taliban facilities in Afghanistan, the Clinton cabinet voted against it. After the meeting, a State Department counterterrorism official, Michael Sheehan, sought out Mr. Clarke. Both said that they were stunned. Mr. Sheehan asked Mr. Clarke: “What’s it going to take to get them to hit al Qaeda in Afghanistan? Does al Qaeda have to attack the Pentagon?”
    There is much more to Mr. Clinton’s record — how Predator drones, which spotted bin Laden three times in 1999 and 2000, were grounded by bureaucratic infighting; how a petty dispute with an Arizona senator stopped the CIA from hiring more Arabic translators.
    Terrorism is not easy. Even, “Slick Willy” couldn’t figure it out. “Dubya” still has a few more years to make something out of the War on Terror. However, the real truth, both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton beat war veterans for their Presidency…twice. Clinton defeated Bush. H, and Dole both World War II heroes. Bush defeated Gore and Kerry, who were both war veterans of Vietnam. One thing we should all ask ourselves, in 08’, during a time of a massive world war against terror. Should we vote in another person who dodged combat like we have for the last 16 years, or are we going to follow by our previous history and vote in another war hero, battle tested, that will prove worthy from commanding troops within a war room.

  2. I have a question.

    Can we see the full report?



  3. Good points, Wdomaker. I believe even during his tumultuous interview on fox, Clinton admitted he made mistakes. (While you neglect Bush’s pre-9/11 mistakes, I’m assuming from your last paragraph you assume we already know them.)

    And certainly most of us agree that an aggressive approach in Afghanistan was worthwhile, and that the initial effort to nab bin Laden was justified, it appears that using a large conventional military force to depose a regime not related to al Qaeda or pretty much any other terrorist group is not the proper way to fight terror.

    I believe to successfully battle terrorism, we need a two-pronged approach:

    –We need a militarized police approach to catching terrorists, like, say, special forces and special intelligence units dedicated to regions where terrorism flourishes. (Including Idaho?)
    –We need a anti-terror diplomatic strategy that, on one hand, offers economic, strategic, and philosophical incentives to aid us, and effective disincentives to oppose our anti-terror policy. That means being fair, generous, and understanding the regions where we are acting. No torture, rendition, and invasions; plenty of economic assistance.

    Anyhoo…that’s just my two cents…

  4. cass

    By what standards do liberals–I mean progressives–determine something is “immoral,” anyway? I thought you all recognized no moral standard, i.e., it’s just MY morals, YOUR morals, and so forth. Or are you borrowing Judeo-Christian morality until Nov. 7? Or some *cool* Buddhist teaching maybe?

    After all, *you can’t legislate morality* doncha know.

  5. I think if you’ve read my blog, you know where I stand on morality and issues. And just a word of advice, cass, assume that what I write here is what I believe, not some spin to win elections.

    ‘Cause maybe if you haven’t noticed, I’m not actually running for office.

    As for morals, I would argue part of MY morality is tolerance for others’ beliefs, which is what you mistake for equivocation. That doesn’t mean I’m against murder, rape, or torture.

  6. I would like to suggest the book “See No Evil” by Robert Bauer.
    Mr. Bauer was an operative in the CIA for many years.

    Only going back to the Clinton administration does not fully explain our government’s foreign intelligence failures.
    It started with Reagan abandoning human intel in favor of satellite surveillance.

  7. What about US terror?

  8. Same strategy. Fight it with police action.

  9. >>*In 1997, al Qaeda consolidated its position in Afghanistan and bin Laden repeatedly declared war on the U.S. In February, bin Laden told an Arab TV network: “If someone can kill an American soldier, it is better than wasting time on other matters.” No response from the Clinton administration.

  10. Well, no response if you ignore Clinton’s 1997 anti-terrorism bill, which the Republicans fought tooth and nail. Their main problem with it: warrantless wiretapping. When Clinton wanted this power, they said it was unconstitutional, and that he was using “national security” as an excuse to limit civil rights.

    Porter Goss was one of the most outspoken opponents of this bill, saying that we should not surrender civil liberties for security and that terrorism was a reality we simply had to live with. His words, and those of many other Republicans who fought Clinton’s anti-terrorism efforts, are recorded throughout the 1997 issues of *The Congressional Quarterly*. To say that Clinton had “no response” to these terrorist acts is a bald-faced lie.

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