Time Magazine broke a story on August 4th which claimed that the Clinton administration was ready to go to war with Afghanistan and al-Queda over the Oct. 12, 2000 USS Cole bombing. But you see Bush was about to take over and,
“With less than a month left in office, they did not think it appropriate to launch a major initiative against Osama bin Laden. “We would be handing [the Bush Administration] a war when they took office on Jan. 20,” says a former senior Clinton aide. “That wasn’t going to happen.”
Time then goes on to talk about the plan and drops this juicy quote, “In the words of a senior Bush Administration official, the proposals amounted to “everything we’ve done since 9/11.”
Then on page two Time gets down to the dirty of business of blaming the Bush administration for causing 9-11 by not blindly accepting the Clinton administration’s plan,
“Could al-Qaeda’s plot have been foiled if the U.S. had taken the fight to the terrorists in January 2001? Perhaps not….But there’s another possibility. An aggressive campaign to degrade the terrorist network worldwide-to shut down the conveyor belt of recruits coming out of the Afghan camps, to attack the financial and logistical support on which the hijackers depended-just might have rendered it incapable of carrying out the Sept. 11 attacks. Perhaps some of those who had to approve the operation might have been killed, or the money trail to Florida disrupted. We will never know, because we never tried. This is the secret history of that failure.”
However the Bush administration tells another tale, one totally at odds with the Time story,
“A recent story suggesting the White House sat on a plan developed by the Clinton administration to rid the world of Al Qaeda is wrong in several key respects, a senior Bush administration official said.
The Clinton administration had no “plan” outlining detailed assessments of the threat from the terrorist network and offering ideas on how to counter Al Qaeda, the official said….The incoming administration heard suggestions by the Clinton security team about a response to the terror groups’ potential threat and continued on that path, White House spokesman Sean McCormack said….We were briefed on the Al Qaeda threat and what the Clinton administration was doing about it. These efforts against Al Qaeda were continued in the Bush administration,” he said.”
“…Officials said that action items given to the Bush administration were proposed to the Clinton administration in 1998. The Clinton White House had two years to come up with a plan encompassing the proposals but did not.”
Time Magazine is portraying Clinton as having a detailed plan ready for what amounts to a war against al-Queda while the Bush team is saying that ‘Clinton’s Plan’ amounted to little more than a briefing with a few suggestions. So who should we believe?
First off, the idea that the Clinton administration was ready to go to war against Afghanistan is laughable. Beyond a limited number of arrests and asuspiciously timed attack on an aspirin factory in Sudan and a terrorist camp in Afghanistan, Clinton did very little to combat terrorism in his eight years in office. The Clinton administration also crippled our human intelligence with new rules that didn’t allow the CIA to hire “shady” characters and refused an offer in 1996 by Sudan to hand a gift wrapped Osama Bin Laden over to the United States. This is despite the fact that the Clinton administration was provoked several times by al-Queda before the USS Cole attack. There was the 1st WTC Bombing (1993), Somalia (1993), The Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia (1997), & the U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania (1998).
Yet after all of that, here’s how Clinton Advisor Dick Morris described Clinton’s view of terrorism,
“…Nothing so illustrates the low priority of terrorism in Clinton’s first term than the short shrift he gave the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the first terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Six people were killed and 1,042 injured; 750 firefighters worked for one month to contain the damage. But Clinton never visited the site. Several days after the explosion, speaking in New Jersey, he actually “discouraged Americans from overacting” to the Trade Center bombing.
“…Everything was more important than fighting terrorism. Political correctness, civil liberties concerns, fear of offending the administration’s supporters, Janet Reno’s objections, considerations of cost, worries about racial profiling and, in the second term, surviving impeachment, all came before fighting terrorism.”
Now ask yourself how likely it is that Bill Clinton, after eight years of inaction and neglect, was suddenly inspired to start a ‘War on Terrorism’ by the USS Cole Bombing after ignoring several other attacks of similar or greater magnitude? I think the answer to that question should be obvious…unless you write for Time Magazine.