Skip to comments.The Blitzer Identity Forgets to Ask Clinton About Able Danger (Wolf didn't ask about 2000 and Atta)!
Posted on 08/11/2005 6:58:58 PM PDT by NavySEAL F-16
The Blitzer Identity Forgets to Ask Clinton About Able Danger 08/11 04:06 PM
Huge story in the New York Times today about serious intelligence lapses that occurred during the Clinton administration and the 9/11 Commissions deliberate omission of those lapses from its final report despite military officials' warnings that the report would be incomplete without them. And what did Wolf Blitzer choose to ask the former president when he appeared on The Situation Room this afternoon?
Do you think the war in Iraq was a mistake?
Is your wife going to run for president?
How does this Situation Room compare to the actual situation room in the White House?
When Clinton laughed at the last question, Blitzer admitted that his Situation Room is a lot less stressful. Thats conceivable, given that Blitzer didnt ask him about the bombshell news story currently breaking about intelligence failures in his administration.
Had he asked clinton anything at all about Able Danger, the sinkmeister would have wriggled around it - and the press would praise his "upstanding forthrightness" or something equally vacuous.
I didn't see any of the show, and hours later flipped the tube on JUST as that interview was over, and after Clinton was gone, Wolf referred to him as PRESIDENT CLinton, and only then as FORMER President.
But there is NO bias on MSM, NONE.
Big surprise that Able Danger slipped Blitzer's mind (not).
Blitzer also "forgot" to ask Cindy Sheehan about her prior (positive) comments related to her '04 visit with the President when he interviewed her this past Sunday, all the while allowing her to spew inane drivel without challenge.
Could be because he is a shill for the Clintoons.
Yep. Wolfe Blitzen. One of clinton's favorite reindeer.
bookmarked. Watching closely.
hillary clinton must never be allowed anywhere near the Oval Office. Once the clintons' own U.S. attorneys were in place, once the opposition was disemboweled by the knowledge that their raw FBI files had been in the possession of the clintons, once domestic law enforcement was effectively blinded to foreign data by Gorelick's Wall, the clintons were free to methodically and seditiously and with impunity auction off America's security, sovereignty and economy to the highest foreign bidder. e would have it backwards and miss the point entirely if we were to attribute The Gorelick Wall and the attendant metastasis of al Qaeda during the clintons' watch, (which, incidentally, was then in its incipient stage and stoppable), to the '60s liberal mindset. Rampant '60s liberalism was not the underlying rationale for The Gorelick Wall. Rather, The Gorelick Wall was the underlying rationale for--The Gorelick Wall was (insofar as '60s liberalism was the Wall's apparent impetus) a cynical cover for --the willful, methodical malpractice and malfeasance that was the product of the virulent clinton strain of rampant '60s liberalism. While it is true that The Gorelick Wall was the convenient device of a cowardly self-serving president, The Wall's aiding and abetting of al Qaeda was largely incidental, (the pervasiveness of the clintons' Nobel-Peace-Prize calculus notwithstanding). The Wall was engineered primarily to protect a corrupt self-serving president. The metastasis of al Qaeda and 9/11 were simply the cost of doing business, clinton-style. Further confirmation of the Wall-as-cover-for-clinton-corruption thesis: Conversely, that it never occurred to anyone on the commission that Gorelick's flagrant conflict of interest renders her presence on the commission beyond farce calls into question the commission's judgment if not its integrity. Washington's mutual protection racket writ large, I suspect. The Gorelick Wall is consistent with, and an international extension of, two essential acts committed in tandem, Filegate, the simultaneous empowering of the clintons and disemboweling of clinton adversaries, and the clinton Putsch, the firing and replacement of every U.S. attorney extant. Filegate and the clinton Putsch, The Common Man Allegations of international clinton crimes swirling around the White House in 1995 and beyond support The-Wall-as-cover-for-international-clinton-crimes thesis. Once the clintons' own U.S. attorneys were in place, once the opposition was disemboweled by the knowledge that their raw FBI files had been in the possession of the clintons, once domestic law enforcement was effectively blinded to foreign data by Gorelick's Wall, the clintons were free to methodically and seditiously and with impunity auction off America's security, sovereignty and economy to the highest foreign bidder. COPYRIGHT MIA T 2005
QUINN IN THE MORNING (ESSAY DISCUSSED)
(MP3, REAL, WINDOWS MEDIA, WINAMP)
thanx to Fixit for the audio
committed in tandem,
the product of a careful criminal calculus,
at once empowered clinton
and disemboweled his opponents.
clinton was now free to betray with abandon
not only our trust,
but the Constitution as well.
(viewing movie requires Flash Player 6, available HERE)
HILLARY'S TRIPLE PLAY
the clinton putsch + filegate + the gorelick wall
Once the clintons' own U.S. attorneys were in place, once the opposition was disemboweled by the knowledge that their raw FBI files had been in the possession of the clintons, once domestic law enforcement was effectively blinded to foreign data by Gorelick's Wall, the clintons were free to methodically and seditiously and with impunity auction off America's security, sovereignty and economy to the highest foreign bidder.
e would have it backwards and miss the point entirely if we were to attribute The Gorelick Wall and the attendant metastasis of al Qaeda during the clintons' watch, (which, incidentally, was then in its incipient stage and stoppable), to the '60s liberal mindset.
Rampant '60s liberalism was not the underlying rationale for The Gorelick Wall.
Rather, The Gorelick Wall was the underlying rationale for--The Gorelick Wall was (insofar as '60s liberalism was the Wall's apparent impetus) a cynical cover for --the willful, methodical malpractice and malfeasance that was the product of the virulent clinton strain of rampant '60s liberalism.
While it is true that The Gorelick Wall was the convenient device of a cowardly self-serving president, The Wall's aiding and abetting of al Qaeda was largely incidental, (the pervasiveness of the clintons' Nobel-Peace-Prize calculus notwithstanding).
The Wall was engineered primarily to protect a corrupt self-serving president. The metastasis of al Qaeda and 9/11 were simply the cost of doing business, clinton-style.
Further confirmation of the Wall-as-cover-for-clinton-corruption thesis:
Conversely, that it never occurred to anyone on the commission that Gorelick's flagrant conflict of interest renders her presence on the commission beyond farce calls into question the commission's judgment if not its integrity. Washington's mutual protection racket writ large, I suspect.
The Gorelick Wall is consistent with, and an international extension of, two essential acts committed in tandem, Filegate, the simultaneous empowering of the clintons and disemboweling of clinton adversaries, and the clinton Putsch, the firing and replacement of every U.S. attorney extant.
Filegate and the clinton Putsch,
The Common Man
Allegations of international clinton crimes swirling around the White House in 1995 and beyond support The-Wall-as-cover-for-international-clinton-crimes thesis.
COPYRIGHT MIA T 2005
Much like August of '01. Chandra Levy was the soap opera of the summer back then.
Wolf Blitzer's new show is an embarrassment to watch. Vaudville TV. but here's the Blitz-Clinton interview. Yikes! I thought it would never end!! But then, to milk the moment dry, Wolf had a round table discussion of what Clinton really meant to say. I'm talking Torture TV!!!
"BLITZER: Right now, a SITUATION ROOM exclusive. The 42nd president of the United States, Bill Clinton, is with us live from New York. We're going to speak at length about some of the big global issues and the hot political topics, among other things. The president -- former president -- is preparing to host world leaders in New York City next month in support of his global initiative that was formed to tackle some of the toughest problems on the planet, including the AIDS epidemic and more.
The initiative helps hard-hit places, such as Africa, expand for the disease and prevention. Twenty-five million people in Subsaharan Africa are living with HIV/AIDS right now.
Mr. President, we're going to get to all of that in just a moment, but let's talk about the biggest issue facing the United States, arguably right now. That would be the war in Iraq. Looking back, with 20/20 hindsight, was it a mistake?
WILLIAM CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, at the time, Wolf, I thought that we should not have gone in there until we let the U.N. inspectors finish their job. That was, after all, the understanding the Senate had when it was asked to vote to Congress to give the president authority to go in.
But that's really not relevant anymore. We did what we did, we are where we are. 58 percent of the Iraqis showed up to vote, 1,800- plus brave Americans have given their lives there. Thousands and thousands of Iraqis have died in fighting the insurgency and trying to give their country a future.
So I think where we are now, it's important to try to continue this effort to train the security forces and the military forces which the administration and our military have undertaken. They are good people, they're trying to do a good job. And there will come a time when the Iraqis will want us to go, and where we should go. But we got to try to make this work. I still think there's a chance it could work, and it's the only strategy that will work.
BLITZER: The reason I ask was it a mistake because in our latest CNN/"USA Today/Gallup poll, we asked this question: Has the war in Iraq made the U.S. safer from terrorism? 34 percent said yes, 57 percent said no. How would you answer that question.
CLINTON: Oh, I would agree with that. I don't think -- I never thought it had much to do with the war on terror, except that we were looking to see if there were biological and chemical agents there. I thought we should have done that. I thought the U.N. inspections were well-advised. But it was clearly not going to have anything to do with al Qaeda they had never been involved before and that was where our focus, I thought, should have been.
So I would agree with that, but independent of that, we are there now and there now are terrorists operating there. And there is a clear majority of people in Iraq who are supporting the idea that their country should be free, independent and at peace. And they're trying to come up with a constitution and we're trying to train the security and the military forces. So I think -- that's what I hope we can do, and do it successfully. And if we can do that, then our people can come home.
BLITZER: So I assume that the answer is, yes, the war was a mistake. Is that your answer?
CLINTON: You're trying to get me to make news, and I'm trying to educate people. It doesn't matter whether it was a mistake to go in or not at the time. I thought we should have let the U.N. inspectors finish. We are where we are. We can't undo what has happened. 58 percent of Iraqis voted in the last election. That's more than we had turn out in 2004. And we've got a lot of good people there working hard to train the security forces and the military forces. My answer is, whether it was a mistake or not, we are where we are and we ought to try to make this strategy succeed, support that strategy. It's the only option that will get us out in an honorable way, having made these sacrifices mean something.
BLITZER: That's my job. I'm a newsman. That's what I try to do, is make news. And you try to avoid news. That's your job.
Let's talk about some domestic issues. Right now, very important issue, the next potential United States Supreme Court associate justice. Your former White House counsel and friend Jack Quinn said this recently. He said, "It would be terrible if the public had unfettered access to the advice that a president gets."
If that is the case, presidents won't get very good advice. The suggestion being some of those documents that Democrats want from his terms in the White House or at the Justice Department shouldn't necessarily be forced to be handed over. What do you say about that?
CLINTON I think it depends on what the documents were. If he was giving advice to the Justice Department on policy and competing policy -- for example, his idea that the Congress could actually deprive the Supreme Court of the right to hear appeals in cases involving bussing or school prayer or abortion -- I think that should be available because it deals with organic constitutional matters where the government was trying to decide on what policy it should have. That, I think, should be public.
If he gave President Reagan a legal memo on something relating to a particular decision he was going to make as president, then I think that should be subject to the privilege. I do think it's interesting that a lot of these Republicans in Congress who didn't believe there was anything such thing as executive privilege when I was president now want to protect these documents. But I think that some of them should be protected. I agree with Jack Quinn on that.
But on the other hand, I think if Judge Roberts wrote memos which were generally about his view of the constitution and law and policy, and generally about the policies the administration was going to embrace or not, then those don't fall within the definition of a confidential legal advice.
BLITZER: Let's briefly talk about your wife, junior senator from New York state. She now has another woman who's challenging her for the New York state, for her reelection, Jeanine Pirro. Listen to what she said. The Westchester County district attorney. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEANINE PIRRO, (R) NEW YORK SENATE CANDIDATE: When Hillary first came to New York and said she wanted to be a New Yorker, she asked us to put out the welcome mat and New York did. But now she wants to use it as a doormat to the White House. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Is Jeanine Pirro right?
CLINTON: Jeanine Pirro is wrong. Hillary has not used any doormat and, by the way, she even doesn't have a Republican opponent, yet. I don't know who the Republicans are going to nominate and I don't think you do. But I know one thing. She has been a great senator for New York. She's served with distinction on the Armed Services Committee. She's been to the battle zones on more than one occasion. She has been a terrific senator for New York after 9/11, getting funds for the city to start again. She's gotten a large amount of money for working families to get health care for their kids. She's done amazing things on economic projects in upstate New York.
And, you know, if it hadn't been for my illness, she would have voted 99 percent of the time she's been in the Senate. I think she's still at 97-and-a-half. So I'm really proud of the job she did as senator. And according to all the surveys, so are all New Yorkers. I think they know she's been a good senator. She's been a good senators for Republicans and independents and Democrats and for every section of the state. And I think the people will support her service in the election next year. That's what I think's going to happen.
BLITZER: Yes. You saw, perhaps, our recent CNN/"USA Today/Gallup poll. A lot of Democrats want her to run for the party's nomination in 2008. 46 percent registered Democrats prefer her, only 16 percent -- 41 percent, excuse me. 16 percent for John Kerry, 15 percent for John Edwards, 8 percent for Joe Biden. She's the frontrunner right now, isn't she?
CLINTON: No, because she's not a candidate. And I don't know that she will be. We have a rule in our family that I always fought and now she does. Don't look past the next election or you might not get past the next election. So I am convinced in my own mind she hasn't decided on that. I believe I would know if she had. And I don't want her to even think about it. I want her to focus on getting reelected and on doing her job as a senator. There will be lots of time to think about that down the road. I just don't think she should do that.
BLITZER: Is the U.S. government doing enough right now to deal with the issue of AIDS/HIV in Africa?
CLINTON: Well, we're doing more and I am really grateful that I have been able to work with PEPFAR, the Bush administration's initiative. The president asked me what I doing when we flew together to the pope's funeral, and I explained it. And we're working -- I just got back from Africa, and we're working very closely with the Bush program.
Let me tell you what, together, the world is doing. We're trying to get up to speed on getting more people more medicine, but about 6 million people in the poor worlds, in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the former Soviet Union need the medicine to stay alive. Today less -- fewer than one million are getting it, a big percentage of them in two countries, Brazil and Thailand, where they produce their own medicine. So, I have negotiated a price for this generic medicine of $139 a year and we are directly, through my foundation effort, serving 110,000 people. We'll be up to 300,000 by the end of the year.
I hope the world will be at 1.5 million or 2 million by sometime early next year and if we just keep going, we can turn this around. I think there's a reasonable chance. I feel this for the first time, I might say, in three or four years: I think there is reasonable chance that by a year-and-a-half from now, we will think we've finally got ahold of this and we're are going in the other direction.
I can't tell you for sure, yet, Wolf, but I do think that America's doing more, the private foundations, people like me are doing more. The global fund on HTB and malaria has been terrific. I think if we'll all keep working together with Unicef, with other groups, we can turn it around.
BLITZER: Mr. President, what is the most important thing you hope to accomplish by you global initiative, this meeting you're having in the middle of September in New York? You're bringing all these world leaders. Many of whom are coming for the U.N. General Assembly opening. What is the single most-important thing you hope to accomplish?
CLINTON: I hope to get every private person who comes there, whether they're a wealthy business person, a philanthropist, a leader of nongovernmental organization, to make a commitment to take some specific action in the coming year in one of these four areas: In the reduction of poverty, improving government in emerging countries and finding an economic opportunity and combating climate change and global warming and promoting religious reconciliation.
I want them to take one of these areas and do one specific thing. And I want everybody who comes, to make a commitment to do it and do it. And I think if we do that next year and every year for a decade, we can have a huge impact on the problems of the world. That's what I believe and I think that the evidence that I've seen, just since I've been out of the White House about what I and others have been able to do bears that out.
BLITZER: We will be covering it, Mr. President. We're out of time, but a quick question. I want to put a picture up. You;re not going to see it, but it's you in the situation room in the West Wing of the White House. The former vice president is there. You're former national advisor -- it's a good picture. You're now in the CNN SITUATION ROOM, at least via satellite, how do you feel?
CLINTON: Well, I like being in the other situation room, but I like this one better: There's less pressure and more freedom and I know I can walk out on you. I couldn't walk out of those other situations.
BLITZER: Well, this is a lot less stressful to be sure. Physically, are you OK, Mr. President?
CLINTON: I feel great. I've been blessed. I was lucky to get over it. My family was great. My medical team was great and I'm doing what I'm told and I hope I'm fine.
BLITZER: Well, we hope you'll be a frequent visitor here for many, many years to come in THE CNN SITUATION ROOM. Bill Clinton, the former president of the united states, always a pleasure speaking with you.
CLINTON: Thank you.
BLITZER: Up next, a round table: CNN reporters and analysts standing by. We'll digest what we just heard from the former president.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: You heard him here in THE SITUATION ROOM only a few moments ago: The former president, Bill Clinton. He had lots to say. We want -- we always have lots to talk about and we have three of our best talkers, Clinton-watchers, all joining us: Our chief national correspondent, John King, our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley and our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield.
Candy, he makes it abundantly clear, Bill Clinton, he wants Hillary Clinton to seek the Democratic nomination in 2008.
CANDY CROWLEY, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I tell you, he can dance on the head of a pin, can't he? I mean, this is -- I thought -- you know, looking at this or all the reasons why he was so successful, obviously, you know, he says, "Well, we've got to look at that next election coming up, that election for the Senate, but she's done this, this, this and this."
It's abundantly clear and has been before this, that in fact he would like Hillary Clinton to run, but you will not get that out of him. That's going to come out of her.
BLITZER: Is this going to be a tough race in New York state, her reelection in 2006, with Jeanine Pirro, assuming she gets the Republican nomination -- the Westchester D.A. -- the Westchester County D.A.?
JOHN KING, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now -- emphasis on right now, it does not look like a tough race. That's why he sort of took an underhanded swipe and Jeanine Pirro, saying we don't even know who the Republican candidate's going to be yet.
But remember, when he was governor, he gave a commitment when he last ran for reelection that he would not seek the presidency, that he would fulfill his term. She is going to get the same question and he knows it. Arkansas is a small state. He could go around to three or four town meetings and say, "they have freed me from my pledge. They want me to run for president." It's going to be much harder in a big state like New York, where they have rock-them-sock-them politics, for Hillary Clinton when she gets asked that question: Will you serve out your term. How does she answer?
BLITZER: Jeff Greenfield, since you live in New York state, let's bring you in. In 2000, when she ran, I asked her: Will you serve all six years? She committed. She and said, "yes." How does she answer that question this time?
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She says, "I'm only focused on the reelection and serving the people of New York. And from what I can tell, you know, looking back on political history, I can't find a case where a potential presidential candidate was hurt because the voters of the state that he, or now she, was in, thought that she might be running for president.
Or -- you know, it just doesn't happen. John Kennedy in 1958: Did anybody in Massachusetts hold it against him that he was going to run for president in 1960? That issue was settled here in New York in 2000 and Mrs. Pirro -- Yes?
BLITZER: Go ahead, Jeff.
GREENFIELD: No. I'm sorry. So, I think that, that will be a non-issue next year.
BLITZER: What will be the issue, if any, in New York state?
GREENFIELD: Well, you know, it is a year-and-a-quarter away and I realize that it is the Tourette syndrome of people like us, to think we know what's going to happen a year, three years, eight years into the future. You know, it is, I suppose, conceivable that some vote Hillary Clinton might cast, some misstep might throw her into trouble. She has an enormous approval rating here. The carpetbagger issue was alive and well in 2000. It's on of the reasons she ran a million votes behind Al Gore. That issue's dead and buried. She has worked very hard in places like small towns, rural towns in upstate New York and she is in very good shape right now.
BLITZER: All right.
GREENFIELD: And that's why I think Mrs. Pirro made the sole issue: She only wants your vote next year so she can run for president. And as I've said, you find me past election anywhere in the country where voters are insulted at the idea that their person that they might vote for, might go on and run for president. I don't know of one.
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(TIME, March 2) -- Halfway through the rumpus in Columbus, shell-shocked officials from the White House, State Department and Pentagon formed a worried huddle on a side aisle of Ohio State University's basketball arena. The place was so rowdy and raucous, they thought, it was threatening to dissolve into chaos. What should they do? Should they pull the plug on this so-called town meeting and hustle their bosses off the center-court stage?
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was scowling, calling for quiet. Defense Secretary William Cohen looked stunned, disbelieving, his toe tapping nervously under his seat. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger hunkered down in his chair, his face stony. But they stuck it out for the full 90 minutes, raising their voices over heckling, shouts and chanted slogans like "We don't want your racist war." When campus police hauled out some of the loudest, other students joined in the protest. Voices from the balcony of the 13,897-seat arena screamed, "The whole world's watching!" It was a bit of a time warp; Berkeley and the '60s fast-forwarded to 1998.
An estimated 200 million people in countries and territories around the world were tuned to CNN as what was supposed to be the Administration's Donahue-style talk show suddenly lurched into an updated version of a Vietnam-era teach-in. The selling of Operation Desert Thunder had become a public relations debacle. But it wasn't just the noisy minority doing what comes naturally to university students, or the obvious discomfort among the TV people on the floor. What really damaged the sales pitch of Washington's three amigos was the questions from scholars, veterans and other upstanding citizens in the audience of 6,000.
Some questioned America's moral right to bomb Iraq, while others demanded that this time the U.S. do the job properly and get rid of Saddam Hussein. The prospect of war managed to anger the political left and right simultaneously. And the replies they got from the nation's top foreign-policy officials were limp, cant-filled and suspiciously incomplete. Columbus mirrored the very same problem President Bill Clinton faces in trying to persuade most of America's allies, the Arab world and marginally friendly countries like Russia and China. He hasn't done any better with them than his advisers did in the heartland.
Albright, Cohen and Berger should have known they were handling a booby-trapped assignment that could explode in their faces. Americans are always reluctant to get into foreign wars, preferring neutrality and shrinking from the shedding of blood, even the enemy's. They wanted to stay out of World War II until Pearl Harbor made the choices crystal clear. Even in 1991, with 500,000 troops poised in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Senate voted only 52 to 47 in favor of attacking Saddam to drive him out of Kuwait. Americans don't like the mission to Bosnia, and they hated the intervention in Haiti.
Last week, as usual, the U.S. public was being brought into the picture very late, only a couple of weeks before a complicated and dangerous foreign adventure was likely to begin. Clinton does it this way all the time, partly because he flutters and floats about his own course of action. He and his advisers assume the country has a short attention span and they can explain a clear choice and a timetable only when their own resolve becomes clear.
Time is growing short. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in Baghdad last week on what he admitted was one last diplomatic effort to solve the impasse over inspections. As Annan headed off, he got Washington's "terms of reference" in a personal phone call from Clinton. The President spelled out "red lines" on what the U.S. will not accept, mainly anything that dilutes the authority or responsibility of the U.N. Special Commission's weapons inspectors. The U.S. is willing to go along with the suggestion of soothing Saddam's offended sense of sovereignty by sending Security Council diplomats along with the inspectors, but not if the diplomats get in the way or try to limit inspections anywhere and everywhere. "If a few diplomats were to accompany UNSCOM under certain conditions," says State Department spokesman James Rubin, "we don't have a problem with that." But the commission must have "operational control and access to sites it does not now have access to."
Direct phone lines were set up from the U.N. and the State Department to Annan's delegation in Baghdad. Albright and U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson stood by to take reports from Annan and provide a U.S. response to any offers from Saddam. Annan was expected to return to New York City on Tuesday and report to the Security Council formally on Wednesday.
The White House is broadcasting at full volume and plans a Clinton address to the nation if any military action is to be undertaken. But the Administration is advertising a complicated and unsatisfying product. Clinton's policy on Iraq, as he admits, is not one that will either get rid of Saddam or wipe out his capacity to build and stockpile weapons of mass destruction--chemical and biological--and the missiles to carry them. The plan to bomb anyway, if Saddam does not allow U.N. inspectors free entry everywhere, and then maybe bomb again later, sounds like a series of half measures. It doesn't sit well with Americans.
Ohio's displeasure was so plain that some officials holding a postmortem in Washington fretted aloud about "whether the town hall sent a bad message to Saddam." (Answer: Yes. Iraqi state television played portions of the basketball-court fiasco over and over.) That worry probably accounts for the White House's revived interest in getting a vote of support from the Senate if Annan returns from his mission to Baghdad without unconditional agreement from Saddam to open his palace doors to inspectors.
What Clinton is proposing is a cold war-style containment of Iraq, a long-range and unpalatable option. In a televised speech at the Pentagon last Tuesday, the President wore a properly dark suit and a somber, clench-jawed expression. He seemed uncomfortable and spoke in a monotone that some of the senior officers listening found "flat" and "uninspiring." Force, Clinton said, was sometimes the only answer.
A CIA paper made public the same day the President spoke reported that the U.N.'s inspectors "believe Iraq maintains a small force of Scud-type missiles, a small stockpile of chemical and biological munitions" and the ability to produce more of them quickly. A U.S. and British bombing strike, Clinton told his Pentagon audience, "can and will leave him significantly worse off than he is now" and reduce Saddam's ability to attack his neighbors. "If he seeks to rebuild his weapons of mass destruction, we will be prepared to strike him again." Clinton even trotted out some cold war rhetoric, warning that coping with Saddam "requires constant vigilance."
It is what Clinton's advisers have been saying for months: continued economic sanctions, constant threats of military action and occasional punitive bombing make up the only realistic policy for keeping Saddam from becoming a threat to the Middle East. It might take a long time, because Saddam does not seem ready to leave the scene and the U.S. is unwilling to go in and get him. No wonder this is a hard sell.
The Clinton team likes to say that most of the world supports the U.S. stand. That's half right. Most of the world does agree that Saddam should live up to the Security Council resolutions he has accepted and should allow inspectors to check any building they think necessary, including the so-called presidential sites. But having said that, most countries balk at enforcing the rules with air strikes. Some honestly believe more diplomacy will do the trick, and some, like China, oppose any sanctions that might someday be turned on themselves.
Perhaps the most carefully nuanced view is France's, though many of America's allies think along the same lines. France wants to do business in Iraq's oil fields, but French officials insist they are not pro-Saddam. They'd like to see the last of him too. But they have no faith in the methods Washington is proposing. Air strikes of the size now gathering steam in the gulf, the French say, are a no-win policy that can only benefit Saddam. The bombs will miss his weapons, kill Iraqi civilians and rally support for Saddam at home and in the Arab world. The French government assumes that after an air strike, Saddam will throw out the U.N. inspectors altogether, and that will be the end of the outside world's ability to monitor his biological-, chemical- and nuclear-weapons programs.
After Albright toured the region three weeks ago, peddling the bomb-and-then-bomb-again policy, she returned saying she had broad support and intimated that Arab leaders were more accommodating in private than in public. As soon as she landed in Washington, the support began slipping away. Egypt pronounced against military action. Turkey and Saudi Arabia told the U.S. it could not use air bases on their soil to attack Iraq. Then Bahrain's Information Minister announced that no strikes could be mounted from his country, a key land base for U.S. fighters and warships.
As one of the questioners at Ohio State asked, What is Clinton up to if Saddam's neighbors don't want the U.S. to bomb? Aren't they afraid? Israel certainly is, but the others are of two minds. They see Saddam as brutal and menacing, but they don't think he's about to do anything terrible to them right now. They assume that if he gets nasty and tries to attack again, the U.S. will slap him down. But they are skittish about provoking a sleeping beast and fear he might retaliate. They don't trust Saddam's judgment under bombardment, assuming that he could use his terror weapons as a last resort. A Jordanian official says, "You don't poke a lion."
Some of Iraq's next-door neighbors are afraid the country will fall apart if the U.S. hits it too hard. With Iraq pulverized, Iran becomes the biggest military power in the area. If the Shi'ite southern area of Iraq breaks away, Shi'ite Iran might gobble it up and move on to Saudi Arabia's eastern province, also Shi'ite and home to the kingdom's most important oil fields. At the same time, Iran would be deeply worried if the northern segment of Iraq were to break away and create an independent Kurdistan. Turkey and Syria share that worry. So while the surrounding states would like to see Saddam disarmed, they are less than certain they want his regime to collapse.
Arab states, like many others, think the U.N.'s economic sanctions have gone too far and are hurting Iraqi civilians who have no say in who leads their country. Arab governments also worry about their own biggest internal threat: religious fundamentalists who despise the U.S. and the regimes, like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, that have military links with the Great Satan. The states of the gulf are not strong and brave nations with firm bases; they are traditional monarchies struggling to survive in changing, threatening times.
While the Arabs think the U.S. is scheming and manipulating events, Saddam is calling the shots in the current crisis. He created it and will decide its outcome. His strategy is visible. Saddam is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, using them to boost his prestige and as a threat and deterrent against all the neighbors who do not love him, starting with Iran. He wants to fend off the U.N. inspectors and get out from under the sanctions grinding down his economy.
How does he do it? He begins by refusing to allow the inspectors into his far-flung compounds and intelligence-service headquarters. Saddam is trying to persuade the Security Council that the inspections as well as the embargo must come to an end. Failing that, he can endure and survive an American bombardment, emerging to greet a world newly sympathetic to Iraqi suffering and outraged by American bullying. His defiance brings him admiration; his resistance rallies his people to his side. The U.N. inspectors will be gone, and the embargo will be shakier than ever. He probably figures that even if he cannot get a vote in the Security Council to lift the economic sanctions, many countries will simply ignore them.
Saddam has a great advantage as he plays his deadly game. He has shown over and over that he does not care what happens to his people so long as he survives in power. He is cynical and an accomplished risk taker. He may have given up hope that wily diplomacy could break the U.N.'s grip on his weapons and economy and may be willing to take the gamble with American and British air power. If not--if he has hopes of playing yet another diplomatic round--he will pass the word to Kofi Annan. It's his last chance.
***** Let's face it: Clinton was paid by the Chinese to cause the US to fail, so he leaked the miniaturization technology to them. Now, in Iraq, under a different President, if the terrorists and their backers, financial, media or otherwise, cause us to leave, the media can portray us as having failed. OBL wins. If we leave and Iraq collapses anyway; OBL wins. In any event, the US will be seen as needing to obey when Hillary, the communist who would be queen, attempts to ride her husband's coattails into the WH and us into the ground, and will, no doubt, give up Taiwan to our most favored trading partner--China, along with the rest of our nuclear jewels. All this without releasing HerRottC's sealed Master's on what must be the overthrow of the US. China will just be left with slicing up Muslims right and left, with US technology. Makes you want to deport a bunch of whiny, overaged baby boomers who appear to prefer losing their nation to losing their checkbooks or sleep. /rant off.
Here's a hot link to that fabulous read...literally a blast from the past.
This quote really caught my (trained to look for wmd) eye:
"Saddam is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, using them to boost his prestige and as a threat and deterrent against all the neighbors who do not love him, starting with Iran."
(And I actually remember watching Clinton's Three Stooges in Ohio)
Such a shame that a potentially cool name like Wolf Blitzer was wasted.
I recall that fondly. I just hope we can get this up front where it rightfully belongs. This 9/11 scandal should have hearings before sweeps season begins.....
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