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Clinton and Al Qaeda
Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish ^ | Sept. 16.'02 | Andrew Sullivan

Posted on 09/16/2002 3:02:57 PM PDT by Molly Pitcher


If you haven't yet, read Lawrence Wright's extraordinary piece of reporting in the New Yorker. It's not online and it's endless, but every page tells you something new about the provenance of al Qaeda, its roots in Egyptian radicalism, and its emergence in the 1990s as such a lethal force. But one thing that deeply impressed me is how damning an indictment this piece is of former president Clinton.

What Wright shows is that Clinton's passivity and inconsistency in the face of Islamist terrorism undoubtedly made matters far worse than they otherwise would have been. By engaging in piece-meal, ineffective and disastrous retreats and half-hearted swipes, Clinton not only failed to stop al Qaeda, he gave it new strength and vigor.

It started early on with Clinton's panicked withdrawal from Somalia:

Bin Laden glorified in the fact that his men had trained the Somali militiamen who shot down two American helicopters in the "Black Hawk Down" incident, in October of [1993], prompting president Clinton to withdraw all American soldiers from the country. "Based on the reports we received from our brothers in Somalia," bin Laden Said, "we learned that they saw the weakness, frailty and cowardice of U.S. troops. Only eighteen U.S. troops were killed. Nonetheless, they fled in the heart of darkness."... Emboldened by the success of the "Black Hawk Down" incident in Somalia, bin Laden escalated his campaign against America.

When the Islamists saw how Washington responded to their terror, they ratcheted their campaign up. And why wouldn't they have? Perhaps the worst of all worlds was Clinton's highly dubious decision to send missiles to attack al Qaeda in Sudan and Afghanistan. Here's Wright again:

The strikes which, in the big-chested parlance of military planners, were dubbed Operation Infinite Reach, cost American taxpayer seventy-nine million dollars, but they merely exposed the inadequacy of American intelligence. President Clinton later explained that one of the strikes had been aimed at a "gathering of key terrorist leaders," but the meeting in question had occurred a month earlier ... The failure of Operation Infinite Reach established bin Laden as a legendary figure not just in the Muslim world but wherever America, with the clamor of its narcissistic culture and the presence of its military forces, had made itself unwelcome. When bin Laden's voice came crackling across the radio transmission - "By the grace of God, I am alive!" - the forces of anti-Americanism had found their champion. Those who had objected the the slaughter of innocents in the embassies in East Africa, many of whom were Muslims, were cowed by the popular response to this man whose defiance of America now seemed blessed by divine favor.The day after the strikes, Zawahiri called a reporter in Karachi, with a message: "Tell the Americans that we aren't afraid of bombardment, threats, and acts of aggression... The war has only just begun; the Americans should now await the answer."

Part of that answer was 9/11. Notice that this story isn't written by a conservative opponent of Clinton or in a conservative magazine. It's by a superb reporter in a left-liberal magazine. No, Clinton is not responsible for al Qaeda, just as Chamberlain wasn't responsible for Hitler.

But Clinton is absolutely responsible for the consequences of his inaction and his appeasement. And it's vital, if we are to prevent a repeat of the fecklessness of the 1990s, that we remember this lesson and take it to heart.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: alqaeda; clinton; somalia
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To: Molly Pitcher
Thanks for the ping. Next time I'm in the bookstore, I'll check it out.
41 posted on 09/16/2002 4:53:55 PM PDT by dittomom
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To: McLynnan; dittomom; MHT
It's all a vast right wing conspiracy to take away his legacy.

Oh yeh... How could I forget that??? Sheesh...

MHT, my understanding is that Atlantic Monthly is not online, but haven't actually checked... will do that now.

42 posted on 09/16/2002 4:57:59 PM PDT by Molly Pitcher
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I mean the New Yorker...busy day here...
43 posted on 09/16/2002 4:59:43 PM PDT by Molly Pitcher
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I meant the article...

Here's the link to the mag's website, and as Sullivan says above, the article doesn't seem to be online...

44 posted on 09/16/2002 5:05:12 PM PDT by Molly Pitcher
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To: aristeides
"Under its current editor, David Remnick, the New Yorker runs much better articles than it did under Tina Browne."

Remnick authored "King of the World," a biography of Muhammed Ali. One might expect it to be about his boxing career but it's not. While it does touch on his matches, the book is about Ali the person and what drives him. It's a fascinating book and very, very well written. I recommend it highly.
45 posted on 09/16/2002 7:39:32 PM PDT by Chu Gary
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That was a classic assessment by Rush Limbaugh!
46 posted on 09/16/2002 8:20:52 PM PDT by harpo11
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To: Molly Pitcher
Thank you for posting this from I heard Rush mention this today, and really wanted to read the text from Sullivan's "Daily Dish" for myself.
47 posted on 09/16/2002 8:53:43 PM PDT by nutmeg
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To: firebrand; StarFan; Dutchy; stanz; RaceBannon; Doctor Raoul; evilC; Black Agnes; Cacique; ...

Please see Molly Pitcher's Post #1. Rush Limbaugh brought this article to light this afternoon.

48 posted on 09/16/2002 9:11:27 PM PDT by nutmeg
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To: nutmeg
49 posted on 09/16/2002 9:28:20 PM PDT by nutmeg
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To: Molly Pitcher
New Democrat Party Mottos ***THREAD FOUR*** Al Qaeda Registered Democrats
50 posted on 09/16/2002 9:36:42 PM PDT by JeepInMazar
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To: Pokey78
I wasn't sure if you had seen this... from Andrew Sullivan's "Daily Dish".

BTW, thanks for your really fantastic work with your 'ping list subscriptions'. What a wonderful timesaver your service is!


51 posted on 09/16/2002 10:06:44 PM PDT by nutmeg
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To: Humidston
I have demonrat relatives and clients. I have to be careful about sending stuff like this to clients, however...But my cousin wrote back after reading this article that "Clinton couldn't get anything done because he was hounded about sex." Sheesh! However, same relative, from Portland, where terrorist threat looms is ready to send all al Qaeda suspects to Gitmo post haste, so that's progress, I guess.
52 posted on 09/16/2002 10:16:08 PM PDT by PoisedWoman
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To: NorCoGOP; Molly Pitcher; .45MAN
"Yes - the record is VERY VERY clear on how much the Clintons had done to fight terrorism...."

Excellent response, NCG.

Thanks for the ping, Molly Pitcher. It is indeed refreshing to read enlightened prose from the left.

.45MAN - ***ping***

53 posted on 09/17/2002 4:47:06 AM PDT by dansangel
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To: Molly Pitcher
What do you expect out of a coward and bully?
54 posted on 09/17/2002 5:36:16 AM PDT by Redleg Duke
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To: Utah Girl; Molly Pitcher
Speaking of Borders....when I went in to buy Coulter's book I finally saw it way back on the shelves. I went to the desk and asked if they had her book (I lied!!!!). When the clerk took me to the out of the way shelf - I asked why they didn't have the best seller out front where it could be seen!! Devil made me do it!!
55 posted on 09/17/2002 5:49:25 AM PDT by Elkiejg
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To: TruthShallSetYouFree
I thought Clinton just said he missed bin Laden by only an hour. Maybe he meant an hour in a different galaxy. It's all relative, you know.

I guess it all depends on what the definitions of "is" and "alone" are. Once he nails those down, I'm confident he'll move on to time and space theory.

56 posted on 09/17/2002 6:07:18 AM PDT by NYC GOP Chick
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To: NYC GOP Chick
The AlKooka summit meeting was the month before sinkEmperor lobbed missles in ... the operant timing was wrapped around the Monica game, don'tcha know!... And the dimocrats are now screaming 'don't politicize war', as they politicize war by creating as much distraction as they can, addressing war potential while spinning their rhetoric as expressing an afront by the leader of the free world because he won't divert his attention (waging a war against terrorism bent on destroying America) from the adult issues, to address the dimocrat's agendas in prep for the elections.
57 posted on 09/17/2002 11:02:20 AM PDT by MHGinTN
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So, what you're saying is that he actually *lied* to us when he kept saying that he missed bin loony by an hour?! Quelle horreur!
58 posted on 09/17/2002 1:46:24 PM PDT by NYC GOP Chick
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To: Molly Pitcher; nutmeg
Wow! Thanks for posting this.

nutmeg, thanks for the ping. Definitely worth it.
59 posted on 09/17/2002 1:47:35 PM PDT by Bigg Red
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To: JeepInMazar; nutmeg
Thanks for the link, and you're welcome nutmeg!

Will Clinton EVER be held accountable???!!

60 posted on 09/17/2002 1:52:33 PM PDT by Molly Pitcher
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