This is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.
Left wing or right wing, you’ve got to hand it to William Jefferson Clinton; the man is a political master. Anyone else would have become bombastic or defensive or rude, but here Clinton responds to an extremely slanted attack with rationality, strength, and manners while insisting on his right to reply in full.
Apparently his helpers used to call him Secretariat, because he was just that far ahead of his competitors and you can see in this video that Chris Wallace is basically completely whipped, much to his own surprise.
Fox has been running around YouTube, frantically taking the posts down, although they’ve run clips of this on every major news broadcast in the US already and that cat is firmly out of the bag and in the middle of Main Street. In case they’ve succeed momentarily in taking them all down (and bloggers have gotten their knickers in a twist over this and will likely be posting them multi-bajillion times until Fox wearies of the futility) we’ve got the partial transcript as well, courtesy of Fox. Anybody got the whole shebang? For obvious reasons that’s what I’d prefer.
And I strongly encourage you to watch the video; remember, when people listening to the radio were polled on the Nixon/Kennedy debate, they thought Nixon had won. When people watching the television were polled, they overwhelmingly gave it to Kennedy. Video is important, in that you can see for yourself there was no frothing at the mouth on Clinton‘s part, as some right-wingnuts are trying to claim.
“FOX NEWS SUNDAY” CHRIS WALLACE: This week [President William Jefferson Clinton] hosted his second annual Global Initiative forum in New York. More than $7 billion was pledged to tackle some of the worst problems in developing countries, such as poverty, disease and climate change.
As part of the conference, Mr. Clinton agreed to his first one-on-one interview ever on “FOX News Sunday.” The ground rules were simple: 15 minutes for our sit-down, split evenly between the Global Initiative and anything else we wanted to ask. But as you’ll see now in the full, unedited interview, that’s not how it turned out.
WALLACE: Mr. President, welcome to “FOX News Sunday.”
BILL CLINTON: Thanks.
WALLACE: In a recent issue of the New Yorker you say, quote, “I’m 60 years old and I damn near died, and I’m worried about how many lives I can save before I do die.”Is that what drives you in your effort to help in these developing countries?
CLINTON: Yes, I really — but I don’t mean — that sounds sort of morbid when you say it like that. I mean, I actually …
WALLACE: That’s how you said it.
CLINTON: Yes, but the way I said it, the tone in which I said it was actually almost whimsical and humorous. That is, this is what I love to do. It is what I think I should do.
That is, I have had a wonderful life. I got to be president. I got to live the life of my dreams. I dodged a bullet with that heart problem. And I really think I should — I think I owe it to my fellow countrymen and people throughout the world to spend time saving lives, solving problems, helping people see the future.
But as it happens, I love it. I mean, I feel it’s a great gift. So, it’s a rewarding way to spend my life.
WALLACE: Someone asked you — and I don’t want to, again, be too morbid, but this is what you said. He asked you if you could wind up doing more good as a former president than as a president, and you said, “Only if I live a long time.”
CLINTON: Yes, that’s true.
WALLACE: How do you rate, compare the powers of being in office as president and what you can do out of office as a former president?
CLINTON: Well, when you are president, you can operate on a much broader scope. So, for example, you can simultaneously be trying to stop a genocide in Kosovo and, you know, make peace in the Middle East, pass a budget that gives millions of kids a chance to have afterschool programs and has a huge increase in college aid at home. In other words, you’ve got a lot of different moving parts, and you can move them all at once.
But you’re also more at the mercy of events. That is, President Bush did not run for president to deal with 9/11, but once it happened it wasn’t as if he had an option.
Once I looked at the economic — I’ll give you a much more mundane example. Once I looked at the economic data, the new data after I won the election, I realized that I would have to work much harder to reduce the deficit, and therefore I would have less money in my first year to invest in things I wanted to invest in.
WALLACE: So what is it that you can do as a former president?
CLINTON: So what you can do as a former president is — you don’t have the wide range of power, so you have to concentrate on fewer things. But you are less at the mercy of unfolding events.
So if I say, look, we’re going to work on the economic empowerment of poor people, on fighting AIDS and other diseases, on trying to bridge the religious and political differences between people, and on trying to, you know, avoid the worst calamities of climate change and help to revitalize the economy in the process, I can actually do that.
I mean, because tomorrow when I get up, if there’s a bad headline in the paper, it’s President Bush’s responsibility, not mine. That’s the joy of being a former president. And it is true that if you live long enough and you really have great discipline in the way you do this, like this CGI, you might be able to affect as many lives, or more, for the good as you did as president.
WALLACE: When we announced that you were going to be on “Fox News Sunday,” I got a lot of e-mail from viewers. And I’ve got to say, I was surprised. Most of them wanted me to ask you this question: Why didn’t you do more to put bin Laden and Al Qaeda out of business when you were president?
There’s a new book out, I suspect you’ve already read, called “The Looming Tower.” And it talks about how the fact that when you pulled troops out of Somalia in 1993, bin Laden said, “I have seen the frailty and the weakness and the cowardice of U.S. troops.” Then there was the bombing of the embassies in Africa and the attack on the Cole.
CLINTON: OK, let’s just go through that.
WALLACE: Let me — let me — may I just finish the question, sir?
And after the attack, the book says that bin Laden separated his leaders, spread them around, because he expected an attack, and there was no response.
I understand that hindsight is always 20/20. …
CLINTON: No, let’s talk about it.
WALLACE: … but the question is, why didn’t you do more, connect the dots and put them out of business?
CLINTON: OK, let’s talk about it. Now, I will answer all those things on the merits, but first I want to talk about the context in which this arises.
I’m being asked this on the FOX network. ABC just had a right- wing conservative run in their little “Pathway to 9/11,” falsely claiming it was based on the 9/11 Commission report, with three things asserted against me directly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission report.
And I think it’s very interesting that all the conservative Republicans, who now say I didn’t do enough, claimed that I was too obsessed with bin Laden. All of President Bush’s neo-cons thought I was too obsessed with bin Laden. They had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after I left office. All the right-wingers who now say I didn’t do enough said I did too much — same people.
They were all trying to get me to withdraw from Somalia in 1993 the next day after we were involved in “Black Hawk down,” and I refused to do it and stayed six months and had an orderly transfer to the United Nations.
OK, now let’s look at all the criticisms: Black Hawk down, Somalia. There is not a living soul in the world who thought that Usama bin Laden had anything to do with Black Hawk down or was paying any attention to it or even knew Al Qaeda was a growing concern in October of ’93.
WALLACE: I understand, and I …
CLINTON: No, wait. No, wait. Don’t tell me this — you asked me why didn’t I do more to bin Laden. There was not a living soul. All the people who now criticize me wanted to leave the next day.
You brought this up, so you’ll get an answer, but you can’t …
WALLACE: I’m perfectly happy to.
CLINTON: All right, secondly …
WALLACE: Bin Laden says …
CLINTON: Bin Laden may have said …
WALLACE: … bin Laden says that it showed the weakness of the United States.
CLINTON: But it would’ve shown the weakness if we’d left right away, but he wasn’t involved in that. That’s just a bunch of bull. That was about Mohammed Adid, a Muslim warlord, murdering 22 Pakistani Muslim troops. We were all there on a humanitarian mission. We had no mission, none, to establish a certain kind of Somali government or to keep anybody out.
He was not a religious fanatic …
WALLACE: But, Mr. President …
CLINTON: … there was no Al Qaeda …
WALLACE: … with respect, if I may, instead of going through ’93 and …
CLINTON: No, no. You asked it. You brought it up. You brought it up.
WALLACE: May I ask a general question and then you can answer?
WALLACE: The 9/11 Commission, which you’ve talk about — and this is what they did say, not what ABC pretended they said …
CLINTON: Yes, what did they say?
WALLACE: … they said about you and President Bush, and I quote, “The U.S. government took the threat seriously, but not in the sense of mustering anything like the kind of effort that would be gathered to confront an enemy of the first, second or even third rank.”
CLINTON: First of all, that’s not true with us and bin Laden.
WALLACE: Well, I’m telling you that’s what the 9/11 Commission says.
CLINTON: All right. Let’s look at what Richard Clarke said. Do you think Richard Clarke has a vigorous attitude about bin Laden?
WALLACE: Yes, I do.
CLINTON: You do, don’t you?
WALLACE: I think he has a variety of opinions and loyalties, but yes, he has a vigorous …
CLINTON: He has a variety of opinion and loyalties now, but let’s look at the facts: He worked for Ronald Reagan; he was loyal to him. He worked for George H. W. Bush; he was loyal to him. He worked for me, and he was loyal to me. He worked for President Bush; he was loyal to him.
They downgraded him and the terrorist operation.
Now, look what he said, read his book and read his factual assertions — not opinions — assertions. He said we took vigorous action after the African embassies. We probably nearly got bin Laden.
WALLACE: But …
CLINTON: No, wait a minute.
WALLACE: … cruise missiles.
CLINTON: No, no. I authorized the CIA to get groups together to try to kill him.
The CIA, which was run by George Tenet, that President Bush gave the Medal of Freedom to, he said, “He did a good job setting up all these counterterrorism things.”
The country never had a comprehensive anti-terror operation until I came there.
Now, if you want to criticize me for one thing, you can criticize me for this: After the Cole, I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and launch a full-scale attack search for bin Laden.
But we needed basing rights in Uzbekistan, which we got after 9/11.
The CIA and the FBI refused to certify that bin Laden was responsible while I was there. They refused to certify. So that meant I would’ve had to send a few hundred Special Forces in helicopters and refuel at night.
Even the 9/11 Commission didn’t do that. Now, the 9/11 Commission was a political document, too. All I’m asking is, anybody who wants to say I didn’t do enough, you read Richard Clarke’s book.
WALLACE: Do you think you did enough, sir?
CLINTON: No, because I didn’t get him.
CLINTON: But at least I tried. That’s the difference in me and some, including all the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try. They did not try. I tried.
So I tried and failed. When I failed, I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke, who got demoted.
So you did Fox’s bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me. What I want to know is …
WALLACE: Well, wait a minute, sir.
CLINTON: No, wait. No, no …
WALLACE: I want to ask a question. You don’t think that’s a legitimate question?
CLINTON: It was a perfectly legitimate question, but I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of.
I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked, “Why didn’t you do anything about the Cole?”
I want to know how many you asked, “Why did you fire Dick Clarke?”
I want to know how many people you asked …
WALLACE: We asked — we asked …
CLINTON: I don’t …
WALLACE: Do you ever watch “FOX News Sunday,” sir?
CLINTON: I don’t believe you asked them that.
WALLACE: We ask plenty of questions of …
CLINTON: You didn’t ask that, did you? Tell the truth, Chris.
WALLACE: About the USS Cole?
CLINTON: Tell the truth, Chris.
WALLACE: With Iraq and Afghanistan, there’s plenty of stuff to ask.
CLINTON: Did you ever ask that?
You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because Rupert Murdoch’s supporting my work on climate change.
And you came here under false pretenses and said that you’d spend half the time talking about — you said you’d spend half the time talking about what we did out there to raise $7-billion-plus in three days from 215 different commitments. And you don’t care.
WALLACE: But, President Clinton, if you look at the questions here, you’ll see half the questions are about that. I didn’t think this was going to set you off on such a tear.
CLINTON: You launched it — it set me off on a tear because you didn’t formulate it in an honest way and because you people ask me questions you don’t ask the other side.
WALLACE: That’s not true. Sir, that is not true.
CLINTON: And Richard Clarke made it clear in his testimony…
WALLACE: Would you like to talk about the Clinton Global Initiative?
CLINTON: No, I want to finish this now.
WALLACE: All right. Well, after you.
CLINTON: All I’m saying is, you falsely accused me of giving aid and comfort to bin Laden because of what happened in Somalia. No one knew Al Qaeda existed then. And …
WALLACE: But did they know in 1996 when he declared war on the U.S.? Did they know in 1998 …
CLINTON: Absolutely, they did.
WALLACE: … when he bombed the two embassies?
CLINTON: And who talked about …
WALLACE: Did they know in 2000 when he hit the Cole?
CLINTON: What did I do? What did I do? I worked hard to try to kill him. I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill him. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since. And if I were still president, we’d have more than 20,000 troops there trying to kill him.
Now, I’ve never criticized President Bush, and I don’t think this is useful. But you know we do have a government that thinks Afghanistan is only one-seventh as important as Iraq.
And you ask me about terror and Al Qaeda with that sort of dismissive thing? When all you have to do is read Richard Clarke’s book to look at what we did in a comprehensive, systematic way to try to protect the country against terror.
And you’ve got that little smirk on your face and you think you’re so clever. But I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get bin Laden. I regret it. But I did try. And I did everything I thought I responsibly could.
The entire military was against sending Special Forces in to Afghanistan and refueling by helicopter. And no one thought we could do it otherwise, because we could not get the CIA and the FBI to certify that Al Qaeda was responsible while I was president.
And so, I left office. And yet, I get asked about this all the time. They had three times as much time to deal with it, and nobody ever asks them about it. I think that’s strange.
WALLACE: Can I ask you about the Clinton Global Initiative?
CLINTON: You can.
WALLACE: I always intended to, sir.
CLINTON: No, you intended, though, to move your bones by doing this first, which is perfectly fine. But I don’t mind people asking me — I actually talked to the 9/11 Commission for four hours, Chris, and I told them the mistakes I thought I made. And I urged them to make those mistakes public, because I thought none of us had been perfect.
But instead of anybody talking about those things, I always get these clever little political yields (ph), where they ask me one-sided questions. And the other guys notice that. And it always comes from one source. And so …
WALLACE: And …
CLINTON: And so …
WALLACE: I just want to ask you about the Clinton Global Initiative, but what’s the source? I mean, you seem upset, and I …
CLINTON: I am upset because …
WALLACE: And all I can say is, I’m asking you this in good faith because it’s on people’s minds, sir. And I wasn’t …
CLINTON: Well, there’s a reason it’s on people’s minds. That’s the point I’m trying to make. There’s a reason it’s on people’s minds: Because there’s been a serious disinformation campaign to create that impression.
This country only has one person who’s worked on this terror. From the terrorist incidents under Reagan to the terrorist incidents from 9/11, only one: Richard Clarke.
And all I can say to anybody is, you want to know what we did wrong or right, or anybody else did? Read his book.
The people on my political right who say I didn’t do enough spent the whole time I was president saying, “Why is he so obsessed with bin Laden? That was “wag the dog” when he tried to kill him.”
My Republican secretary of defense — and I think I’m the only president since World War II to have a secretary of defense of the opposite party — Richard Clarke and all the intelligence people said that I ordered a vigorous attempt to get bin Laden and came closer, apparently, than anybody has since.
WALLACE: All right.
CLINTON: And you guys try to create the opposite impression, when all you have to do is read Richard Clarke’s findings and you know it’s not true. It’s just not true.
And all this business about Somalia — the same people who criticized me about Somalia were demanding I leave the next day. The same exact crowd.
WALLACE: One of the …
CLINTON: And so, if you’re going to do this, for God’s sake, follow the same standards for everybody …
WALLACE: I think we do, sir.
CLINTON: … and be flat — and fair.
WALLACE: I think we do. … One of the main parts of the Global Initiative this year is religion and reconciliation. President Bush says that the fight against Islamic extremism is the central conflict of this century. And his answer is promoting democracy and reform.
Do you think he has that right?
CLINTON: Sure. To advance — to advocate democracy and reform in the Muslim world? Absolutely.
I think the question is, what’s the best way to do it? I think also the question is, how do you educate people about democracy?
Democracy is about way more than majority rule. Democracy is about minority rights, individual rights, restraints on power. And there’s more than one way to advance democracy.
But do I think, on balance, that in the end, after several bouts with instability — look how long it took us to build a mature democracy. Do I think, on balance, it would be better if we had more freedom and democracy? Sure I do. And do I think specifically the president has a right to do it? Sure I do.
But I don’t think that’s all we can do in the Muslim world. I think they have to see us as trying to get a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. I think they have to see us as willing to talk to people who see the world differently than we do.
WALLACE: Last year at this conference, you got $2.5 billion in commitments, pledges. How’d you do this year?
CLINTON: Well, this year we had — we had $7.3 billion, as of this morning.
WALLACE: Excuse me?
CLINTON: $7.3 billion, as of this morning. But $3 billion of that is — now, this is over multi years. These are up to 10-year commitments.
But $3 billion of that came from Richard Branson’s commitment to give all of his transportation profits for a decade to clean energy investments. But still, that’s — the rest is over $4 billion.
And we will have another 100 commitments come in, maybe more, and we’ll probably raise another, I would say, at least another billion dollars, probably, before it’s over. We’ve got a lot of commitments still in process.
WALLACE: When you look at the $3 billion from Branson, plus the billions that Bill Gates is giving in his own program, and now Warren Buffet, what do you make of this new age of philanthropy?
CLINTON: I think that, for one thing, really rich people have always given money away. I mean, you know, they’ve endowed libraries and things like that.
The unique thing about this age is, first of all, you have a lot of people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who are interested in issues at home and around the world that grow out of the nature of the 21st century and its inequalities — the income inequalities, the health-care inequalities, the education inequalities.
And you get a guy like Gates, who built Microsoft, who actually believes that he can help overcome a lot of the health disparities in the world. And that’s the first thing.
The second thing that ought to be credited is that there are a lot of people with average incomes who are joining them because of the Internet. Like in the tsunami, for example, we had $1.2 billion given by Americans; 30 percent of our households gave money, over half of them over the Internet.
And then the third thing is you’ve got all these — in poor countries, you’ve got all these nongovernmental groups that you can — that a guy like Gates can partner with, along with the governments.
So all these things together mean that people with real money want to give it away in ways that help people that before would’ve been seen only as the object of government grants or loans.
WALLACE: Let’s talk some politics. In that same New Yorker article, you say that you are tired of Karl Rove’s B.S., although I’m cleaning up what you said.
CLINTON: But I do like the — but I also say I’m not tired of Karl Rove. I don’t blame Karl Rove. If you’ve got a deal that works, you just keep on doing it.
WALLACE: So what is the B.S.?
CLINTON: Well, every even-numbered year, right before an election, they come up with some security issue.
In 2002, our party supported them in undertaking weapons inspections in Iraq and was 100 percent for what happened in Afghanistan, and they didn’t have any way to make us look like we didn’t care about terror.
And so, they decided they would be for the homeland security bill that they had opposed. And they put a poison pill in it that we wouldn’t pass, like taking the job rights away from 170,000 people, and then say that we were weak on terror if we weren’t for it. They just ran that out.
This year, I think they wanted to make the questions of prisoner treatment and intercepted communications the same sort of issues, until John Warner and John McCain and Lindsey Graham got in there. And, as it turned out, there were some Republicans that believed in the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions and had some of their own ideas about how best to fight terror.
The Democrats — as long as the American people believe that we take this seriously and we have our own approaches — and we may have differences over Iraq — I think we’ll do fine in this election.
But even if they agree with us about the Iraq war, we could be hurt by Karl Rove’s new foray if we just don’t make it clear that we, too, care about the security of the country. But we want to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations, which they haven’t for four years. We want to intensify our efforts in Afghanistan against bin Laden. We want to make America more energy-independent.
And then they can all, if they differ on Iraq, they can say whatever they want on Iraq.
But Rove is good. And I honor him. I mean, I will say that. I’ve always been amused about how good he is, in a way.
But on the other hand, this is perfectly predictable: We’re going to win a lot of seats if the American people aren’t afraid. If they’re afraid and we get divided again, then we may only win a few seats.
WALLACE: And the White House, the Republicans want to make the American people afraid?
CLINTON: Of course they do. Of course they do. They want us to be — they want another homeland security deal. And they want to make it about — not about Iraq but about some other security issue, where, if we disagree with them, we are, by definition, imperiling the security of the country.
And it’s a big load of hooey. We’ve got nine Iraq war veterans running for the House seats. We’ve got President Reagan’s secretary of the navy as the Democratic candidate for the Senate in Virginia. A three-star admiral, who was on my National Security Council staff, who also fought terror, by the way, is running for the seat of Kurt Weldon in Pennsylvania.
We’ve got a huge military presence here in this campaign. And we just can’t let them have some rhetorical device that puts us in a box we don’t belong in.
That’s their job. Their job is to beat us. I like that about Rove. But our job is not to let them get away with it. And if they don’t, then we’ll do fine.
WALLACE: Mr. President, thank you for one of the more unusual interviews.
It certainly was unusual. Can you imagine a journalist doing that to Bush?
First of all, the journalist would win, because Bush can’t think or talk his way out of a paper bag.
Second, the journalist would be in custody before the lights went down.
Look! Olbermann has commented as well. Video is on the Crooks and Liars site.
And finally tonight, a Special Comment about President Clinton’s interview. The headlines about them are, of course, entirely wrong. It is not essential that a past President, bullied and sandbagged by a monkey posing as a newscaster, finally lashed back.
It is not important that the current President’s “portable public chorus” has described his predecessor’s tone as “crazed.”
Our tone should be crazed. The nation’s freedoms are under assault by an administration whose policies can do us as much damage as Al-Qaeda; the nation’s “marketplace of ideas” is being poisoned, by a propaganda company so blatant that Tokyo Rose would’ve quit. Nonetheless.
The headline is this: Bill Clinton did what almost none of us have done, in five years. He has spoken the truth about 9/11, and the current presidential administration.
“At least I tried,” he said of his own efforts to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. “That’s the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They had eight months to try; they did not try. I tried.”
Thus in his supposed emeritus years, has Mr. Clinton taken forceful and triumphant action for honesty, and for us; action as vital and as courageous as any of his presidency; action as startling and as liberating, as any, by anyone, in these last five long years.
The Bush Administration did not try to get Osama Bin Laden before 9/11.
The Bush Administration ignored all the evidence gathered by its predecessors.
The Bush Administration did not understand the Daily Briefing entitled “Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S.”
The Bush Administration… did… not… try.—
Moreover, for the last five years one month and two weeks, the current administration, and in particular the President, has been given the greatest “pass” for incompetence and malfeasance, in American history!
President Roosevelt was rightly blamed for ignoring the warning signs — some of them, 17 years old — before Pearl Harbor.
President Hoover was correctly blamed for — if not the Great Depression itself — then the disastrous economic steps he took in the immediate aftermath of the Stock Market Crash.
Even President Lincoln assumed some measure of responsibility for the Civil War — though talk of Southern secession had begun as early as 1832.
But not this President.
To hear him bleat and whine and bully at nearly every opportunity, one would think someone else had been President on September 11th, 2001 — or the nearly eight months that preceded it.
That hardly reflects the honesty nor manliness we expect of the Executive.
But if his own fitness to serve is of no true concern to him, perhaps we should simply sigh and keep our fingers crossed, until a grown-up takes the job three Januarys from now.
Except… for this:
After five years of skirting even the most inarguable of facts — that he was President on 9/11 and he must bear some responsibility for his, and our, unreadiness, Mr. Bush has now moved, unmistakably and without conscience or shame, towards re-writing history, and attempting to make the responsibility, entirely Mr. Clinton’s.
Of course he is not honest enough to do that directly.
As with all the other nefariousness and slime of this, our worst presidency since James Buchanan, he is having it done for him, by proxy.
Thus, the sandbag effort by Fox News, Friday afternoon.
Consider the timing: The very same weekend the National Intelligence Estimate would be released and show the Iraq war to be the fraudulent failure it is — not a check on terror, but fertilizer for it!
The kind of proof of incompetence, for which the administration and its hyenas at Fox need to find a diversion, in a scapegoat.
It was the kind of cheap trick which would get a journalist fired — but a propagandist, promoted:
Promise to talk of charity and generosity; but instead launch into the lies and distortions with which the Authoritarians among us attack the virtuous and reward the useless.
And don’t even be professional enough to assume the responsibility for the slanders yourself; blame your audience for “e-mailing” you the question.
Mr. Clinton responded as you have seen.
He told the great truth un-told… about this administration’s negligence, perhaps criminal negligence, about Bin Laden.
He was brave.
Then again, Chris Wallace might be braver still. Had I — in one moment surrendered all my credibility as a journalist — and been irredeemably humiliated, as was he, I would have gone home and started a new career selling seeds by mail.
The smearing by proxy, of course, did not begin Friday afternoon.
Disney was first to sell-out its corporate reputation, with “The Path to 9/11.”
Of that company’s crimes against truth one needs to say little. Simply put: someone there enabled an Authoritarian zealot to belch out Mr. Bush’s new and improved history.
The basic plot-line was this: because he was distracted by the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Bill Clinton failed to prevent 9/11.
The most curious and in some ways the most infuriating aspect of this slapdash theory, is that the Right Wingers who have advocated it — who try to sneak it into our collective consciousness through entertainment, or who sandbag Mr. Clinton with it at news interviews — have simply skipped past its most glaring flaw.
Had it been true that Clinton had been distracted from the hunt for Bin Laden in 1998 because of the Lewinsky nonsense — why did these same people not applaud him for having bombed Bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan and Sudan on August 20th of that year? For mentioning Bin Laden by name as he did so?
That day, Republican Senator Grams of Minnesota invoked the movie “Wag The Dog.”
Republican Senator Coats of Indiana questioned Mr. Clinton’s judgment.
Republican Senator Ashcroft of Missouri — the future Attorney General — echoed Coats.
Even Republican Senator Arlen Specter questioned the timing.
And of course, were it true Clinton had been “distracted” by the Lewinsky witch-hunt — who on earth conducted the Lewinsky witch-hunt? Who turned the political discourse of this nation on its head for two years?
Who corrupted the political media?
Who made it impossible for us to even bring back on the air, the counter-terrorism analysts like Dr. Richard Haass, and James Dunegan, who had warned, at this very hour, on this very network, in early 1998, of cells from the Middle East who sought to attack us, here?
Who preempted them… in order to strangle us with the trivia that was… “All Monica All The Time”?
Who… distracted whom?
This is, of course, where — as is inevitable — Mr. Bush and his henchmen prove not quite as smart as they think they are.
The full responsibility for 9/11 is obviously shared by three administrations, possibly four.
But, Mr. Bush, if you are now trying to convince us by proxy that it’s all about the distractions of 1998 and 1999, then you will have to face a startling fact that your minions may have hidden from you.
The distractions of 1998 and 1999, Mr. Bush, were carefully manufactured, and lovingly executed, not by Bill Clinton… but by the same people who got you… elected President.
Thus instead of some commendable acknowledgment that you were even in office on 9/11 and the lost months before it… we have your sleazy and sloppy rewriting of history, designed by somebody who evidently redd the Orwell playbook too quickly.
Thus instead of some explanation for the inertia of your first eight months in office, we are told that you have kept us “safe” ever since — a statement that might range anywhere from Zero, to One Hundred Percent, true.
We have nothing but your word, and your word has long since ceased to mean anything.
And, of course, the one time you have ever given us specifics about what you have kept us safe from, Mr. Bush — you got the name of the supposedly targeted Tower in Los Angeles… wrong.
Thus was it left for the previous President to say what so many of us have felt; what so many of us have given you a pass for in the months and even the years after the attack:
You did not try.
You ignored the evidence gathered by your predecessor.
You ignored the evidence gathered by your own people.
Then, you blamed your predecessor.
That would be the textbook definition… Sir, of cowardice.
To enforce the lies of the present, it is necessary to erase the truths of the past.
That was one of the great mechanical realities Eric Blair — writing as George Orwell — gave us in the novel “1984.”
The great philosophical reality he gave us, Mr. Bush, may sound as familiar to you, as it has lately begun to sound familiar to me.
“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power…
“Power is not a means; it is an end.
“One does not establish a dictatorship to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.
“The object of persecution, is persecution. The object of torture, is torture. The object of power… is power.”
Earlier last Friday afternoon, before the Fox ambush, speaking in the far different context of the closing session of his remarkable Global Initiative, Mr. Clinton quoted Abraham Lincoln’s State of the Union address from 1862.
“We must disenthrall ourselves.”
Mr. Clinton did not quote the rest of Mr. Lincoln’s sentence. He might well have.
“We must disenthrall ourselves — and then… we shall save our country.”
And so has Mr. Clinton helped us to disenthrall ourselves, and perhaps enabled us, even at this late and bleak date… to save… our… country.
The “free pass” has been withdrawn, Mr. Bush…
You did not act to prevent 9/11.
We do not know what you have done, to prevent another 9/11.
You have failed us — then leveraged that failure, to justify a purposeless war in Iraq which will have, all too soon, claimed more American lives than did 9/11.
You have failed us anew in Afghanistan.
And you have now tried to hide your failures, by blaming your predecessor.
And now you exploit your failure, to rationalize brazen torture — which doesn’t work anyway; which only condemns our soldiers to water-boarding; which only humiliates our country further in the world; and which no true American would ever condone, let alone advocate.And there it is, sir:
Are yours the actions of a true American?
I’m K.O., good night, and good luck.
And now Gawker weighs in:
After the Fox News Sunday “smackdown” between host Chris Wallace and Bill Clinton — in which Wallace suggested that Clinton practically flew the planes into the Twin Towers himself — the blogosphere’s been abuzz with overanalysis. But in the online clips approved by Fox News, you only see a kind introduction from Wallace and “Clinton Freaks Out” headlines… They’ve pulled the “unauthorized” versions from YouTube, lest viewers see the interview and dangerously formulate their own opinion. Sweet ol’ Rupert’s just looking out for y’all.
But he’s also old and kind of slow, so you can still see the spanking on Google video.
He’s wearing his wedding ring. I thought she ditched him?
Hell no! Nope, you can hit Hillary for any number of reasons, but she’s stood by her man. She really does love him; who else would have stuck by Mr. Zipper Problem?
Thank you, Raincoaster!!!
I would love to see Bill Clinton become Prime MInister of Canada (if it were at all possible). I ve never cared about the infidelity thing. He can steer this ship anytime he wants, heh heh!
I second the motion, with one proviso:
In order to become PM, he must reject the name “William” in favour of “Bill” and be henceforth known by his first two initials.
At least we wouldn’t have to rely on pricking him with a pin to make sure it’s not a wooden dummy.
I’ve got more reservations than you. The perjury thing sticks in my craw, and I was in favour of the impeachment for that reason; a President who doesn’t acknowledge the rule of law, even when it’s inconvenient or embarrassing for him, is a President who can’t be trusted.
But boy, he can’t be beaten.
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Thanks for the ping!
The man was impeached for lying to a Congressional panel publicly investigating his sex life, which was none of their damn business in the first place.
Lewinsky was neither a child nor mentally incapable of forming consent (or at least it’s never been proven), and by her own statements consent was willingly given. While there might have been an argument for abuse of authority, that wasn’t the direction the investigation chose to go.
Clinton’s actions may have been immoral and wrong but, absent a related criminal charge, the issue of infidelity should only ever be between the two people whose marriage it is, the “other person/people”, and possibly a divorce court judge.
Newt “Mr. Family” Gingrich and co. decided that focus should be on Clinton’s moles and DNA testing a dress, rather than say, smacking Al-Q around.
If only the current regime could be held to such scrutiny!
I hope the Democrats get enough votes this silly season to impeach Dubya for his own pack of lies, in the name of all those who died for them. How many died when Clinton lied?
Oh yeah–hundreds, and counting.
We’re all wearing the blue dress now.
This all goes to reinforce my theory: Bill Clinton is the best Republican president this country had since Eisenhower, and Dubya is the worst Democratic president this country has had since Johnson.
Clinton did not acknowledge the rule of law. That’s all it takes, and he deserved to be impeached. Yes, they asked impertinent questions. No, he shouldn’t have committed perjury. Simple.
Interesting theories, FE. Not sure I’m with you on the second, though.
Wait till you hear why I postulated part 2: With the exception of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, most of the major U.S. military ventures in the 20th century were either precipitated or mostly overseen by Democratic presidents.
The Mexican incursion of 1916 and World War I – Wilson
World War II: F.D. Roosevelt
Vietnam: Kennedy and Johnson
And, Dubya’s essentially neo-fascist turn is actually pretty similar in impulse and persistence to FDR’s and LBJ’s own agendas on social engineering. Not the same philosophies, mind you, but the same road-paving material.
I don’t even know why I’m back here. This site came up at #28 or so on Google while I went researching “wind-up toy penis BC Legislature”.
Is this Clinton’s fault or yours, I wonder?
Clinton’s. I tell you, that man just keeps going and going and…
Did you know Lewinsky is currently studying at LSE??? A socialist school of economics? It’s clear their standards have plummeted, so I might as well apply. The socialista brothers and sisters there are bound to have a great bursary program.
Sir Mick, Monica, and you–well like THAT’s a history of success!
Hey, Sir Mick and Monica both have a lot more money than me. Obviously it worked for them.
I’m looking into this as we type…