Clinton had very serious worries specifically about Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, which he passed on to the Bush administration when the change in administration took place.
Yes, Bob, Clinton had such worries over bin-laden that he refused to take him into custody when he was offered to him. Makes sense to me...
Mike, I'm unclear here if you dispute my assertion that President Clinton and his administration passed on their concern that the single major security problem the United States faced over the period of the transition was Al-Qaeda or not. It sounds as if you do. If you do dispute this, please let me know, and I'll offer you some references for you to check out. The evidence is quite clear on the matter. You might consider checking out any of the three books Bob Woodward has written on the subject. I find the third particularly interesting because it does a lot of talking about the cherry-picking of intelligence and the lead up to the war. Thomas E. Ricks has also written a book called Fiasco on the military side of the enterprise with special attention paid to the relationship of the political influence on the military action. Any of the four books are enough to make somebody with any love for the military or for democratic process quite ill. All of them are extensively documented.
Any are enough to make a serious American patriot of any stripe burst into tears.
I would be interested to hear more about the circumstances in which you understand President Clinton did not take Bib Laden into custody. Were they like the circumstances under which President Bush refused to allow Bin Laden to face trial in some neutral country when Afghanistan offered to surrender custody of Bib Laden at that time, or were the circumstances different in some fashion?
The "Makes sense to me" tag was, I take it, simply some playful sarcasm. The sarcasm was fun, but seems to have gotten in the way a bit. As I said, I wasn't clear about whether you disagreed with a fairly easily confirmable part of what I was saying.
but if Hillary actually said and did the things others have claimed she said and did, and she did them in the way they said, then I don't like those things at all.
And Balladeer replies,
Why the "if", Bob? They are a matter of record.
I go into some of my difficulties with neoconservative reports of record in the contribution to the thread from which you have taken many of my comments. I am surprised you missed the comments and will, reluctantly, reprint them here:
"On the other hand, given the kind of things Republicans have said about Max Cleland and other Democrats in recent years, I'm inclined to want to do a little extra research beyond what I hear in The National Review and like sources. When I see what passes for standards of proof in the Party whose standard of believability is Curveball and Amed Chalabi, and who believes in firing military advisors who don't give advice that conforms to its own political conclusions, I am inclined to want to do a much higher proportion of my own digging. Call me frivolous."
There is enough neoconservative misinformation floating about that my preference is to do some checking on my own as well. I like to provide references when I can when I'm talking about points in some dispute to allow others to do the same for me. It seems fair.
While Bill Clinton Had his own problems with Saddam Hussein, he was very clear that an invasion of Iraq would only create more terrorists rather than serve to further a War on Terrorism. His policy with Saddam Hussein was containment; that is what he believed in, and that is what he pursued when he was in office.
"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."
President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998.
"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998.
"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998.
"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998
"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998.
"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998.
"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999.
Balladeer has not ended his series of quotes here. The separation at this point is one that I have decided to make. Quotations Balladeer cites after this point date from the Bush administration and I believe that Balladeer has made a mistake when he states at that point
"All of that was pre-Bush, Bob, and all from people who have since screamed the loudest that Bush lied and deceived them, 5 to 6 years later."
In fact, only the material that I have quoted up to the point was pre-Bush material. Mr. Bush took office in 2000, I believe, and not in December of 2001, when the next set of quotations begin.
I must certainly acknowledge that the quotations from Democrats above are bellicose and crusty to say the least. I will further state that I believe that they exceed the mandate given the United States and its allies by the United Nations following the Gulf War and that President Clinton has a lot to answer to for that in humanitarian terms. There may well have been many hundreds of thousands of deaths that were a result of the oil embargo, and I think that our attempts to shuffle them off on the corrupt administration of Saddam Hussein were only partially justified. The Democrats especially were not faultless about this, though this may be one of the few times that I suspect I might hear Balladeer coming to the defense of the Democratic Party.
However one of the things you do not see in any of the bellicose statements quoted is the suggestion that the United States should invade Iraq.
Not matter how bellicose the Democrats were feeling, most of them knew that such an adventure would be ill advised in the extreme for the same reasons that George Herbert Walker Bush thought in 1998 that they would be ill advised. They all knew darned well the whole area was very poorly held together and that the major fault lines ran right through the middle of Iraq. Persians on the one side, Arabs on the other. Let's not even begin to try to take the Turks and Egyptians into consideration. Out of the masses of different cultures, different variations of cultures threatened to shear apart into different states at the least incident.
It would take somebody of monumental hubris to believe they could actually make a successful intervention.
In fact, everybody was wrong. It didn't take somebody of monumental hubris to think they could make a successful intervention. What it took was somebody who didn't think about how they wanted it to end at all. Who refused to imagine what the end-game would be.
That, by the way, is the difference between the foreign policies of The first President Bush and President Clinton, and our current President Bush. The First President Bush and President Clinton actually tried to think the consequences of their policies through, and planned not only for a desired outcome but for alternate courses of action.
So what we have till the year 2000 is a United States foreign policy that is certainly loudmouthed and unpleasant, certainly wrong about many important things, but has not confused Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Ladin and understands that by containing Saddam Hussein, it really doesn't need to go further with Iraq. Occasional bombing and blustering has more than done the job. Some of us think (include me in on that, by the way) too well.
When The Clinton Team left Washington they were very clear with the New Administration what they felt was the most dangerous foreign enemy faced by the United States.
They could have said Saddam Hussein, Balladeer, couldn't they. They could have said all sorts of things about the terrible dictator of Iraq and—had they believed it—his buddy Osama. They didn't believe it. They had no reason to believe it.
They'd been dealing with Saddam Hussein since 1992 and they knew pretty darn well exactly how dangerous he was and exactly how dangerous he wasn't, and when it came time to tell the next guys in the office who to worry about they didn't even think that Ol' Saddam was that big a deal. Annoying, sure, but well in hand. Osama was something else, and they said so, and nobody from team neocon wanted to listen. They'd all gotten to the point where they believed their own propaganda about how smart they were and about how well they understood everything and how silly Clinton was.
They'd forgotten that Clinton wasn't an idiot. They'd forgotten that anything that Condaleeza Rice had learned, she'd probably learned from Madeline Albright. And that the whole team wasn't big on making serious policy mistakes. It's simply that the folks on team neocon wanted them to be clowns. It made the whole job of governing the United States with George Bush look so...so... doable. Imagine that!
All the above quotations were pre Bush.
The quotations listed below are all pretty nasty quotations, and they're all from Democrats who you'd think should have known better. You'd think they would have known better, but I guess you'd have to ask yourself How?
All the quotations below begin at about the time the drumbeat for war got very loud in the Senate, the House and in the Country as a whole. I'll let the statements speak for themselves, and then address them afterward.
"There is no doubt that . Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, Dec, 5, 2001.
"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
Sen. Carl Levin (d, MI), Sept. 19, 2002.
"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.
"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seing and developing weapons of mass destruction."
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002.
"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002.
"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002.
"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years . We also should remember we have alway s underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
Sen. Jay Rockerfeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002,
"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do."
Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002.
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002
"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction. "[W]ithout question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. And now he has continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ...
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003.
Within a week of 9/11 Richard Clarke, who was not only Clinton's counterterrorism advisor (much has been made of this fact by Bush apologists) but also The Counterterrorism advisor for the first President Bush (little or nothing has been made of this by Bush apologists) and who was for many years a registered Republican, was told to get to work on finding the terrorists responsible. He pointed out to the President and to others (because he had been a Clinton advisor, he had been shuffled aside to some extent, of course. Of course, he was the Counterterrorism Advisor, so he was shuffled aside as well, because Counterterrorism was a Clinton priority) that there was little doubt that Al-Qaeda had had a hand in this, as had been predicted in the early August intelligence reports. He was told somewhat roughly to find the connection with Iraq. Apparently the answer was available before they were entirely sure what the question was. Certainly without bothering to read the CIA briefing reports.
The word was out, without confirmatory intelligence, within days that Iraq was to be held responsible.
A great deal of rumor and innuendo was circulated from the administration. It is not surprising that some of it came back from the Senate as more or less convinced reports when there were reports from The New York Times that were confirming some of these fabrications appearing under the by-line of Judith Miller, a well-respected journalist.
It turned out that the source that Judith Miller was getting much of her information from was Amed Chababi, a CIA informant who had hopes of fomenting a revolution in Iraq and taking over the leadership from Saddam Hussein. The sources turned out to be largely fabricated.
The large army of followers that Chalabi claimed to have at his disposal that would rise and sweep him into office when the army invaded Iraq never materialized and, for a time, Chalabi was a wanted man by U.S. forces in Iraq until he emerged as the leader of a Shi'a splinter group.
The CIA and the administration and the New York times were bamboozled by an unctuous Iraqi con man.
One of Chalabi's relative was the CIA source called Curveball. He was developed by the Germans, who always rated him as of low-grade reliability. Many of the stories which The President was only too happy to endorse such as the disease spreading pilotless drones were apparently products of his imagination. The Germans though the information was silly, but by golly it was exactly what our President thought our public needed to hear.
The documents that were released to the Senate select committee on Intelligence were classified, and were not allowed to be shared with people not on the committee. It's not entirely clear exactly how many of the people actually on the committee were allowed to see the Top Secret versions of the documents either, truth be told. We do know, however, that Bob Graham, the then chair of that committee made loud protests that the versions of the document that were allowed to be released omitted VERY IMPORTANT parts of the text.
In the Top Secret parts of the text, for example, footnotes including disagreements about the plausability of the drone airplanes and aluminum tubes were included;
In the unclassified version, no no. The government didn't want you getting any ideas that going to war wouldn't be the only and greatest option in the world.
At least if you looked you could tell that the people with the most expertise in understanding these things
(the Air Force intelligence review team on the one hand and the atomic energy commission on the other) thought the conclusions were unlikely.
The information was not equally available to everybody. The current Neocon folk would Luuuv you to think so, but near as I can tell, that wasn't the case at all.
In case you've forgotten, The administration demanded that a decision be made before midterm elections, when they could either say that the Democrats were being soft on Terrorism or weren't having the courage of their convictions. It takes a real political sense of straight dealing to put a guy into that sort of bind, doesn't it?
Do you feel any sort of real puzzlement about these statements now? I don't.
All of that was pre-Bush, Bob, and all from people who have since screamed the loudest that Bush lied and deceived them, 5 to 6 years later. You may say that, even with this warlike rhetoric, we did not go to war with Iraq, at which point I would have to remind you about 9/11. Surely you remember that date. Let me ask you this. With all of those comments above, with Clinton so concerned about Hussein and his wmd-making capabilities and probabilities, if it had been 9/11/1998, do you really think clinton would not have invaded Iraq? He would have with the applause of everyone listed above, as i'm sure you know.
I've never been in the army, Balladeer, and never gotten that sort of combat training. But my understanding is that if somebody hits you, it generally makes more sense to respond to them than it does to somebody in the next room doing something else entirely.
I like to think that Bill Clinton may have mastered this somewhat arcane rule of combat, even without serving in the Texas Air National Guard on the much dreaded Electioneering duty. So horrible was that duty, I am told, that almost everyone who was forced to accept it came down with a case of traumatic amnesia, and their records spontaneously burst into flame in sympathy shortly after their fathers were elected President of the United States.
You see, when somebody attacks you, and you attack somebody else, all sorts of confusions arise. You may even say of the person who originally attacked you something absurd as "I don't even think about him any more," as soon as six months or a year after he's murdered 3000 of your people. Wouldn't that be stupid beyond belief? It's like dropping your car keys in an alley and looking for them under a street light because it's so dark back there you'd never find them.