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GOP Leaders Attack President's War on Terror As Mere Political Ploy:
Glenn Greenwald has the quotes over at Salon. (You have to watch a short commercial first, but it's very short.)

  UPDATE: Just One Minute reponds here.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Did the Republicans claim that Clinton was too aggressive in going after Bin Laden?
  2. GOP Leaders Attack President's War on Terror As Mere Political Ploy:
SP:
This would be relevant if it had something to do with Osama. The "Wag the Dog" claims dealt with the attack on the "factory" in the Sudan, which apparently was nothing of importance and accomplished absolutely nothing.

I have a hard time believing anyone during that time would have protested the capture/killing of bin Laden, especially after the Cole incident. Furthermore, is this really any credit to Clinton, that a bunch of squawking Congressmen deterred him from acting in the national interest?
9.26.2006 2:27am
LotharoftheHillPeople:
SP writes:

The "Wag the Dog" claims dealt with the attack on the "factory" in the Sudan, which apparently was nothing of importance and accomplished absolutely nothing.

Um, as opposed to the War in Iraq?
9.26.2006 2:38am
Lev:
I don't quite see how the mish mash of quotes from the Salon piece, some of which appear to relate to Clinton's Deposition bombing and others to his impeachment bombing, and other to whatever, have to do with these statements by Clinton in the Fox interview, which is what I gather the quotes were intended to support.


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.

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."
9.26.2006 2:48am
Lev:
And by the way, the wag the dog in Wag The Dog was not actual war or violence, it was a theatrical production, with a hero, a heroine, a song etc.
9.26.2006 2:49am
OrinKerr:
Lev,

I understood Greenwald to be responding to the claim that Congressional Republicans supported Clinton in the GWOT, not Clinton's specific claim in the recent interview.
9.26.2006 2:56am
Lev:
OrinKerr

I suppose that makes some sense, except that there was no GWOT until BushTY declared it and was handsomely ridiculed for having done so.
9.26.2006 3:02am
OrinKerr:
Lev,

Certainly we were fighting Osama for a long time: Osama declared war on the U.S. long before 9/11, and Al Qaeda first tried to bring down the WTC in 1993.
9.26.2006 3:16am
Sawnsengbeel:
I didn't see much substance in there. As Lev said, it is a mishmash of quotes that conflates the impeachment and deposition bombings, while failing to refute Golberg's point. Yes, some republicans and conservative organizations questioned Clinton's timing, but altogether those quotes do not address Goldberg's point that Republicans overwhelmingly supported the actions themselves.

Also, the bracketed inserts of [bin Laden] here and there beg more context than Greenwald seems willing to provide.
9.26.2006 3:36am
Lev:
OrinKerr

Certainly bin laden declared war on the US, but we were "fighting" a criminal process approach rather than a war approach. Remember Gorelick's wall of separation between the intelligence and criminal branches and the, ahh..."inability"...of Clinton to take bin Laden from Sudan because there was no legal basis to hold him.

But as I said, it was Bush The Younger who declared a War on Terror, a Global War on Terror, after Sept 11. And for that he was and continues to be ridiculed, after all, how can one war on terror, terror is a tactic. And BTY has assembled a coalition of various people to go after al Queada et al. through financing, intelligence sharing etc. separate and apart from Iraq.


Al Qaeda first tried to bring down the WTC in 1993.


I saw an interesting observation on that somewhere within the past week. It related to an apparent difficulty in linking bin laden and al Queada to violent events before later in the 90's. The observation was to the effect that before then, al Queada was a financing/think tank type of group, while Khalid Sheik Mohammed had a crew of actual operators who carried out violent missions such as WTC1, bojinka. Then, in the late nineties, they combined their different skills to make the "al Queda we know today" that is specifically implicated in violent events such as the African embassy bombings.
9.26.2006 3:41am
OrinKerr:
Lev,

Greenwald's point, I believe, is that many in the GOP thought Clinton was being too aggressive, not insufficiently aggressive. Do you disagree with that claim as to what many in the GOP thought at the time? I think that's the key question, and of course I'm very interested if you think that reenwald is wrong about that.
9.26.2006 3:45am
Daryl Herbert (www):
1 - Is anyone really claiming that Clinton didn't choose those specific points in time to carry out attacks to distract from impeachment? Is that even credible?

2 - It's possible to have supported the attacks (I thought they were good at the time) and think the timing was obviously rigged (I also thought that at the time).

3 - Greenwald is a sock-puppeting doofus who deliberately mixed in quotes from the second wag-the-dog attack.

4 - If anything in the GWOT today happens remotely close to anything on the domestic scene, some idiot leftist questions the timing. Some people said we came out with a big announcement right after Lieberman lost the primary to Lamont. Hello. That announcement would have been much more useful a week before the election. Not to mention that there's always something happening on the domestic front.

5 - If Bush makes any announcements about important victories/assassinations/captures in the GWOT during the run-up to the midterm elections, the certain persons will freak out and accuse him of rigging things. And if he doesn't make announcements, those same people will say, "where's the progress?"
9.26.2006 3:46am
OrinKerr:
Daryl,

Would you care to rewrite your post to make it more civil? I think it's fair to say that referring to a person you apparently disagree with as a "sock-puppeting doofus" and "some idiot leftist" is far beyond civil.
9.26.2006 3:59am
Lev:
OrinKerr

That is kind of an interesting question. If you take the two categories of quotes he uses at their face value, you have two sets of bombings, one at time of Clinton's Lewinsky deposition that was rather minimalist - a few cruise missiles, and a second set at the time of his impeachment vote in the House - which, if memory serves, was primarily directed at Iraq, but I could be wrong - that one last three or so days.

A prerequisite for answering the question "did many in the GOP think Clinton was being too aggressive, not insufficiently aggressive," it seems to me, is answering the related question "what case was made for the bombings."

My guess, is that given the case Clinton made, which wasn't much, together with the timing, the Repubs wondered just what the heck was he doing. After all, remember, in bombing Sudan Clinton committed an actual, incontestible act of war on a sovereign nation that hadn't done anything to anyone.

That leads to another question/observation - what other similar bombings did Clinton make, and how did he justify those, and when did they occur? If there were very few, then, it seems to me, it is very difficult to claim the deposition and impeachment bombings are part of a "war on terror". They look ineffectual at least and opportunistic and "too much" considering what was generally known.

If Clinton had been exerting leadership, by declaiming how there was an international terrorist organization, it was a danger to the free world including the US, they were violent, they had to be fought - then I expect the Repubs would have said that what he did with the deposition and impeachment bombings were..."too little." Insufficiently aggressive considering the danger.

You might consider comparing and contrasting this batch of stuff with the Bosnia/Kosovo adventures and the Repub support lack thereof for that.

Speaking of the Sudan aspirin factory, I know the factory owner forced the US to release all his assets it had frozen. Do you know what happened to his lawsuit for damages for the destruction of his facility?
9.26.2006 4:16am
BGates (mail) (www):
Orin, here are a few relevant stories from the time period.
PBS quoting Republican reaction to the 1998 bombing of Afghanistan and Sudan coincident with the Lewinsky scandal:
JIM LEHRER: Sen. Kyl, the right thing to do?

SEN. JOHN KYL, (R) Arizona: Yes, I support the president's action, both because of the connection of Osama bin Laden to past terrorist activities, as well as the threats that he has made against Americans around the world in the future.
JIM LEHRER: Sen. Grams, how do you feel about it?

SEN. ROD GRAMS, (R) Minnesota: Well, I agree as well, and I think we needed to send a very strong and very clear message to terrorists around the world that Americans will not stand for this type of terrorist activity or terrorist threats, either the ones on the embassies in Africa recently, or any planned threats in the future. So I very strongly support this, and I think these raids were carried out, I hope, very successfully.

CNN at the same time reported that
House Speaker Newt Gingrich quickly sided with the adminstration, saying the president "did the right thing" by ordering the simultaneous attacks against facilities believed linked to terrorists suspected in the Aug. 7 bombings of U.S. embassies in east Africa.

"Just a few days ago in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, we saw what happens when people who hate America and hate freedom decide to kill Americans," Gingrich said. "They did so in a way in which we have to respond.

"We have every reason to believe that this terrorist organization will try to hurt other Americans," Gingrich said.

Other key members of Congress also quickly voiced their approval for the decisive military action, including Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.), and Sens. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
...
Clinton's 2006 claim about Somalia was "They [all the conservative Republicans] 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."
RW Apple of the New York Times reported
"On Capitol Hill, such senior figures as Senator Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, expressed support for the President's policy ['in the aftermath of heavy American losses in a United Nations military operation in Mogadishu']. But there was also sharp criticism, with Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, calling for an immediate end to "these fatal cops-and-robbers operations," and Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican who sits on the Armed Services Committee, stating bluntly, "Clinton's got to bring them home."
9.26.2006 4:57am
SP:
"Greenwald's point, I believe, is that many in the GOP thought Clinton was being too aggressive, not insufficiently aggressive."

No, Greenwald's point is that Republicans (and Democrats also) were claiming that Clinton was conducting a fake campaign for personal political reasons. Since Clinton never really followed up on the issue and accomplished nothing, from that point of view they'd be right. What's interesting is that, during these debates, I don't recall bin Laden's name discussed at all. Again, does anyone seriously believe that attacking that "factory" in The Sudan accomplished anything, or even represented a serious effort to counter terrorism?
9.26.2006 9:41am
Stephen C. Carlson (www):
When I first read the title to this post, I didn't realize you were talking about President Clinton.
9.26.2006 9:53am
Bored LAwyer:

No, Greenwald's point is that Republicans (and Democrats also) were claiming that Clinton was conducting a fake campaign for personal political reasons. Since Clinton never really followed up on the issue and accomplished nothing, from that point of view they'd be right. What's interesting is that, during these debates, I don't recall bin Laden's name discussed at all. Again, does anyone seriously believe that attacking that "factory" in The Sudan accomplished anything, or even represented a serious effort to counter terrorism?


You've got that right! The whole premise of the question is classic Clintonian obfuscation. The critcism of Clinton's efforts were not that they were too aggressive, the criticism was that they were a one-shot politically-motivated ineffectual effort.

Suppose a house is on fire. A politician drives by with his entourage, including photographers and other press, and throws a cup of water on the fire. He makes sure to get his picture taken and emphasizes in a short speech how much he cares about putting out the fire. Politician and entourage then drive away and do nothing more to abate the fire.

If one criticized the politician for engaging in mere showmanship while in reality doing little to deal with the fire, it would be sheer obfuscation for the politician to respond, "Why they thought I was too aggressive, and even criticized my efforts to put out the fire."

But it's Clinton, so he can get away with such.
9.26.2006 11:20am
Anderson (mail) (www):
See also Greenwald's compilation of quotes from Republicans urging us to "cut and run" from Somalia.
9.26.2006 11:25am
A.S.:
Wow. Glenn "Sock Puppets" Greenwald really nails it. Some Republicans occasionally voiced disagreement with some of Clinton's actions. I'm shocked, I tell ya, SHOCKED!

But wait, let's look at what Sock Puppets has given us (I think Ilya Somin covered some of this above):

1. York: has already pointed out that Sock Puppets is misleading - York's full paragraph referred to both Republicans and Democrats questioning the timing. More importantly, though, Sock Puppets ignores a crucial point: that questioning the timing is not the same thing as opposing the action. Funny how both Sock Puppets and Orin miss that.

2. Armey, Lott, Fowler, Solomon, Hoagland, the WSJ and Weyrich's quotes all have to do with attacks on Iraq, not on bin Laden. How many times have we been told be the left (and presumably by Sock Puppets himself, although I wouldn't read Sock Puppets' web site) that Iraq had nothing to do with terrorism? Gee, now Sock Puppets wants to lump questions about an attack on Iraq in with questions about Clinton's actions on terrorism. Oh, the hypocrisy!

3. Craig and Schlafly's quote had to do with Kosovo - and that's related to Clinton's actions against terrorism how?

4. Coats's quote was the only one that actually had anything to do with a Clinton action against terrorism. And, as noted above, it did NOT oppose the action; rather it questioned the timing. Which is not the same thing. (Indeed, both the WSJ and Hoagland called the military actions Clinton took "justified", even while questioning the timing.)

Moreover, in googling to find a real news source with Coats' quote (since Sock Puppets has given us some random, unreliable source), I came up with the following quotes from Republican leaders, regarding the Clinton's anti-terrorist attacks, in the same story as covered Coats:


House Speaker Newt Gingrich quickly sided with the adminstration, saying the president "did the right thing" by ordering the simultaneous attacks against facilities believed linked to terrorists suspected in the Aug. 7 bombings of U.S. embassies in east Africa. (416K wav sound)

"Just a few days ago in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, we saw what happens when people who hate America and hate freedom decide to kill Americans," Gingrich said. "They did so in a way in which we have to respond.

"We have every reason to believe that this terrorist organization will try to hurt other Americans," Gingrich said.

Other key members of Congress also quickly voiced their approval for the decisive military action, including Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.), and Sens. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

So when we have an actual Clinton anti-terrorist strike, what's the CNN headline?


Most Lawmakers Support Clinton's Military Strikes

So, basically, everything Sock Puppet claimed was false. Republicans DID generally support Clinton's actions against terrorism. They may have opposed some of Clinton's NON-terrorism related actions (again, I'm shocked). And they may have questioned the timing - but that's not substantive opposition to the actions themselves.

It's sad to see Orin rely on shrill, disingenuous left-wingers like Sock Puppets Greenwald. Orin should know better.
9.26.2006 11:30am
OrinKerr:
A.S.,

Can you provide the quotes in which the folks quoted in Greenwald's piece urge Clinton to be more aggressive in fighting Al Qaeda? I would like to know better, and I'm sure you can point the way. Thanks!
9.26.2006 11:51am
A.S.:
OK: I'm not sure what your point is. Anyway: Link.
9.26.2006 12:06pm
Third Party Beneficiary (mail):
"When I first read the title to this post, I didn't realize you were talking about President Clinton."

I think that was the point.
9.26.2006 12:09pm
bash91:
Orin, rather than type it all out, I'd point you to Tom Maguire's fisking of Greenwald at Just One Minute . You'll find direct sourcing for some of the info you're looking for as well as ample evidence that Greenwald is being deceptive by his use of ellipses and elisions.
9.26.2006 12:27pm
therut:
There was a lady on Hardball this evening from Salon. Chris asked her if Salon was a liberal publication. She said they were a news organization that helped make the news and alot of other news outlets pick up their stories.They were journalists. He asked her again and she said we have a few liberals who write articles for us. GOOD GRIEF.
9.27.2006 12:54am