Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Sunday Scraps

Whoa, nellie! This should be good for ratings: Bill Clinton blows a gasket on Fox News. Apparently good old Bubba wags his finger at Chris Wallace as the veins bulge out on his neck. Remember the last time an indignant Bill wagged his finger at us?

And in the "Stupid Government Tricks" department (a category Letterman unaccountably never uses), this story about my county shows how government attempts to save money actually end up being more wasteful.

Discussions - 29 Comments

Clever. Wagging finger = lies. Exactly what in your view is mistaken about what Clinton says in defense of his administration with respect to terrorism?

P.S. Is Clarke’s another ridiculous book?

P.P.S. Granted, Clinton seriously hurt himself (and possibly much more) by his stupidity over the pizza girl. But that’s not the point of Wallace’s question.

See this, which uses Clarke’s book against Clinton rather effectively.

Yes, York uses Clarke’s book against Clinton, debater-style. (Is that what you meant by the finger-wagging crack?)

There is blame to go around. The effort to make Clinton feckless and Bush resolute -- pure and simple as that -- is, in my opinion, false and merely partisan.

Steve Hayward, In re your second proffered article; isn’t it just typical of how bureaucratic government works? I have been seeing articles like this, as wherein if not enough food stamp money is being given away, the agency will advertise to gain more customers. The Dept. of Agriculture spends money to promote itself in all sorts of ways to maintain an excuse for it’s massive existence. Another example comparable to yours is our local Air Force recruiting office who pitch their desks and chairs and other office equipment annually if need be, in order too keep the funding for office equipment. The latter I saw in evidence after my son had joined the Marines, but before he left for basic and he was called in to help the Marine’s officers scavenge the Air Force dump out back. The Marines do not have that sort of funding and take what they want from the leavings of the other services. (One more reason that I love the Marines!) My son retrieved one or two things and felt no compunction as it was all going to the county dump the next day.

If you think about it, government can only budget based on what happened last fiscal year or so. For those agencies to preserve current levels of funding, especially when next year’s built in increase for inflation is dependent on need for funds, OF COURSE they will do all they can to maintain spending. I know housewives who operate on the same principle.


In the bigger picture, this contributes to deficit spending and an apparent increasing need for taxation. On the small scale, in the individual agencies of government and to the indiviual employees in that agency, as your article shows, it only makes sense. What might be the alternative?

GWB did not have 8 months to do that which Clinton wouldn’t. He had 2 months. The Democrats didn’t get around to confirming GWB’s cabinet until 6 months after GWB’s inauguration. That’s typical of Democrats: put up stumbling blocks and then criticize you for stumbling.

BJC’s comparison of Bush’s 8 months to his own 8 years is laughable. His tone of voice and body language are hilarious. Now old BJ’s legacy will be a combination of the 2 statements: "Ah did not have sexual relations with that woman....But at least Ah tried. Ah tried and fai-illed."

Steven H. does not "make Clinton feckless." Clinton made Clinton feckless. And nobody ever said Bush was resolute before 9-11-01. So, Steven T., do the other thing that Democrats do so well, set up a straw man and then knock it down.

You guys don’t remember the "wag the dog" criticism of Clinton? You don’t remember that? You don’t remember Condie’s overlooking explicit warnings naming bin Laden and his plans? You can turn this around, and upside down all you want. Clinton tried to go after bin Laden where bin Laden WAS. He didn’t forget Afghanistan in favor of empire-building in Iraq. He was (and still is) ten times the president that Bush could ever be on his best day.

Clinton didn’t act one half as angry as I would if I were in his place.

UG -

"Ah did not have sexual relations with that woman....But at least Ah tried. Ah tried and fai-illed."

That’s very fine.

Well, if you actually read Bin Laden’s declaration of war (the first one I believe - he issued two while Clinton was in office) he specifically says that when Clinton withdrew from Somalia he knew that America was a "paper tiger" and that he could defeat us. Clinton’s claim that at least he tried to kill him is just silly: he shot cruise missiles into al-Qaeda training camps (which as I understand were empty at the time). Bush has not succeeded in killing him yet, but we have killed most of al-Qaeda’s leadership (that info comes from captured al-Qaeda documents). Clinton’s priority was and is maintaining appearences, whereas Bush, whether you agree with him or not, is a man of action.

Clinton blamed the CIA, the Pentagon, the FBI, right wingers (that is Jack "Get Out of Somalia Now" Murtha) and anybody and everybody else he could think of besides himself and Dick Clarke for his failure to get bin Laden. But the bottom line is he left the single most serious threat to our national security to be dealt with by his successor.

In his critique of Dick Clarke’s book, Rich Lowery has this to say:

Clarke adds a dash of tendentious partisanship in insisting that President Clinton was an antiterror stalwart even though he rejected Clarke’s most-important ideas, and that Bush was too soft even though he took Clarke’s ideas a step further.

And this:

A Clarke complaint about the period prior to 9/11 is that he was ignored when he wanted to get the message to Bush about the danger of al Qaeda. But Bush was getting the message elsewhere. As Clarke admits, CIA Director George Tenet was fully aware of the al Qaeda threat. Unlike Clinton, Bush received a morning briefing in person from the CIA director every day.

And this:

The question was what to do about the threat. According to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Clarke suggested a "laundry-list of ideas, many of which had been rejected in the Clinton administration since 1998." The Bush administration implemented a few of these ideas, such as increasing antiterror activities to Uzbekistan. But Bush wanted more. Clarke himself reports that Bush expressed frustration with "swatting flies," and wanted to eliminate al Qaeda altogether. A long-term strategy to do that was forged and passed on to the president prior to Sept. 11.

And this:

This took much further Clarke’s proposal for merely hitting al Qaeda training camps, which the Clinton administration wasn’t willing to do even after the October 2000 al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole.

Clinton was unwilling to try harder to kill bin Laden because he had triangulated the issue and came to the conclusion that it would hurt his popularity and his popularity was all that ever mattered to the man. Clinton was ten times the president GWB is only in his own mind and the minds of a dwindling few of his most ardent admirers.

Andrew: Bush is "a man of action." I see Bush spending more time on vacation than any other president in my memory. He may be willing to commit others to action, but he, himself, expended more energy running from Cindy Sheehan than he did tracking down bin Laden. He even said it on TV: ’ I don’t spend much taaaam thinking about him."

Now, anyone can throw a rock at a hornet’s nest, and point to the ensuing chaos, and call that "doin’ somethin’," but a man of action? Give me a break.

Second, let’s look at the cost of Clinton’s cruise missile versus the cost of Bush’s war in Iraq. Look at the effect of the two tactics on the economy, on our good will across the world, on 2700 American families, on future targets, and future American families.

Finally, you are going to structure your respopnse to either president around the words of bin Laden? Since when do you take his words seriously? If he called Bush a rabid dog, would you agree with him?

Finally, Clinton had to fight the same people who now ridicule him, in order to have the presence that he wanted in Somalia. The same jerks who today accuse him of doing nothing, and of running from Somalia, are the ones who hampered his efforts in Somalia.

Second, let’s look at the cost of Clinton’s cruise missile versus the cost of Bush’s war in Iraq.

No, let’s look at the cost of Clinton’s cruise missile versus the cost of bin Laden’s war in Manhattan.

In 1996, WJC signed omnibus anti-terror legislation, at a pricetag of almost 1.1 Billion dollars.

Of that, 35 Million was earmarked for Counter-Terrorism. I would imaging that the entirety of this 35 Million was not dedicated to OBL; rather, some went for Counter-Terrorism activities against Hamas, the IRA, etc.

Yet, 35 Million seems a familiar dollar amount to me. You see, that was the cost to the taxpayer for U.S. vs. Microsoft.

It seems that Clinton, in his attempt to get OBL, actually spent more money pursuing Bill Gates.

I think what we have learned is that 9/11 changed everything. We don’t know how Clinton would have reacted to 9/11, and we don’t know much about how Bush behaved differently from Clinton before 9/11 (though what we know is not reassuring).

I’m not about to defend Republicans who attacked Clinton’s foreign policy in the 1990s--they showed a marked isolationist streak, the sort of thing which we associate with the Left today. However, I wonder what the reaction would be by our liberal friends if it were George W. Bush going off on a journalist for asking a tough question? This morning I saw an interview with Bill Kristol which I think has it exactly right--Clinton’s goal is to make other journalists think twice about questioning his record against terrorism. It’s an attempt at intimidation, plain and simple.

It never fails; every time I start getting sick of the Republicans, the Democrats pull something like this, which sends me running back to the GOP!

First of all, Somalia is an issue, not because anyone pretended that it was about terrorism (although Adid’s victims might not care about such hair-splitting) but rather because all of a sudden, right-wingers think that bin Laden’s words should direct our foreign policy. They would rather, suddenly, take bin Laden seriously, because he was an enemy of their enemy, Bill Clinton. Suddenly, bin Laden is the oracle, and Clinton is funny to the right, because he is angry at years of cheap shots and distortions. Your priorities amaze me. Haven’t you learned a thing from our history of sleeping with bin Laden because of a common enemy? And liberals get accused of loving terrorists!

Plus, Clinton is not blaming others for his failures. "I tried, and I failed," is what he said. But, he is pointing out the hypocracy of those who opposed him then, and who today have rewritten their part in history, by claiming that he did nothing.

Finally, nothing, nothing will change the FACT that the Bush administration was warned by the Clinton administration, and that 9/11 happened during Bush’s watch, and after that warning was basically ignored and belittled.. So, Guido, if you want to compare the cost of 9/11 and the cost of a cruise missile, ask Bush, not me.

Fung,

Ah feeyall yer pain.

Clinton was offered two opportunities to kill OBL directly. In both instances, he refused out of political considerations. This is a matter of record...if he tried, he didn’t try very hard. And every time he balked, our enemies grew stronger.

As for Iraq not being connected to the GWOT, that’s pure Moveon.org BS. The evidence demonstrating the link has been offered on this blog repeatedly. Some people just aren’t listening.

Bush has had the Senate, the House, and his military solidly behind him, along with his own military deployed in two countries. Add to that, the juggernaut Coalition of the Willing. He has had this available for longer than it took us to defeat Hitler. So, if killing bin Laden is easy, why is Bush dragging his heels? If it is not easy, then don’t pretend that it was for Clinton.

As for the GWOT, I guess you are right. The new intelligence epiphany (and, by the way, a message that Lefties have been offering to YOU for years) is that there IS a link betwen Iraq and the GWOT: Bush has taken a bad situation, and made it worse! Mission accomplished. Saaaaalute!

Try this: ABC retained fabricated scene showing Clinton officials aborting mission to capture bin Laden

Summary: In its miniseries The Path to 9-11, ABC retained a controversial scene that depicts Clinton administration officials declining to authorize the CIA to capture Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, despite the fact that the scene is contradicted by the 9-11 Commission report, on which the network originally claimed the film was based.

from this:http://mediamatters.org/items/200609110001

Fung, in regards to not listening to what OBL has to say, we’re not talking about his opinion on something - we’re talking about the actual reason why he ultimately decided to plan and carry out the 9/11 attacks. I understand your point, but when an enemy specifically says "First A happened then I realized B" we should not ignore it but rather learn from it and not let it happen again.

And while you can legitimately criticize Bush’s "vacation time" (although he’s still probably spending lots of time on the phone and in conferences), leaders don’t do the fighting, they decide who and where to fight. When people bring up the fact that Bush is in Crawford while American troops are in Iraq, it almost smacks of an accussation against Bush for not doing the fighting personally. Part of being a good leader is knowing when to sit back and let the subordinates do the work (as I recall the great Jimmy Carter was notorious micro-manager).

From the Dain-tionary: "Politicized Committe: phrase describing an independent group whose veracity depends entirely on whether Dain agrees with its conclusions."

Definition of Dain-tionary: A fictional reference work one refers to when Dain has fairly beaten you in reasoned disputation.

You didn’t beat me in anything! First of all, Scheuer has supported my side of innumerable arguments with YOU regarding the way to treat the motives of OBL and his buddies. You parrot Bush’s "They hate us because we are free" crap, and Scheuer agrees that it is crap, and that is the guy that you offer to support your argument?

Second, he agrees with my side on a bunch of other issues, as well, that Iraq is playing into OBL’s hands, instead of the other way around, that our invasion of Iraq has gotten in the way of a successful attack on Al Quaeda, and that we will LOSE this war if we continue to accept GWB’s simplistic and incorrect propaganda! So, if you won THIS argument, then you also lose a whole bunch of previous ones.

Second, all he states is that Clinton failed to act one specific time, when to send a cruise missile would have been to kill a group of UAE princes. Not exactly a clear, easy choice. Certainly, he does not deny that Clinton also sent a number of missiles after OBK at other times.

I believe he said that the National Security Council received 8 to 10 opportunities, but nothing happened. CLINTON headed the NSC, Fungus. Deal with it.

Did I not say that Scheuer was a critic of Bush? That’s what makes his "testimony" in the current debate so salient; even your own boys disagree with you on this one.

Just admit that Clinton dropped the ball and we can walk hand in hand into this thread’s sunset.

I will admit what Clinton admitted: that in retrospect, he could have done more, and that knowing what we know now, perhaps chances should have been taken that seemed misguided back then. But, that is very different from dropping the ball. Clinton lacked, at that time, the explicit information that was gathered later, and handed to Bush on a platter, which Bush promptly disregarded.

Now, if you want to hold hands, okay, but no kissing!

Oh, that’s BS. Clinton was warned, and in late 1998. He just didn’t do a thing about it.

Now, you are denying all sorts of facts. He did plenty. Maybe he should have invaded an irrelevant country. That would have made you happy, I guess.

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