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War on Terrorism Didn't Start On Sept 11

By wiredog in News
Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 07:17:11 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

The President signed three highly classified documents, the first of which authorized assassinating Osama bin Laden. Later documents added several of his senior people, and approved the shooting down of private aircraft they were aboard.

The President was Bill Clinton, the year was 1998.


The Washington Post has a two part series on "Clinton's War On Terrorism". Part 1, The Covert Hunt for bin Laden and part 2, Struggles Inside the Government Defined Campaign.

What becomes clear from reading these articles is that many of the actions President Bush have taken since the attacks on September 11, 2001 were actions President Clinton would have taken if the public support had been there. Terrorists wanted by the US were facing military tribunals. Money and people were being tracked. The Taliban, and other governments, were told that an al Quaeda attack on the US would result in war.

President Clinton, and others in his Administration, gave several speeches warning of the threat of terrorism, and they also testified to Congressional committees about it. The extent of al Quaeda operations, their intentions to attack the US, the danger they posed, and the probable US response, were all publicly stated years before the attacks of September 11.

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War on Terrorism Didn't Start On Sept 11 | 41 comments (33 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
Sarcastic question (3.00 / 3) (#6)
by davidduncanscott on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 12:48:49 PM EST

So back in '98 when the Navy fired Tomahawks into Afghanistan you figured they were shooting at David Koresh?

Tomahawks (4.00 / 1) (#7)
by wiredog on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 01:25:43 PM EST

Remember all the shit he caught because of that and the Sudan strike?

The problem he faced, and Bush faces, is the need to protect sources and methods. They're not the first, Churchill let Coventry get leveled rather than reveal that the Enigma system had been broken.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]

Clinton's bigger problem (none / 0) (#9)
by davidduncanscott on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 01:36:52 PM EST

...was that they missed. People already knew that OBL was a Bad Man. We weren't as pissed as we are now, of course, but we were pissed enough. Trouble was that it didn't work, which shouldn't have been much of a surprise: "precision-guided" doesn't make it a good sniper weapon.

[ Parent ]
Somehow (3.44 / 9) (#10)
by Zeram on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 01:46:13 PM EST

I doubt that Clinton would have tried to turn the US into a police state...
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
Very Funny (3.66 / 6) (#13)
by Matrix on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 07:33:27 PM EST

You obviously don't remember a number of the things the Clinton government tried to do. Many of the proposals for expanding censorship on, monitoring of, or government control of the Internet were intiated by his government. He was involved in the signing of the DMCA, the COPA, and many others in the same vein. If he was still president now, do you seriously think things would be any different? At all? Why? Because he was a Good Democract and Bush is an Evil Republican?

Clinton would've done exactly the same things as Bush is. He just never got the opportunity to.


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

Actually (2.50 / 2) (#24)
by Zeram on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 08:03:05 AM EST

I still maintain that he wouldn't have gone as far as Bush. My reasoning goes as such:

Clinton was about as corrupt as they come. I think we can all agree on that one. Even though the major effects of some of his more disasterous policies are just hitting us now, I think it's pretty safe to say that most people knew there towards the end of his presidency that he was rotten to the core. With that in mind I would also opinion that while Clinton is far from the brightest bulb in the batch, he's by no means stupid either. He is fully capable of reading the writing on the wall as it were. Given that, I think he would realize that these measures could easily backfire on him. Clinton never really had as much popular and political support as he really needed, and I would offer that even in the wake of September 11th he would not have been able to garner the kind of support neccessary to do the things that Bush is now doing. Even with his sterling cast of spin doctors, Clinton would know that adopting the kind of heavyhanded measures that we see now, would most likly wind up being the provberial straw that broke the camels back.
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
appointees (5.00 / 2) (#26)
by Luyseyal on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 11:54:45 AM EST

I don't personally blame Clinton or Bush so much as their appointees. Yes, as captain of the ship, it is ultimately the President's responsibility, but in day-to-day stuff I blame the horrible FBI and Attorney General picks each of them has chosen.

Reno was relatively quiet. I failed to trust her through her actions. Ashcroft won't keep his fucking mouth shut. We all know he's an autocrat cause he's so damn giddy about it.

But since I couldn't even remember the new FBI director's name, I decided to look it up. This guy looks scarier than even Ashcroft.

Robert Mueller.
http://www.americanfreepress.net/08_22_01/New_FBI_Head_Is_Old_Bush_Cover/new_fbi_hea d_is_old_bush_cover.html

But don't take my word for it. There's plenty of dirt on him with a nice google search.

I didn't like Louis Freeh, either, evil socialist bastard. I'd hoped Bush would appoint a more libertarian AG and FBI director. HA! So much for that. It appears neither administration cared to clean up the agencies' problems, the first of which being a required course "Civil Liberties 101". I'm glad our friend here got nabbed by some seemingly nicer fellows just "doing their jobs" but the intra-agency cover-ups and general inability to put 2 and 2 together just make me sick.

If there really is a crisis in America and a loss of confidence in our elected officials blah blah blah it is as a direct result of the poor leadership and nepotistic pederast inbreeding at the highest levels.

Elected officials are elected by popularity, not competence. Appointees are chosen by competence and nepotism. Choose your evil.

Competent. Too too competent.

I hereby call this rant ended.
-l

[ Parent ]

I certainly agree. n/t (2.00 / 1) (#28)
by Zeram on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 01:08:45 PM EST


<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
G.B. Shaw (4.00 / 1) (#32)
by Luyseyal on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 02:08:43 PM EST

Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few. -- G.B. Shaw

I didn't even know I was paraphrasing Shaw. Whoa! I just copied this quote off the slashdot QOTD at the bottom of a page!

-l

[ Parent ]

Oh, really? (2.62 / 8) (#14)
by tyronefine on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 08:03:29 PM EST

What becomes clear from reading these articles is that many of the actions President Bush have taken since the attacks on September 11, 2001 were actions President Clinton would have taken if the public support had been there.
True, if Clinton thought it would boost his approval rating, he may have done something like what Bush is doing. But keep in mind, most of the people Clinton surrounded himself with were criminally incompetent when it came to military matters. Remember Somalia?

Here's what I got from reading the Washington Post article. Clinton, a man who always tried to govern by opinion polls, was afraid of doing anything that would damage his image. That is why he didn't get bin Ladin. The only tools he was willing to use were precision munitions or hollywood-style special-ops insertions. And he would only authorize those options if success was 100% assured.

From the article:

A person standing 100 yards away might survive the strike of a Tomahawk's standard warhead, officials said. And Clinton refused to authorize use of "area weapons" -- one is a warhead of cluster bombs -- that would have killed women and children around bin Laden.
That does not sound like a man serious about getting bin Ladin.

I will never understand Clinton adherents. Clinton was and is a man focused solely on self-gratification and self-aggrandizement. Come on, people. Even if you insist on pushing your bourgeois/leftist values, surely you can find a better hero than Clinton?

Exactly (5.00 / 2) (#17)
by moho on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 10:03:07 PM EST

A person standing 100 yards away might survive the strike of a Tomahawk's standard warhead, officials said. And Clinton refused to authorize use of "area weapons" -- one is a warhead of cluster bombs -- that would have killed women and children around bin Laden.

That does not sound like a man serious about getting bin Ladin.

Yeah, I wish Clinton would have just gotten serious about his damn job and killed some innocent women and children. What a slacker.

[ Parent ]

America was looking inward (4.33 / 3) (#18)
by mattpfeff on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 10:54:39 PM EST

Between the end of the Cold War and Sept. 11, voters in the U.S. displayed less and less interest in what was going on overseas. Much of the shock on Sept. 11 was not at the occurrence of that day's events themselves, but at the fact that they could happen here, to us.

There was no way Clinton could ever have convinced the American people that the risk was real, and that failing to move against it would have such disastrous results. No one wanted to hear it. The fiasco in Somalia and Clinton's need for near-100 percent support grew just as much out of the public's ambivalence to overseas concerns as anything else.

Al Qaeda didn't cause so much destruction because we our government didn't know they were a threat, they succeeded because the American people couldn't imagine that the threat might be real.

[ Parent ]
First time I like Clinton (4.00 / 1) (#19)
by rbt on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 11:38:59 PM EST

From the sounds of it, you've just justified Bin Ladens work on NY as you have an excuse to go after him. Afterall, killing 1 extra person or a few thousand makes no difference as long as you get the target of question. No, side doesn't matter. Just because they're over there doesn't make them guilty any more than those who died or suffered in this neck of the woods. Thats actually the first time I liked anything Clinton said or did because atleast he had a standard and stuck by it. Heck, to save money the US should just send a plane of americans over and drop them all over Bin Laden -- that way they'll get them. Call this a troll if you like, but I see no reason why proximity to a criminal makes someone guilty unless you're willing to say that victims are guilty of committing the crime (they're the closest in many cases).

[ Parent ]
Re: Oh, really? (5.00 / 4) (#21)
by DarkZero on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 12:45:15 AM EST

Clinton, a man who always tried to govern by opinion polls, was afraid of doing anything that would damage his image.

God forbid the president of a democracy should ever try to govern by the will of the people. ;)



[ Parent ]
Democracy vs. Rule of Law (none / 0) (#39)
by Robert Uhl on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 10:58:55 PM EST

God forbid the president of a democracy should ever try to govern by the will of the people.

Well, we're not a democracy. And there's a good reason for that. In a democracy, the majority rules. At 11.00 11 September '01, I daresay that a poll of Americans might very well have turned up some rather outré suggestions. The reason that we have a government is so that the excesses of the minority and the majority are filtered out, and that liberty and justice prevail. And so that, yes, sometimes that which the majority do not want, but which is necessary and Right, is done.

[ Parent ]

Somalia vs. Afghanistan (4.00 / 2) (#38)
by dachshund on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 10:42:22 AM EST

Remember Somalia?

Somalia: A US incursion in a small, war torn Muslim nation. Initiated successfully by George Bush, fell apart when we tried to build and assist a government.

Afghanistan: A US incursion in a small, war torn Muslim nation. Initiated successfully by George Bush, long-term future unknown.

Bush (Sr.) got us into Somalia. Clinton's major foible, consistently pointed to by his political opponents for the last 8 years, was involving US troops in an ambitious, UN-sponsored effort to rebuild Somalia as a functioning gov't. Maybe it was a crazy idea, but at least we got the hell out of there, which is something I'll say for Clinton.

Now, with all the criticism that's been handed to Clinton over this misstep, tell me why the current administration is following more or less the same course with regard to Afghanistan? Was Clinton wrong to put our people on the line in order to build a government, or was all that conservative bellyaching politics as usual?

An interesting article in the Washington Post, a couple of months old now, but still fairly relevant.

[ Parent ]

Adherence to polls == absence of leadership (none / 0) (#15)
by mudshark on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 09:44:08 PM EST

It wasn't just lack of public support that kept Clinton from acting decisively against bin Laden. Clinton hated the military (and the feeling was mutual), and thus he was thoroughly unqualified/unwilling/unable to lead the kind of anti-terrorism effort underway now.

This article strikes me as just another attempt by The Post to put a spit-shine on Clinton's tarnished legacy. Nice try, but I'm not buyin' it.

If you think anyone else would've done better... (4.75 / 4) (#16)
by mech9t8 on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 09:57:56 PM EST

...you're fooling yourself.

It wasn't just lack of public support that kept Clinton from acting decisively against bin Laden. Clinton hated the military (and the feeling was mutual), and thus he was thoroughly unqualified/unwilling/unable to lead the kind of anti-terrorism effort underway now.

Um? Hello? Yugoslavia? That was a pretty extensive military operation - and it was successful.

I'm far from a Clinton supporter, but if you think any other candidate would've done more, I think you're mistaken. And if Clinton had done more, he would've been ripped to shreds by Republican for (a) putting US soldiers at risk and (b) trying to distract the public from his scandals. Never mind that there would've been international outrage for such actions.

The lack of importance given to terrorism prior to 9/11 wasn't attributable to any one man or even one party - it was clearly bipartisan, and the minority of people that were trying to sound the alarm was bipartisan as well.

The attack on 9/11 was not a failure of the Clinton presidency, it was a failure of the political system, which focuses far too much on crap, and is far too adversarial. (Also a failure of past US foreign policy, but that's a separate issue...)

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

The point's not who could have done better... (none / 0) (#20)
by mudshark on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 12:30:17 AM EST

... it's that Clinton could have done better (i.e. taken out bin Laden) if he had approached the situation objectively, i.e. used the full force of the military, rather than a couple of insignificant missile strikes.

As for Yugoslavia, true, Milosevic was eventually driven from power, but ultimately it was the people who drove him out, not NATO.

[ Parent ]

Milosevic (none / 0) (#41)
by minra on Mon Jan 07, 2002 at 10:53:47 AM EST

You've been lied to in a big way. Milosevic != Hitler, mmkay?

Milosevic tried to maintain Yugoslavias' integrity by conspicuously including members of all ethnic bacgrounds in his government.

He did not initiate force and "ethnic cleansing". Secessionist groups such as the KLA (terrorists, if you will) 'started it', with eager support from NATO, US and Germany in particular.

To save the union, Milosevics only possible response to the bloody secessionist movement was to fight them. Sound familiar? Abraham Lincoln, anyone?

All media sources distort the facts. Never rely upon one news source for your information. Take the time to look outside your cultural box for both sides of the story.

cheers to all k5ers,


[ Parent ]
Yugoslavia? (none / 0) (#30)
by stewartj76 on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 01:44:43 PM EST

In what way was Yugoslavia successful? By giving both sides the equal opportunity to kill each other? Yugoslavia makes Iraq look like WWII.

By this argument, Somalia was also successful.

I imagine that if the 9/11 attacks occurred in Clinton's presidency that public opinion would support him just as much as it is currently supporting Bush. However, the plan of attack would probably be handled handled differently, given Clinton's relationship with the military.

[ Parent ]
Yugoslavia was as successful as the Gulf War (none / 0) (#33)
by mech9t8 on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 02:56:08 PM EST

In what way was Yugoslavia successful?

It drove the Yugoslavian military out of Kosovo, allowing a peacekeeping force to establish itself in the region. Which was the goal. The goal wasn't to oust Milosevic - just like the goal of the Gulf War wasn't to oust Saddam.

Whether it was the right thing to do, or the timing was right, or whatever is a separate issue: but it's an example of the Clinton administration letting the military do what the military does. And evidence, I think, they he would've handled the current military situation pretty much just as Bush did.

Is Bush risking more American soldier's lives than Clinton did? Of course. The death of thousands of American cilivians makes the public more willing to risk US lives in what is seen as self-defense. The military made the plans, and gave them to Bush - the same one they would've given to Clinton.

Note that self-defense missions are easier to enact politically than humanitarian missions - and 9/11 makes the current action a clear act of self-defense. The reason Somalia was a mess (and it was pretty clearly a mistake of the Clinton administration) was that it was, essentially, a non-military humanitarian mission which gradually had military duties snuck in without proper consideration.

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

a mistake of the Clinton administration (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by wiredog on Sat Dec 22, 2001 at 05:43:52 PM EST

Why do people keep forgetting that it was President Bush that sent the troops into Somalia?

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Misguided (3.75 / 4) (#22)
by DarkZero on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 12:51:05 AM EST

Adherence to polls == absence of leadership

More like "absence of leadership == presence of democracy". Do you really think that the president of a democracy should govern AGAINST the clear will of the people? The American people did not want to push a war on terrorism until they absolutely had to, and that's what the polls reflected. Clinton governed democratically, but following their will. Maybe you like dictatorships where the unelected figurehead lords over the other two branches of government, ignoring all judicial processes and leaving the legislative branch in the dark. But you know what? That's not America. Governing by the will of the people is America.



[ Parent ]
Yes, misguided. (4.00 / 1) (#27)
by BurntHombre on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 11:58:23 AM EST

So are you suggesting that every course of action taken by a democratically-elected president should be based on the results of a poll? If so, how would you define a quorum -- 51%? 60%? 100%?

You say that the American people didn't want to push a war on terrorism until they absolutely had to, and I'm guessing that's an unscientific statement. You could also say that the American people didn't want to free the slaves, give women the right to vote, and battle Nazi Germany, etc., until they absolutely had to. I suggest to you that one responsibility of a leader is to persuade and campaign for those actions which are right and yet not a high priority for the American people -- because, frankly, the "American people" are primarily concerned with staying employed and bringing food home for their family.

Don't be fooled into thinking that democratic rule and strong executive leadership are somehow mutually exclusive.

[ Parent ]

Riiiiiight (none / 0) (#29)
by ajkohn on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 01:25:31 PM EST

You make it sound like high school. Tommy didn't like the jocks and they didn't like him, so they didn't invite him to the sock-hop. Sure, there might have been friction, but in the end you do your job and most in the military would tell you just that.

And would you like to take a gander at the number of troops deployed by Clinton during his administration? I find it funny that when Clinton was in office many right wing folks screamed about him sending too many troops here, there and everywhere. Public opinion was that he was already doing too much and now those same people look back and say ... he didn't do enough.

I'm not saying you are one of these dolts, but for those that are, please make up your mind.


"Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it." - The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
[ Parent ]

picking a nit (2.00 / 1) (#23)
by majcher on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 12:56:18 AM EST

The President signed three highly classified documents, the first of which authorized assassinating Osama bin Laden. Later documents added several of his senior people, and approved the shooting down of private aircraft they were aboard.

Watch your pronouns there, pal. On first reading, I thought that this paragraph was saying that Clinton authorized the assassination of some of his own senior people.
--
http://www.majcher.com/
Wrestling pigs since 1988!

Hmmmm.... (none / 0) (#36)
by gnovos on Sat Dec 22, 2001 at 06:25:23 PM EST

I seem to recall a great number of Clinton's staff meting thier maker.... I wonder.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
It's Sad. (none / 0) (#25)
by vreeker on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 08:15:08 AM EST

It really is sad how uninformed we were as a society (speaking internationally) before september 11. Many people had no idea who Bin Laden was - let alone knowing the fact that he administered the US Embassy Bombings in 1998.

Check out Cryptome a great resource to keep up to date on everything related to public & personal security. For a good history lesson check out the USA vs Bin Laden section. They have transcripts of his case, (as bizzare as that seems as he was never present in court). Some of them are a good read. -- Keeping Canada Cold, 24/7 * 365.

Crytome Down, or blocked? (none / 0) (#40)
by minra on Mon Jan 07, 2002 at 10:31:40 AM EST

As of this moment, no links to cryptome work for me.

Error message returned: "You don't have permission to access FOO on this server."

Can anyone confirm and/or provide more info?

Any time critical news sources simply dissapear, my faschist alarm starts ringing off the wall.

I'm one who keeps berating my parents' generation with the question "What did you* do to stop the nazis?"

Now I'm asking myself, what am *I* doing to stop the new-world-order faschists?

(Not enough, I'm afraid.)

cheers

[ Parent ]
Clinton protected the US (5.00 / 5) (#31)
by drig on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 02:08:32 PM EST

Clinton was villified for reducing the arms buildup that happened during the Reagan-Bush era. He was villified for being over-zealous in his fight against terrorism (anyone remember the restrictions on cryptography in the name of fighting terrorism?). He helps bring (temporary)) peace to the mid-east and is vilified for being an Israel-lover.
Apparently, he was successful in stopping a number of terrorist attacks. 2 attacks got through, neither on US soil (USS Cole and Kenyan embassy...although arguably an embassy is US soil) and his response was metered, direct, but only partially successful.
Bush comes in, redirects resources that were used to fight terrorism into his revival of Reagan's Star Wars. He spends 3 of his first 8 months on vacation. He throws away 1.7 trillion dollars, so we have no emergency relief fund.
And, as could have been expected, we have the single worst terrorist attack against the continental US ever (I've heard arguments that Pearl Harbor could be considered a terrorist attack...I won't argue that, so I say "continental US"). Bush's response is very drastic and, like his father's war on Sadaam Hussein, he doesn't even get the bad guy. And, in the meanwhile, the fragile peace in the mid-east is blown away into some of the worst fighting since the 70's.
Bush has an incredibly high rating. Clinton is forever known as the guy who couldn't stay faithful to his wife.

Erm?


Don't forget (none / 0) (#34)
by broken77 on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 07:50:38 PM EST

Clinton was no saint either.

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Russian nuclear devices (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by dachshund on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 10:22:49 AM EST

Bush comes in, redirects resources that were used to fight terrorism into his revival of Reagan's Star Wars

I also seem to recall Bush's proposed budget (pre 9/11) slashed funds provided to the FBI in order to track and secure Russian nuclear weapons. Egads.

[ Parent ]

War on Terrorism Didn't Start On Sept 11 | 41 comments (33 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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