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Hillary Files – Attacking Bin Laden, Saddam

From "American Evita: Hillary Clinton’s Path to Power," by Christopher Andersen, pp 168-9:

Chapter 5

Hillary never made a secret of the fact that she, more than anyone, loathed Ken Starr. At a strategy session held in the White House solarium, Paul Begala, James Carville, the Thomasons, and a few others gathered to determine what the President should say that night in his televised apology to the nation. Hillary broke her silence long enough to say that she wanted him to go after Ken Starr. But others—including Give ’em Hell Carville cautioned him to be contrite and not appear combative. When Bill turned to Hillary to ask her what she thought, she pushed hack her chair and got up to leave. "Well, Bill, this is your speech,” she said. “You’re the one who got yourself into this mess, and only you can decide what to say about it."

In the days before her husband came clean, Hillary had already helped put into motion one series of events conveniently timed to distract the public from the Lewinsky affair and at the same time make her husband look, well, presidential. She had already pointed out that Saddam Hussein’s refusal to allow UN weapons inspectors into Iraq might require military action. But then, just two weeks after Al Qaeda’s bloody bombing attack on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, intelligence reports put Osama bin Laden and his deputies at a training camp in Afghanistan. Hillary concurred with Bill’s foreign policy team that now was the time to strike.

The convenient timing of the missile strike seemed truly remarkable, especially since, on several other occasions when U.S. intelligence had pinpointed bin Laden’s whereabouts, no action had been taken. "It struck a lot of us as odd," says a retired Pentagon official, "that the President had suddenly awakened to the threat of terrorism and was willing to take bold military action. Word filtered down that Mrs. Clinton kept saying that her husband should do something because ‘the President of the United States should not appear weak to the rest of the world.’ That wasn’t exactly consistent with what she’d been saying for the last thirty years."

Just hours after the President attacked Ken Starr—much to Hillary’s delight—in his noticeably less-than-penitent four-minute speech to the nation, missiles were launched on the Al Qaeda training camp where Bin Laden was supposed to be hiding. But by then, bin Laden had gotten word of the assassination attempt and moved on.

And from the same work, pp 174-5:

By this point, impeachment was a foregone conclusion. in what was yet another remarkable Wag the Dog coincidence, intelligence experts were supposedly telling the President that now just as the impeachment debate was about to begin in the House—was precisely the right time to order air strikes on Iraq. This, despite the fact that Saddam Hussein had been defying the UN on weapons inspections for years.

Bill’s advisers knew full well that he would be criticized for putting the lives of American pilots at risk just to divert attention from impeachment. But Hillary, now very much back at the fulcrum of both domestic and foreign policy, insisted that her husband seize any opportunity to appear strong and presidential. One adviser felt Hillary seemed "almost too eager" to see her husband give the order to launch an attack.

Reaction, as predicted, was swift. Joel Hefley echoed the sentiments of his fellow Republicans in the House when he blasted the President’s use of the military as a "blatant and disgraceful" at tempt to distract the nation from what was about to take place In the halls of Congress.

Hillary had expected a backlash, but none so ferocious as this. The President, on the verge of impeachment, could ill afford a further erosion in his credibility. Over the next six months, there would be no fewer than three opportunities to take out Osama bin Laden—in the Afghan city of Kandahar that December, at a hunting camp in western Afghanistan in February 1999, and again in Kandahar three months later. In each case, officials either doubted the accuracy of the intelligence they were getting, feared that civilians would be killed, or both. "We had a round in our chamber,” former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey would later say, "and we didn’t use it."

Think for a moment how about these two actions, and how they came about — and how the failure in each instance had so many ramifications for our country.

Do we really want these people back in the White House?

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, September 10th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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