A trip down memory lane
A trip down memory lane
Former Senator and New School President Bob Kerrey asked why the US didn't declare war against Al Qaeda in 1998.
Simple answer: Congress was too busy impeaching Bill Clinton to worry about AQ.
There was scant GOP suport for Clinton, who they mistakenly thought they had him on the ropes. They constantly called him a liar, even after Osama went on ABC to tell John Miller he wanted to kill Americans. Osama, or his translator, didn't stutter and if you needed help, he issued a translation of his fatwa in English. I saw the interview and was freaked. Here is this guy who telling the US he plans to kill Americans and this is a good thing. Yet, the reaction among the public and the US Congress was silence.
When Clinton acted, and Kerrey seems to forget the climate of the times, the GOP accused him of using the military for political purposes. This accusation didn't happen in the light of day, but as the B-52's were 30 minutes out from their target.
When the Sudan asprin plant turned up empty, darling of the right Christopher Hitchens accused Clinton of war crimes. At the time he was the darling of the left, but with someone possessing his morals, politics are just a label. No one got the point that AQ was a multinational organization which made the Arab terrorist groups of the '70's seem old fashioned.
There would have been zero support for invading Afghanistan. The GOP was running their lynch mob, they wouldn't have agreed to let Clinton go to war. And Kerrey forgets that Clinton didn't have the political support to go without asking Congress. The fact is that he didn't have enough of a cause to hunt Osama the way we do now. No Congress was going to send American boys into Afghanistan, lacking NATO support, for Bill Clinton.
Also, let's not forget Congress was in upheaval when presumptive speaker Bob Livingston was outted as some kind of pervert. Only at the last minute did Larry Flint withhold the details. The GOP's leadership's dirt was spilling out all over the papers. There was no climate for waging war against AQ or anyone else, as the papers discussed blow jobs and Clinton's moral character.
So Osama had three years to plan to kill three thousand Americans, because the GOP and the media were more interested in Clinton's lying than someone saying he planned to murder Americans for the greater good.
posted by Steve @ 10:16:00 PM