« For Your Reading Pleasure | Main | Death Notice (for Metal Heads Only) »

Q&A Time for Libs and Dems

I have a question specifically for those liberals and/or Democrats who have spent the last (almost) three years blaming President Bush and his administraton for 9/11: Now that the report has been released and you've presumably read most of what the media has excerpted or read the report yourself, do you feel that the Clinton administration in any way shares any part of the responsibility you have placed on the current White House staff for the events of September 11, 2001? [It's 6am on a Saturday so I'm not expecting a rush of answers, but I'm hoping that at some point, I do get some reasoned response. I'm not trying to pick a fight here or spin anything one way or the other and this question is not meant to be snarky. I am truly interested in your answers and explanations of the answer you give.] Update: I'm not trying to place any blame myself here. I've said all along that I don't care at this point, I just want to know where we are headed and how we are going to get there safely. I think this (the report) was a learning experience for everyone. This question is not about my looking for blame. I just want to see how many people who have had their finger pointed solely at Bush this whole time will admit that this whole thing was a failure of years, not just one president, not just one administration. I'm really tired of everything, from global warming to your lost socks being pinned on Bush and there are very specific people who I am looking to come forward and say that their Clinton Made The Universe And Bush Destroyed It theme is quite stale. I'm not holding my breath.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Q&A Time for Libs and Dems:

I wrote the following comment in Michele Catalano's (A Small Victory) post, Q&A Time for Libs and Dems: ... I went to to the page Mr. Marshall recommended, and found the following information: ... What do I know, I am only a "armchair general"... Wha... [Read More]


That's like asking RedSox Nation diehards to admit their boys are toast. Ain't gonna happen.

Just my 2cents worth, but I think Rep and Dems are all to blame! But yes, the stage was being set before Bush; he made the curtain call.

There is of course the factor of what did Sandy Boy's smooth move do to taint and skew the report.

Sorry, but this RedSox Nation liberal agrees with both Michele and TC.

So does this RSNC.

I'm a registered Dem who voted for Clinton twice (but not for Gore) and, yes, the 90's were when we, in both parties, neglected to take the actions that might have prevented or limited the damage of the attacks on 9/11. This failure was more than apparent even before the 9/11 commission report but it's good to see the case presented in black-and-white by a somewhat independent group.

At this point, I don't give a damn about blame any more. I want to see where the system failed and fix it. I don't want 3000 or more of my fellow citizens slaughtered ever again, regardless of who's holding the office.

We know both parties made mistakes. Fine, let's examine the mistakes and make sure we don't make the same one's again.

I fear this is turning into an our side vs. your side debacle where neither side is willing to look at anything more than the opposing team's errors. We won't learn like that and the next building to crash to the ground will be OUR fault as well.

Ok, so I maybe don't meet the selection criteria, but the one that jumped out at me the most - and this is after the embassy bombings, and the determination that Bin Laden wants to infilct mass American casualties -
two senior State Department officials suggested asking the Saudis to offer the Taliban $250 million for Bin Ladin. Clarke opposed having the United States facilitate a “huge grant to a regime as heinous as the Taliban” and suggested that the idea might not seem attractive to either Secretary Albright or First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton—both critics of the Taliban’s record on women’s rights.
Point 1 - $250 million isn't that much on a country to country scale. Point 2 - The idea wasn't even put forward because Hill and Maddy might have objected on PC grounds? And what the hell did Hill really have to say about it at that point, anyway?

ahem. Not that there is any indication it would have worked. This is just one of the more teeth grinding passages of many teeth grinding passages which detail the buffonery detailed as the Clinton team's 'aggressive war on terrorism'. Oh, anything, as long as it was the PC aggressive war on terrorism.


I wonder how you can point out failures of structure and policy in the intelligence community and elsewhere without holding responsible the people who were responsible for making those policies and not realizing that the structure was flawed after other attacks had already shown them to be.

Right on Jimmie. Okay, I want to know what the documents said, that the Sandy man was hiding in his socks? Must have been pretty good stuff. I mean, why hide them?
It is not benefical to blame anyone. Things have to be made better, and we need to have learned from our mistakes.

I blame the Republicans.

Every time Clinton brought up Osama they said Wag the Dog. Of course they were playing wag the dick. Clinton's sex life and lying about it were not more important than national security. To me.

BTW I'm a Bush supporter in this election.

The problem in 1995 was the same as it is today. Playing politics with national security.

Nothing has changed except the position of the players. Whatever unity the Republicans are calling for today was not on their agenda in 1995.

Had the Republicans focused on problems and not personalities they might have gotten a reciprocal response. As it was the impeachment left a lot of grudges to fester. Reap what you sow? What a novel concept.

Hastert and the House "Managers" are on the top of my blame list. Clueless.

Everyone to blame before 9/11, including you and me. After 9/11 is another matter altogether.

It could be said the commission was too chickenshit to name names.

Both Clinton and Bush share some blame on this. As well as the Republicans who wasted the nation's time with Monica-gate. And the Secs of State and Defense under both admins.

Nice try Michelle, but as you well know:

"It is impossible to reason a person out of a position that he has never reasoned into."

Way too much of what the looney left sees as debate is based entirely on emotion has has absolutely no basis in fact. And reasoned debate cannot take place without facts. Minds cannot be changed if they are not open to facts.

So, good luck with this one!!!!

I'm a liberal and a Democrat, and I have not spent the last 3 years blaming the Bush administration for 9/11.

However, I do believe that both administrations share some blame for 9/11.

What bothers me more is that the Bush administration refuses to ACCEPT any responsibility for 9/11. (Of course, I can't come up with an example of the Clinton administration doing so either.) You're responsible if it happens on your watch.

Insofar as the failures were sins of omission, we all are to blame. None of us foresaw so open and devastating a window for attack on our shores, and none of us did anything significant to meet it.

But clearly the blogmistress simply can't help trailing her coat, despite protests of not trying to start a fight, since she already knows what a "reasoned" response consist of: "say that their Clinton Made The Universe And Bush Destroyed It theme is quite stale."

So I'll add the following taken directly off the AP wire:

“Bush welcomed the commission’s recommendations as “very constructive” although his administration has reacted coolly toward a key proposal to establish a Cabinet-level national intelligence director. He said that “where government needs to act, we will.”

“Bush had opposed the creation of the commission, resisted the release of some documents and fought against letting his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, testify publicly under oath.”

To date I have yet to read anything coming out of the White House accepting responsibility for any bad consequences of any policy decision made there. And I have seen consistent resistance from the White House, such as described above, to any independent investigation of such matters.

If my factual understanding of this is wrong, I invite correction. If any Administration spokesperson anywhere that you know of has conceded that the results of any policy decision has been anything less than a spectacular success, please post the link. I would love to read it.

There, that's about as "reasoned" as I can be.

I think the blame probably dates back to Jimmy Carter (or even earlier). We were in a time when any enemy of the Soviets was at least an ally of ours. What we've since learned about the Soviet threat is that it was both over and underestimated at the time (with the tremendous overwhelming fact that they had hundreds of nukes aimed our way giving us the ability to overlook the faults of those wily guys in Afghanistan with their backwards beliefs and crusader mentalities). Was it a mistake to fund those guys? Yes and no. Was it an honest mistake? I'd say yes, but the road to hell is....

Blame all around, boys! But I must take a partisan swing here and say that I'm glad I haven't seen much carping lately about how Clinton should have cooperated with Sudan to get bin Laden. We are finally waking up to what kind of assholes lead that country.

I didn't spend the last few years blaming Bush. I blame our intelligence and our leaders. Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush again all share blame for the shitstorm. But of course, the real blame goes to the fuckers who did it.

I've had some second thoughts in regard to calling the Soviet threat "overestimated". It really wasn't. But 9/11 told us to watch the whole world, and I hope in five or ten years we won't be wondering how we could have ignored the danger of Chinese communism so much. Or the reemergence of Russia, or Nigeria's growth into a superpower, or India, or Pakistan, or Indonesia, or...?

It's not often remembered that before 9/11 our attention was focused on China. Does Wen Ho Lee or the Hunan Island incident ring a bell? How about the US unwritten guarenty to defend Taiwan?
In the 90's and the first 8 mos. of the Bush administration China appeared to be a larger long term threat than militant Islam.

Page 566 of the report (583 of the pdf document), footnote #6 to Chapter 13:

6. The quotation goes on: “It includes gaps in intelligence, but also intelligence that, like a string of pearls too precious to wear, is too sensitive to give to those who need it. It includes the alarm that fails to work, but also the alarm that has gone off so often it has been disconnected. It includes the unalert watchman, but also the one who knows he’ll be chewed out by his superior if he gets higher authority out of bed. It includes the contingencies that occur to no one, but also those that everyone assumes somebody else is taking care of. It includes straightforward procrastination, but also decisions protracted by internal disagreement. It includes, in addition, the inability of indi- vidual human beings to rise to the occasion until they are sure it is the occasion—which is usually too late. . . . Finally, as at Pearl Harbor, surprise may include some measure of genuine novelty introduced by the enemy, and some sheer bad luck.” Thomas Schelling, foreword to Roberta Wohlstetter, Pearl Harbor:Warning and Decision (Stanford Univ. Press, 1962), p. viii.

tgs: But Wal-Mart stocks are high, so who cares? (Yes, I'm being facetious. But no, that doesn't mean I'm not being serious.)

Now that the report has been released and you've presumably read most of what the media has excerpted or read the report yourself, do you feel that the Clinton administration in any way shares any part of the responsibility you have placed on the current White House staff for the events of September 11, 2001?

Well, anyone who thought that it all started with Bush even before this report is a damB monkey blind moonbat, but I'll go ahead and answer your question. Yes. Clinton was less then stellar in any number of ways relating to terrorism. For one thing, he was way too likely to pull this "oh I'll just shoot some missles and drop some bombs" half-measures, and then pretend like that was some kind of panacea. Another thing that has made me sick to my stomach since long before this report is the all the intellectual frauds who will harp on the Bush-Saudi relationship like it's some fancy new toy that just showed in January, 2001. Clinton had the same relationship ... maybe not quite as close, but close enough. Kerry will have the same relationship. Even social1st (ps: why is the word social1st without the '1' "questionable content"?) wannabe Nader would maintain our strong friendship for some particular terrorist supporting nations.

Q. Do you think that Congress will go along with your decision to send sophisticated fighter jets to the Middle East? Can you give us the rational for including for the first time in these sales Egypt and Saudi Arabia along with Israel?

President Carter: Yes. I think Congress will go along with the proposal to sell a limited number of airplanes in the Middle East. F-15 planes are already being delivered to Israel, and in the new proposal Israel will receive additional F-15s and F-16s, very advanced fighter planes.

We have for a long time sold military equipment to Saudi Arabia, one of our closest allies, staunchest friends and economic partners. This is the first time we have sold F-15s to Saudi Arabia, but they have other advanced equipment. - Press Conference, February 19, 1978

With the commission report's total disregard for the well documented terrorist ties of our so-called "ally" (who did not, and is still not helping in Iraq, or even allowing us to use them as a staging area! Not only are we silently complicit in their persecution of Christians, Women, and Jews, but even when they come over here we often bend over backward to avoid offending their racist and misogynistic views, and every administration for more then a quarter century has done the same! Of course the commission air brushed Saudi from the picture too, so I can go ahead and say the bipartisian enablement continues. How many times do we have to get screwed by Saudi's extreme religious fundamentalists before come out and admit that we do indeed know where they all come from?

yeah, what Soli said. That's pretty much the way I see it, only Soli was eloquent.

I have a question. Does anyone here, deep in their heart, truly believe that Sandy Berger put documents in his socks?

Only he would know for sure, but he'll wait for the Big Media Interview (timed just before the Big Media Book Deal results) to spill the beans.

Or the trial. (And in that case, he'd use his 5th Amendment rights and leave us all guessing).

I have a question. Does anyone here, deep in their heart, truly believe that Sandy Berger put documents in his socks?

It doesn't matter. What matters is that he took them. The article of clothing used to transport them is irrelevent.

"this whole thing was a failure of years, not just one president, not just one administration"

I've always believed that.
But like so many have said, no one wants to take responsibility.

The answer to your question is the appeasement in the Middle East that has been going on for about 50 years. We should have learned our lesson by now. It is time to take care of the root of the problem...

Of course the Clinton whitehouse should take some of the blame for not doing much about "the war on terror", but the Bush administration not only did the same, they then pushed their own anti-Iraq agenda hard while ignoring their own homeland. I dislike both sides of the ticket, but I'll be damned if I want to see Bush for another four long years.

I must say, Mr. Lindeskog, ideology aside, folks like you amaze me. Make a third war on Iran, while we have two still going on that we haven't yet finished? Do you think our military resources are bottomless?

Go over to globalsecurity.org and take a good look at how thin we really are stretched. The section you want is named "Where Are The Legions?" After you do, then come back and tell us just how you think we should mount a serious assault on Iran.

Soli would be more convincing if s/he'd lose his/her hard on for Saudi Arabia and read a few factual books about it.

Might even read the 911 Commission Report and see what they have to say about the Saudis. Mostly they say that the Saudis, as a government, had nothing to do with 9/11. But that's not the AIPAC line, is it.

But that's not the AIPAC line, is it.

"Likudniks and Neo-Cons and Joooos--oh my!"


Might even read the 911 Commission Report and see what they have to say about the Saudis. Mostly they say that the Saudis, as a government, had nothing to do with 9/11. But that's not the AIPAC line, is it.

You would be more convincing if you actually read my comment and noticed that I did read the 9/11 report, and I gave my opinion of the commision on the Saudi's, which is that it's a whitewash. I've read a whole lot of factual material and I don't accept anything at face value (either AIPAC or 9/11 Commission) until I find independant sources and analysis or something I can do my own research on.

Here's the notoriusly semite US State Department's International Religious Freedom Report:

Saudi Arabia is an Islamic monarchy without legal protection for freedom of religion, and such protection does not exist in practice. Islam is the official religion, and the law requires that all citizens be Muslims. The Government prohibits the public practice of non-Muslim religions. The Government recognizes the right of non-Muslims to worship in private; however, it does not always respect this right in practice. There generally was no change in the status of religious freedom during the period covered by this report. The Government continued to detain Shi'a religious leaders and members of the Ismaili Shi'a community in Najran province. Freedom of non-Muslims to worship privately has received increasing attention in recent years through published interviews with government officials and press articles that addressed the subject in the context of human rights; however, the right to private worship remains restricted. The Government has stated publicly that its policy is to protect the right of non-Muslims to worship privately; however, it does not provide explicit guidelines for determining what constitutes private worship, which makes distinctions between public and private worship unclear. Such lack of clarity, as well as instances of arbitrary enforcement by the authorities, force most non-Muslims to worship in such a manner as to avoid discovery by the Government or others. Members of the Shi’a minority continued to face institutionalized political and economic discrimination, including restrictions on the practice of their faith.

So the majority of the hijackers happened to be Saudi, and they all happen to follow the State enforced religion of the Saudi Kingdom. Well that could be a coincidence. But then you could add in something like this Fox News Interview of Secretary of State Colin Powell (Is he part of your Jewish conspiracy? The plot thickens!):

MR. SNOW: It was interesting. In the President's speech he did not mention Saudi Arabia. The Israeli Defense Forces have come up with this series of documents -- I have them here and I'm told that they've been sent to the State Department -- that indicate that there have been large sums of moneys transferred from Saudi Arabia to a number of terrorist organizations.

We are showing on the screen right now a translation of one of them. It lists a number of suicide bombers, the dates on which -- the dates and locations on which their acts took place, and then the family payments, which are in Saudi riyals.

Are you persuaded that the Saudi Government is doing everything it can to stop financing terror and stop Saudi citizens from doing so?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, first of all, with respect to references to Saudi Arabia in the President's speech, there was not a specific reference but I think as you know, Tony, we have been very appreciative of the role that Saudi Arabia has played, and especially Crown Prince Abdullah, in putting forward a vision for the Palestinian people of how we can find a solution to this crisis.

With respect to payments to organizations such as Hamas and similar organizations, we have spoken to our Arab friends, and the President has made reference to this in his speech, that this kind of payment should stop. I haven't seen that specific piece of paper, but from what I see of what you put on the screen, the Saudis would say that they are not giving it to an organization, they are giving it to individuals in need. Nevertheless, I think it's a real problem when you incentivize in any way suicide bombings.

So they must give to those in need ... and who needs more then a family where the father blows himself apart in a bus of small children. You see, it's really just about the individual. Here's the imaginary conversation that runs through my head:

[Any American Administration, regardless of party]: You should stop paying terrorist's families, please.
[Saudi Gov't]: If we don't, will you still buy our oil?
[US Admin]: Well yes, but we are asking you very nicely.

I could go on, and on, and on. I've seen these things documented and researched in official and non-official studies. I've seen testimony about what happens when they come here and the restrictions they demand on the people we send there. I've seen independant third party verification of all this mulch. So Hatcher, I say to you ... show me your "factual" books that show that the Saudi's don't teach anti-semite, anti-Christian, anti-Woman values in their schools. Show me your "factual" books that show that the Saudi's don't fund international terrorism. Show me where my sources are buckling under pressure from your vast Jewish conspiracy.

I never claimed they had direct operational ties with al Qaeda, so don't try to pawn your straw man on me. The fact is, the Saudi royals live high on the hog while many of their people suffer because of policies designed to keep them poor and stupid (Saudi unemployment news: 30%). In order to maintain this system, the people at the bottom must have someone to blame, someone to hate, and the Saudi royals choose the targets for their aggression: Christians, Jews, liberated women, and the west in general. It's a very old game. A small percentage of those taught to hate become indoctinated time-bombs which the Saudis can let loose and deny responsibility for.

Show me some factual evidence that casts some actual doubt on anything I've said in these comments, and then we can have a serious discussion, and not this "you're wrong because I said so BS."

I've never said Clinton was perfect vs. Al Qaeda (and you'll never find someone as pro-Clinton as me), so I've always said he should have done more vs. terror - understanding that had he done so the loony right (aka the mainstream right) would have screamed bloody hell more than they already were. On the other hand, I also reject the notion that Bush and Co were "at battle stations" during the pre-9/11 period either. AND, considering theyre the party in charge now I find their efforts to stymie the 9/11 inquiry and disregard its recommendations as pretty disgusting.

Er, I may not be quite the news junkie that Oliver is, but I'm not really aware of any serious and/or overt "efforts to stymie the 9/11 inquiry and disregard its recommendations" on the part of the administration. Links?

Oh, and the loony/mainstream right (clever, that) might not have "screamed bloody hell" about Clinton's response to terrorism if he'd done more than resort to half-measures whenever it looked like the news cycle was going to be problematic.

I'll freely admit that I didn't like Clinton when he was in office, but I'd honestly be giving him a hindsight "attaboy" if his administration had a more serious and agressive approach to combating Islamist terrorism.

That's just this loony right-winger's opinion.


I don't know if this link will be too loony left for you, Sean M., but it's pretty comprehensive.

Joseph Marshall wrote: "Go over to globalsecurity.org and take a good look at how thin we really are stretched. The section you want is named "Where Are The Legions?" After you do, then come back and tell us just how you think we should mount a serious assault on Iran."

I am back! Please read my post, MILITARY STRATEGY.

I have to end this comment by quoting a line from the movie The Warriors (1979): "Warriors ... come out to playeeeyaaay..."

Martin Lindeskog - American in spirit.
Gothenburg, Sweden

Good, now that we're on the same page, lets go to work.

You suggest, as I understand your Military Strategy post, that we use the troops that are in Iraq to invade Iran.

They are still under attack in Iraq and they are the main bulwark of security to the new Iraqi government, so we really can't use them to invade anywhere else at the moment. The same is true of our troops in Afghanistan. This is the core of the problem.

So 15 of the 34 combat divisions available are simply out of play for such an invasion.

Not to mention the fact that an active combat zone is the last place you want a rear logistical staging area, which is what Iraq would become if we invaded Iran.

Moreover, if you read further down the page, you will see that the Army normally needs a full year of down time (four months minimum in the gravest emergency) to get a division ready to redeploy.

Since it must regularly rotate divisions back to the states, there have to be 15 gearing up to redeploy in Iraq on a regular basis.

That leaves 4 divisions. Of those 4, one is permanently in Korea, therefore it is out of play, 2 are ready to deploy at the moment, and one is being completely rebuilt.

No one in there right senses would try to invade Iran with only two divisions and no secure rear staging area.

By the way, I have posted on many blogs the contention that the invasion of Iraq was a massive strategic mistake precisely because it prevents us from now dealing with Iran.

Once the President committed us to the Bush doctrine, our attentions should have been concentrated on Iran from the first. It was unquestionably the most dangerous of our potential enemies.

So the question wasn't meant to be snarky, but you couldn't resist the sarcasm at the end?

I agree with what M.Simon wrote much earlier. Of course the Clinton administration and House/Senate Dems and GOPs alike bear responsibility--they are our leaders, after all, and Clinton had the watch for eight years.

But partisan Republicans were guilty of a tremendous waste of resources--and forcing the Clinton administration to waste them, too--with their endless, pointless, useless investigations. The "wag the dog" allegations have already been mentioned here, and that wasn't a canard--he was accused of it constantly.

And the inversion of the theme you say has grown quite stale has grown equally so: that Clinton Destroyed the Universe and Bush Saved It.

First, it seems clear that Clinton personnel left behind terror warnings that went ignored or underexplored.

Second, Clinton's military was ready for Bush to fight two wars, so Clinton must've done something right. It's Bush's conduct of the wars that remains to be judged.

No denial of Clinton's or Bush's responsibilities. Kind of a strawman, really. It's ironic that the people who have the most trust in Bush protecting us from terror were the most terrified by the Annie Jacobsen story. (I'm not including you there, Michele.) Is Bush protecting us, or isn't he?

To those who say the Bush adm. refuses to concede any mistakes or take any blame for 9/11, the complete change in policy post 9/11 is the Bush administration's admission of error. Like so much with this adminstration and unlike the last, Bush speaks through his actions, not his words.

Unfortunately, 9/11 had to happen. No matter what the intelligence, the 'preemptive' detainment of 19 poor innocent Arabs would have had the LLL marching on Washington. Likewise Afghanistan- we would have been the evil crusaders attacking devout followers of the 'religion of peace'. Can you imagine the outrage and indignation that would be flowing from the Democrat convention?