Sunday, December 23, 2001
Finally getting around to hearing Lanny Davis defend former President Bill Clinton on the "O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News. Spin. Spin. Spin. Bill Clinton balanced the budget...blah blah. Of course, the subject of the interview was what Bill Clinton had done about terrorism and al Qaeda during his administration.
This last week the Washington Post put out a two-part series about how the former president dealt with terrorism in general, and Usama bin Laden in particular. What is revealed in the series is that Clinton did do much more than was previously known, but, like every other decision made throughout his adminstration, polls drove the president. Clinton would not lead.
Like many things Clinton did, he tried to triangulate and find a middle ground to operate from. According to the Post:
(Former chairman of the joint chiefs Gen. Henry) Shelton, a senior colleague said, "wanted nothing to do" with a tiny incursion known in the Special Forces community as "going Hollywood." And the political leadership, the colleague said, wanted nothing to do with something larger.
"Absolutely nothing prevented us from running the kind of operation we're running now, if there had been a commitment to do that," Shelton said.
Of course, whatever Clinton did during his term of office will not appear to be enough in hindsight. But Clinton and his friends would do better just to shut up for the next decade or so. Let memories fade before you try to create a new truth.