Rob Knight

That damn Clinton

September 24, 2004

In the post 9/11 world of threat levels and duct tape (I’ve gotmine hanging on a coat rack by the door), it has been a common occurance to blame Clinton for everything from our ill-preparedness for 9/11 to, say, the Yankees losing the world series, for which I blame Derek Jeter. But I digress.

So this week, I thought I’d share with you some choice quotes from Clinton years. In August 1998, simultaneous bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, brought the name Osama bin Laden and Islamic terrorism to American households. Clinton, did nothing. And if you are a Fox News Channel watcher, you not only KNOW Clinton did nothing, you’d have me and my family killed for telling you what I’m about to tell you.
It turns out, Clinton did far more than nothing. I know, because I’m a geek and a big fan of LexisNexis. LexisNexis is an awesome website that lets you search every major news source in the world going back at least 10 years. BONANZA!

I searched for newspapers covering the Clinton response to the 1998 emabssy bombings and turned up the following. (WARNING, if you think Clinton was sucking his thumb when it came to terrorism, you might want to delete this email right now and go turn on Hannity & Colmes. And I’ve got a bridge you might want to buy):

From the Chicago Sun Times, May 23, 1998:

To deal with biological threats, Clinton ordered the development and unprecedented stockpiling of antibiotics and vaccines–such as for smallpox and anthrax–for civilians. Further, the president directed that public health and medical surveillance systems be upgraded to detect and sound the alarm on any release of bacteria or viruses.

From the Christian Science Monitor July 1, 1998:

Some 40 US agencies and offices are now involved in Clinton’s antiterrorism efforts, from the CIA and Centers for Disease Control to the Department of Agriculture.

Since 1995, annual federal antiterrorism spending has climbed from some $5 billion to almost $7 billion, a record.

Earlier this month, on [Richard] Clarke’s recommendation, Clinton asked Congress for $ 294 million more, including $ 94 million to create a national stockpile of antidotes and antibiotics to treat victims of chemical or biological terrorism.

The efforts are not confined to the federal level. The US Army has begun a program to train by 2003 first-response teams of medical, law-enforcement, and disaster-relief personnel in 120 metropolitan areas to detect and contain chemical and biological attacks. They will also be supplied equipment such as protective suits.

The Army is also creating 10 National Guard and Reserve teams around the nation to help handle the aftermath of terrorist attacks.

From a London Independent article about the response of the U.S. to
the embassy bombings, August 30, 1998:

The response showed how radically the American approach had changed, according to officials involved in counter-terrorism. Henceforth, Washington is pledged to a far more active, unilateral policy. This, said Sandy Berger, National Security Advisor, is “the long-term, fundamental way in which the US intends to combat the forces of terror”. The US, he continued, “will not play passive defence”.

From The Washington Post, May 23, 1998:

adversaries both old and new,” he said in a commencement address at the U.S. Naval Academy, “not only hostile regimes but also terrorist and international criminals who cannot defeat us in traditional theaters of battle but search instead for new ways to attack by exploiting new technologies and the world’s increasing openness.”

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette December 19, 1999:

The Clinton administration, which claims a “zero- tolerance” policy, has aggressively pursued terrorists. U.S. authorities cracked the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and quickly traced the African embassy bombings to bin Laden. However controversial, President Clinton’s decision to bomb suspected terror sites in Afghanistan and Sudan showed that the United States would strike back.

“Our effort to strengthen the rule of law against terrorism is global,” Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told Congress in February. “At its heart is the message that every nation has a responsibility to arrest or expel terrorists, shut down their finances and deny them safe haven.”

Damn that Clinton and his lazy anti-terror policies.