Bill Clinton on Fox News Sunday Morning

The interview of Bill Clinton by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday Morning on September 24th has become one of the hottest topics in the political world. Proving one of Clinton’s points made in the interview about “disinformation campaigns” being waged by right wing groups such as Fox News this interview has been portrayed by right wing media as “Clinton flipping out” or “Clinton losing his cool” rather than what it really was which is Clinton telling it exactly how it is. Why is the focus on superficial things like how red his face was or how angry he got rather than on the facts? Does it have to do with our celebrity obsessed superficial mindset in this country? Is it a right wing conspiracy? The reasons for the absurd news coverage of this interview is a very interesting topic that I may write an article on in the future but I want to focus on the interview itself and the substance of what Bill Clinton said. Speaking truth and reason in the face of lies and distortion. Setting a standard for other politicians and how they should respond to the tactics of an organization such as Fox News. Fox News is not a news agency, they are a tool of the right wing and they should be regarded as such.

In the interview Sunday morning Chris Wallace waited till just the third question to ask the big question that set things of. Actually I shouldn’t even give him that much credit. He didn’t ask, he didn’t have enough nerve to ask such a ridiculous question himself, he resorted to the common Fox News tactic of saying “People are asking” (brain washing 101 anyone?) Anyway he asked the former president why he didn’t do more to try to catch Bin Laden. He framed the question by listing a number of events commonly cited by right wingers as being Clinton’s failures in fighting terror.

One by one Clinton took these “points” and showed just how hypocritical and ridiculous it is for any right winger to go after Clinton while giving the Bush administration a free ride.

Chris Wallace brought up the removal of troops out of Somalia in 1993 which Bin Laden later described as a sign of American weakness. Clinton responded by saying that his republican counterparts had wanted Clinton to withdraw from day one at the time and that he stayed for six months. Clinton also pointed out that Osama Bin Laden had nothing to do with Somalia in 1993 nor did al-Qaeda even exist. So to bring this up as an attack on President Clinton’s stance on terror is completely disingenuous and politically charged. Something said without merit to influence people to have a certain opinion instead of something said to help people learn the facts. This is the difference between a propaganda group and a news organization.

Clinton also pointed out that the only person who worked on terror threats from Reagan’s era through 9/11 was Richard Clarke. Richard Clarke’s has been very clear in stating that fighting terrorism and Bin Laden was a top priority of the Clinton administration and that the Bush administration downgraded the importance of Bin Laden and did not hold a single meeting about Bin Laden in the nine months leading up to September 11th. Clarke also stated that on September 12th of 2001 he was asked by President Bush to try and find a link between Iraq with the events of that 9/11. A clear example of the where the Bush administration’s focus was even after the great tragedy. Clinton urged the viewers of the program to read Richard Clarke’s book and get the facts on what actually happened in the lead up to 9/11. Richard Clarke of course has been the subject of a smear campaign by the right wing and Fox News for speaking the truth on what happened but it’s important to remember that Richard Clarke was loyal to and hired by the Reagan administration. He is not in any way a liberal or a political figure. He is a counter terrorism expert who was disgusted by the Bush administration’s lack of focus on terrorism.

Clinton responded to the African bombing with cruise missiles which nearly killed Bin Laden. The closest anyone has got to killing to Bin Laden to this day. Clinton noted that the republicans at the time accused him of “wagging the dog” (because of the Lewinsky situation.) and had little concern for Bin Laden.

Clinton most importantly notes the facts regarding the Cole bombing which is the most often cited “failure” of the Clinton administration by right wingers trying to find blame that doesn’t fall where it belongs (squarely on the shoulders of the Bush administration.)

The CIA and FBI refused to certify that Bin Laden was responsible for the Cole bombings during Clinton’s administration thus Clinton had very little power to respond to the attacks other than with special forces missions which were opposed by the military and that the 9/11 commission said would not have been the right thing to do. In other words the biggest citation by right wingers of a Clinton failure was actually beyond his control. Clinton had battle plans drawn up to invade Afghanistan and overthrow the Taliban in retaliation but could not due to the CIA and FBI’s refusal to certify Bin Laden as responsible. Where does the real blame land for failure to respond to the Cole bombings? The Bush administration.

When the Bush administration took power in January 2001 they were given the chance to respond to the Cole bombings because the CIA and FBI certified Bin Laden’s involvement. What was the Bush administration’s response? “That happened on the Clinton administration’s watch.” They did nothing. They had the real opportunity to respond to the Cole bombings and they did nothing.

When Clinton was president right wingers said he was playing “wag the dog” when he tried to go after Bin Laden and they asked “why is he so obsessed with Bin Laden?” The same people who blame him for not doing enough now thought he was doing too much then. When Clinton was president he got briefed on Bin Laden daily. The Bush administration did not hold one meeting on Bin Laden during the 8 months leading up to 9/11. The blame game is fruitless but if it must be played it’s obvious and clear where the blame lands and it’s on the Bush administration. The right wing hit job on Clinton to try and smear his presidency is deceitful and the opposite of truth.

Clinton also pointed out in the interview that Chris Wallace would never ask a member of the Bush administration a question about why they did not do more to capture Bin Laden or why they did not respond to the Cole bombings. So I ask why is it “fair and balanced” to ask the one side who was actually trying to do something about terror while giving a free ride to the side that did absolutely nothing for 8 months leading up to 9/11?

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