Another Smear/Lie On Bill Clinton Is Circulating

In 1998 President Clinton launched a major attack on al Queda and tried to kill Osama bin Laden:

The United States launched cruise missile strikes in Afghanistan and Sudan yesterday against centres allegedly linked with the terrorist bombings of two American embassies.

At the time the right mocked him for it, claiming he was”wagging the dog” and “bombing an asprin factory” – a chemical plant that belonged to Osama bin Laden.
And just how many cruise missiles were launched at bin Laden in Afghanistan?

About 75 cruise missiles landed in Afghanistan at Bin Laden’s camps around Khost and Jalalabad. The Khost camp, Zawhar Kili, was the scene of a meeting of “senior leaders of Islamic militant and terrorist groups linked to bin Laden,” and was regarded by Pakistani intelligence as a “summit” convened by bin Laden.

75 cruise missiles launched directly at al Queda camps in Afghanistan. 75 cruise missiles!
Today Newsweek has a craftily-worded story that the right is using to smear former President Bill Clinton, saying he lied about trying to get bin Laden. The Newsweek story, The Report the CIA Didn’t Want You to See, contains the following passages,

… The report also seemed to raise new questions about former President Clinton’s angry claim to Fox News anchor Chris Wallace last year that he had authorized the CIA to “kill” Osama bin Laden—a directive that the report suggested was more ambiguous and limited than Clinton asserted.
[. . .] Clinton appeared to have been referring to a December 1999 Memorandum of Notification (MON) he signed that authorized the CIA to use lethal force to capture, not kill, bin Laden. But the inspector general’s report made it clear that the agency never viewed the order as a license to “kill” bin Laden—one reason it never mounted more effective operations against him. “The restrictions in the authorities given the CIA with respect to bin Laden, while arguably, although ambiguously, relaxed for a period of time in late 1998 and early 1999, limited the range of permissible operations,” the report stated.

So let’s look at what the right is spreading today.

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While Progressives Talk To Each Other, Conservatives Talk To The Public

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Progressive bloggers talk to each other. Conservatives talk to the public.
For example, Bush and the Republicans recently renewed their claim Iraq attacked us on 9/11 and that is why we invaded that country. Their politicians, pundits, talk-show hosts, bloggers, news anchors, op-ed writers, letter-to-the-editor writers and others all said it, using largely the same “tested” words and phrases, on the radio, in the newspapers, in their blogs and on their TV channels. Progressive bloggers responded with the truth, but who did they reach?
The right talks to the public, and it works. Support for Initial Invasion Has Risen, Poll Shows,

Americans’ support for the initial invasion of Iraq has risen somewhat as the White House has continued to ask the public to reserve judgment about the war until at least the fall.
[. . .] However, the number of people who say the war is going “very badly” has fallen from 45 percent earlier in July to a current reading of 35 percent…
[. . .] The poll’s findings are in line with those of one conducted last week by The New York Times and CBS News.

And other lies continue as well. Just today, for example, from the right-wing Heritage Foundation, The War in Iraq: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions,

While WMD were not found, some may have been moved to Syria in the convoys of hundreds of trucks that crossed the border just before the U.S.-led intervention and during the first few weeks of fighting.
[. . .] If the U.S. pulls out of Iraq before it has a stable government capable of defending itself, the likes of bin Laden will have a safe haven from which to attack the U.S. again.
[. . .] If we stand back and allow al-Qaeda’s terrorists to succeed, they will turn Iraq into a base for attacking us, just as they turned Afghanistan into a base for attacking us. The Clinton Administration decided that the U.S. had no stake in the civil war in Afghanistan in the 1990s. Only after the Taliban allowed al-Qaeda to operate from its territory did we discover—too late—that we did have a stake there.

Right, blame Clinton. But it was Clinton who did something about Iraq’s WMD, and tried to do something about al Qaeda before 9/11, not Bush. Remember the “aspirin factory?”
Progressives need to start reaching the general public with the truth as well as each other. We need to start working together to fund and build the organizational infrastructure to develop and test messaging, then coordinate the use of messaging, train speakers, employ pundits, develop media channels, etc.

Don’t Forget The July 10, 2001 Meeting

Here’s something very important that dropped out of the news. After ignoring bin Laden from the time they came into office, the Bush administration also ignored very clear warnings that an attack was imminent. (Except Atty. General Ashcroft didn’t ignore them – he started chartering jets instead of flying on commercial airlines.)
Remember this? Two Months Before 9/11, an Urgent Warning to Rice,

On July 10, 2001, two months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, then-CIA Director George J. Tenet met with his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, at CIA headquarters to review the latest on Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Black laid out the case, consisting of communications intercepts and other top-secret intelligence showing the increasing likelihood that al-Qaeda would soon attack the United States. It was a mass of fragments and dots that nonetheless made a compelling case, so compelling to Tenet that he decided he and Black should go to the White House immediately.
Tenet called Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser, from the car and said he needed to see her right away. There was no practical way she could refuse such a request from the CIA director.
For months, Tenet had been pressing Rice to set a clear counterterrorism policy, including specific presidential orders called “findings” that would give the CIA stronger authority to conduct covert action against bin Laden. Perhaps a dramatic appearance — Black called it an “out of cycle” session, beyond Tenet’s regular weekly meeting with Rice — would get her attention.

And this?

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“Ties To Terrorists” — Invade or Do Business Deal?

I want to make a comment on the “UAE port deal” controversy. We invaded Iraq based on less evidence of al Queda and other terrorist ties than there is of UAE ties. Yet, the Bush crowd insists that we have nothing to worry about from handing control of our ports over to the UAE.
Let me make this clear: I am NOT saying that UAE is a terrorist state, or even a terrorist-supporting state, I am pointing out the fear-mongering nonsense that Bush and the right spew for the lying, fear-mongering manipulative propaganda nonsense it is. The Bush crowd has spent four years whipping Americans into a state of absolute fear and paranoia over anything to do with Islam, Arabs, etc. Now they reap what they have sown.
According to the Bush/right-wing narrative, the invasion of Iraq was justified because Iraqi “had ties” to al Queda hijackers many years before 9/11. For example,

President Bush yesterday defended his assertions that there was a relationship between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda, putting him at odds with this week’s finding of the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission.
“The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda: because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda,” Bush said after a Cabinet meeting. As evidence, he cited Iraqi intelligence officers’ meeting with bin Laden in Sudan. “There’s numerous contacts between the two,” Bush said.

See also here, here, here, here
Meanwhile,

President George W. Bush calls the nation behind the port-security controversy a trusted ally, but the Sept. 11 commission offers another take – saying the CIA believed top United Arab Emirates officials had cozy relations with Osama bin Laden before 9/11.
The United States even believed it had a lead on bin Laden two years before the attacks but passed up on an air strike to kill him.
The reason: fears of taking out UAE princes or other senior officials believed to be hosting bin Laden at a remote hunting camp in Afghanistan, the commission’s report said.

Which is it going to be, George? Do “ties to terrorists” mean we invade, or don’t they matter? Or, maybe that wasn’t it at all — maybe there were other reasons we invaded Iraq — reasons that you haven’t shared with us? Was “ties to terrorism” just a cover-story? Your reasoning sure doesn’t mean much when you want to do a business deal with UAE.