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.