Getting Colder

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Bush Administration, Iraq War, Terrorism, War on Terror

Following up the last post — Just to show How Far the Righty Have Fallen — rightie bloggers are whoopin’ and high-fivin’ it up over the missile strike in Somalia. For example, Curt at Flopping Aces celebrates payback for the U.S. troops killed in the 1993 “Blackhawk Down” firefight in Mogadishu. “God knows we would never get it when Clinton was in office,” he says.

I assume the Bush Administration plans a retaliation for the U.S.S. Cole bombing of 2000 sometime in 2013. I guess we’re taking the old saying “revenge is a dish best served cold” literally.

The Pentagon says the recent attack was not about what happened in 1993. However, one of their justifications for blitzing the Islamists involved the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by al Qaeda in 1998. Suspected perpetrators of those acts of terrorism are being harbored by the ICU, the Pentagon said.

In 1998 the Clinton Administration waited only 13 days after the embassy bombings, not 13 years, to launch cruise missiles that struck an al Qaeda training complex in Afghanistan and destroyed a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in the Sudan that allegedly produced nerve gas. You might remember that subsequent news stories said the facility in Sudan was a legitimate pharmaceutical plant and that the missile attack killed an innocent night watchman. Republicans verbally bludgeoned President Clinton about the dead night watchman and the “aspirin factory” for, well, a long time. I think they’re still at it.

Still, you’d think that they would have approved striking and destroying an al Qaeda training facility in Afghanistan. Guess again; grief for that dear, innocent night watchman far overwhelmed any concern for national security. Ol’ blood ‘n’ guts himself, Christopher Hitchens, sniffed:

Well then, what was the hurry? A hurry that was panicky enough for the president and his advisors to pick the wrong objective and then, stained with embarrassment and retraction, to refuse the open inquiry that could have settled the question in the first place? There is really only one possible answer to that question. Clinton needed to look “presidential” for a day. He may even have needed a vacation from his family vacation. In any event, he acted with caprice and brutality and with a complete disregard for international law, and perhaps counted on the indifference of the press and public to a negligible society like that of Sudan, and killed wogs to save his own lousy Hyde (to say nothing of our new moral tutor, the ridiculous sermonizer Lieberman). No bipartisan contrition is likely to be offered to the starving Sudanese: unmentioned on the “prayer-breakfast” circuit.

After 9/11, of course, the rightie tune was that Clinton should have acted quicker and bombed the Afghanistan facility while Osama bin Laden was still there. The attack missed him by hours.

Regarding the pharma plant, though I understand the CIA and some former Clinton Administration officials still stand by the nerve gas claim, consensus leans on the aspirin factory side of the story. Even so, going by this Wikipedia article, the Clinton Administration was a lot more successful at capturing, prosecuting, and convicting the perpetrators of the embassy bombings than the Bush Administration has been concerning those responsible for 9/11.

However, as this blogger points out, righties since then have become considerably more sanguine about the slaughter of civilians, including children, in the name of fighting terrorism. Yep, after the attacks on 9/11 the righties shed their tender sensibilities rather abruptly, and they flipflopped from complaining that Clinton had done too much to claiming he hadn’t done enough.

The missile story also reminded me of this famous exchange between Senator Bob Kerrey and National Security Adviser Condi Rice from the 9/11 commission hearings:

KERREY: You’ve used the phrase a number of times, and I’m hoping with my question to disabuse you of using it in the future.

You said the president was tired of swatting flies.

Can you tell me one example where the president swatted a fly when it came to al-Qaida prior to 9-11?

RICE: I think what the president was speaking to was …

KERREY: No, no. What fly had he swatted?

RICE: Well, the disruptions abroad was what he was really focusing on …

KERREY: No, no …

RICE: … when the CIA would go after Abu Zubaydah …

KERREY: He hadn’t swatted …

RICE: … or go after this guy …

KERREY: Dr. Rice, we didn’t …

RICE: That was what was meant.

KERREY: We only swatted a fly once on the 20th of August 1998. We didn’t swat any flies afterwards. How the hell could he be tired?

RICE: We swatted at — I think he felt that what the agency was doing was going after individual terrorists here and there, and that’s what he meant by swatting flies. It was simply a figure of speech.

KERREY: Well, I think it’s an unfortunate figure of speech because I think, especially after the attack on the Cole on the 12th of October, 2000, it would not have been swatting a fly. It would not have been — we did not need to wait to get a strategic plan.

Dick Clarke had in his memo on the 20th of January overt military operations. He turned that memo around in 24 hours, Dr. Clarke. There were a lot of plans in place in the Clinton administration — military plans in the Clinton administration.

In fact, since we’re in the mood to declassify stuff, there was — he included in his January 25th memo two appendices — Appendix A: Strategy for the elimination of the jihadist threat of al-Qaida; Appendix B: Political military plan for al-Qaida.

So I just — why didn’t we respond to the Cole?

RICE: Well, we …

KERREY: Why didn’t we swat that fly?

Ahh, those were the days. There’s more amusing nostalgia in the linked old post. Are the righties now reduced to cheering the swatting of flies? To be fair, Pajamas Media reports the U.S. has “boots on the ground” in Somalia, but so far I haven’t picked up this information in other news stories.

In January 1998, the neocons at PNAC sent a letter to President Clinton advising him that “regime change” in Iraq should be the aim of U.S. policy in the Middle East. A look at PNAC’s archives for 1997-2000 reveals the pnac’ers were obsessed with Saddam Hussein. But they seem not to have noticed Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda at all, unless I’m missing something. Even memorandums written within days of the embassy bombings are about Iraq, Iraq, Iraq. And these are the same geniuses pushing Bush into an escalation in Iraq now. If neocon policies don’t touch off a pancontinental war across the Middle East and much of Africa it will be a miracle.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Cizungu  •  Jan 9, 2007 @3:21 pm

    Curt at Flopping Aces celebrates payback for the U.S. troops killed in the 1993 “Blackhawk Down” firefight in Mogadishu.

    Feel the Stupid. The people responsible for “Blackhawk Down” (lousy movie, by the way) are the very warlords the US is now backing; whereas the Islamists targeted by this strike are totally unrelated to the whole affair.

    This proves again that all that matters to wingnuts is killing more brown people: one dusky foreigner can be substituted for another dusky foreigner, without diminishing the value of the kill. It’s all about the bloodlust, baby.

  2. maha  •  Jan 9, 2007 @3:32 pm

    The people responsible for “Blackhawk Down” (lousy movie, by the way) are the very warlords the US is now backing;

    I wondered about that. I did some googling this morning and found some past association between the late Mohamed Farrah Aidid and provisional president Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, but it was a bit murky.

  3. felicity smith  •  Jan 9, 2007 @3:51 pm

    Poor Hitchens. I think he’s trying to be Mencken, or a Twain, or a Rogers. Unfortunately, he’s absolutely humorless – just cynical, and he doesn’t even do that well.

    Apparently Mr. Bush continues to consult that collection of detritus from the old “Team B” bunch over at the AEI. How many times must people be proved wrong – wrong on the state of the Soviet military in the ’70’s, wrong on Iraq, dead wrong on Iran (yet to be proved but it’ll happen) and still being consulted and listened to on Iraq policy? Apparently it’s impossible for a think-tank to flunk.

  4. Cizungu  •  Jan 9, 2007 @4:46 pm

    After Mohamed Farrah Aidid died in 1996, his son, Hussein Mohamed, who had fought against his father’s militias as a US marine during the UN operation in the 90s (!), took over the SNA, Mohamed Farrah’s alliance, and the US supported him. The SNA became the SRRC in 2001, and actually fought against the transitional government until 2004. Now Hussein Mohamed is the minister of the Interior…

    So basically, we were against the SNA before we were with them, then we used them against the TNG before bringing everybody together against the Islamists. Nice twists and turns, almost afghan-style politics ! I’m not sure Bush can grasp all the subtleties.

  5. Mark  •  Jan 9, 2007 @6:43 pm

    So someone is a right winger if they want al Qaeda taken off the battle field before they hit America and their allies?

    I guess that makes liberals against: killing al Qaeda, detaining al Qaeda, capturing al Qaeda through “racial profiling”, against interrogating al Qaeda, against invading countries where they hide, against rendition of al Qaeda members, against spying on al Qaeda cells in the U.S., against the banking programs that take al Qaeda’s money, against fighting al Qaeda in Iraq,

    LOL, you guys surely are capable of defending America from it’s enemies……Bush is the enemy, not the group trying to disperse cyanide, suicide bombs, etc. on U.S. civilians…it’s Bush and the U.S. military for trying to stop them….right.

    At some point I don’t agree that your intentions are “honest” and “well meaning” and you are just morons working to undermine America as we know it. Unreal.

  6. Bonnie  •  Jan 9, 2007 @7:37 pm

    I have probably mentioned before that my memory is not so good these days. But, I seem to be the only one who remembers that it was Bush 41 who sent the troops to Somalia in the first place. Am I remembering this wrong?

  7. maha  •  Jan 9, 2007 @9:10 pm

    So someone is a right winger if they want al Qaeda taken off the battle field before they hit America and their allies?

    Dear Mark, thou flaming idiot: Be advised that I was in lower Manhattan on 9/11. I’m all in favor of taking out al Qaeda or terrorists who are a threat to America any way they can be taken out. Whenever some brain dead rightie likes you suggests they have a copyright on opposition to terrorism I get, um, angry.

    If you weren’t a rightie and had a higher reading comprehension level, you might notice that I’m not aggravated at the Bush Administration for going after al Qaeda. I’m aggravated at the Bush Regime for wasting America’s resources NOT going after al Qaeda.

  8. i.m.small  •  Dec 1, 2008 @11:37 am

    DR. RICE’S TESTIMONY

    It was akin to swatting flies
    “But we were very tired,”
    Within which comment´s essence lies
    Mendacity deep mired–

    But no amount of crafty spin
    Can tilt the balance: always
    Dishonesty and sloth are sin
    Though in the highest hallways.

    “We were so tired at swatting flies,”
    But pressed, excuses gushed
    When asked a number to advise
    Of previous insects crushed!

    How does one tire whose lethargy
    Prevents a single swat?
    My country´s imbecility
    But asked for what it got.

    .



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