Sunday, October 01, 2006

Fisking President Clinton

(Edited and bumped to top)

That America got hit with a big attack was not Bill Clinton's fault. Truly, honestly, sincerely - was not. We were going to get hit, no matter what.

That said, I can't resist fisking the amazing string of falsehoods President Clinton proferred in the interview with Chris Wallace.

I suspect President Clinton was engaging in a delusional act of psychological self-defense. An indicator of psychological self-defense occurs when a reaction is out of proportion to a provocation.

WALLACE: When we announced that you were going to be on Fox News Sunday, I got a lot of e-mail from viewers. And I’ve got to say, I was surprised. Most of them wanted me to ask you this question: Why didn’t you do more to put bin Laden and Al Qaida out of business when you were president?

There’s a new book out, I suspect you’ve already read, called The Looming Tower. And it talks about how the fact that when you pulled troops out of Somalia in 1993, bin Laden said, I have seen the frailty and the weakness and the cowardice of U.S. troops. Then there was the bombing of the embassies in Africa and the attack on the Cole.

Greg: Chris! You're conflating two separate questions:
1. Why didn't you do more to get Bin Laden(in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000), and
2. Did the (1993) pull out from Somalia encourage the growth of Al Qaeda?
You ought to ask one question at a time, my friend...

CLINTON: OK, let’s just go through that.
WALLACE: Let me — let me — may I just finish the question, sir?And after the [Cole] attack, the book says that bin Laden separated his leaders, spread them around, because he expected an attack, and there was no response. I understand that hindsight is always 20/20…

Chris! Now you're adding a third question:
3. Did the failure to respond to the Cole attack encourage Al Qaeda?
One question at a time, Chris!

CLINTON: No, let’s talk about it.
WALLACE: … but the question is, why didn’t you do more, connect the dots and put them out of business?

Whew. Finally - Chris restates the main question, and hushes up. We can see Chris wanted to throw some "dots"(Somalia, African Embassies, Cole) into his question - likely in the hope President Clinton would elaborate on his thinking about Bin Laden.

CLINTON: OK, let’s talk about it. Now, I will answer all those things on the merits, but first I want to talk about the context in which this arises.

Exactly - his entire defense is a "context" defense: forget the merits, everyone - concentrate on this: Fox News is bad. Neo-Cons are out to get me! Don't look at that(merits). Look over here(context)!

I’m being asked this on the Fox network. ABC just had a right-wing conservative run in their little Pathway to 9/11,

Pathway to 9/11 zinged everyone - right and left.

falsely claiming it was based on the 9/11 Commission report,

Path to 9/11 included numerous, blatant, printed statements that it had taken dramatic license.

It's interesting that Clinton here lends credence to a 9/11 Commission Report which he will later dismiss as "politically motivated".

Also, Clinton here rips a Richard Clarke-influenced television drama (Path to 9/11), only to shower Richard Clarke with praise throughout the rest of this interview.

with three things asserted against me directly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission report.

I would looove to hear Pres. Clinton elaborate on what actually happened. A person can dream.

And I think it’s very interesting that all of President Bush’s neo-cons thought I was too obsessed with bin Laden.

a) If conservatives in media examined Clinton's motives for his missile attack, they were only doing what opinion pundits are paid to do. It's a slur to equate examining motives with "thought I was too obsessed with bin Laden."
b) To equate some conservative pundits to "all of President Bush’s neo-cons" is a slur.
c) Further, Lexis Nexis confirms my memory: the vast majority of conservatives - whether elected, or in media - cheered for Clinton to do everything possible against Bin Laden. Newt Gingrich blast-faxed a number of conservative talk radio hosts, asking them to withhold criticism of Clinton's missile attack, and laying out reasons America needed to take action against Bin Laden.

They had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after I left office.

Condi Rice says the Bush Administration held four large, formal type of meetings with pertinent personnel. President Bush ordered a study on how to "eliminate" Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. He didn't want to continue Clinton's policy of "rolling back" Bin Laden, which Bush equated to "swatting at flies." That study was completed approx. one week before 9/11.

All the right-wingers who now say I didn’t do enough said I did too much — same people. They were all trying to get me to withdraw from Somalia in 1993 the next day after we were involved in Black Hawk down,

Lexis Nexis reveals Republican sentiment for staying in Somalia and finishing the job - though I I'm confident many politicos(including Repubs) were likely running for cover.

and I refused to do it and stayed six months

Sort of. A half truth. After Blackhawk Down, the Americans did not give full effort towards completing the mission President Clinton had given them: to capture the warlord Aidid.

In Chapter 26 of Blackhawk Down, Mark Bowden wrote that CIA operative Robert Oakley met with Aidid's emissary, and delivered this message:
"America's operations against Aidid had ended, and American was going to pull out of Mogadishu.
First, however, U.S. pilot Michael Durant should be released, as a goodwill gesture on Aidid's part.
Failing that, America would have to try and rescue Durant. That effort would be bloody, and America would hold nothing back. Oakley: 'This whole part of the city will be destroyed, men, women, children, camels, cats, dogs, goats, donkeys, everything.'
Aidid agreed to release Durant."

and had an orderly transfer to the United Nations. OK, now let’s look at all the criticisms: Black Hawk down, Somalia.

President Clinton slickly (delusionally? dishonestly?) reduces multiple criticisms (Somalia, African Embassies, Cole, Why didn't you get Bin Laden?) to one thing: Black Hawk Down, 1993

There is not a living soul in the world who thought that Osama bin Laden had anything to do with Black Hawk down or was paying any attention to it or even knew Al Qaida was a growing concern in October of ‘93.

President Clinton appears to be addressing Chris Wallace' Question #2:

2. Did the pull out from Somalia encourage the growth of Al Qaeda?

President Clinton's stated assertion is: the pullout was reasonable, based on what we knew about Bin Laden at the time - which was zip. By making this particular stated assertion, President Clinton is conceding an unstated assertion that the pullout encouraged Al Qaeda. Logically, it has to be true that President Clinton is conceding that unstated assertion. Next, we shall see that President Clinton does not feel any moral duty to be logical.

WALLACE: I understand, and I…
CLINTON: No, wait. No, wait. Don’t tell me this — you asked me why didn’t I do more to bin Laden. There was not a living soul. All the people who now criticize me wanted to leave the next day. You brought this up, so you’ll get an answer, but you can’t…
WALLACE: I’m perfectly happy to.
CLINTON: All right, secondly…
WALLACE: Bin Laden says…
CLINTON: Bin Laden may have said…
WALLACE: … bin Laden says that it showed the weakness of the United States.
CLINTON: But it would’ve shown the weakness if we’d left right away, but he wasn’t involved in that.

If the pullout did not show weakness (read: encourage Al Qaeda), why does Pres. Clinton carefully point out that he didn't know about Bin Laden in 1993? President Clinton's reasoning is all over the place. His conflicting arguments remind of the classic legal defense:

  • My client's dog did not bite anyone;
  • your client kicked my dog first;
  • my client doesn't own a dog.

Pres. Clinton could make this argument more credibly, if only he had a law license...

In Mogadishu, Pres. Clinton's treasured "six month pullout" was a slow walk. It was a show of force which was unaccompanied by serious offensive action. It was an effort to pretend we didn't run away. Everyone, including Osama, saw it for what it was.

Pulling out was not the worst mistake in history. Lots of Presidents might've pulled out. However, Pres. Clinton is playing games when he suggests that we didn't leave right away. For all practical purposes - for every purpose which counts in any way whatsoever - we pulled out immediately. It did show weakness. This would've been the best (and most honest) response from Pres. Clinton:

"It did show weakness. However, of several bad options available, pulling out (and showing weakness) was the best choice (due to realpolitic; long view; morality of risking soldiers for limited return; et al)."

That[what Bin Laden said]'s just a bunch of bull. That was about Mohammed Aidid, a Muslim warlord, murdering 22 Pakistani Muslim troops. We were all there on a humanitarian mission. We had no mission, none, to establish a certain kind of Somali government or to keep anybody out.He was not a religious fanatic…
WALLACE: But, Mr. President…
CLINTON: … there was no Al Qaida…
WALLACE: … with respect, if I may, instead of going through ‘93 and…

Yes! Chris is rallying! Somalia is not the most important, or the most interesting, question.

CLINTON: No, no. You asked it. You brought it up. You brought it up.

Chris did bring it up. All you journalism students: learn to ask one question at a time!

WALLACE: May I ask a general question and then you can answer?
WALLACE: The 9/11 Commission, which you’ve talk about — and this is what they did say, not what ABC pretended they said…
CLINTON: Yes, what did they say?

WALLACE: … they said about you and President Bush, and I quote, The U.S. government took the threat seriously, but not in the sense of mustering anything like the kind of effort that would be gathered to confront an enemy of the first, second or even third rank.

I wish Chris had restated the original question:

"Why didn't you do more to get Bin Laden(in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, or 2000)?"

It was the simplest, and best, question. Chris added "dots"(Somalia, African Embassies, Cole) in an apparent effort to pin Clinton into answering the original, basic question. Clinton, in turn, is using the dots to camoflage his evasion of the original question.

Chris is now asking a new question, in an attempt to get an answer to the original question. It is a typical journalistic technique - yet it is a poor action choice.

TV interviewers do not like to berate a subject by repeatedly demanding an answer to a question which has been evaded. TV interviewers say: "Viewers should be smart enough to discern when a question has been evaded."

CLINTON: First of all, that’s not true with us and bin Laden.

Wallace expects Clinton to elaborate on why he made the choices he made in the effort to get Bin Laden. But Clinton is evading. Clinton now turns the interview into a child's contest about whether or not he gave a "first, second, or even third rank" effort to get Bin Laden. The interview is now about
"Did too give good effort!"
"Did not!"
"Did too! Clarke says we gave good effort! Tenet says we gave good effort!"

WALLACE: Well, I’m telling you that’s what the 9/11 Commission says.
CLINTON: All right. Let’s look at what Richard Clarke said. Do you think Richard Clarke has a vigorous attitude about bin Laden?
WALLACE: Yes, I do.
CLINTON: You do, don’t you?
WALLACE: I think he has a variety of opinions and loyalties, but yes, he has a vigorous…
CLINTON: He has a variety of opinion and loyalties now, but let’s look at the facts: He worked for Ronald Reagan; he was loyal to him. He worked for George H. W. Bush; he was loyal to him. He worked for me, and he was loyal to me. He worked for President Bush; he was loyal to him.
They downgraded him

That Bush downgraded Clarke is an untruth. Even - in Clinton's fantasy - it were true, it would still be an irrelevant strawman - unrelated to the question of whether Clinton mustered an antiterror effort of "first, second, or even third rank." Even in a "did not/did too" argument - which he cannot lose - Clinton resorts to an untruth, plus a strawman.

and the terrorist operation.

Condi Rice responded to the accusation that Bush downgraded the terrorist operation:"We did at least as much in eight months (before 9/11, to counter Bin Laden) as [Clinton] did in eight years."

Now, look what he[Clarke] said, read his book and read his factual assertions — not opinions — assertions. He said we took vigorous action after the African embassies. We probably nearly got bin Laden.

Clinton refers to the August, 1998 bombing of Bin Laden's training compound. Bin Laden left the compound 45 minutes before cruise missiles hit it. Clinton, fearing that Pakistan would mistake cruise missiles for a nuclear attack from India, had informed Pakistan that cruise missiles were about to come across their airspace. More than one analyst has speculated that Pakistani allies likely tipped off Bin Laden about the coming attack. Clinton says: "We probably nearly got bin Laden." It's not really a lie. It's also not something a person of high character would cite in his own defense.

CLINTON: No, wait a minute.
(CROSSTALK)WALLACE: … cruise missiles.
CLINTON: No, no. I authorized the CIA to get groups together to try to kill him.

This is misleading. The CIA still had to get Clinton's okay to attempt an assassination. By one count, Clinton refused, on ten separate occasions, to give the go ahead to kill Bin Laden. Some reasons: collateral damage to women and children inside Bin Laden's desert compound; collateral damage to a Pakistani Prince inside Bin Laden's desert compound; thin intelligence linking Bin Laden to a location; Clinton's refusal to quit watching a golf tournament to come to the phone; Clinton's refusal to take such calls in general.

The CIA, which was run by George Tenet, that President Bush gave the Medal of Freedom to, he said, He did a good job setting up all these counterterrorism things.

The country never had a comprehensive anti-terror operation until I came there.

I love that! As if we might've previously had an anti-terror operation - but it wasn't "comprehensive!"

Now, if you want to criticize me for one thing, you can criticize me for this: After the Cole, I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and launch a full-scale attack search for bin Laden.

I consider that "drawing battle plans" equates to the minimum responsible reaction to the Cole bombing. The Pentagon has battle plans drawn up for invading a plethora of countries. I hope President Clinton actually had existing battle plans updated, and polished.

Now, amazingly, after defensively evading questions to this point, President Clinton answers why he didn't go after Bin Laden in the three months after the Cole attack:

But we needed basing rights in Uzbekistan, which we got after 9/11. The CIA and the FBI refused to certify that bin Laden was responsible while I was there. They refused to certify. So that meant I would’ve had to send a few hundred Special Forces in in helicopters and refuel at night. Even the 9/11 Commission didn’t do that. Now, the 9/11 Commission was a political document, too.

Note that Pres. Clinton has already cited the 9/11 Commission as an authority. But that was so five minutes ago. Now: J'accuse! They are political! During this interview, Pres. Clinton argues - passionately and vociferously - on both sides of the following issues: 1) whether the Somalia pullout encouraged Al Qaeda; 2) the legitimacy and expertise of the 9/11 Commission; 3) the expertise of Richard Clarke.

My two cents: the 9/11 Commission was a political joke. Jamie Gorelick should've been testifying in front of the Commission, instead of sitting on it as a Commissioner. Richard Ben Veniste as an impartial Commissioner? Puhleeeze.

All I’m asking is, anybody who wants to say I didn’t do enough, you read Richard Clarke’s book.
Whereupon the blogosphere gleefully rushed to their copies of Richard Clarke's book, and began quoting all the places he ripped Clinton for being unserious about Osama Bin Laden.
WALLACE: Do you think you did enough, sir?

Wait! Chris rallies! You can't hold him down!

CLINTON: No, because I didn’t get him.
CLINTON: But at least I tried. That’s the difference in me and some, including all the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try. They did not try. I tried.

There's a legacy: "I tried." Here, mercifully, Pres. Clinton answers the original question "Why didn't you do more to get Bin Laden?" I shall interpret:

** "I tried" = I did everything I reasonably could've done. To do more would've been unreasonable at the time.**

So I tried and failed. When I failed, I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy

Condi Rice says no comprehensive anti-terror strategy was left by the Clintons. Richard Clarke says the anti-terror strategy had been around since 1998 - and had been consistently, overtly ignored. Further, under questioning from the 9/11 Commission, Clarke said this strategy "absolutely would not have prevented 9/11."

and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke, who got demoted.

In his own book, Richard Clarke says he voluntarily left, in order to head up an Internet security project. Condi Rice, responding to Clinton's accusation, says Clarke voluntarily left after he was passed over, in favor of Tom Ridge, for Director of Homeland Security.

I remind, also and again, Richard Clarke has been critical of Clinton's response to Bin Laden - and, also and again, Richard Clarke was a major source for The Path to 9/11 drama which Clinton so detested. Clinton duplicitously insists on acting as if Richard Clarke is a big supporter of Clinton's Presidential actions.

So you did Fox’s bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me.

Out of proportion reaction. Psychological self-defense warning system activated: Red lights flashing, sirens going off...

What I want to know is…
WALLACE: Well, wait a minute, sir.
CLINTON: No, wait. No, no…
WALLACE: I want to ask a question. You don’t think that’s a legitimate question?
CLINTON: It was a perfectly legitimate question, but I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of. I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked, Why didn’t you do anything about the Cole? I want to know how many you asked, Why did you fire Dick Clarke? I want to know how many people you asked…
WALLACE: We asked — we asked…
CLINTON: I don’t…
WALLACE: Do you ever watch Fox News Sunday, sir?
CLINTON: I don’t believe you asked them that.
WALLACE: We ask plenty of questions of…
CLINTON: You didn’t ask that, did you? Tell the truth, Chris.
WALLACE: About the USS Cole?
CLINTON: Tell the truth, Chris.

Chris Wallace has asked both Rumsfeld(on June 28, 2004) and Rice about the Cole, and has asked them other hard questions. Rumsfeld and Rice have these advantages:
1) they are accustomed to answering hard questions,
2) they have actual answers. They don't have to think up spin.

WALLACE: With Iraq and Afghanistan, there’s plenty of stuff to ask.
CLINTON: Did you ever ask that? You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because Rupert Murdoch(the owner of Fox News)'s supporting my work on climate change.

Let's just repeat that:
"You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because Rupert Murdoch’s supporting my work on climate change."

and again:
"You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because Rupert Murdoch’s supporting my work on climate change."

just let it roll over you:
"You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because Rupert Murdoch’s supporting my work on climate change."

one last time:
"You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because Rupert Murdoch’s supporting my work on climate change."

This is the recent leader of the Democratic Party. This is their champion - the example they point to as the epitome of outstanding Democratic leadership. Is it scarier if Pres. Clinton actually believes this delusion; or if President Clinton cavalierly makes an accusation he knows to be untrue? Or, is it scarier that masses of lefties buy into this delusory accusation?

And you came here under false pretenses and said that you’d spend half the time talking about — you said you’d spend half the time talking about what we did out there to raise $7-billion-plus in three days from 215 different commitments. And you don’t care.
WALLACE: But, President Clinton, if you look at the questions here, you’ll see half the questions are about that. I didn’t think this was going to set you off on such a tear.
CLINTON: You launched it — it set me off on a tear because you didn’t formulate it in an honest way and because you people ask me questions you don’t ask the other side.

Listen... can you hear the world's smallest violin? President Clinton was helpless in the face of the vicious, assaultive questions. Why, Chris Wallace virtually raped him...

WALLACE: That’s not true. Sir, that is not true.

Wallace: I am not a rapist!

CLINTON: And Richard Clarke made it clear in his testimony…
WALLACE: Would you like to talk about the Clinton Global Initiative?
CLINTON: No, I want to finish this now.
WALLACE: All right. Well, after you.
CLINTON: All I’m saying is, you falsely accused me of giving aid and comfort to bin Laden because of what happened in Somalia. No one knew Al Qaida existed then. And…
WALLACE: But did they know in 1996 when he declared war on the U.S.? Did they know in 1998…

Chris rallies again!

CLINTON: Absolutely, they did.
WALLACE: … when he bombed the two embassies?

Chris is gaining momentum!

CLINTON: And who talked about…
WALLACE: Did they know in 2000 when he hit the Cole?

Chris is interrupting to make a point. His name truly is Wallace!

CLINTON: What did I do? What did I do? I worked hard to try to kill him. I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill him. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since.

How does Bill Clinton know this? Does he receive current reports about special forces operations?

And if I were still president, we’d have more than 20,000 troops there trying to kill him.

Note the implication that 20,000 American troops are in Afghanistan basically to kill Bin Laden, and not much else. Note the further implication that, once Bin Laden is dead, our terror problems will be largely resolved. Note that President Clinton completely ignores the international troops who are serving, and giving their lives, in Afghanistan. It is as though they do not exist.

Now, I’ve never criticized President Bush, and I don’t think this is useful.

(rolling eyes) Go on, Bill - let 'er rip...

But you know we do have a government that thinks Afghanistan is only one-seventh as important as Iraq.

This is based on us having one-seventh the number of American troops in Afghanistan as in Iraq. The conflict in Iraq will be more immediately decided than the conflict in Afghanistan. The conflict in Iraq is more immediately, strategically significant than the conflict in Afghanistan. Most seem to understand this. For President Clinton, and his accolytes, I spell it out.

And you ask me about terror and Al Qaida with that sort of dismissive thing? When all you have to do is read Richard Clarke’s book to look at what we did in a comprehensive, systematic way to try to protect the country against terror.

Sigh. Say it, yet again, and maybe it will become true.

And you’ve got that little smirk on your face and you think you’re so clever.

Classic psychological projection!

Watch carefully what is about to happen. It is classic Bill Clinton. It is classic misdirection. It is absolutely intentional - and is Pres. Clinton's long time modus operandi. Pres. Clinton feints towards answering why he didn't do more to get Bin Laden during 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000. It's only a feint. He finishes his (non) answer by restating why he didn't get Bin Laden after the Cole incident.

In future interviews, President Clinton will claim he "fully explored, with Chris Wallace" why he didn't go after Bin Laden in the late 1990's. He will say he doesn't feel the need to go through it all again. He will say his future interviewer is a Javert who continues to pursue answers which have fully been explicated.

The ground - why Pres. Clinton didn't do more to get Bin Laden during 1996 - 2000, has not been covered. If the interviewer tries to point that out, he will be overrun by a fully steaming locomotive of ad hominem.

What is about to happen is intentional misdirection, and bunk. It is part of what the left uses to justify Bill Clinton as a brilliant politician. They reject, out of hand, the idea that truth might work better. They reject that truth might be important for moral reasons. They lovingly overlook the exaggerations: "the entire military"; "no one thought."

But I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get bin Laden. I regret it. But I did try. And I did everything I thought I responsibly could. The entire military was against sending Special Forces in to Afghanistan and refueling by helicopter. And no one thought we could do it otherwise, because we could not get the CIA and the FBI to certify that Al Qaida was responsible while I was president.

And so, I left office. And yet, I get asked about this all the time.

Maybe he gets asked about it indirectly. Bloggers can find only one interviewer who previously asked him about it: David Letterman.

They had three times as much time to deal with it, and nobody ever asks them about it. I think that’s strange.

Best I can tell, he's talking about killing Bin Laden. He says "nobody ever asks them about it." Here, President Clinton insults the Washington press corps, as well as any Dem pol who has publicly demanded answers about why we failed to kill Bin Laden at Tora Bora. President Clinton says you are all nobodies!

WALLACE: Can I ask you about the Clinton Global Initiative?
CLINTON: You can.
WALLACE: I always intended to, sir.
CLINTON: No, you intended, though, to move your bones by doing this first, which is perfectly fine. But I don’t mind people asking me — I actually talked to the 9/11 Commission for four hours, Chris, and I told them the mistakes I thought I made. And I urged them to make those mistakes public, because I thought none of us had been perfect.But instead of anybody talking about those things, I always get these clever little political yields (ph), where they ask me one-sided questions. And the other guys notice that. And it always comes from one source. And so…
CLINTON: And so…
WALLACE: I just want to ask you about the Clinton Global Initiative, but what’s the source? I mean, you seem upset, and I…
CLINTON: I am upset because…
WALLACE: And all I can say is, I’m asking you this in good faith because it’s on people’s minds, sir. And I wasn’t…
CLINTON: Well, there’s a reason it’s on people’s minds. That’s the point I’m trying to make. There’s a reason it’s on people’s minds: Because there’s been a serious disinformation campaign to create that impression. This country only has one person who’s worked on this terror. From the terrorist incidents under Reagan to the terrorist incidents from 9/11, only one: Richard Clarke. And all I can say to anybody is, you want to know what we did wrong or right, or anybody else did? Read his book.

Sigh - like a Jew using Jesus Christ to justify Judaism.

The people on my political right who say I didn’t do enough spent the whole time I was president saying, Why is he so obsessed with bin Laden? That was wag the dog when he tried to kill him.

My Republican secretary of defense — and I think I’m the only president since World War II to have a secretary of defense of the opposite party

Actually, since this is a fisking, you are the third President since WWII: both Kennedy and Johnson used Republican Robert McNamara for their SecDef. I can't see that a SecDef from the opposite party has really been something to brag about.

Richard Clarke and all the intelligence people said that I ordered a vigorous attempt to get bin Laden and came closer, apparently, than anybody has since.

If I say it enough, maybe it will be true.

WALLACE: All right.
CLINTON: And you guys try to create the opposite impression, when all you have to do is read Richard Clarke’s findings and you know it’s not true. It’s just not true.

If I say it enough, maybe it will be true.

And all this business about Somalia — the same people who criticized me about Somalia were demanding I leave the next day. The same exact crowd.

If I say it enough, maybe it will be true.

WALLACE: One of the…
CLINTON: And so, if you’re going to do this, for God’s sake, follow the same standards for everybody…

There's a strong chance this is psychological defense mechanism. There's a strong chance Clinton actually believes this allegation against Chris Wallace. Wallace cannot defend himself by proving a negative. This is another "do too/do not" contest.

WALLACE: I think we do, sir.
CLINTON: … and be flat — and fair.
WALLACE: I think we do.
WALLACE: One of the main parts of the Global Initiative this year is religion and reconciliation. President Bush says that the fight against Islamic extremism is the central conflict of this century. And his answer is promoting democracy and reform.Do you think he has that right?

CLINTON: Sure. To advance — to advocate democracy and reform in the Muslim world? Absolutely.I think the question is, what’s the best way to do it? I think also the question is, how do you educate people about democracy? Democracy is about way more than majority rule. Democracy is about minority rights, individual rights, restraints on power. And there’s more than one way to advance democracy.

I assume he intends to advance democracy before Tel Aviv, London, Manhattan, and Vatican City are decimated - and before the Port of Houston is exploded with a nuke.

But do I think, on balance, that in the end, after several bouts with instability — look how long it took us to build a mature democracy. Do I think, on balance, it would be better if we had more freedom and democracy? Sure I do. And do I think specifically the president has a right to do it? Sure I do. But I don’t think that’s all we can do in the Muslim world. I think they have to see us as trying to get a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

Puh-leeze. Those Jews are butchers and blood-drinkers. They voluntarily withdrew from Lebanon and Gaza only because they are impediments to "just and lasting peace." Sheesh. President Clinton is - aah - misguided in his thinking.

I think they have to see us as willing to talk to people who see the world differently than we do.

"Talk to people who see the world differently than we do" is code language for "give in to the Jihadis' demands." It is code for "maybe if we appease them, they won't try to kill us." It is code for "it is the fault of the U.S.A." President Clinton's worldview doesn't recognize the root causes of the Jihadi threat.

WALLACE: Last year at this conference, you got $2.5 billion in commitments, pledges. How’d you do this year?
CLINTON: Well, this year we had — we had $7.3 billion, as of this morning.
WALLACE: Excuse me?
CLINTON: $7.3 billion, as of this morning. But $3 billion of that is — now, this is over multi years. These are up to 10-year commitments.But $3 billion of that came from Richard Branson’s commitment to give all of his transportation profits for a decade to clean energy investments. But still, that’s — the rest is over $4 billion.And we will have another 100 commitments come in, maybe more, and we’ll probably raise another, I would say, at least another billion dollars, probably, before it’s over. We’ve got a lot of commitments still in process.
WALLACE: When you look at the $3 billion from Branson, plus the billions that Bill Gates is giving in his own program, and now Warren Buffet, what do you make of this new age of philanthropy?
CLINTON: I think that, for one thing, really rich people have always given money away. I mean, you know, they’ve endowed libraries and things like that. The unique thing about this age is, first of all, you have a lot of people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who are interested in issues at home and around the world that grow out of the nature of the 21st century and its inequalities — the income inequalities, the health-care inequalities, the education inequalities.

And you get a guy like Gates, who built Microsoft, who actually believes that he can help overcome a lot of the health disparities in the world. And that’s the first thing.The second thing that ought to be credited is that there are a lot of people with average incomes who are joining them because of the Internet. Like in the tsunami, for example, we had $1.2 billion given by Americans; 30 percent of our households gave money, over half of them over the Internet.And then the third thing is you’ve got all these — in poor countries, you’ve got all these nongovernmental groups that you can — that a guy like Gates can partner with, along with the governments.

So all these things together mean that people with real money want to give it away in ways that help people that before would’ve been seen only as the object of government grants or loans.

WALLACE: Let’s talk some politics. In that same New Yorker article, you say that you are tired of Karl Rove’s B.S., although I’m cleaning up what you said.
CLINTON: But I do like the — but I also say I’m not tired of Karl Rove. I don’t blame Karl Rove. If you’ve got a deal that works, you just keep on doing it.
WALLACE: So what is the B.S.?
CLINTON: Well, every even-numbered year, right before an election, they come up with some security issue. In 2002, our party supported them in undertaking weapons inspections in Iraq and was 100 percent for what happened in Afghanistan, and they didn’t have any way to make us look like we didn’t care about terror. And so, they decided they would be for the homeland security bill that they had opposed. And they put a poison pill in it that we wouldn’t pass, like taking the job rights away from 170,000 people, and then say that we were weak on terror if we weren’t for it. They just ran that out.

This year, I think they wanted to make the questions of prisoner treatment and intercepted communications the same sort of issues, until John Warner and John McCain and Lindsey Graham got in there. And, as it turned out, there were some Republicans that believed in the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions and had some of their own ideas about how best to fight terror. The Democrats — as long as the American people believe that we take this seriously and we have our own approaches

Less than half of Americans believe that. Less than half of Martians believe that.

— and we may have differences over Iraq — I think we’ll do fine in this election.But even if they agree with us about the Iraq war, we could be hurt by Karl Rove’s new foray if we just don’t make it clear that we, too, care about the security of the country. But we want to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations, which they haven’t for four years.

So, after "the 9/11 Commission was a political document", President Clinton is back to praising the 9/11 Commission! Full circle, baby!

We want to intensify our efforts in Afghanistan against bin Laden. We want to make America more energy-independent.

Implication: Those dang conservatives want to make America less energy independent!

The degree to which we become energy independent will depend on private enterprise, and on the free market profits which are available. It will not depend on government subsidy. A representative example happened a decade ago, when a businessperson convinced McDonald's they would make greater profits by moving away from styrofoam packaging for their burgers. It's about profit. Free-market entrepreneurs will lead the way to whatever energy independence our nation achieves. Mouthy liberals will accomplish exactly zero. The government will not be the solution.

And then they can all, if they differ on Iraq, they can say whatever they want on Iraq. But Rove is good. And I honor him. I mean, I will say that. I’ve always been amused about how good he is, in a way. But on the other hand, this is perfectly predictable: We’re going to win a lot of seats if the American people aren’t afraid.

The Americans who are not afraid are deluded lefties.

If they’re afraid and we get divided again, then we may only win a few seats.
WALLACE: And the White House, the Republicans want to make the American people afraid?
CLINTON: Of course they do. Of course they do. They want us to be — they want another homeland security deal.

That's a bad thing?

And they want to make it about — not about Iraq but about some other security issue, where, if we disagree with them, we are, by definition, imperiling the security of the country. And it’s a big load of hooey.

There's a logical argument about the issue.

We’ve got nine Iraq war veterans running for the House seats.

Context, people! Forget the issues - LOOK AT THE CONTEXT! You are getting verrrry sleeeeeppppyyyyyy...

We’ve got President Reagan’s secretary of the navy as the Democratic candidate for the Senate in Virginia. A three-star admiral, who was on my National Security Council staff, who also fought terror, by the way,

"by the way..." Heh. My "Heh" is about context.

is running for the seat of Kurt Weldon in Pennsylvania.We’ve got a huge military presence here in this campaign. And we just can’t let them have some rhetorical device

aka: LOGIC.

that puts us in a box we don’t belong in.

B/C we Dems are the rightful leaders of this nation! We would add: "by God" - if only we believed in God. More bad luck, that.

That’s their job. Their job is to beat us. I like that about Rove. But our job is not to let them get away with it. And if they don’t, then we’ll do fine.
WALLACE: Mr. President, thank you for one of the more unusual interviews.
CLINTON: Thanks.

Wrapup: Fisking Pres. Clinton is, at first, as fun as eating a delicious dessert. But he goes on - stringing together falsehood, after misleading statement, after falsehood. His stamina for falsehood is quite amazing. After awhile, the delicious dessert becomes too much. By the end, I had a stomach ache.

Somalia Addendum:
It was a mistake to pull out of Mogadishu without arresting or killing Aidid. However, that mistake was not the cause of 9/11.

Well before Mogadishu, Bin Laden had the conviction that America was weak and timid. If Mogadishu had not happened, Bin Laden would've still found other "proofs" of his conviction. He would've used those proofs to recruit. Bin Laden did not need Mogadishu to grow Al Qaeda.

Having said that, Clinton is mistaken in his contention that pulling out of Mog was justified by the absence of knowledge about Bin Laden. Clinton should've known the terrorists and despots of the world always watch America's actions, and they always draw conclusions. They - and not just Bin Laden - drew unhelpful conclusions after Mogadishu.

Mark Bowden believes pulling out was a mistake. Here, he writes in 1999, in the Afterword to the paperback edition of Blackhawk Down:
"In Somalia the chances of success were greater and more tangible(than in Vietnam) because the mission was so limited. There was little danger of American troops being drawn into a quagmire in Somalia. No matter what ultimate impact Aidid's arrest would've had on the U.N. goals in Somalia, it was important to see the mission through once Task Force Ranger was committed. The lesson our retreat taught the world's terrorists and despots is that killing a few American soldiers ... is enough to spook Uncle Sam."