April 06, 2004

CAPTAIN ED has been reviewing the 2000 Clinton national security report and observes that the Clinton Administration ranked missile defense as more important than terrorism. Funny -- I keep hearing that it was a Bush obsession that distracted us from the Clinton Administration's laser-like focus on Al Qaeda.

Though if that were true, you'd expect that the 2000 report would mention Al Qaeda somewhere, wouldn't you?

UPDATE: Reader James Somers writes:

Good that Captain Ed's all over the Clinton 2000 National Security Report. I saw something about this on Fox this morning too. But I see nothing about it yet in the NYT, WaPo, CNN or MSNBC. It's still early. But my sense is that this story doesn't fit The Story -and The Story this week is that Iraq's in Chaos and Rice is Finally Testifying about the Bush Administration's Failure to Stop 9/11.

Can't let any troubling facts get in the way of The Story, I suppose.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More here, including the observation that the Washington Times' James Lakely is really putting the boot into the Big Media:

The scarce references to bin Laden and his terror network undercut claims by former White House terrorism analyst Richard A. Clarke that the Clinton administration considered al Qaeda an "urgent" threat, while President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, "ignored" it.

The Clinton document, titled "A National Security Strategy for a Global Age," is dated December 2000 and is the final official assessment of national security policy and strategy by the Clinton team. The document is publicly available, though no U.S. media outlets have examined it in the context of Mr. Clarke's testimony and new book.

(Emphasis added.) Laziness? Bias? Looks bad either way. And check out the Bush Administration comment at the end. Ouch!

MORE: Biggest concern for the Clinton Administration regarding Afghanistan? Not Osama or a war on terror, but the drug "War."

STILL MORE: Robert Tagorda has quite a few interesting insights. He also points to this observation from John Lewis Gaddis:

The differences are revealing. The Bush objectives speak of defending, preserving, and extending peace; the Clinton statement seems simply to assume peace. Bush calls for cooperation among great powers; Clinton never uses that term. Bush specifies the encouragement of free and open societies on every continent; Clinton contents himself with "promoting" democracy and human rights "abroad."

Read the whole thing. And please bear in mind that I'm not criticizing the Clinton Administration for this. Before 9/11 -- and what we learned afterward -- I agreed with the basic strategy of trying to contain Islamist terror until it collapsed under the weight of its own stupidity. That was before I realized how widespread it was, and how thoroughly intertwined with hostile states it was. I don't fault the Clinton people for not catching on before I did.

But I do fault the people who are peddling the absurd story that Clinton had this terror thing under control until Bush screwed it up. That's partisan twaddle, and a real disservice in time of war.