Basically, I have some issues with Madame Secretary’s answers – continuing…
We have said to Iran that this is about changing your regime’s behavior, not changing your regime. That has been the message all along.I will give Rice credit here for being definitely less hawkish than the neocons, but for her to deny that Bushco has never had any thoughts on military action against Iran is a fantasy; as noted here, Sy Hersh of The New Yorker documented how our “good friends” the Israelis were helped Dubya and Deadeye Dick “stovepipe intelligence” in anticipation of military conflict by providing evidence of Iran’s development of a “trigger for a bomb” two years ago.
(I’m not arguing that Iran isn’t a threat, by the way, but mainly pointing out that this followed the same pattern as the runup to the Iraq war, particularly when you add the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment to the mix.)
If (the so-called “Responsibility To Protect”) turns out to be nothing but words, the Security Council is going to have a real black eye, and in the Darfur case it has turned out to be nothing but words. I think it has been an enormous embarrassment for the Security Council and for multilateral diplomacy.I think there’s a lot of truth in that, but the following should be noted from here also…
It has taken President George W Bush nearly three years to match his impassioned rhetoric about what he decries as genocide in Darfur with tougher US action against some of those blamed for the suffering. When Bush announced sanctions on Tuesday, advocacy groups and lawmakers wished the president had been harsher and wondered whether it was a case of too little, too late for Darfur. The violence has killed 200,000 people and forced 2.5 million more from their homes since it began in February 2003.And to argue that the Iraq war had nothing to do with our decision not to commit troops to Darfur is an utter fantasy.
And finally, here comes probably the most boneheaded remark of the entire piece (appropriately enough, by Daniel Fried again, at the very end)…
Do you think Bush expected 9/11? No. Did Clinton expect Bosnia? No. Man makes his plans; God has his own.As much as I read and re-read that, I’m still having a difficult time with my thoughts of utter disgust and revulsion.
As noted here, in March of 1999, Bill Clinton prodded NATO into a bombing campaign against what was once Yugoslavia and Serbian thug Slobodan Milosevic, which unleashed the disintegration of that country into Serbia and Montenegro as a result of a brutal domestic uprising.
You can argue that Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s actions were ham-handed stemming from the so-called Dayton Accords of 1995, which some argue was a pretext for Clinton and NATO to flex their muscle against Milosevic. However, Milosevic’s troops in Bosnia were committing acts of genocide, and Clinton believed he had to act; he had already acknowledged that he was wrong not to intervene in a similar crisis in Rwanda earlier in his presidency.
Also, you could forget about further U.S. troops in the region, since we already had about 20,000 there at the time, and without the bombings, the only other alternative was to send more troops (can you say, “Vietnam”?).
And by the way, here’s something else to consider: brutal as it was, the bombing worked, and (with the help of Russian diplomacy), the Serbs withdrew, with no further U.S. casualties (here).
Simply stated, Clinton made a controversial calculation that achieved the “least worst” result possible (and let’s not forget that this little matter was playing out at the same time).
And to compare any of that to 9/11? To compare any of that to the utter horror and chaos precipitated by the fact that this bunch utterly ignored the warnings from Richard Clarke, among others, to pay attention to al Qaeda?
There’s a lot of old history that I could rehash here, but I’ll merely point out the following from this article in The Nation…
The various accounts offered by the White House are almost all inconsistent with one another. On December 4, 2001, Bush was asked, "How did you feel when you heard about the terrorist attack?" Bush replied, "I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower--the TV was obviously on. And I used to fly myself, and I said, well, there's one terrible pilot. I said, it must have been a horrible accident. But I was whisked off there. I didn't have much time to think about it." Bush repeated the same story on January 5, 2002, stating, "First of all, when we walked into the classroom, I had seen this plane fly into the first building. There was a TV set on. And you know, I thought it was pilot error, and I was amazed that anybody could make such a terrible mistake...."The events leading up to the Bosnia bombing were premeditated by a president with a particular outcome that was largely realized. The events of 9/11 showed a president who was absolutely befuddled and overmatched by horrific events that possibly could have been mitigated or even prevented with a minimum of diligence or forethought (yes, it’s true that I’ll never know if I’m right, but I’ll never know if I’m wrong either).
This is false. Nobody saw the jetliner crash into the first tower on television until a videotape surfaced a day later. What's more, Bush's memory not only contradicts every media report of that morning, it also contradicts what he said on the day of the attack. In his speech to the nation that evening, Bush said, "Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government's emergency response plans." Again, this statement has never been satisfactorily explained. No one besides Bush has ever spoken of these "emergency plans," and the mere idea of their implementation is contradicted by Bush's claim that at the time, he believed the crash to have been a case of pilot error.
I only know that if Daniel Fried really believes what he says, then he has absolutely no business serving this country in any diplomatic capacity whatsoever.
Update 11/23/08: And speaking of Richard Clarke, he had what I believe were some interesting words on the latest Zawahri tape here (tied to this post, the third item in particular).