The blogosphere is all agog at ex-president Bill Clinton's apparent melt down on Chris Wallace's Fox News show.
I believe they're misjudinging Mr. Bill.
First of all, nothing our ex-president does is by accident. This screed by Clinton was designed to counteract the very real perception by many Americans that the Democratic party is `weak on Islamic terrorism' and energize the base in the run up to the November midterms.
I wouldn't be surprised if Clinton rehearsed this.
Second, by asking the question, Wallace played neatly into Mr. Bill's hands quite nicely, giving weight to the absurb position that Clinton and many on the left have had all along..that we only have a conflict with al Qaeda and with Osama bin-Laden and it's all just a law enforcement problem.
Our fixation with Osama and al Qaeda is a real indication of how little we're taking this war seriously.
Magically eliminate Osama bin Laden from the face of the earth and would anything change? Is the jihad against America and the west suddenly going to be called off? Will Iran's leaders forego their nuclear weapons program and join with Dubbya in singing `kumbaya' in Farsi at a barbecue in Crawford? Is Hezbollah going to disband its cells in Europe and America? Are the Saudis going to foreswear Wahabism and stop importing jihad through the mosques and madrassahs they control in the west because Osama is now highfiving with Mo' and Allah?
I don't think so.
The reality is that Osama and the boys from al Qaeda are little more than subcontractors for jihad, and they would be unable to operate if they weren't being harbored, funded, aided and abetted by certain Islamic nations, just like a number of other Muslim groups operating as a spearpoint in service of the great war against the west. Until we see that, understand that al Qaeda is merely one of the poison branches rather than the whole tree and are willing to act on that reality, we haven't a hope of pursuing this war successfully.
Oh, just for the record, here's a nice quote from Richard Clarke's book, the one Mr. Bill kept insisting that Chris Wallace read courtesy of the NRO's Byron York:
" [I]t’s not quite accurate to say that Clinton tried to kill bin Laden. Rather, he tried to convince — as opposed to, say, order — U.S. military and intelligence agencies to kill bin Laden. And when, on a number of occasions, those agencies refused to act, Clinton, the commander-in-chief, gave up.
Clinton did not give up in the sense of an executive who gives an order and then moves on to other things, thinking the order is being carried out when in fact it is being ignored. Instead, Clinton knew at the time that his top military and intelligence officials were dragging their feet on going after bin Laden and al Qaeda. He gave up rather than use his authority to force them into action."
Mr. Bill obviously had other priorities.