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Posted by on Aug 16, 2005 in At TMV | 0 comments

Bill Clinton Says He Wish He Had Confirmation To Have Attacked Bin Laden

From the “if only I had” department we get this from former Bill Clinton, courtesy of the conservative news site News, quoting a New York Magazine interview:

Ex-president Bill Clinton now says he would have taken out Osama bin Laden before the 9/11 attacks – if only the FBI and CIA had been able to prove the al-Qaida mastermind was behind the attack on the U.S.S. Cole.

“I desperately wish that I had been president when the FBI and CIA finally confirmed, officially, that bin Laden was responsible for the attack on the U.S.S. Cole,” Clinton tells New York magazine this week. “Then we could have launched an attack on Afghanistan early.”

“I don’t know if it would have prevented 9/11,” he added. “But it certainly would have complicated it.â€?

Despite his failure to launch such an attack, Clinton said he saw the danger posed by bin Laden much more clearly than did President Bush.

“I always thought that bin Laden was a bigger threat than the Bush administration did,” he told New York magazine.

This is bound to spark the predictable reactions from truly convinced partisans on both sides (From Ds: “See? He viewed bin Laden as a bigger threat and would have taken him right out and not gotten diverted into other wars!” From Rs: “See? Clinton could have stopped him and he didn’t so he’s to blame for 911!”).

But — honestly — the real judge of this will be history, in the books written in coming years that settle on a conventional wisdom about what the Clinton administration had in terms of info and how they acted on it at the time….and (without the spin from talk show hosts, government officials or bloggers) precisely what the body of evidence shows about how the Bush administration viewed and handled the threat before the towers in New York were hit. Even any conclusions we make on this blog are MEANINGLESS in the long run.

It’s pretty clear neither political party can (but they will) claim bragging rights on taking steps that skillfully connected the pre-911 terrorism dots and aggressively acting on them.

So HISTORY will decide — not Clinton, not Rush not bloggers (which doesn’t stop anyone from trying to write their instant history, which years from now be forgotten as historian’s books endure).

We will add one thing about Bill Clinton’s comments, though.

If I used the word “if” my mother would say: “If, if, if…There is a Yiddish saying which means. ‘If I had wheels I’d be a trolley car.”


Mr. Clinton: If you had wheels you’d be a trolley car. (And if you have REALLY big wheels, Tom DeLay will help pass a bill in Congress for you.)

UPDATE: You can read the whole original New York Magazine article by CLICKING HERE. Note the stunning photos on top of Clinton.