Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Letter to the Lincoln Ware radio show

In response to the Lincoln Ware show CSPAN broadcast 10/27/04.

Saw you on CSPAN, great show. I wish there were more, um, NON-CONSERVATIVE shows, since I don't really like the idea that yours is LIBERAL per se, but you are obviously not a "dittohead" so, thanks for that. Wish we got you out here in Oregon.

What I'm writing to you about is the aspirin factory that Clinton bombed. A caller on your CSPAN segment said that this aspirin factory was in Iraq, and neither of the hosts disagreed with him. However, that aspirin factory was NOT in Iraq, it was in Sudan. And, the reason why Clinton called the strike is very similar to the apparent reason Bush called for the Iraq war: Clinton had received intelligence that some WMD compounds were being manufactured at that plant. The intelligence turned out to be false, or at least, no conclusive proof that WMDs were being made at that factory could ever be produced.

So the point is, the caller's point seemed to be, "Why are all the liberals griping at Bush for invading Iraq based on WMDs when Clinton obviously attacked an aspirin factory in Iraq for making WMDs?" This question is ridiculous however not only because the aspirin factory was in not in Iraq at all, but rather in Sudan, but also the question is ridiculous because of the difference in scale between Clinton's attack and Bush's.

Now, arguably, the strike against that factory and also Clinton's strikes into Afghanistan (the ones that missed Bin Laden) were not very wise moves since they angered Al-Qaeda and could even be seen as part of the motivating factors for Al Qaeda behind the 9/11 attacks.

I remember a Vietnam war veteran friend of mine watching the news report about Clinton's strikes, back in '99, and the first thing he said was, "Damn I wish Clinton hadn't done that. Doesn't he know they'll retaliate? I have to get on a plane next month, and I don't want to have to worry about another hijacking."

Unfortunately, he was right. Al Qaeda did what they did, whether you view it as retaliation or not, and unfortunately Bush did nothing to stop it. But lets just get the facts straight about the aspirin factory and Clinton. I think the destruction of that factory and many of Clinton's other foreign policies were unwise moves... Whether they were based on faulty intelligence or not.

However, recall Republicans' reactions to those strikes at the time? They called terrorism then a "phantom menace" and tried to explain Clinton's behavior as a violent scapegoat of his anger from the Lewinsky scandal. Then when Bush took office they removed focus from Bin Laden and put it on a missile defense shield.

Clinton was the first President to refer to a "war on terrorism". Remember that. I just don't think he got enough momentum behind it before he left office. And Bush has carried out that war on terrorism in a most despicable and irresponsible way, I feel, but that's another letter.

J. S. Gilbert
Portland, Oregon


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