Byron York, posting at The Corner, reflects on some recent, defensive statements made by former President Bill Clinton. As summarized by York, this is what Clinton now claims:
After the October, 2000 attack on the USS Cole, Clinton said in his interview with Fox, "I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and launch a full-scale attack search for bin Laden." Although he didn't do that, Clinton said, at the end of his administration, "I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy" to the new Bush administration.
York also mentions in passing that Clintonista apologists claim the 9/11 Commission Report contains proof “that Clinton really had a big, new plan.” “Not quite,” according to York:
The [9/11 Commission] report says that in the last weeks of Clinton's presidency, the CIA came up with something called the "Blue Sky" memo. The memo was so named because it was a list of actions that might be taken against al Qaeda if there were, in the 9/11 Commission's words, "no prior policy or financial restraints" — in other words, under perfect ("Blue Sky") conditions. That certainly sounds like the kind of uber-helpful, all gloss and no substance policy approach for which Clinton was famous.
York recounts a more accurate, complete picture of what the 9/11 Commission actually said about Clinton Administration leave-behinds, and concludes:
In other words, what Clinton and his supporters called a "comprehensive" plan supposedly handed to the incoming Bush administration was a list of policy options that Clinton administration officials had not been able to agree on. As David Frum wrote a few days ago, "It is very seriously misleading to suggest that the Clinton administration left behind a plan that would have overthrown the Taliban, destroyed al Qaeda, or stopped or even interfered with the 9/11 attacks. And it is fair to note that the steps they did recommend to their successors were steps they had declined to take themselves, not just in 2000, but over the whole period 1998-2000."
Is that what any fair-minded person would call a new and "comprehensive" plan to destroy al Qaeda?
Nope. Just a suggestion to this ex-President suddenly so consumed with his “legacy” of fighting terror: Accept the loss. Move on.
I’m sure Al Gore remembers when, in some grand discussion of abstract theory and possibilities, he mentioned to some guy that a vast network of computers would allow everybody to connect “online.” And thus his heartfelt claim to have “invented” the Internet.
So Bill Clinton and his National Security officials, apparently. They had a lot of good ideas, if only the Bush Administration had asked them, “And exactly how do you propose we do that?”