milton73 wrote:9/11 was planned during Clinton's second term. The USS Cole was conducted in Clinton's second term. Clinton's lack of response to the Cole could have very well emboldened OBL. Clinton's dismantling of the defense budget was probably another factor. Bush just happened to be president when the attack happened. How do you give Clinton a pass on this? Is it because there is a (D) by his name? I'm not absolving Bush of any blame, BTW.
What response should Clinton have ordered following the Cole attack? Or the first WTC attack? The WTC bombing by accounts at the time was conducted by a pretty small group with large, specific financing that was not connected to any government. The cole attack, attributed to Al Qaeda, which at that time had declared war on us, at least internally, was very limited in scope. What response should have been approriate then? Should we have invaded Afghanistan in late 2000 for the attack on a single US ship before we had a clear idea of who had attacked us? Clinton only had 3 months left in office after the Cole attack, and there are reports that Clinton left a prett large amount of information for Bush about who was responsible for the Cole attack, and where to start looking for him.
Bush, taking office nearly 3 moths to the day after the Cole bombing, by most reports disregarded it because it targeted Bin Laden, not Hussein.
Clinton didn't fail to respond. He didn't have any solid evidence, nor did he feel that he had the justification, to engage in any kind of overt response because the people responsible were in hiding. After 9/11, we knew that the Taliban were letting Al Qaeda use their territory to train and recruit terrorists. The Taliban refused to allow the US to enter their soverign land and conduct retaliatory action, so we had no choice but to invade Aghanistan...but that justification to violate the soverign borders of another country was not presented after the WTC bombing or the Cole attack.
It was Bush, then, not anyone named Clinton, that decided to use recently awarded special powers to launch an offensive against Iraq...a country which at the time and to this day continues to have no ties to Al Qaeda other than those generated by our invasion.