Day By Day

Monday, October 01, 2007

Bill Clinton's Selective Memory

From the WSJ:
Clinton says "We didn't have the terror threat" in 1992. Yet by the time he was elected, the following acts had already occurred:
  • The November 1979 invasion of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the holding of hostages, who were not released until Inauguration Day 1981.

  • Hezbollah's 1983 bombing of U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, which killed 241.

  • The holding of American hostages, and murder of some, in Beirut throughout the 1980s.

  • The 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait.

  • The 1985 bombing of a Madrid restaurant frequented by American soldiers.

  • The 1985 Hezbollah hijacking of TWA flight 847 and murder of a U.S. Navy flier on board.

  • The 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship, in which an American passenger was murdered.

  • The 1986 bombing of TWA flight 840, which killed four Americans.

  • The 1986 bombing of a disco in Berlin, which prompted a retaliatory strike on Libyan targets.

  • The 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103, which killed 270.

Clinton had been in office barely a month when terrorists first tried to destroy the World Trade Center, killing six. His term saw the following attacks on American interests overseas:

  • The 1995 car bombing of U.S. military headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, killing five servicemen.

  • The 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, killing 19 Americans.

  • The 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224.

  • The 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, less than a month before the election of Mr. Clinton's successor, killing 17 American sailors.

Then of course came 9/11, less than eight months after Mr. Clinton left office. How can anyone, looking back in 2007, claim "we didn't have the terror threat" in 1992?

It would be accurate to say that we, meaning most Americans, didn't understand the gravity of the terror threat back then. But this points to an inconvenient truth about Mr. Clinton--namely that this failure of understanding continued throughout his presidency.

Read it here.

Back in those naive days of the Twentieth Century we were horrified by George Orwell's suggestion that history was infinitely malleable -- that the powers that be could simply ignore manifest truth and create a counter-factual history to suit their own designs. Well, today all we have is spin ["contested" history], and in the hands of a master manipulator like Bill Clinton, it is completely divorced from reality.