Reason #17: Living In An Alternate Reality
Categories: Destroying the public’s trust in government, Inability to recognize reality, Holding up the corrupt as honorable, Lying (as usual)
“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”
The Eighteenth Brumaire, Karl Marx
In many ways, the Obama Administration has long ago degenerated directly to farce. In writing any continuing series, it’s often difficult to find sufficient material. Not so with this one. It has been a matter of filtering out the somewhat less egregious outrages and corruption in favor of the most egregious outrages and corruption. Irony abounds, as does farce, and one of the most farcical choices of Mr. Obama has been enlisting the help of Bill Clinton to buttress his foreign affairs (Irony: noun, using “Bill Clinton” and “affair” in the same article) credentials.
In a recent video, Mr. Clinton praised Mr. Obama’s great courage and manliness in not preventing our military from taking out Osama Bin Laden, and the ad suggested that given the same opportunity to make that decision, Mitt Romney would not have measured up to the manly and resolute Mr. Obama and would not have authorized the mission. Those familiar with Mr. Clinton and Mr. Obama will instantly recognize this as just another alternate reality constructed for political purposes, and one more than usually bizarre.
That Mr. Obama is in desperate need of help in trying to convince the public of his caring about our military, his appreciation for their sacrifices, his foreign policy “successes,” and his manly and resolute defense of American interests is unquestionable. His use of Mr. Clinton is primae facie evidence, not only of Mr. Obama’s recognition of his lack of credibility in these areas, but of his desperation.
Let’s take this opportunity to review Mr. Clinton’s qualifications to speak to these issues. Mr. Clinton’s hatred of the military is the stuff of legend; as is that of Mrs. Clinton. His mistreatment of our intelligence agencies such as the FBI and CIA are equally well known. In his 2004 book, Reckless Disregard, Lt. Col. Robert “Buzz” Patterson (USAF, Ret.) wrote about his years in the Clinton White House. Col. Patterson carried the nuclear “football,” the suitcase containing the information necessary to launch nuclear weapons. In this capacity, he was always with Mr. Clinton and had intimate access to information, not only observed first hand, but as a result of his security clearances.
On p. 131, Patterson wrote:
FBI director Louis Freeh had a fractured relationship with Clinton—Clinton did not speak directly to Freeh for the four years between the Dharan bombing and the bombing of the USS Cole—because Freeh’s FBI was also investigating possible campaign fund-raising violations by the Clinton-Gore campaign that went far beyond financial mismanagement to possible violations of national security. The FBI investigation was looking into whether the Communist Chinese government funneled money to the Clinton-Gore campaign. Eventually, twenty-five indictments and nineteen convictions were handed down.
On pp. 131-132, Patterson added:
Similarly, only twice in his two-year service as Clinton’s director of central intelligence did James Woolsey have a one-on-one meeting. Woolsey would later lament, ‘I made repeated attempts to see Clinton privately to take up a whole range of issues and was unsuccessful,’ and ‘It wasn’t that I had a bad relationship withy the president. It just didn’t exist.’
Consider what this means. With Islamic terrorism breaking out all over the world, with troops in Somalia, with troops being attacked around the world, Mr. Clinton couldn’t be bothered to actually meet with his FBI director or CIA director, men he hand-picked for their positions. The situation was so insane that when a mentally troubled man crashed a light plane on the White House lawn on September 13, 1994, killing himself, White House staffers joked the pilot was Woolsey trying to get a meeting with Clinton.
On p. 132, Patterson noted:
Woolsey later summarized the Clinton ‘PR-driven’ approach to terrorism. “Do something to show them you’re involved. Launch a few missiles in the desert [cruise missiles cost approximately one million dollars each] bop them on the head, arrest a few people. But just keep kicking the ball down the field.’
On p. 133, Patterson quoted Richard Miniter from his book Losing Bin Laden. He notes these specific failures:
* Failing to lock up Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a key Bin Laden lieutenant in Qatar.
* Failing to respond militarily to the al-Qaeda bombings of U.S. military installations in Rayadh and Dhadran, Saudi Arabia.
* Failing to accept a Sudanese offer to hand over Bin Laden into custody.
* Failing to agree with Northern Alliance offers to assassinate Bin Laden in Afghanistan.
* Failing to use special forces to capture bin Laden in Afghanistan.
* Tipping off Pakistani officials sympathetic to Bin Laden before a planned missile strike on August 20, 1998.
* Failing, on three separate occasions, to launch immediate military strikes when intelligence located Bin Laden.
* Failing to respond militarily when Bin Laden bombed the USS Cole in 2000.
Democrat presidents, in the last half of the last century, have traditionally focused their attention on transforming America in their progressive image, and in that pursuit have ignored or given short shrift to foreign affairs. Until Mr. Obama, Mr. Clinton was the low point in that dangerous, negligent tendency.
In his 2004 book, Dereliction of Duty, Col. Patterson provided additional evidence of Mr. Clinton’s malfeasance. On pp. 23-30, he provides an account, dating to September 13, 1996, the day of the President’s Cup golf tournament in Lake Manassas, Virginia. Patterson explains Mr. Clinton’s overriding passion for golf, often to the exclusion of his official duties. On that particular day, air strikes were planned for Iraq. On the other side of the world, jets were mission-loaded, their engines running, pilots waiting for Mr. Clinton’s OK to take off. Patterson received an urgent phone call:
On the phone was Sandy Berger, the acting White House national security advisor. Berger wanted me to contact the president. He needed a decision quickly.
‘Major, we’re poised to launch air strikes on Iraq and I need the president’s nod.’
I approached President Clinton, trying to attract his eyes as respectfully as I could without unduly interfering in his conversation with Vernon Jordan. He looked at me with a perturbed sigh and frowning eyebrows. Nonetheless, he asked, ‘What do you need, Buzz?’
‘Sir, Mr. Berger is on the line and needs a decision about the proposed attack on Iraq.”
‘Tell him I’ll get back with him later.’
Time was running out. The attack had to take place under the cover of night. Berger called again, and Patterson tried again:
This time the president was engaged in conversations with several people and was less approachable. I maneuvered through the crowd and caught his eye. When President Clinton saw me, he seemed disturbed at being interrupted again with something unimportant. He frowned as I neared him.
‘Mr. President, Mr. Berger has called again and needs a decision soon.’ I explained in a low tone, ‘We have our pilots in cockpits, ready to launch, and we’re running out of the protective cover of nighttime over there.’
Irritated at me and maybe at Berger, he said, ‘I’ll call Berger when I get the chance.’
Within 15 minutes, Berger called again, and Patterson tried again:
As I approached the president for the third time in less than an hour, I thought about the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who must have put considerable time and focused effort into this attack plan and were now hanging on the president’s decision. I didn’t know the details of the operation, but I didn’t have to. I knew that we had our military force primed to strike, potentially taking lives or having their own lives taken. It all came down to a simple yes or no that was being solicited in the midst of a golf tournament.
I made my way through the crowded VIP tent. The president spotted me, headed me off at the pass, and spoke first. ‘Tell Berger that I’ll give him a call on my way back to the White House,’ he said coolly, indifferently. ‘That’s all.’ And he dismissed me.
I called Mr. Berger and explained that the president would contact him from the limo. Berger sounded defeated and sighed. ‘Okay,’ he said. We both knew what that meant. We’d missed our opportunity.
The efforts of our military were far less important to Mr. Clinton than watching a golf tournament, but not to Patterson:
What haunted me more than anything else was that the president refused to make a decision. Human lives were at stake—the lives of American service members and the lives of our allies who opposed Saddam at our behest and were now under attack. At a time when America’s honor and grander principles were being challenged and the world was watching our every move. . .the president was watching golf.
On January 21, 1998, Patterson met with Mr. Clinton to give him his annual nuclear update briefing and to give him the card—credit card sized—containing the nuclear “go codes.” Only days before, Clinton had given his deposition in the Paula Jones case and the Monica Lewinsky case—her affair with Clinton was an open secret in the White House—had not yet blown up.
On pp. 55-58 of Dereliction of Duty, Patterson noted that Clinton looked very bad:
’Sir, if you’d like, we can just change out the codes now and I’ll come back for the briefing later.’
‘That’d be fine Buzz. Thank you.’
Patterson handed Clinton the new codes, but Clinton did not hand him his old card—normal, required procedure. Patterson didn’t think it a good time to press the matter and left. Before Patterson could return a few days later, the Lewinsky matter did blow up.
When one of the other military aides and I returned, a few days later, to brief the president on changes to the contents—and the launch codes—of the football, we were in for a surprise. We arrived at the Oval Office as scheduled. My military-aide compatriot briefed the president on the important changes. My expectation was that the president would finally return his old set to us. Instead, President Clinton looked up sheepishly and confessed, ‘I don’t have mine on me. I’ll track it down, guys, and get it back to you.’
We were dumfounded—the president losing his nuclear codes—He is required to have the codes on him at all times. . .
There had been one other time that he had misplaced the codes, but we were able to quickly track them down through his valets. He left them in the White House residence while he was leaving for a round of golf. This time, though, the codes were apparently lost.
Patterson notified his superiosr at the Pentagon and they were aghast. For the next few days, the military staff searched the White House, enlisting the help of the senior staff—John Podesta and Bruce Lindsey—for help.
The president finally threw up his hands and said casually, ‘I just can’t find it. . .don’t know where it is.’ As far as he was concerned, that was the end of the story; Podesta and Lindsey‘s overriding concern was that the story might leak to the press. Only the military seemed remotely concerned about the national security implications of the nuclear launch codes being lost. And they were never found.
Exactly when Mr. Clinton lost the codes, how long he would have been unable to launch nuclear weapons had that been necessary, was apparently never determined. This was not, however, the only time Clinton engaged in such dangerous negligence. Patterson continued:
During NATO’s Fiftieth Anniversary summit in Washington, D.C., on April 24, 1999, President Clinton departed the meeting in such a rush that he left his military aide and the nuclear football behind. . .The president wasn’t in the mood to wait. . .and he left. The befuddled aide, my successor, didn’t know what to do. This was the first time it had ever happened. Rather than take his chances with public transportation, he walked, in spit-and-polished uniform, and football in hand, several blocks back to the White House.
For thirty or forty minutes, the president and the nuclear football were separated. The president had made that conscious decision and couldn’t be bothered to wait the additional minute or so to ensure that his entire entourage, especially the essential foreign policy element could come along. ‘Rather than wait for everyone, he just took off,’ said press secretary Joe Lockhart.
This is the Clinton administration I knew.
Patterson’s books document far more instances of misfeasance, malfeasance, and a complete lack of concern for (even active hatred toward) our military and the security of the United States. In that regard, Mrs. Clinton, our current Secretary of State, was even worse than Mr. Clinton. Mr. Clinton shares a significant portion of the responsibility for our failures of intelligence and action that led directly to 9-11. Having multiple opportunities to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden, he refused, either ignoring the importance of those opportunities or choosing to treat Bin Laden as a common criminal (sound familiar?) refused to act. He led from behind long before Mr. Obama made it official US policy.
NOTE: Here are five additional sources relating to Mr. Clinton’s refusal to deal with Bin Laden:
(2) The Telegraph
(3) News Busters
(4) LA Times
Why would any rational man use someone with Bill Clinton’s record to try to bolster his own credibility on matters Clinton ignored or so badly fumbled? Unless, of course, Mr. Obama considered Mr. Clinton’s “accomplishments” to be worthy of emulation. Farce indeed.
And we elected him president.