May 1, 2008 - WND.com
© Jack Cashill
by Jack Cashill
This is the first in a two-part series.
When chief 9-11 operative Mohamed Atta arrived in the United States in June 2000, he had good reason to believe not only that Al Gore would be the next president, but that he would also be one tough adversary.
For Atta’s benefactor, Osama bin Laden, this was just as well. He was spoiling for a fight, and his beef was with Clinton and Gore, not Texas governor George Bush. Truth be told, the boys of summer had been annoying bin Laden for the last eight years. They had particularly irked him with their treatment of Iraq.
In fact, two of the three specific gripes in bin Laden’s 1998 “kill all Americans” fatwa dealt with Iraq and America’s “continuing aggression against the Iraqi people.” Just a week before that fatwa, President Clinton had piqued bin Laden by warning of “the very kind of threat Iraq poses now—a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists.”
As to Al Gore, bin Laden knew he would be a tougher customer than his boss. In 1991, while Clinton waffled back in Arkansas, Gore was only one of ten Democratic senators to take to the Senate floor in support of the Gulf War resolution, which barely passed 52 to 47.
In the 1992 campaign, Democratic ads boasted that Gore "broke with his own party to support the Gulf War." On the stump, he chastised the incumbent President Bush for his “dangerous blindness to the murderous ambitions of a despot.”
That despot, of course, was Saddam. Gore cited a RAND corporation study that reported, probably with some accuracy, that an estimated 1400 terrorists were operating out of Saddam’s Iraq even after the Gulf War.
As Vice-President, Gore showed a willingness to mix it up with the bad guys that Clinton lacked. In his bestseller, Against All Enemies, Clinton’s counter-terror czar, Richard Clarke, brags about Gore’s toughness on the subject of extraordinary renditions.
The first time Clarke proposed an extraordinary rendition in 1993, then White House Counsel Lloyd Cutler demanded a meeting with President Clinton to explain how such renditions violated international law.
According to Clarke, Clinton seemed to be leaning towards Cutler’s view until Vice-President Al Gore arrived and belatedly entered the debate.
“That’s a no-brainer,” said Gore of the decision to snatch. “Of course it’s a violation of international law, that’s why it’s a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass.”
In the spring of 1998 the Clinton Justice Department indicted bin Laden. Justice cited an understanding between bin Laden and Saddam “that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq.”
In August of that year, the Clinton administration ordered the destruction of the al Shifa chemical plant in the Sudan in retaliation for al Qaeda’s bombing of two American embassies earlier that month.
Clarke would share with the Washington Post intelligence that linked al-Qaeda to the “Iraqi nerve gas experts.” He was one of six Clinton officials to insist publicly on an al Qaeda-Iraqi tie to justify the missile strike.
Clinton and Gore played hardball in the Balkans as well. When Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic refused to knuckle under on Kosovo in March 1999, the boys decided to get tough.
Not ones to stand by ceremony, they bypassed Congress and the U.N. and started dropping bombs on Yugoslavia on their own authority. The urgency was understandable.
Although Yugoslavia had no WMD, no terrorist arm, no history of violence against the United States, and had invaded no other country, its forces had reportedly killed 100,000 Kosovars and dumped them into mass graves.
On CBS Face the Nation Clinton Secretary of Defense William Cohen repeated the 100,000 figure and claimed that the war was “a fight for justice over genocide.”
The President compared the work of the Serbs in Kosovo to the German “genocide” of the Jews during the Holocaust and assured America that “tens of thousands of people” had been murdered.
The New York Times helped Clinton and Gore amplify their message. No fewer than 375 articles would contain the combination “Kosovo” and “genocide,” most of those making a direct equation.
Still, Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic refused to cry “uncle” as expected, and so the boys pounded him and his fellow Serbs with 38,000 combat missions over 79 days until he did.
As late as five weeks after the bombing stopped, the New York Times was reporting that "at least 10,000 people were slaughtered by Serbian forces during their three-month campaign to drive the Albanians from Kosovo."
Indeed, it is likely that the nearly unqualified hostility of the world’s media towards their cause compelled the Serbians of Yugoslavia to capitulate.
In the war’s wake, however, international teams of investigators and pathologists showed that the Clinton White House and their friends in the media had inflated the number of Kosovar dead just a wee bit.
In fact, there were no mass graves. There was no genocide. The ethnic Albanian dead numbered in the hundreds, not in the hundreds of thousands.
Spanish forensic surgeon Emilio Perez Pujol would tell the British Sunday Times that the talk of genocide was “a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines, because we did not find one—not one—mass grave.”
The International Criminal Tribunal ended up charging Milosevic in the death of only 600 identifiable ethnic Albanians killed in the savage in-fighting, a comparable body count to a year’s worth of LA gang wars.
No one apologized, not the White House, not the New York Times. Why should they have? War is always hellish and shrouded in fog. The experience toughened Al Gore and proved his readiness to take over as Commander In Chief.
Alas, one military action too many cost him his main chance. On Easter Saturday morning in the year 2000, the White House dispatched its armed commandos to seize at gunpoint the one illegal immigrant it did not cotton to, young Elian Gonzalez.
Unlike the bombing of Yugoslavia, this action was caught on film. The unnecessary roughness cost Al Gore an estimated 70,000 Cuban-American votes in Florida, about 600 more than he could afford to lose.
Still, if only those wily Republicans had not robbed Gore of the remaining 600, if only he had been in place as commander in chief on September 11, the war on terror would have turned out so much differently.
So our progressive friends tell us, and they are probably right, but for reasons they cannot even begin to fathom.