Saturday, March 1, 2014

As The World Turns

In the War on Terror, there were three main objectives sought by the Bush Administration:  capture or kill Osama bin Laden; decimate al Qaeda; topple the state sponsors of terrorism. Although only one was thoroughly completed - the killing of bin Laden, during President Obama's first term - all three in some form came to fruition. Despite policies and actions of the Obama Administration that have caused setbacks and stirred delusional notions, in some measure, al Qaeda was, and has been, weakened to an extent over the last decade. Further, Afghanistan and Iraq, both state sponsors of terrorism, are under the rule of governments less tolerate, theoretically, to terrorist groups and potential future allies in fighting them – again, notwithstanding the gaffes and provocations of the Obama Administration undercutting these accomplishments begun under its predecessor. This does not mean that the war is over, only that some battles have been won in a long struggle that persists today.

Now, there is the revelation that President Clinton's FBI had contact with Osama bin Laden as far back as 1993 – the same year as the Word Trade Center bombing, and eight years before the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Not to mention the numerous attacks on American territories in between, including our embassies and the USS Cole. What have most detractors concentrated on over the years? The eight MONTHS that President Bush had been in office leading up to the 9/11 attacks. Conspiracists like to describe it as an inside job for a call to arms, and I say roll with that idea if it helps you sleep better at night. Yet, the only inside job was nothing less than incompetence and outright dereliction of duty on the part of the Clinton Administration to take all measures to assure the safety and security of the United States before 9/11. For eight years.

What difference does it make now though, right? With former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton contemplating a presidential run in 2016, it makes a lot of difference. From the eight years of do-nothing policies toward al Qaeda and other global threats – including Iraq, who continuously violated peace obligations and U.N. sanctions throughout the 1990s while harboring known terrorists – to the more recent Benghazi attacks, the Clintons as a whole have been more the problem than the solution. Their documented history suggests a failure to respond neither appropriately nor promptly to a crisis. With a resurgent al Qaeda and twin nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran, a Clinton in the White House is the last thing the United States needs.

This is not to say that a Bush would be welcomed. Frankly, while admiring both former presidents in their roles as elder statesmen, I wish the Clintons and Bushes would enjoy a nice retirement from politics. The United States does not need to relive the past through the partisan reminder, and baggage, that both family names connote. Instead, the nation needs fresh perspective and invigorating energy from someone who is neither entrenched nor detached domestically as well as globally. Otherwise, as Albert Einstein so plainly stated, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

©2014 Steve Sagarra

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