The Spitfire's Grill
Regular Rants from a Pragmatic Liberal
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Topic of the Day: Random Rant Concerning Powerline


Bill Clinton. It's all his fault. Really. September 11th. The Recession. The Culture War. Oh, and let's not forget that while Al Gore invented the Internet, Bill Clinton invented Oral Sex.

Paul Mirengoff has this obsession with proving that everything is Bill Clinton's fault. I was in a good mood today and decided to re-visit Powerline, a blog I haven't really visited since that whole Schiavo memo ordeal. Well, Mirengoff ruined my mood. Actually, his post is almost dead on, except for the little Clinton gem he decided to drop.

I'm not the world's biggest Nancy Pelosi fan. She's a good minority leader because she's tough. Furthermore, when Republicans whine about her, I don't think anyone cares--she's just, as they say, another California liberal. I don't like Mirengoff changing over to Bill Clinton mid-thought, and then trying to connect Clinton to 9/11, almost randomly. Check this out:
I just heard Nancy Pelosi make what may be the most foolish statement any public official has uttered in a long while. Pelosi called for the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention center in order to give us "a clean slate in the Muslim world." I argued here that Gitmo should not be closed. But the foolishness of Pelosi's commment [sic] resides not in the error of her substantive position, but rather in her fantsay [sic] of a "clean slate." While that concept may have some applicability in therapy, there is no such thing in international relations, as anyone who has studied history for five minutes knows. And the idea of a clean slate with Muslims, a group with whom the west has clashed for something like ten centuries, is particularly ludicrous. Some of the Muslims from whom Pelosi would like to receive a clean slate are still upset about the reconquest of Spain. And then there's the small matter of the existence of Israel.
He's actually dead on so far. Closing Gitmo won't change anything, much less give us a clean slate. The damage of Gitmo has been dealt already, its time to change the behavior, not close the base (which is of some strategic importance). This is what 9th grade English teachers call a "transition":
Pelosi's comment also reveals the self-hating belief held by so many on the left that Muslim antagonism towards the U.S. is our fault. If only we would avoid stepping on the Koran, all would be well.
Note that this happens less than a third of the way into the post. So he's tossed his main topic aside because, quite frankly, Pelosi was just trying to get a sound-bite in and it wasn't very interesting. But it was an opportunity, albeit a stretch, to work this gem in:
Bill Clinton was also a "clean-slater," though he was too intelligent to put it that way. Clinton's foreign policy consisted largely of running around the world apologizing for past U.S. wrongs real and imagined, and trying to help Muslims in the Balkans and in territories occupied by Israel. But instead of a clean slate, Clinton bought us the rise of al Qaeda and ultimately 9/11.

Mirengoff, in a matter of sentences, manages to go from Gitmo to Clinton being responsible for al Qaeda. Actually, bin Laden was first aided by Reagan and Bush-41 during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Which, of course, is why Afghan warlords hid him and eventually allowed him to escape during the post-9/11 invasion. Never mind the fact that Clinton cleared several operations to take out bin Laden. Since, unlike most conservative politicians, Mirengoff actually knows his history, he knows he can't blame Clinton directly. So he basically states that Clinton made the U.S. look like a big pussy. Cause we all know al Qaeda attacked us because we took our fair share of the blame for history. Bush, on the other hand, knows that the right way to avoid an attack is to never admit mistakes, past or present, unless they can be linked in a Mirengoff-like fashion to Clinton. To Mirengoff's credit, he's much better at it than Scott McClellan.

Pelosi also fails to recognize that any brownie points we might conceivably gain by closing Gitmo would be lost the first time a Muslim (aided by the MSM and liberal Democrats like Pelosi) claimed that abuse was occurring at some other facility or locale. As I have said before, if Gitmo didn't exist, our enemies and critics would have to invent it, as they basically have.

On the morning of 9/11, this was a 50-50 nation politically. Since then, the Republicans have gained a clear upper hand [apparently, Mirengoff hasn't read a newspaper lately -Spitfire]. That's not because Americans are happy about what's happening in Iraq [maybe he does -S] or overjoyed about our economy [so he reads the WSJ -S]. It's because Americans realize that the Democratic party is not completely serious when it comes to fighting terrorism. Pelosi's comment shows that one of the party's leaders isn't serious at all.

For the most part I agree with Mirengoff on how Democrats appear to the American public on terrorism. Simply put, its just easier for Republicans to talk tough on things.

Democrats need to commit to a strategy. Unfortunately, that strategy emerged from the ultimate non-committer, John Kerry, so many Democrats might look weak by association. It goes like this:

1. Kill the Terrorists.
2. Don't give the Terrorists ammo by invading countries that don't pose an immediate security threat.
3. Kill the Terrorists.

The fact is that the Iraq war was the single biggest successful terrorist recruitment effort any time in recent history. When the Iraq war ends, and by God let it be soon, not all of these terrorists will just go back to bagging groceries at the local Baghdad Publix. Some will undoubtedly end up in this country.

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