The "What If Clinton Had Done That?" Dept

Conservative chickenhawks have been beating Clinton over the head ever since 9/11 about his supposed “cowardice” or “incompetence”, depending on which squawker is whining, in not taking out bin Laden when he had the chance. They have banged this poor dead horse until their baseball bats are caked with head cheese, yet this little item from NBC News has so far excited very little comment: It seems the Bushster had a chance–check that–three chances to take out Al Qaida’s Abu Zarqawi and his whole terrorist organization and refused.That’s right, campers. Blew it off. Turned their backs and walked away. They didn’t “miss” their chance as they often claim Bill did. They refused it.

In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq, producing deadly ricin and cyanide.The Pentagon quickly drafted plans to attack the camp with cruise missiles and airstrikes and sent it to the White House, where, according to U.S. government sources, the plan was debated to death in the National Security Council.

Well, maybe they weren’t sure. Maybe the intel wasn’t good enough. Maybe the right forces weren’t available.

Four months later, intelligence showed Zarqawi was planning to use ricin in terrorist attacks in Europe.The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, and the White House again killed it. By then the administration had set its course for war with Iraq.

Hmmm. Well, one has to have one’s priorities, of course. And planning a war is a big deal. But the Pentagon was ready. It was their idea. They had the plan, the forces, all they needed was the green light. But Junior was busy playing with his toys.

In January 2003, the threat turned real. Police in London arrested six terror suspects and discovered a ricin lab connected to the camp in Iraq.The Pentagon drew up still another attack plan, and for the third time, the National Security Council killed it.

Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi’s operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam.

Oops. What’s the matter with you people? How can you expect us to fight the War on Terror if you keep insisting we actually fight terrorists?

I keep asking myself what Andy Sullivan and Bill Safire and good ol’ Rush would say if Clinton had turned down not one, not two, but three chances to take out bin Laden? Think they’d be upset? Think Ann Coulter would write another book about how this proves Democrats planned 9/11 because they hate America? Think Laurie Mylroie would write another book about how this proves Clinton sold out to bin Laden for a box of string cheese? Think Rush would down 30 or 40 more oxycontins to gear up for another marathon radio gabfest about a secret recording the American Enterprise Institute has in their vault of Bill Clinton personally waxing bin Laden’s beard while promising to declare martial law and make OBL President for Life?

You betcha.

You know, I said awhile back that it wasn’t a good idea to piss off the IC. This here is why. Think this woulda got leaked to NBC if the IC hadn’t been treated like goats?

No freakin’ way. Hey, Rocco! Ain’t payback a bitch?

(Via Calpundit)

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