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Friday, September 23, 2005

Blame Game 

From Mon., Sept. 19, 2005 (via Zemblan patriot K.Z.):
Former US president Bill Clinton sharply criticised George W. Bush for the Iraq War and the handling of Hurricane Katrina, and voiced alarm at the swelling US budget deficit.

Breaking with tradition under which US presidents mute criticisms of their successors, Clinton said the Bush administration had decided to invade Iraq "virtually alone and before UN inspections were completed, with no real urgency, no evidence that there were weapons of mass destruction."

The Iraq war diverted US attention from the war on terrorism "and undermined the support that we might have had," Clinton said in an interview with an ABC's "This Week" programme.
From Media Matters for America, Thurs., Sept. 22, 2005:
On September 21, Fox News Washington managing editor Brit Hume corrected a false claim he made two nights earlier: that in contrast with President Clinton, President George H.W. Bush did not "criticize the sitting president and his administration." The correction came a day after Media Matters for America published an item highlighting Hume's error; contrary to Hume's original assertion, the elder Bush repeatedly criticized Clinton's domestic and foreign policy while Clinton was in office . . . .
HUME: Two nights ago on this program, we said that, in attacking President Bush on Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and the budget, former president Clinton did something that Bush's father did not do, and that is to criticize his successor. That was incorrect. While the first President Bush did so rarely, he did criticize President Clinton and his administration several times, including on his Haiti and Somalia policies. We stand corrected and regret the error.
From Friday, Sept. 22, 2005 (via Zemblan patriot J.D.):
President Bush said Thursday that mistakes made by three of his predecessors, including the Reagan administration's restraint after the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, had emboldened terrorists and helped set the stage for the Sept. 11 attacks.

Bush said he was determined not to repeat the pattern by pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq before the insurgency there is contained and Iraqi forces are able to provide adequate security.

"To leave Iraq now would be to repeat the costly mistakes of the past that led to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001," Bush said at the Pentagon after a briefing by Defense officials.

Without mentioning his predecessors by name, he cited as examples the U.S. response to the hostage crisis in Iran during the Carter administration, the Lebanon bombing during Reagan's term and four events on Bill Clinton's watch: the first World Trade Center attack, the killing of American soldiers in Somalia, the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa and the attack on the battleship Cole. In each case, the president chose not to retaliate with large-scale military offensives.

"The terrorists concluded that we lacked the courage and character to defend ourselves, and so they attacked us," Bush said. Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and senior military officials stood at his side.

Bush did not mention any events during the first Bush administration, such as his father's decision to end the 1991 Persian Gulf war without sending coalition troops to Baghdad to topple Saddam Hussein.

Bush's characterization of progress in fighting terrorism was questioned by some.

Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), the senior Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, said the number of "significant terrorist attacks" tracked by the State Department had reached its highest level and that most occurred in Iraq.

"There are nine times as many terrorist attacks in Iraq this year as there were last year," Markey said. "What kind of progress is that?"
The final word:
Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter delivered a shocker at an American University panel in Washington Monday: RAW STORY has learned he told the crowd he was certain Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election.

There is "no doubt in my mind that Gore won the election," the erstwhile President declared, saying the 2000 election process "failed abysmally."

He also snubbed the Supreme Court for getting involved, saying it was "highly partisan."

In the question and answer session of his talk intended to discuss the Baker-Carter commission report on election reform, he also savaged President Bush's handling of FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Carter founded FEMA in 1979.

When I founded FEMA "we put it together with three specific commitments," Carter remarked. "One, that it would be led [by] highly trained professionals in dealing with disasters. Secondly, that it would be completely independent and not under another agency that would submerge it. And third, that it would be adequately funded."
UPDATE: Some good news, for a change:
Q: What good could you do going down to the hurricane zone? Might you get in the way, Mr. President?

A: One thing I won't do is get in the way.

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