Bush Did Not Blame Clinton Like Obama Blames Bush
United States President Barak Obama and his Administration have been blaming the Administration of his predecessor, George W. Bush, for the inadequate security measures that failed to prevent the al-Qaeda Christmas Day Bombing aboard a commercial jet bound for Detroit.
Bush could have blamed the Administration of his predecessor, Bill Clinton, for September 11, but he did not and discouraged his Administration from blaming its predecessor for anything. Bush preferred to set a more positive political tone in the hope of achieving reform without unnecessary partisan rancor -- a formula he was successful in using in order to enact education reform, for example.
The Clinton Administration’s policies had encouraged the terrorists and failed to adequately protect the United States. For example, the “Wall of silence” that prevented federal prosecutors from disclosing information learned through grand jury investigations with the F.B.I., the revelation because of a civilian trial of terrorists that bin Laden named as a co-conspirator in an indictment, the massive cutbacks in defense and intelligence -- to the point that there was no longer any human intelligence, the pullout from Somalia after the U.S. victory in the Battle of Mogadishu because of the death of 18 American soldiers, and the launching of cruise missiles against al-Qaeda targets in 1999 instead of risking American servicemen were serious policy mistakes. Additionally, the Clinton Administration had failed to update law enforcement tools in order to keep up with technology and failed to establish better intelligence sharing in general, even after bin Laden had declared that it was the duty of Muslims everywhere to kill Americans.
Although it is impossible to determine whether or not the September 11 Attacks would have been prevented had the Clinton Administration followed policies that the Bush Administration did after September 11, it can be said with certainty that the Clinton Administration did not adequately protect the U.S. from a terrorist attack; its central error was treating terrorism as isolated criminal acts instead of as a war. The Bush Administration resisted the temptation to blame Clinton for every failure and focused instead on preventing terrorist attacks.
I can detect no policy failure that led to the security breach that allowed the Christmas Day Bomber to carry out his attack. The failure was more in terms of procedure than of any policies from either the Bush or Obama Administrations.
The Obama Administration Cites the Bush Administration as a Model
In order to justify its decision to try the September 11 conspirators in civilian court instead of military tribunals, the Obama Administration and its liberal supporters cite statistics of hundreds of terrorists who were tried and convicted in civilian courts during the Bush Administration. The Obama Administration is arguing that it is following the example set by Bush, despite the promise of “change,” because it realizes that the American people had faith in the previous Administration’s policies, which were successful in preventing another September 11-scale attack, which, I should add, is a vindication of some of Bush’s policies in the War on Terrorism.
However, many of the hundreds of civilian trials of terrorists conducted by the Bush Administration were either of terrorists unrelated to al-Qaeda or before the military tribunals were ordered, after plans for them had been developed after September 11. The Bush Administration would have tried more terrorists in military tribunals after that point, but liberal lawyers objected and the federal courts ruled the military tribunals unconstitutional, despite longstanding precedent. Military tribunals were later congressionally authorized. In short, the Bush Administration’s preference was to try the terrorists in military tribunals, not civilian courts, but liberals succeeded in blocking the military tribunals. Now, many liberals are essentially crediting the Bush Administration for these civilian trials for terrorists, which they are holding up as an example worthy of following.
In conclusion, the Obama Administration and its supporters blames the Bush Administration for everything bad when it is politically expedient to blame its predecessor, but claims to be following it when it is politically expedient to be viewed as strong on preventing terrorism. Their inconsistency suggests their insincerity.