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Rice responds to Clinton
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In this story - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5382914.stm - there's some pretty standard responses from Condoleeza Rice about Clinton's claims that he did what he could to try to stop Bin Laden and Al Qaeda while he was in office. Clinton claims that he left a comprehensive strategy for stopping them, Rice claims that it didn't exist. Her quote on that issue:

"We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al-Qaeda," she said.

"For instance, big pieces were missing, like an approach to Pakistan that might work, because without Pakistan you weren't going to get Afghanistan."

Funny, since Pakistan was just in the news as well, due to their president's claims that the US threatened him into fighting against Al Qaeda after 9/11. I still have strong doubts about the Pakistanian claims, but this somehow lends more credence to them. Presumably, any "comprehensive plan" for dealing with the Taliban in Afghanistan would have had to include Pakistan in one way or another. So either such a plan did not exist and the US could reasonably have been forced to assume a more agressive posture towards Pakistan, or the plan did exist and strategies for winning Pakistan over to our side were concocted. This seems far more plausible to me. Clinton said, "That's the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try, they did not try." It seems more and more likely that, while the Bush administation didn't sit completely idle for 8 months before 9/11, they did throw out the plans and information that they were handed over by the previous administration. The strategies for dealing with Al Qaeda and Afghanistan and Pakistan did exist. The Bush administration didn't like them, and the country paid the price for that bit of pride.


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I'm always skeptical when I hear someone make a grand statement and then backing it up with one single example: "They didn't leave us with a strategy, take Pakistan for example."

Rice is trying to draw attention to the fact that the US strong-armed (or not) Pakistan into becoming an ally. The reality is whether or not a threat was made, this is one of very few examples where the US has made "progress" in getting international support for their wars. In reality Pakistan had little choice, and now benefits greatly from their cooperation. Prior to 9/11 Pakistan had little relationship with the US at all.

But without the pretext for invading Afghanistan (i.e. 9/11) there was nothing Clinton could or should have done regarding Pakistan.

Pointing this out is kind of like when Bush said, "you forgot Poland".


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