Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Deliberate Distraction?

In the aftermath of ABC's Path to 911 and Bill Clinton's heated reaction to Chris Wallace's interview questions, has there been a effort on the part of Clinton supporters to confuse two opposing concepts in the public mind? First, let's isolate the two concepts subject to conflation:

1.) Scandal and impeachment distracted Clinton from taking military action against al Qaida.

2.) Clinton used military action to distract the country from scandal and impeachment.

The operative distinction between 1 & 2: (1) implies Clinton would have been more effective in his efforts to "kill" Bin Laden & Co., but for the domestic opponents pursuing the scandal that enveloped his administration, culminating in his impeachment; while (2) implies in fact the only time Clinton did order military action against terrorists was when scandal and impeachment were at his door.

Clearly, the "Wag the Dog" speculation, widespread not just among his opponents at the time of impeachment, is aligned with concept (2). Correspondingly, rather than being an impediment, scandal and impeachment were decisive catalysts for Clinton taking military action against al Qaida -- a "sweet spot" when the political risk of taking military action was eclipsed by the political cover it offered.

Why try to confuse point (2) with point (1)? Point (1) puts at least part of any blame for a failure to act on Clinton's opponents.


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