On September 10, 2001, Clinton Explained Why He Didn’t Kill bin Laden

An extraordinary historical nugget has been unearthed in Australia. In September 2001, Bill Clinton was in that country. Only hours before the terrorists struck the World Trade Center, Clinton was talking to a group in Melbourne. Terrorism and bin Laden came up in that discussion, and Clinton said that he had had an opportunity to kill bin Laden when the terrorist was in Kandahar, but he had decided not to do so because the strike (the nature of which was not defined) would also have killed 300 innocent people. Here it is, as aired on Melbourne television:

Of course, one shouldn’t assume that Clinton’s account, as it related to his motives, was true. He evidently thought it put him in a favorable light, although it is a story that I don’t think he repeated after September 11. What this audio tells us for certain is that Clinton did pass up a chance to kill bin Laden, for whatever reason. This has been the subject of some debate over the years. Clinton’s 2001 admission that he could have had bin Laden killed but decided not to for humanitarian reasons is quite different from the defense he mounted in 2006.

Over the years, Clinton’s defenders have generally soft-pedaled claims that Clinton could have killed bin Laden but failed to do so. For example, in early 2008 FactCheck.org wrote:

Q: Did Bill Clinton pass up a chance to kill Osama bin Laden?

A: Probably not, and it would not have mattered anyway as there was no evidence at the time that bin Laden had committed any crimes against American citizens.

Honest journalist tweets, with good reason, “out of gaza, far from Hamas retaliation”

Honest journalism from Gaza about Hamas’ tactics has been difficult to come by. Anti-Israeli media bias may have something to do with this. But threats by Hamas against honest journalists are probably a bigger factor.

Consider the case of Italian journalist Gabriele Barbati. On Tuesday, he tweeted that the deaths of Palestinian children on a playground caused by rocket fire were the result of a misfired Hamas rocket. “Misfired rocket killed children in Shati. Witness: militants rushed and cleared debris,” Barbati wrote.

Significantly, Barbati tweeted this only after he had left Gaza. In the same tweet he wrote, “Out of Gaza far from Hamas retaliation.”

Reporters wishing to remain in Gaza play it differently. The Wall Street Journal’s Middle East Correspondent Tamer El-Ghobashy tweeted a photo of the damage at the Shati playground with a caption that supported Barbati’s version of the attack: “An outside wall on the campus of Gaza’s main hospital was hit by a strike. Low level damage suggest Hamas misfire.”

But soon thereafter, he deleted that caption and replaced it with this: “The outer wall of Gaza City’s main hospital was struck. Unclear what the origin of the projectile is.”

El-Ghobashy claimed that he changed the caption because the first one was speculative. But El-Ghobashy’s Wall Street Journal colleague Nick Casey had similarly deleted a photo showing Hamas officials in Shifa hospital. Have the WSJ’s journalists suddenly been afflicted by an inability to meet whatever journalistic standards may apply to tweets? Or are they being intimidated into changing them?

Here’s a clue. It was in the same Shifia hospital that Hamas interrogated French-Palestinian journalist Radjaa Abu Dagga and threatened to throw him out of Gaza.

Liberation — the left-wing French newspaper — reported this incident and included a description of Hamas fighters, dressed in civilian clothing with guns hidden under their shirts, gathered a few meters from the emergency room. But Liberation later deleted the article at Abu Dagga’s request.

Here’s another clue. Reporters Without Borders has confirmed to Liberation that many journalists have reported being threatened by Hamas. And pro-Hamas journalists have themselves reported, gleefully, that correspondent Harry Fear of RT was told to leave Gaza after he tweeted about Hamas rockets being fired into Israel from near his hotel.

But leaving Gaza is not always an option for journalists. Last week, Sophia Jones of the Huffington Post tweeted: “The Israeli side of the border with Gaza was briefly open today, but Hamas did not let journalists leave Gaza.”

The choice for journalists may amount to this: tell the truth about Hamas and be forced to leave Gaza or toe Hamas’ line and be forced to stay.

Barbati made the right call. The reporting of those who play it the other way becomes inherently suspect.

Sen. Sessions, we are standing by

This morning Bill Kristol explained in a powerful note to the House GOP why it should kill the bill pending before the House to address our current border crisis. Now comes word that House leadership has pulled the bill rather than see it defeated as a result of the conservative revolt against it.

Where do we go from here? I hope we will hear from our man on the bridge, Senator Jeff Sessions.

UPDATE: Breitbart News reports that there may be additional votes after a 3pm conference meeting. Developing…

And Mickey Kaus has also captured some of the dynamics underlying resistance to the bill in “‘No’ on Boehner supertrap bill.”

Marco Rubio on Obama’s Foreign Policy Failures

I hosted the Laura Ingraham show today, and Marco Rubio was a guest. We talked about the comprehensive failure of the Obama administration’s foreign policies, as manifested in deteriorating conditions (from the standpoint of American interests) around the world. It is a good, sharp discussion and is only around seven minutes long. The audio is a good reminder, I think, of how strong Rubio is on these issues.

I will be getting the audios of other interviews I did yesterday (including Jeff Sessions) and today (including John Thune), and will put those up as I am able over the next few days.

Poll: Harry Reid trails Gov. Sandoval in hypothetical senate race

I doubt that Harry Reid is doing this year’s Democratic Senatorial candidates any favors with his deranged attacks on the Koch Brothers, his changes to longstanding filibuster moves as a means of confirming left-wing judicial nominees, and his over-the-top partisan bluster. A new poll suggests that he isn’t doing himself any favors either.

The survey, conducted this week by Harper Polling, shows Reid trailing Nevada’s popular governor Brian Sandoval by 10 points, 53-43. The pollsters are Republicans, but according to Nevada political pundit Jon Ralston, the poll seems credible.

Reid isn’t up for reelection until 2016. Sandoval is running for reelection this year. The Harper poll finds him leading in that race by 22 points.

According to the survey, Reid is plagued by a 55 percent unfavorable rating. But Ralston points out that Reid had a similar rating in 2010, yet defeated Sharron Angle by nearly 6 points.

That’s where Sandoval fits into the equation. If he remains a popular governor, it’s easy to believe that he could run more than 6 points stronger than Angle did, assuming he opts to challenge Reid.

Via Andrew Johnson at NRO.


The D.C. Circuit’s decision in the Halbig case applies the language of Obamacare against the extension of tax subsidies within the federal Obamacare exchange established by the federal government in 36 states that declined to set up their own. Liberal hacks of all stripes now cry “foul,” foremost among them Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber.

Let us first go to the video below starring Gruber, smartly produced by American Commitment, with the accompanying hashtag #GruberGate.

American Commitment explains: “On at least seven occasions, Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber indicated states had to set up exchanges or subsidies would stop flowing. That way lay madness.

This is a position he now ridicules, of course, insisting nobody ever believed it. Gruber claims the statutory language he previously explicated was “a typo.”

But in two different speeches in January 2012, Gruber repeatedly acknowledged that subsidy eligibility required residing in a state that established an exchange.

Gruber in 2012: “If you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.”

Gruber in 2012: “If your governor doesn’t set up an exchange, you’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars of tax credits to be delivered to your citizens. So that’s the other threat, is will states do what they need to set it up.”

Gruber in 2012: “I guess I’m enough of a believer in democracy, to think that when the voters and states see that by not setting up an exchange the politicians in the state are costing state residents hundreds of millions and billions of dollars that they’ll eventually throw the guys out. But, I don’t know that for sure, and that is really the ultimate threat.”

These remarks were consistent five other comments from Gruber (March 2010, May 2011, November 2011, September 2012, and November 2012) included in the video showing that believed all 50 states had to establish exchanges for Obamacare to succeed, and states failing to do so constituted “a threat to its effective existence.”

When confronted with Gruber’s previous remarks, the White House could only characterize them as a “mistake.”

Shouldn’t that hashtag be #ShamelessLiar? I guess it would cut too big a swath through the Democratic Party.

Civil War on the Left, Part 9

Further to our occasional series about the civil war on the left (part 8 here), it is worth taking note of a new article by Paul Waldman in The American Prospect (one of the more smartly written lefty journals) entitled “Can Liberalism Survive Obama? Yes, It Can.”  I’ll skip over the obvious ironic mocking of the title, and proceed to some relevant excerpts:

It isn’t hard to find discontent with Barack Obama on the left, so long as you know where to look. . .

Adolph Reed Jr. wrote a cover story for Harper’s earlier this year excoriating the president and the milquetoasts who still support him, arguing that Obama’s election was “fundamentally an expression of the limits of the left in the United States—its decline, demoralization, and collapse.”

Given the political roller coaster of the last decade and a half, liberals would be forgiven for feeling worn-out, even cynical. . .  This period in the history of American liberalism—covering the Bush and Obama presidencies—looks like one of extended misery, followed by an explosion of hope, followed by disappointment and dismay. . . “There’s a realization,” says Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, an organization that works to promote and assist progressive candidates, “that this is not a bold, progressive president. He’s ultimately not going to be a game-changer when it comes to taking on the powers that be.”

“Some traditional Democrats, low-information people, are willing to give him a pass and say, ‘Oh, the Tea Party got in the way,’” he says. “But those who are more of the progressive movement and look at this through a more sophisticated lens see that there was a fundamental lack of willingness to fight in the beginning of his presidency that had ripple effects throughout.” The White House has from time to time made it clear that it dislikes liberal activists as much as the activists dislike it. As former press secretary Robert Gibbs put it, the “professional left … wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.”

There’s more—lot’s more—in the piece; more than anyone (even a liberal) needs to read to get the point.  I’ve got news for Waldman: Obama’s a far-left liberal, and this is as good as it gets.  Trust me on this—years from now, you and other lefties will look back on the Obama Administration as the golden age of progressive liberalism, as it slowly crumbles under the deadweight of its own bad ideas.

Waldman ends thus:

Liberal intellectuals, for whom slights are long remembered and compromises loom large, will continue to debate the ideological character of Barack Obama’s presidency for years to come. That debate is worth having for any number of reasons.

Oh please, please do have this debate.  It will provide endless entertainment for the rest of us.