While I was on vacation,

While I was on vacation, political reality intruded on one occasion. A man I met told me about Time’s cover story claiming that the Clinton administration had devised a secret plan to get rid of al Qaeda and passed it on to the Bush administration, which failed to implement it prior to September 11. Then last night one of my brothers called to tell me that he had seen the cover of the magazine, which he described in appalling detail. The story is so absurd on its face that it seems doubtful that many people will believe it, but no doubt the accumulating lies will have their effect in November, as intended. The first thing I thought of when I heard the story was an anecdote in Grant’s Memoirs. He recounts how he was sent to take command of the Army of the Tennessee, which was nearly surrounded in Chattanooga. The first thing he did when he arrived was to meet with General Rosecrans, whom he was succeeding in command. He asked Rosecrans whether he had devised a plan to break out of the Confederates’ encirclement. Rosecrans said that he had and proceeded to lay out a proposed plan. I don’t have the book before me so the quote isn’t exact, but Grant said, “The plan he laid before me was so excellent that I could only wonder why he had not already carried it out.” Seems like a fair question for the Clintonites.

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