In the weeks of uproar over 16 words in President Bush's State of the Union address, one thing becomes very clear: Bush is being punished by the liberal media for strategic boldness and a quick military victory on the ground. Neither of these was a strength of the Clinton presidency.
This became evident last week when NBC's Katie Couric tried to press former Clinton CIA Director James Woolsey over how CIA Director George Tenet should have looked over the dreaded Saddam-seeks-uranium sentence. Didn't you vet Clinton addresses, she asked? Woolsey coolly replied that Clinton didn't speak about intelligence in his first two January addresses to Congress. Furthermore, when Clinton launched the strike on Iraq in retaliation for Saddam's attempt to kill former president Bush in the summer of 1993, "not only did I not vet the statement, I did not know the strike was going to occur until it was in the process of occurring. We hadn't been invited into the meetings to make the assessments."
This was never one of the many Clinton scandals -- but it should have been. Clinton's usual military approach was to drop a few bombs, beat his breast publicly about actions that did nothing but kill janitors in enemy buildings, and never, ever tolerate an American casualty. And yet these meaningless military mini-campaigns were roundly celebrated by the press. Reporters refused to question the quality of his intelligence -- or whether he actually even asked for it.
When American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by Osama bin Laden in 1998, CBS blamed Congress for "drastic cutbacks." When Clinton responded by attacking targets in Afghanistan and Sudan three days after admitting the Lewinsky affair, Ted Koppel found it "unthinkable" to question Clinton's actions and mourned "the times we live in" that some people did not believe the White House line. No network anchor asked where Clinton received his intelligence -- if any -- even after it emerged that the alleged chemical-weapons site was a pharmaceutical factory and the U.S. government paid damages to the Sudanese owner.