The Clinton legacy, however, cannot be dismissed in any analysis of 9/11. The United States was struck repeatedly under his watch?and our inaction did not go unnoticed.
Despite the apparent involvement of both Iraq and al Qaeda, the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 was treated as a police matter, not as the international terrorist attack it was. The Khobar Towers U.S. military housing complex was bombed by Islamic extremists three years later, and the United States did nothing.
When al Qaeda killed more than 200 people in 1998 by blowing up two U.S. Embassies in East Africa, Clinton?s ?response? was bombing empty training camps in Afghanistan and somebody else?s pharmaceutical plant in Sudan.
And when 17 servicemen were killed and 39 injured in what could only be construed as an act of war on the U.S.S. Cole in 2000, the response was an FBI investigation.
The historical record should make it clear to anyone not blinded by partisanship that Bush is not to blame for 9/11. Neither is Clinton, though. The terrorists are.
Could more have been done before 9/11? Absolutely.
The United States could have used more force to punish those who attack us?and in the process, possibly deter future attacks. Or we could have aggressively pursued the threat posed by radical Islam, particularly inside our borders. But considering the hue and cry over ?racial profiling? even after 9/11, almost any such efforts would have been squashed by the P.C. police.
The job of the 9/11 Commission should not be to delve into high-profile finger-pointing. What matters is what lessons we need to learn?and what mistakes we must not repeat.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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