Rudy Giuliani was on Meet The Press today engaging in a bit of GOP revisionist history, as he claimed that it is Bill Clinton’s fault that Bin Laden is still free, “The reality is, in the period of time when we weren’t paying as much attention to bin Laden and al-Qaeda, they were attacking us almost every other year. I’m talking about in the, in the ’90s.”
Here is the video:
David Gregory asked Giuliani to respond to Ted Koppel’s recent New York Times piece which argued that Bin Laden goaded the United States into an excessive response. Giuliani answered by blaming Bill Clinton, “Well, it’s, it’s–there’s a bit of a, of a policy problem for the United States here that if, you know, if you do, you’re damned and if you don’t, you’re damned. The reality is, in the period of time when we weren’t paying as much attention to bin Laden and al-Qaeda, they were attacking us almost every other year. I’m talking about in the, in the ’90s, culminating in the attack of the USS Cole, in which we didn’t respond because we weren’t clear enough about who the, who the enemy were.”
He continued, “Since we’ve had those kind of change in policy, call, call it going on offense against Islamic terrorism, which Bush began and which, in the case of Afghanistan, the Obama administration, and I support them in this, are, are continuing, at home, at least, we’ve been able to avoid a repetition of the September 11 attack, which I have to tell you, nine years ago today, which would have been the day after September 11, when I was still mayor, I was being briefed we were going to be attacked numerous times. So I can’t tell you all the reasons that we haven’t been attacked in the way in which everyone predicted, but I think part of it is that big response that Ted is, is talking about. That’s keeping them on defense. And I wouldn’t, wouldn’t pull that away without analyzing it very closely because, in my view, the more you have Islamic extremism on defense, the safer we are. The more you give them room to plan, maneuver, and work out a tax, the more dangerous we are.”
Giuliani claims that al-Qaeda was attacking the United States every other year in the 1990s, but this is simply not true. There were three al-Qaeda attacks during the Clinton years, the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. The bombing of two US embassies in Africa in 1998 and the U.S.S. Cole attack in 2000. Sorry Rudy, but 1993, 1998, and 2000 does not equal every other year. Placing blame on Clinton is neat revisionist trick that Republicans have come up with to deflect attention away from the fact that George W. Bush gave up very quickly on catching Bin Laden.
Six months after 9/11 Bush admitted that he wasn’t concerned about Bin Laden:
Here is Giuliani’s talking point about being on the offense, and Bush shifting the attention from Bin Laden to Iraq in 2006:
The next time you hear a Republican whine about how Obama is blaming Bush for the economy, you might want to politely remind them that their own party is nonsensically blaming Bill Clinton for not capturing Bin Laden. It was not Bill Clinton who swore that Bin Laden would be captured after 9/11. Nor was it Clinton who quickly lost interest in Bin Laden and started a war in Iraq. Osama Bin Laden is still free to keep plotting terrorist attacks because George W. Bush and the Republican Party gifted him his freedom.
Republicans like to pretend that they are tough on terrorism and national security, but I am sure that you all are familiar with the old saying, when the going gets tough; the Republicans quit, and start a preemptive war in Iraq. Blaming Bill Clinton for Bin Laden is a lot like blaming Woodrow Wilson for Adolph Hitler. It doesn’t pass the smell test. Leave it to 9/11’s Punxsutawney Phil, Rudy Giuliani to pull some four year old talking points out of mothballs to try to keep the myth of Republican strength on national security alive. September 11th is over now Rudy, you can go back into your hole, and please take your moldy talking points with you. No matter how they try to spin it, the responsibility for Bin Laden falls squarely on the shoulders of the GOP.