Wednesday, July 14, 2004

What would you have done?

Pointed comments by Bill Clinton on Radio 4's Today programme this morning, I thought.

He seemed very keen to stress that intelligence underscored his decisions as president and highlighted three occasions when he decided against attacking al-Qaeda, because the intelligence wasn't deemed robust enough.

A little point scoring off his successor? You bet!

He also seemed keen to soften any blows which the Butler report will deliver on Mr Tony later today, by arguing he was caught between an America bent on action and an intransigent Europe in the UN Security Council. Indeed, he painted the French and Germans in a particularly bad light.

Given that I sometimes looks back to the Clinton years as a period of light compared to the darkness presented by Bush, it was instructive to hear his comments on what he would have done against Osama bin Laden. He had contracts with certain Afghan groups to capture of kill him, and was even considering sending in special forces. How he would have explained that away had the operation come to light in the pre-September 11 era would have been interesting.

Ultimately, his administration's covert planning came to an end when General Musharaf seized power in the Pakistani coup in 1999.

And now we consider him an ally.

Little surprises me these days anymore.

No comments: