Good riddance, Slick Willie - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Good riddance, Slick Willie

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Posted: Saturday, April 19, 2003 12:55 am | Updated: 1:47 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

It is, of course, pointless to beat a dead horse — but there may be merit in beating a dead donkey.

The asinine personage in question is one Bill Clinton, former president of the United States, who had harsh words Tuesday for his successor.

Speaking in New York at a seminar on governance held by the Conference Board, Clinton railed that “Our paradigm now seems to be that something terrible happened to us on September 11, and that gives us the right to interpret all future events in a way that everyone else in the world must agree with us. And if they don't, they can go straight to hell.”

Having thus characterized the Bush administration's idée fixe, Clinton then submitted his own: “If you got [sic] an interdependent world, and you cannot kill, jail, or occupy all your adversaries, sooner or later you have to make a deal.”

And what kind of deal does The Slick One have in mind? An accord reached through compromise and sweet reason, no doubt, rather than in the bellicose spirit of these phrases:

“Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons . . . The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government . . . once more, the United States has proven that although we are never eager to use force, when we must act in America's vital interests, we will do so.”

But this unilateralist bluster came not from our current president but a former one: Bill Clinton, as he launched air strikes on Iraq in 1998. Only, instead of making good on his stated desire for “a new Iraqi government,” Clinton ended the attacks after four days — and later made what Mideast analyst Kenneth Pollack called “key compromises that weakened the (U.N.) inspection regime but still had not resurrected the U.N. consensus (the U.S.) had sought.” In due course the U.N. containment effort collapsed altogether, as “foreign nations finally recognized that the Clinton administration would not, in the end, make a determined effort to topple Saddam.”

Such was the “deal” Bill Clinton made with Saddam Hussein: Talk big, take a poke and then back away. The contrast with the deal George W. Bush proved capable of making with Saddam could not be starker.

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