Tuesday, September 26, 2006

President Clinton's Uzbekistan Connection

Former President Clinton's mention of the centrality of Uzbekistan to his plans in fighting Osama Bin Laden leapt from this trasncript of his Fox News interview with Chris Wallace:
CLINTON: No, no. I authorized the CIA to get groups together to try to kill him.

The CIA, which was run by George Tenet, that President Bush gave the Medal of Freedom to, he said, He did a good job setting up all these counterterrorism things.

The country never had a comprehensive anti-terror operation until I came there.

Now, if you want to criticize me for one thing, you can criticize me for this: After the Cole, I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and launch a full-scale attack search for bin Laden.

But we needed basing rights in Uzbekistan, which we got after 9/11.

The CIA and the FBI refused to certify that bin Laden was responsible while I was there. They refused to certify. So that meant I would’ve had to send a few hundred Special Forces in in helicopters and refuel at night.

Even the 9/11 Commission didn’t do that. Now, the 9/11 Commission was a political document, too. All I’m asking is, anybody who wants to say I didn’t do enough, you read Richard Clarke’s book.

WALLACE: Do you think you did enough, sir?

CLINTON: No, because I didn’t get him.


CLINTON: But at least I tried. That’s the difference in me and some, including all the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try. They did not try. I tried.

So I tried and failed. When I failed, I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke, who got demoted.

So you did Fox’s bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me.
I'm interested to learn more--why the CIA wouldn't certify Bin Laden as a terrorist mastermind, why Uzbekistan wouldn't give the US basing rights, and so forth. Inquiring minds want to know. I'd say that based on my students views, Bill Clinton was very popular in Uzbekistan. And Hillary Clinton's photo was on display in an honored place in the foyer of the main auditorium at the Unviersity of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent. (I saw Madeleine Albright's photo at the Keljak Ilmi Business School)...