Saturday, September 23, 2006

Democrats and Republicans on National Security

From the transcript of Clinton's interview with Chris Wallace at

Crooks and Liars » President Clinton blasts Chris Wallace

I found the following exchange, with regard to Clinton's effort to get bin Laden, to be telling:

CW: Do you think you did enough sir?

WJC: No because I didn’t get him

CW: Right…

WJC: 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 and they didn’t….. I tired. So I tried and failed. When I failed I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke… So you did fox’s bidding on this show. You did you nice little conservative hit job on me. But what I want to know..

This is why I want Democrats running national security and believe that Republicans have no competence in that area. To a Democrat anything short of doing the job and complete the objected, in this case getting bin Laden, is less than should be done. No excuses for how hard the job is, just do it. Failure to succeed does not necessarily mean removal from office or other drastic response, but failure is failure. Compare that the Bush administration which, after receiving the August 6th briefing managed to accomplish absolutely nothing to improve the nations security. This is, nonetheless, considered a fine performance by conservatives and Republicans. It is in no way a failure of leadership. We have heard any number of excuses that it was too hard or no one could have thought of the danger. And therefore for Republicans, failure to defend the nation is not failure, if a Republican fails.

For thirty years, one staple of conservative criticism of liberals has been the image of public school education in which a student gets a good grade for trying hard, or to build self esteem and how that is too soft and weak. A hard nosed conservative knows that we need to be tough and only actually completing the work successfully should ever get a reward. Now we see, however, that this standard that is too weak and soft for five year olds is the highest standard we can expect from Republicans on national security.

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