Discussing Sen. Joe Biden’s (D-DE) recent comments that the world will “test the mettle” of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) with an international crisis if he is elected, right-wing talker Rush Limbaugh and former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani indirectly blamed the terrorist attacks of 9/11 on former President Bill Clinton. “Every time Clinton was tested, he failed, and that’s why they tested Bush on 9/11,” said Limbaugh. Giuliani agreed:
RUSH: Mr. Giuliani, do you realize how many times Bill Clinton was tested by Al-Qaeda, starting in 1993 through Mogadishu to the USS Cole, and every time Clinton was tested, he failed, and that’s why they tested Bush on 9/11.
The fact that Giuliani so easily agreed with Limbaugh is surprising, considering that in 2006 he said it was wrong to “cast blame on Clinton” for 9/11:
The idea of trying to cast blame on Clinton [for the 9/11 attacks] is just wrong for many, many reasons, not the least of which is I don’t think he deserves it.
Though Clinton has freely acknowledged that he “failed” to get Osama Bin Laden, his administration aggressively pursued terrorism.
For instance, a June 1995 Presidential Decision Directive issued by Clinton emphasized concern about terrorism “as a national security issue” for the first time, instead of just a matter of law enforcement. Clinton’s directive declared that the United States saw “terrorism as a potential threat to national security as well as a criminal act and will apply all appropriate means to combat it.” For the last three years of his presidency, Clinton “raised the issue of terrorism in virtually every important speech he gave.”
In his book, Against All Enemies, former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke — who served under Reagan, both Bushs and Clinton — wrote that Clinton did more right than he did wrong in combating terrorism, such as declaring “a war on terror before the term became fashionable.” As Clarke notes, Clinton did not shy away from using force to respond to terrorists. For example, after the African embassy bombings, he ordered strikes on terrorist camps in Afghanistan and a chemical plant in Sudan.