President Bill Clinton lost control of not only his temper during his interview with FOX News' Chris Wallace, but also some facts about American national security.
The former President was right to criticize the Bush Administration for paying considerable attention to Iraq at the expense of Afghanistan and the war against al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other terrorist groups. Yet, Mr. Clinton was wrong to claim that he gave the struggle against al Qaeda and the Taliban sufficient priority during his own tenure.
One of Mr. Clinton's most striking claims was only indirectly related to the war on terror, in his comment contrasting his years in the White House with his current role. Discussing the differences, he argued that as the president he could "simultaneously be trying to stop a genocide in Kosovo and, you know, make peace in the Middle East, pass a budget." As far as the Middle East is concerned, Mr. Clinton indeed made a valiant, if unsuccessful, effort to reach a major Israeli-Palestinian accord. But that was about diplomacy, of course, not waging a war. And in dealing with the Taliban and al Qaeda, it is now clear that Kosovo proved to be a serious and perhaps a fatal detraction.
But first, Mr. Clinton should not try to rewrite history. There was no genocide in Kosovo at the time that his administration orchestrated the NATO attack against Yugoslavia. There was a rebellion by Kosovar Albanians, who were clearly inspired by NATO's intervention in Bosnia against the Serbs. On the ground, the Kosovo Liberation Army regularly attacked Yugoslav police units and civilian officials. Unsurprisingly, the Milosevic regime responded withEssay