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Jewish World Review Nov. 13, 2001 /27 Mar-Cheshvan, 5762

Michael Long

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Consumer Reports

Guess who Clinton's apologizing for now

I'll bet you guessed right. -- For the record, let's remind ourselves what did not get Bill Clinton impeached. It wasn't his "relationship" with a 21 year-old subordinate and intern. It wasn't deluding his happy-to-be-deluded cabinet into lying on his behalf. It wasn't allowing -- directing? -- State Department spokesman Ken Bacon to illegally release the personnel file of Linda Tripp. It wasn't his employment of his office to put the squeeze on Paula Jones. It wasn't even that utterly credible rape charge. Clinton and his henchmen dismissed these things variously as inconsequential, patently false, not exactly false but not exactly true, completely true but beside the point du jour, and okay-because-everybody-else-does-

What Clinton did that got him in his principal historical pickle was that he lied under oath; this in order to prevent Paula Jones from exercising her right to sue him. Bill Clinton and his party fought for years to attach "guilty before proven innocent" to every sexual harassment charge made by a woman. But as soon as this newly minted right threatened one of their own, Democrats decided that there ought to be an exception to the rule; in particular, for one of their own with his chestnuts in the fire.

I'm not surprised by much anymore from this guy and his buddies. If the cops found fourteen paperboys buried under Clinton's front porch, Paul Begala and Terry McAuliffe would be up there inside of an hour making like Officer Barbrady on "South Park": Move along, people, nothing to see here.

The ethical black hole that was Bill Clinton's presidency relieves us from having to take seriously anything he says. But just for giggles, let's listen in, because last week he popped up again in a big way, and with the grace of a bulldozer in a glass factory.

In a speech on November 7 at Georgetown University, the former President gave his cheering fans "blame America first" at full bore (and "bore" in every sense of the word: he was forty-five minutes late to the hall). Terrorism has a long history, Clinton explained, citing first the Crusades in which Christians slaughtered Muslims "with blood running up to their knees." He then reeled off more examples of Western Terrorism According To Bill, from the displacing of Native Americans to gay bashing. He even condemned the country that elected him twice for having been "founded as a nation that practiced slavery," as if the U.S. thought up indentured service after a night of burning the wings off of butterflies, and carried it out alone while other nations were making medicine for infants and singing "Kumbaya."

Who says Bill Clinton's lack of a personal moral compass doesn't affect the way he understands the world? Instead of recognizing the U.S.' rise from slavery and segregation as societal evolution, he offers it as a seed for more WTC-style violence to come. By Clinton's lights, it's as if Osama bin Laden had been poring over a Stephen Douglas speech, leaped to his feet and said, "Dammit, the Americans will pay for Jim Crow!"

Clinton still believes that everyone out there is the economist's "rational man," welcoming to reason and wanting only to be understood. Clinton calls for the U.S. to learn what angers the Muslim world, and what creates a Muslim such as bin Laden. Of course, implying as Clinton does that bin Laden practices only a peculiar brand of Islam is like saying David Koresh was an innovative Christian. Yet here's Bill Clinton, urging the U.S. to "engage the Muslim world in a debate" over the priority of innocent life.

Newsflash, Mr. Clinton: Most religious people of all faiths figured this one out long before you showed up. This war is not about religion. It's about stopping an individual and a movement committed exclusively to bringing terror to U.S. shores. You don't deconstruct their uncivilized and incoherent (read them here ) ramblings. When you meet aggressors bent on destroying civilization, you kill them.

Bill Clinton has been given so much yet he gives back so little. Strike that -- he simply continues to take, oblivious to the damage he causes. Here he is again, tickling the ears of the politically correct for his own pleasure with no thought to the consequences: When a former President gives even a sliver of attention to the real or imagined grievances of terrorists, he legitimizes their methods a little bit. He shows the world that a little blood of the innocents goes a long way.

He should know this. If he doesn't, it's a pity. And if he does, it's a shame.

JWR contributor Michael Long is a a director of the White House Writers Group. Comment by clicking here.


11/02/01: Rules for Wartime: Rule Number One: Remember what's true
10/26/01: The Moral Case For Torture: Dirty hands don't always mean dirty souls
10/19/01: Questions for the Anti-War Crowd, Part II: What if someone took them seriously?
10/16/01: Questions for the anti-war crowd: If they question you, ask these back
10/12/01: The Jason Problem: Sometimes they only look dead
10/08/01: A little hindsight: A letter for readers in the future
09/28/01: Calling Bono: A plea to the pop culture elite to speak out
09/20/01: Encouragement from the Heartland, by mail
09/13/01: Bleeding time
09/07/01: The trailer-park taste of the public radio catalog
09/04/01: BRAVE NEW FREUD: Internet-based psychiatry may mean relief for those who have shunned treatment
08/17/01: First Amendment: Chickens home to roost
07/27/01: Dispatch From The Front: The Gun Control War
07/20/01: Summer song
07/03/01: It's a Wonderful Recount

© 2001, Michael Long