Did Clinton set stage for 9-11?

By WND Staff

President Clinton desperately wanted a legacy built around an achievement of Middle East peace.

But his efforts achieved just the opposite, says a new book by terrorism expert Yossef Bodansky. Instead, his policies set the stage for the most dramatic and devastating terrorist attacks the world has ever seen.

“Not only is the real Middle East in the early 21st century still the most volatile and dangerous region in the world, but, in addition, the enduring legacy of the Clinton administration’s ‘humanitarian aggression’ (as European officials call it) has been to make the Arab world even more virulently radicalized and uncompromisingly hostile to the U.S.-led West,” writes Bodansky in “The High Cost of Peace.”

Bodansky makes the case that Clinton tried to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into making unilateral concessions to Arafat without regard to the way they might compromise the Jewish state’s security. Getting nowhere with demands to appease Arafat, Bodansky writes, Clinton decided to intervene in Israeli politics by going on an all-out campaign to boost the candidacy of the Labor Party’s Ehud Barak.

Bodansky is also the author of the best-seller “Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America,” a prophetic book written well before the Sept. 11 attacks. He is the director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. In addition, he is the director of research at the International Strategic Studies Association and a senior editor for the Defense and Foreign Affairs group of publications. He has authored a total of eight books on international terrorism and global crises.

During a trip to Jerusalem in 1998, Clinton met with Barak and personally promised him support in his contest with Netanyahu. Shortly thereafter, Barak hired James Carville, Robert Shrum and Stanley Greenberg, three American political consultants who played prominent roles in Clinton’s 1992 campaign. Carville told the New York Times he regularly briefed the president on the progress of the Barak campaign.

Bodansky says Barak’s campaign violated Israeli law in raising between $75 million and $105 million – much of it from foreign donors – and out-spending Netanyahu and the Likud Party 10-1. Most of the money, Bodansky says, came from the United States.

Once Barak was installed in power, Clinton told a Democratic fund-raiser in Florida he was “as excited as a young kid with a new toy.” And, according to Bodansky’s portrayal of events over the next two years – leading up to the intifada and taking the Middle East to the brink of all-out war – that’s just how he treated Barak.

Despite continual rejections by Arafat of every concession Barak placed on the negotiating table, the Clinton administration kept pushing the Israeli leader for more. Despite the gravest warnings of his own security team, Barak followed orders to the bitter end – even in spite of growing and more deadly terrorist strikes ordered by Arafat.

So blinded was Clinton to achieving a Palestinian state as part of his enduring legacy that he completely overlooked the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in 2000, says Bodansky. In his final days in office, Bodansky says, Clinton was still jockeying for a last-ditch summit at the White House that would at least produce an agreement on principles.

“He knew that the first priority of the next president of the United States – whether it proved to be (Al) Gore or (George) Bush – would be to soothe the bitterness and frustration engendered by the Florida vote-count fiasco,” Bodansky writes. “The brand-new president would not have time to deal with the Middle East on the verge of eruption. Clinton was essentially setting up the circumstances for him to be called upon as a super-emissary on behalf of that president (something akin to Jimmy Carter’s role in North Korea and Bosnia). And therein lay the prospect for Clinton’s gaining his legacy after all – perhaps even the elusive Nobel Peace Prize.”

Right up to the bitter end, the Clinton administration pushed Barak to make more “once-in-a-lifetime concessions.” Soon, Arafat began to grasp just how desperate Barak was for any kind of agreement. His response was snubs and insults.

“What the Clinton administration accomplished with its Middle East policy was to create in the Muslim eyes the image of a weak and subservient Israel, vulnerable to political pressure from the United States and military onslaught by its neighbors, while at the same time arousing frustration and wrath toward the United States because of its failure to ‘deliver’ Israel.”

Despite having Barak in his hip pocket and manipulating him like a political marionette, the Clinton administration still frequently blamed Israel for the “cycle of violence” in the Middle East – even though it was well aware of who was rejecting any form of compromise.

“Clinton’s true sense of the dynamics of the Middle East was revealed when he publicly equated Palestinian terrorists and Israeli victims of terrorism,” Bodansky writes. He cites Clinton remarks made in Jerusalem with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The pair comforted several little Arabic girls whose fathers were held by Israelis for committing terrorist acts.

“Your father would be proud of you,” Clinton reportedly said.

Later, when meeting Palestinian leaders in Gaza, he elaborated: “I’ve had two profoundly emotional experiences in the last less than 24 hours. I was with Chairman Arafat, and four little children came to see me whose fathers are in Israeli prisons. Last night, I met some little children whose fathers had been killed in conflict with Palestinians, at the dinner that Prime Minister Netanyahu had for me. Those children brought tears to my eyes. We have to find ways for both sets of children to get their lives back and to go forward. … If I had met them in reverse order I would not have known which ones were Israeli and which Palestinian. If they had all been lined up in a row and I had seen their tears, I could not tell whose father was dead and whose father was in prison, or what the story of their lives were, making up the grief that they bore.”

“At the dawn of a new century and a new millennium, the Arab/Muslim Middle East is driven once again by its genuine indigenous dynamics,” writes Bodansky. “In stark contrast to the impression created by the Clinton administration’s imposition of the peace process, the militarization and radicalization of the Arab world have broken through to the surface. The grass-roots outbursts of hatred and violence accurately reflect the interactions among the region’s leaders, including clandestine preparations for war and sponsorship of terrorism.”

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Purchase Yossef Bodansky’s “The High Cost of Peace”