Bill Clinton went on an amazing rant yesterday in his first-ever interview with Fox News. When not pummelling Republicans and smearing Chris Wallace, he announced that Republicans had solidly opposed his efforts to get bin Laden, and so Clinton's failure to capture or kill him, was their fault. But news articles from the period say otherwise. Even the New York Times pointed out strong Republican support. Note the date: August 1998, just after Clinton launched cruise missiles at a bin Laden camp and at a pharmaceutical factory. And note the Republican response described by the NY Times: "Republican leaders praised Clinton's decision and urged more aggressive action against terrorism. "House Speaker Newt Gingrich expressed firm support, and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, said, 'Our response appears to be appropriate and just.' " Never mind that the factory had nothing to do with weapons of any kind, or that Clinton's minions tipped off bin Laden in time to get out of the camp before the missiles hit, by telling the Pakistani government the missiles were coming. Those facts didn't come out until later. Clinton seems to think that enough time has gone by since his scandal-ridden and ineffective administration, for people to forget what really happened. He apparently wants to start trying to rewrite history once again, in search of a favorable, if false, legacy. I guess it's time to start re-debunking Clinton's lies again. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- http://partners.nytimes.com/library/world/africa/082198attack-us.html U.S. Cruise Missiles Strike Sudan and Afghan Targets Tied to Terrorist Network August 21, 1998 By JAMES BENNET ASHINGTON -- Dozens of U.S. cruise missiles struck targets in Afghanistan and the Sudan on Thursday in what President Clinton described as an act of self-defense against imminent terrorist plots and of retribution for the bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa two weeks ago. The strikes were launched from ships in the Arabian and Red Seas at dusk. It was not immediately clear whether the raids were a military success. Pentagon officials said that no Americans died but that they had no immediate estimate of other casualties or damage. Early Friday, an Islamic press agency reported 15 deaths from the bombings in Afghanistan. With about 75 missiles timed to explode simultaneously in unsuspecting countries on two continents, the operation was the most formidable U.S. military assault ever against a private sponsor of terrorism. The targets were identified by Pentagon officials as an extensive terrorism training complex in Afghanistan, 94 miles south of Kabul, and a factory for the building blocks of chemical weapons near Khartoum, the Sudan. Clinton and his national security team linked both sites to Osama bin Laden, the exiled Saudi millionaire tied by U.S. intelligence to the twin bombings on Aug. 7 in Kenya and Tanzania. The bombings killed 12 Americans and nearly 300 Africans. Bin Laden, who is in Afghanistan, apparently survived the attack, which officials insisted was not aimed at him. "Let our actions today send this message loud and clear," Clinton said in an address from the Oval Office. "There are no expendable American targets. There will be no sanctuary for terrorists." The president made no apologies for ordering the strikes without permission from Afghanistan or the Sudan, saying, "Countries that persistently host terrorists have no right to be safe havens." Clinton's stone-faced appearance marked his emergence from two days of shelter from a howling political storm. He returned to the White House on Thursday afternoon from vacation on Martha's Vineyard, where he was trying to repair family ties damaged by his admission Monday of an intimate relationship with a White House intern. The president reappeared to describe an operation he had been planning secretly for more than a week, even as he was meeting with his lawyers to prepare a legal and political defense of himself and his presidency. In Sudan, President Omar el-Bashir called on his people to protest the attack, saying on television, "Sudanese people will defend themselves." Earlier, Information Minister Ghazi Salah-Eddin said the attack on what the Sudanese call a pharmaceutical plant was "a criminal act." The leader of the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan, Mullah Mohammad Omar, condemned the bombings, saying they showed an "enmity" for the Afghan people. Defense Secretary William Cohen said the strikes were intended to "cause sufficient damage to disrupt them for some time." Clinton presented several reasons for the decision to act swiftly and forcefully, rather than to punish bin Laden through the means of diplomacy and law. Repeatedly he said bin Laden presented an imminent threat, quoting his pledge this week to wage a war in which Americans were "all targets." Clinton added that "key terrorist leaders" were believed to be gathering on Thursday at the compound in Afghanistan. Clinton said he had "convincing" intelligence that bin Laden's terrorist network was behind the embassy bombings. And he accused groups tied to bin Laden of a host of murderous attacks and foiled plots like killing international peacekeepers in Somalia and planning to assassinate the Pope. But while the Republican leadership rallied to support the raids, some members of Congress reacted suspiciously, noting that the action followed by three days Clinton's acknowledgment to the public and a grand jury of his relationship with former intern Monica Lewinsky. Administration officials scorned talk of a connection. When Clinton's motorcade abruptly left the borrowed estate where he was secluded with his wife and daughter, reporters and photographers who were idling at the entrance assumed that he was going to play golf. Instead Clinton made a brief dramatic appearance to announce the strikes. Clinton flew to Washington for his Oval Office address as Ms. Lewinsky was testifying for a second time before the grand jury here. Administration officials said the planning for the mission began nine days ago, shortly after the bombings. Clinton was first informed of the planning in the White House situation room Aug. 12, and on Aug. 14 gave tentative approval for a mission. He gave the final go-ahead in a telephone conversation at 3 a.m. Thursday morning with National Security Adviser Samuel Berger. Pentagon officials denied any plan to assassinate bin Laden, saying they intended only to damage his network. Asked whether bin Laden was a legitimate military target, Cohen said, "To the extent that he or his organization have declared war upon the United States or our interests, then he certainly is engaged in an act of war." The missiles were timed to hit at 1:30 Thursday afternoon Eastern daylight time, or 7:30 in the evening in the Sudan and 10 at night in Afghanistan. The twin attacks provided a certain symmetry to the bombings in East Africa. Though seas apart, the targets share a connection to bin Laden. Bin Laden, who moved to Afghanistan two years ago from the Sudan, has continued to support the Sudanese military-industrial complex, which operates the Al-Shifa factory that was bombed Thursday. That factory, which has been said to manufacture pharmaceuticals, in fact makes the components for VX gas and other chemical weapons, the Administration said. Gen. Hugh Shelton, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said bin Laden's network had "been actively seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons for use against U.S. citizens and our interests around the world." The target in Afghanistan was described as a vast compound composed of a base camp, a support complex and four training camps for teaching terrorists to plan attacks and use weapons. Clinton said the site had been used to train "literally thousands of terrorists from around the globe." The United States obtained the permission of Pakistan to send missiles over its territory into Afghanistan, but evidently alerted none of its major allies except the British. The president made a round of telephone calls to foreign leaders after his seven-and-a-half-minute speech at 5:30. The links between bin Laden and the bombings in Kenya and Tanzania were established by intelligence networks rather than by the inquiry at the bombing sites led by the FBI, according to law-enforcement officials. The officials said the intelligence included statements that implicated bin Laden by one suspect, Mohammed Saddiq Odeh, who was apprehended in Pakistan and is now being held in Nairobi. Odeh told Pakistani authorities after his arrest Aug. 7, the day of the bombing, that he was a disciple of bin Laden. He also said he was an engineer who had helped build the Nairobi bomb, U.S. officials have said. Congressional leaders were briefed about the planned raid Wednesday night and Thursday morning. For the most part, Republican leaders praised Clinton's decision and urged more aggressive action against terrorism. House Speaker Newt Gingrich expressed firm support, and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, said, "Our response appears to be appropriate and just." Others were more critical. Accusing Clinton of "lies and deceit and manipulations and deceptions," Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., said the president's record "raises into doubt everything he does and everything he says, and maybe even everything he doesn't do and doesn't say."