Sure, Bill, But How's that Book Coming Along?


The WashPost's Howard Kurtz reads Bill Clinton's latest sortie into the media spotlight as evidence that the former president (and foreign-policy failure) "just can't stand being off the stage for long."

Writes Kurtz:

Frankly, in light of the stunning military victory in Iraq, his comments sound a bit churlish ? even though he makes some valid points. Shouldn't the former commander-in-chief be congratulating America's soldiers?

Maybe Clinton is just trying to boost interest in his "60 Minutes" debates with Bob Dole.

NEXT: Kyoto Comeback

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  1. There is no “Rumsfeld Doctrine” jackass. He said so himself:

    MR. RUSSERT: Colin Powell had a doctrine that?the use of overwhelming force in any military situation. This particular war seemed to focus around?and we?ve talked about this before?speed, flexibility, and use of intelligence data, real-time. Has speed, real-time intelligence, flexibility, the Rumsfeld doctrine, replaced the Colin Powell doctrine of overwhelming force in 2003?

    SEC?Y RUMSFELD: Well, first, I don?t think there was a Powell doctrine. I think it was Cap Weinberger who fashioned that list and it evolved over and it became called the Powell doctrine, but my recollection is it was Cap Weinberger?s doctrine. And second, it certainly is?I wouldn?t call it a Rumsfeld doctrine. I think it?s the law of physics. In this case, speed was more important than mass…

  2. People have the exact same visceral response to George W. Bush.

  3. Okay, whatever you say, Bark Moron.

  4. ” party-line Libertarian agenda”

    Oh, come on, there isn’t any such thing. There might be a few people who think that they’re the “Libertarians” but you have as much luck getting most libertarians to submit to a party agenda as you would herding cats.

  5. Doug, I’m just going by what they say on Cato, which is advocacy of a lighter military in general. I’m not trying to project that to all libertarians, neither large L nor small L. For my own part, I don’t consider myself straight-line Libertarian. Party-lines, though, exist for all parties. That said, I’m not arguing that it’s anything but a generalization used for purely rhetorical purposes.

    Anyway, screw you “Anon”. I was just trying to differentiate Rumsfeld’s agenda from the Powell Doctrine (which Rumsfeld also denies the existence of in that quote, notably). We have to call the two different viewpoints something in order to distinguish them. Duh. Perhaps Rumsfeld’s attempts to disabuse us of such thoughts are out of modesty. Nonetheless, is record of desiring a lighter more efficient military in general is a matter of fact, and Iraq was a successful implementation of those ideals, given the coordination between the services, and lack of the 4th ID.

    So many symantic quibblings today. Is this my punishment for making a slightly off topic post?

  6. I never really had much of a problem with Clinton. Or to be more specific, I didn’t see Clinton as being any worse or any better than the other Presidents whose rule I’ve lived under.

  7. Rumsfeld doesn’t deny it jackass. He calls it “Cap Weinberger?s doctrine.” Learn to read.

  8. My dad can beat up your dad…

  9. Its anonymous poster 5:32 who needs to learn how to read. He was referring to the Powell Doctrine being the creation of Weinberger, not the so-called Runsfeld Doctrine.

  10. Keep in mind that the former president has never been a big fan of the military. Of COURSE he wouldn’t have anything nice to say.

  11. Kurtz can’t even agree with Clinton without needling him. What a hack.

  12. We are winning wars with the military Clinton handed to W., so Clinton couldn’t have been too bad. As to whether Clinton disliked the military or not, he certainly seemed to like Gen. Wesley Clark.

  13. We are winning wars despite the military Clinton handed to W. Check the reduction in force from the start of BilkLinton years and the start of the W. years. It tells a tale.
    One swallow doth not a summer make: Clinton’s like for one member of the military can not lead to any conclusion about his affection therefor generally. Let us instead take the direct evidence of his weasel-out letter to the ROTC commander – he loathes the military.
    Finally, there has been an understood rule of elder statesmen that an ex-president does not attack the policies of his successor. Once again Clinton demonstrates his lack of grace and class by ignoring the polite conventions of honorable men.

  14. I heard Clinton talk. He connected the dots in the way of an “interdependent world”, among other things.

    I heard Bush talk. It was to military bases and warplane manufacturers.

    Gee, I miss Bill.

  15. Ooooo, so snarky today. Did someone finally get sucked off this morning? Thought so.

  16. To me, the most amazing thing about Clinton is his ability to provoke visceral responses. People who like him just like him, though they won’t admit it; people that dislike him, just dislike him, and they are even more unlikely to be honest about that than the others.

    It seems to me that the only intellectually honest approach is to acknowledge that Clinton was (is) a mixed bag, like most people. Only he had better luck than most.

    On the other hand, the American military certainly didn’t lose its stature as the world’s best-funded during Clinton’s terms.

  17. hi frenk,

    one thing about clinton that was disturbing to most: here’s a guy whos’ the most powerful on earth. and he could “have” anybody or anything he wanted. and look at his taste….. (maybe there was something to the false teeth out of the trailer trash’s mouth…


  18. I was serving active duty during the Clinton years. In my five years serving I was deployed to two different “conflicts” or “peace keeping missions” (depending on who you talked to.) For someone who didn’t like the military he sure as hell liked sending us everywhere.

  19. How’s that book coming along? I heard he’s almost done coloring it.

  20. Frenk: I’ve had plenty of people tell me openly they liked Clinton. Then again, I live in New York City. But you are certainly right about the visceral response. I am at a complete loss to explain why he was/is so popular with women, given that he routinely treated women like dirt. I guess it’s just the high school case of the nice guys not getting the girls, writ large.

  21. “Check the reduction in force from the start of BilkLinton years and the start of the W. years. It tells a tale.” Yes, it does…

    Once upon a time, THE COLD WAR ENDED!

    The end.

  22. Why is force reduction necessarily bad?

  23. One intersting thing about Clinton is that those who met him personally thought he had an amazing charisma and it was difficult to not like. Even those who claimed to despise the man admitted that on a personal level he was hard (no pun intended) to dislike.

  24. The whole Rumsfeld Doctrine is centered around a leaner, lighter, technologically superior force. Cheney, for instance, now a key member of this cabal tried to kill the Osprey Tilt Rotor Aircraft when he was SecDef (until congress refunded it – it’s doomed anyway). And Rumsfeld canned the Crusader not long ago.

    I’m surprized that Libertarians, though largely against the war, didn’t hail our military’s performance in it as ground breaking and wildly successful. As far as I know it is part of the party-line Libertarian agenda to do precisely the same cutting and reoganization of military assets that Rumsfeld would like to (and even moreso), even if they disagree as to how they should be used.

  25. Whatever Anon. My point was that your whining was tangential to my point, and I don’t know where your hostility is coming from. You can call me a jackass all you want, just try to back it up with more that bitching about my phraseology and careless errors. (Which, if there were any, weren’t destructive to my point.) At any rate, I’ll waste no more time one it.

  26. Ric,

    The president runs the military. He doesn’t run an equity market.

    No one’s claiming Clinton was a great builder of military power. But lots of people have implied that Clinton gutted the military, and they’re wrong.

  27. Lefty:

    I’m pretty sure you’d miss Stalin….He was just misunderstood.

  28. As to the visceral appeal of Clinton, I think he was a very charming sociopath. As someone said, “The key is absolute sincerity. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

    I’d like to see him debate *Norm MacDonald’s* Bob Dole: “Bob Dole’s gonna kick your ass! Yeah, go on! Tell your friends you ran away from a one-armed seventy-three year old man!”

  29. Reduction is force is not necessarily bad. But when one tries to claim military credit for a victory, as Pelosi did, it is necessary to see what happened to the military under the former Prexy.
    Do I see equal credit claimed for Clinton’s responsibility for the hammered equtites market W. inherited? (crickets)
    “I take full responsibility … but not the blame.” Richard Nixon as rendered by National Lampoon

  30. The Hollywoodizing of politics is certainly a factor here, but I think that a lot of the either-or opinions of both Clinton and Bush come mainly from the fact that both have now been at the center of significant, devisive political events. People are still locked into the same old Right-Left continuum, and they tend to project this over-simplification onto their leaders. Observe how Republicans painted Clinton as an amoral Arch-Liberal (bolstered by his Oval Office debauchery), and how Democrats try to paint Bush as a Nazified Superhawk (an argument bolstered by his rhetoric and war). In reality, they are both relatively centrist compared to their reputations, but people seem content to judge them just as much (if not moreso) by their public images as by the technical details of their policies.

    Plus Clinton and Bush represent very strong but very different personalities and leadership styles, so it’s understandable that people are also reacting to them emotionally, not just intellectually.

  31. Visceral applies not only to the reactions of those that like Clinton–it applies equally to those that dislike him, too. If you are dispassionate and can talk to a Clinton-booster or Clinton-hater, you will see that it all comes down to “I like him!” or “I hate him!” There is a noticeable lack of content at both ends of the Clinton-affection spectrum.

    Mark Borok pointed out that people have the same kind of response to George W., which is a very good observation. Perhaps this is the inevitable result of a political process that seems to hire people for their acting abilities rather than intellect or ability to lead. I’d like to blame TV, but it’s probably a lot more complex than that.

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