Hillary: Monica Missiles Not 'Wag the Dog'
Newsmax.com ^ | September 15, 2002 | Carl Limbacher
Posted on 09/15/2002 4:14:53 PM PDT by Paul Atreides
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton said Sunday that critics who complained that her husband "wagged the dog" four years ago when he launched 70 cruise missiles at targets linked to Osama bin Laden were "dead wrong," even though the attacks coincided precisely with the day Monica Lewinsky testified before the Sexgate grand jury.
During her appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," host Tim Russert asked Mrs. Clinton about the Monica missile critics, saying, "As you well remember, in 1998, when President Clinton launched some missiles into Afghanistan, people suggested that he was wagging the dog, trying to cover up the impeachment investigation."
"And they were dead wrong," the ex-first lady shot back indignantly.
"And, you know, it was heartbreaking because, you know, you saw how politics could undermine what was a legitimate effort to try to take out Osama bin Laden," she complained.
"There was intelligence about where he was going to be at a certain time," Sen. Clinton insisted. "The missiles had a window to be launched. We were able to take out apparently, according to reports, some of the training camp people, but not him."
Clinton then criticized the Monica missile allegation as beyond the pale.
"You know, I don't know of any president - and I think I can say this without regard to party or any other consideration - who would knowingly do something for political reasons that is that serious," she argued.
But in remarks moments before the top Democrat suggested that some in the Bush administration might be wagging the dog with the war on terrorism.
"Well, there may be some in the administration who are trying to do that," she said, when asked about charges by Clinton operative James Carville that Bush advisors Karl Rove and Andrew Card were politicizing the war effort.
Moments later she revisited the allegation, telling Russert, "What I hope doesn't happen is that anyone around any president or anyone supporting any president tries to make political hay out of such a serious issue."
Clinton warned that if the Bush White House was found to be "wagging the dog" in the war on terror, the president would pay a price at the polls.
"I would just say that, you know, things have a funny way of working out," she predicted.
"And if there is a hint of this being a political issue as opposed to what it should be, an issue of the utmost importance to our national security - you know, I've concluded over many years the American voter is pretty smart, and they can smell it, they can see it and they will act on it."more...