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Sweet blog extra: Obama hits (not by name) Clinton for "we are safer" post-9-11 debate declaration. Not so.

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MANCHESTER, N.H.---Safe? Safer? Or not safe in this 9-11 world. A sharp disagreement among the presidential front-runners emerged the day after the second Democratic debate.

Democratic White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama’s team e-mailed around a memo on Tuesday taking issue with a startling remark chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) made in Monday’s debate about safety in this era of international terrorism. At the debate, Obama took on former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) over waiting plus four years to renounce his Iraq war vote.

Obama did not engage Clinton directly. That changed on Tuesday, when the Obama campaign issued the rebuttal Obama failed to give himself when he had the opportunity.

Clinton said in Monday’s debate she knows the horrors of 9-11 "and I believe we are safer than we were. We are not yet safe enough.”

The unsigned memo from the Obama communications team—not mentioning Clinton by name—said "Senator Obama believes and asserted in the debate that America is less safe since 9/11 largely because the war in Iraq has fueled terrorism around the world.”

The memo cited studies by the U.S. State Department and the Council on Global Terrorism that “confirm that the war in Iraq has accelerated the spread of terrorism and increased the threat of attacks.

The Clinton campaign, asked to react to the Obama memo sent a statement from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)

Schumer said, “America is looking for a president who understands the threats the country faces and has the experience and strength to deal with them effectively. Despite the Bush administration's failures, America's first responders have worked tirelessly over the last six years to make the nation's cities and towns safer. As a Senator from New York, Hillary Clinton is grateful every day for their efforts. She has fought to build on the progress we've made in crucial areas like air safety and disrupting the terrorists' financial networks.

“Senator Clinton has said many times that the Iraq war has been a distraction from fighting terrorism, and if George Bush doesn't end the war, when she is President, she will.”


THIS IS WHAT CLINTON SAID

CLINTON: No, I do not. I am a senator from New York. I have
lived with the aftermath of 9/11, and I have seen firsthand the
terrible damage that can be inflicted on our country by a small band
of terrorists who are intent upon foisting their way of life and using
suicide bombers and suicidal people to carry out their agenda.

And I believe we are safer than we were. We are not yet safe
enough. And I have proposed over the last year a number of policies
that I think we should following.

THIS IS THE OBAMA MEMO
To: Interested Parties
Fr: Obama Communications
Re: America is not safer since 9/11
Da: June 4, 2007

During the Democratic debate in New Hampshire last night, there was disagreement over whether or not America is safer since the 9/11 attacks on our nation. Senator Obama believes and asserted in the debate that America is less safe since 9/11 largely because the war in Iraq has fueled terrorism around the world. He opposed the war from the beginning and has a plan to end it, bringing all combat troops out of Iraq by March 31, 2008.

Recent studies by the U.S. State Department and the Council on Global Terrorism confirm that the war in Iraq has accelerated the spread of terrorism and increased the threat of attacks.

 In a September 2006 report State of the Struggle: Report on the Battle Against Global Terrorism, the Council on Global Terrorism issued a report with the number 1 finding – “Five Year Assessment: As of Now, West is in a Worsening Position in Struggle Against Radical Islam.” The report issued a D+ for “Combating Islamic Extremist Terrorism,” saying, “there is every sign that radicalization in the Muslim world is spreading rather than shrinking." http://www.councilonglobalterrorism.org/research.shtml

 In a speech in San Antonio in April 2006, Gen. Michael Hayden (currently the CIA director) said: "New jihadist networks and cells, sometimes united by little more than their anti-Western agendas, are increasingly likely to emerge… If this trend continues, threats to the U.S. at home and abroad will become more diverse and that could lead to increasing attacks worldwide." http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/24/world/middleeast/24terror.html?ei=5088&en=da252be85d1b39fa&ex=1316750400&pagewanted=print

 According to the State Department's "Country Reports on Terrorism" released on April 30, 2007 - there was a 29% increase in terrorism worldwide from 2005 to 2006 (much of that gain took place in Iraq and Afghanistan). The new statistics record a rise in terrorist attacks on nonmilitary targets globally to 14,338 in 2006 from 11,153 in 2005, with an increase in deaths to 20,498 from 14,618. http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/83383.pdf

 According to a January 2007 CSIS report (cited in May/June Foreign Affairs), al Qaeda has trained up to 60,000 jihadists in Iraq. http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20070501faessay86304/bruce-riedel/al-qaeda-strikes-back.html


4 Comments

What in the world was Sen Clinton thinking? Safer now than before 911?

By her comments she makes her husband responsible to 911!

Are our borders more secure; are our ports more secure? If the answer to both is no as they are, then we are not safer.

The only thing we have made safer is the job of federal officials to do things that were never allowed in the 220 year history of the United State. By passage of the Patriot Act and other actions that eliminate freedom “to protect freedom” – the logic evades me – we have taken away basic rights of Americans and made us closer to what we fear the most – a totalitarian regime!

Obama was soo right!

I think that Senator Clinton performed better than Obama last night, but regardless, I'd just like to say that I was utterly unimpressed by the issues covered in the debate. Instead of asking what each candidate how they would utilize Bill Clinton in their administration, I wish the moderator had devoted that time to a less frivolous matter such as global poverty, for example. I would like to see the candidates address the United States’ commitment to the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, which call for cutting world hunger in half by 2015 and eliminating it altogether by 2025. Indeed, it is estimated that the expenditure of a mere $19 billion would eliminate starvation and malnutrition worldwide. In a time when the current defense budget is $522 billion, the goal of eradicating world hunger is clearly well within reach and it is my hope that whoever becomes president in 2008 addresses this pressing issue.

Senator Clinton performed well in my view. I took her response to the question to mean that even under this current administration our national security apparatus has taken lessons from 9/11 to heart and has taken the threat of terrorism on US soil extremely seriously and improved our domestic security.

I don't think her response indicts her husband since his administration apparently made numerous efforts to warn the Bush Administration of the threat, but it does not appear those warnings may have been taken very seriously before 9/11.

This effort by our Illinois senator to take her response entirely out of context is a cynical attempt to play upon the emotions of Iraqi-war opponents in a way not unlike the Republicans' cynical attempt to play upon the emotions of Americans and generate support for the war effort by conjuring up the dreaded "mushroom cloud".

We know what she meant. Since 9/11, we as a nation have made a concerted effort to learn more everyday about how terrorists operate and are, accordingly, safer as a result.

The inference that were we not in Iraq we would be more safe is dubious at best. We were not in Iraq when (i) the first World Trade Center bombing occurred, (ii) our embassy was hit in Kenya or (iii) the 9/11 attacks occurred. Obviously, Islamic extremism was on the rise long before the Iraq war.

Jessica- If world hunger were to be eliminated by 19 billion dollars, nobody would be hungry right now. Don't you think that over just the last several years at least 19 billion by government and private donations has been traded for hunger?? According to this data 22 BILLION was given just last year by OUR government, not including the rest of the world, and 27 the year prior!
http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Debt/USAid.asp

Feel free to educate yourself.

I'm all for eliminating hunger and poverty, but Jessica, it's people like you who will always want more, more, more- because your unrealistic expectations will never be met. Unfortunetaly there will ALWAYS be hungry and poor people in this world. Of course, we have to work hard to drastically reduce the numbers, but eradication is unrealistic.
Back to the point- maybe giving 22billion to the UN or other bureaucratic black holes isn't the answer. When is the last time a government has responsibly spent a billion dollars. Maybe coming up with a better way to stretch a dollar is the answer- since according to you world starvation should be non-existent at least 20 times over by now!!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on June 4, 2007 4:30 PM.

Sweet blog special: Post Dem debate musings. Report 6. was the previous entry in this blog.

Clinton talks about faith and Bill's infidelity at faith forum. Transcript. is the next entry in this blog.

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