Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The TWA 800 crash won't go away. Like most people I had bought the official explanation and thought that reports of a missile shootdown were black helicopter style conspiracy mongering. Maybe not, and this reason for the "nothing to see here" explanation makes a lot of sense:

In the summer of 1996, President Clinton held a large double-digit lead in the polls over his Republican opponent Bob Dole. The country's economy was improving, the deficit was falling, the nation was at peace. If things continued on an even keel, Clinton was a certain winner in the November election. If, on the other hand, Arab terrorists had shot down an American jetliner from waters off our shore, there would have been strong public pressure for a tough response. Targeting whoever was responsible would involve military action, and a risk of casualties, and things going wrong overseas. Consider the precedent Clinton surely remembered: the badly botched rescue attempt of the Iranian hostages in the 4th year of the Carter administration, the last prior Democratic Party President, who was then beaten in his re-election race.

The Clinton administration was, in all respects other than the personal, a very cautious Presidency. Dick Morris did polling to select the President's vacation destination in 1996. Jackson Hole, Wyoming won out over Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Being seen hiking though the mountains and roughing it, was a safer way to win over white male votes than launching attacks on Afghanistan.

Clinton never wanted to take action on anything as messy as what we're doing now, which is why he ignored the Africa embassy bombings, the Khobar Towers bombings and the USS Cole attack. This fits that pattern.


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