Should We Have Sent the Ninjas After Al Qaeda?

Henry Hanks provides a link to one of the more bizarre 9/11-related stories. It seems a couple of Clinton-era National Security Council folks have written a book, Sacred Terror, which tries to portray the president as wanting to do nothing more than go after Al Qaeda, only to be foiled time and again by entrenched interests in the Pentagon.

But in their book, the former-NSC staffers make the mistake of outlining what they claim was a serious plan by Clinton to go after Al Qaeda,

He approached Gen. Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and said, according to the book, “It would scare the (expletive) out of al-Qaida if suddenly a bunch of black ninjas rappelled out of helicopters in to the middle of their camp. It would get us an enormous deterrence and show those guys we’re not afraid.”

The Pentagon feared a debacle similar to April 1980 when President Carter dispatched helicopters to Iran in hopes of rescuing 52 American hostages. The result was the incineration of two helicopters and the deaths of eight servicemen.

The authors suspect that Pentagon reservations about the Clinton plan ran deeper. The Pentagon, they point out, had an uneasy relationship with Clinton virtually from Day 1, when the White House began pushing to end discrimination against homosexuals by the military.

. . .

Clinton’s “black ninja” plan never got off the ground.

Okay, let me get this straight. Clinton suggested sending in the ninjas, and the reason the Pentagon dismissed the idea was not because it was (and is) completely nutty, but rather because they were still pissed about don’t ask, don’t tell?

Can you imagine the headlines if Bush made this sort of boneheaded proposal and it was leaked to the media?

And this is in a book intended to reassure us of Clinton’s competence in fighting terrorism?


Book Looks at Clinton Presidency: Clinton Had Little Success in Getting Pentagon, FBI to Pursue bin Laden Terror Network, Book Says. The Associated Press, November 13, 2002.

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