October 22, 2003

Conservative Lies #1



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It has gotten to the point that I am hearing outright, bald-faced lies from conservative commentators on such a regular basis, I feel the need to address them in some manner. So here goes a series of small posts, in each a conservative claim and the truth of the matter.

Lie #1: "Clinton Sent Troops into Somalia."

Heard this one on Crossfire the other day, and found several instances of it on the web as well, a notable one in The Washington Times. The claim is used as a way to criticize Clinton for his foreign policy, and to contrast this with Bush's purported "success" in Iraq.

The fact: Clinton did not sent the troops. George H. W. Bush did. On December 4, 1992, Bush ordered 25,000 U.S. troops into Somalia. Remember the night-vision video of the beach landing on the news? One thing Republicans know, it's how to script news coverage. Bush sent the troops in a month after losing the election, and one and a half months before Clinton took office, knowing full well that he would get the initial glory and that Clinton would get stuck with the quagmire. If Clinton had done the same to Bush Jr., conservatives would have been howling like mad, accusing Clinton of every political dirty trick in the book, claiming he was sending our soldiers into harm's way just to embarrass Bush Jr. But Bush Sr. doing it to Clinton, that was OK. In fact, conservatives quickly erased the fact that Bush sent them in and blame the whole thing on Clinton, showing how he didn't know how to handle such things.

In fact, Clinton's handling of Somalia beats Bush Jr.'s actions in Iraq to hell. Clinton was anxious to bring the troops back, he didn't have to wait until the whole country was screaming at him before he decided to do that. And unlike Bush, Clinton was able to get the U.N. forces into Somalia, cutting U.S. troops down to 4,200. Unfortunately, he could not pull them all out--despite conservative sneers that Democrats like to cut and run, Clinton stood ground with the U.N. forces as long as it seemed that good could be done--and so, naturally, conservatives lashed out at him when a mission went wrong in late 1993, where eighteen U.S. soldiers died in the mission that went so famously wrong. Soon after, Clinton ordered a withdrawal, the mission no longer publicly tenable, but U.S. troops still held ground there, staying until late March, 1994.

It was a fiasco, but it was a Bush fiasco; Clinton simply did the best he could with what he had been given.

Source: The History Channel: George Bush, Forty-First U.S. President.

Posted by Luis at October 22, 2003 10:32 AM
Comments

Um...wow. That's quite some spin. Bush Sr. did, in fact, send troops into Somalia. For those of us who know history though, we know that 4 months into Clinton's term he pulled those troops OUT and declared "victory." Unfortunately, he was wrong and ended up sending troops BACK into Somalia, much to his disgrace. If he had kept up what Bush Sr. had started, the whole mess would have been avoided. The kind of thing you wrote..well, it never ceases to amaze me how people will spin a story to fit their perceptions.

Posted by: Kristen at May 20, 2006 02:56 AM

Kristen: Really? Clinton declared victory and pulled out all of our troops, leaving Somalia, then sent them back in, and all this happened around April? Funny, when I got your comment, I searched various histories and timelines of Somalia, particularly on WikiPedia but also on other news sources, and could not find any mention of the events you bring up. If I'm wrong on this one, I would certainly want to know.

However, I don't think I am wrong--I think you are. After entering office, Clinton reduced the number of troops in Somalia, until by June 1993, there were 1,800 remaining in the country. I find no mention of a complete pullout in mid-1993, nor of Clinton "declaring victory," nor do I find any note of any massive redeployment of US troops into Somalia.

So forgive me if I do not accept your statement on faith alone. Kindly provide a link to a non-political site detailing the events you mention. But before you do, I'm presuming that you have simply read yet another right-wing rant of the kind that prompted this blog entry in the first place.

(Note: I am re-enabling the ability to post links in comments, to the level of two per comment.)

Posted by: Luis at May 20, 2006 12:55 PM