B. CLINTON DEMANDS 9/11 ACTION

Sep 11, 2006 10:38am

ABC’s David Chalian reports:

"I think we all should try today to recover a little bit of the sense of unity and common humanity we felt in this country and across the globe," he says. ABC’s David Chalian has the details…

In a speech commemorating the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, former President Bill Clinton called for full implementation of the 9/11 Commission recommendations, a renewed commitment to making sure the "Afghan experiment" succeeds including additional troops, and intensifying the hunt for Osama bin Laden, Ayman Zawahiri, and other Al Qaeda leadership.

"I think we all should try today to recover a little bit of the sense of unity and common humanity we felt in this country and across the globe," said Clinton as he called for progress in those three areas in which he sees potential agreement.

The former president did not directly address the recent controversy stemming from ABC Entertainment’s broadcasting of "The Path to 9/11," but did talk about how he remembered his reaction on September 11, 2001 was not just as an American citizen, but also as a former president "who tried to get rid of the leadership of Al Qaeda."

Clinton bemoaned the "politicization of the war on terror in the 2002 elections" exemplified by the line of attack used against Vietnam veteran Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA), who lost three limbs on the battlefield, for failing to vote for the creation of the Department of Homeland Security as structured by the Bush Administration and Republicans in Congress. "Once we decided that that kind of politics was fair game, our country lost a lot of its unity," Clinton said.

In his call for more troops in Afghanistan, Clinton said there are roughly six and a half times as many troops in Iraq as there are in Afghanistan and that in order for the Karzai government to succeed and the resurgence of the Taliban be tamed, an increase in American and NATO troops is required.

Although he attempted to paint his remarks as non-partisan and a call for unity, Clinton criticized the Republicans in Congress for pushing an estate tax instead of using that money to fully fund homeland security protocols called for in the 9/11 Commission recommendations.

After his speech concluded, Clinton’s departure from the Washington, DC hotel where he delivered his remarks was delayed as he awaited a nearby restaurant to deliver his lunch. As the former president cooled his heels in a hotel garage out of view from news cameras, six bags of what appeared to be Chinese take-out arrived so that Mr. Clinton could eat before getting on a plane to New Jersey where he is expected to take part in a 9/11 commemoration ceremony with his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, in Bayonne, NJ.

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