President Clinton watched golf instead of giving a decision on a critical attack against Iraq-Disputed!
President Clinton Once Delayed a Critical Attack on Iraq Because He was Watching a Golf Game-Disputed!
Summary of eRumor:The email quotes a new book by Lt. Col Robert Patterson, who served as a military aide to President Clinton from 1996 through 1998. Patterson says that planes were ready to launch against Saddam Hussein in response to a blatant violation of the terms that ended the Gulf War. Clinton is described as having told the American people that action against Saddam was imminent. Patterson says that while the critical window of opportunity for conducting the attack in the darkness of night faded,
The allegations are in Patterson's book, "Dereliction of Duty: The Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Compromised National Security." Excerpts were published on March 10, 2003 in the New York Daily News. The news contacted former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger who said the golf tournament story never happened. The book makes other allegations including that Clinton "sexually molested" a female Air Force office aboard Air Force One, once lost the nuclear launch codes that would be necessary for defending America from nuclear attack, and didn't seem able to make a decision that would have taken out Osama Bin Laden.
Critics of the book say it's another in a series of anti-Clinton books from publisher, Regnery press, and cannot be authenticated outside of the author's allegations. Supporters of the book say it provides important information about how Bill Clinton failed to keep America safe.
Last updated 3/24/03
A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:
Book Bombshell: Iraq Attack Scrubbed for Clinton Golf Game
Ex-President Bill Clinton kept a squadron of F-117 stealth
fighter-bombers and B-52s waiting to launch a critical 1996 airstrike on
Iraq while he finished watching a golf tournament – dithering so long
that U.S. pilots lost the cover of darkness and the mission had to be
That’s the explosive charge leveled in a brand new book by Lt. Col.
Robert Patterson, a key Clinton military aide from 1996 through 1998
whose primary mission was to carry the president’s copy of America’s
nuclear launch codes.
“We dispatched eight F-117 stealth fighter-bombers capable of
carrying 2,000-pound bombs into the region and sent B-52s to Diego
Garcia, in the Indian Ocean, in preparation for action,” reveals Lt.
Col. Patterson in his bombshell security scandal tell-all, “Dereliction
of Duty: The Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Compromised
America’s National Security.”
The Sept. 13, 1996, air strike was planned as the U.S.’s response to
an Aug. 31 tank attack launched by Saddam Hussein on the northern
Kurdish city of Irbil, a blatant violation of the 1991 Gulf War
surrender accords that had an estimated 300,000 Kurdish refugees fleeing
for their lives.
At the same time, Saddam’s Republican Guard had executed an
estimated 100 Iraqi dissidents and arrested 1,500 more – extinguishing
whatever opposition the Iraqi dictator might have faced from within.
Two days before he attended the President’s Cup golf tournament,
Clinton had warned the world that “action is imminent” and that “the
determination of the United States in dealing with the problem of Iraq
should not be underestimated,” reports the national security
With the F-117s and B-52s ready to take off and the cover of
darkness in Iraq slipping away, National Security Adviser Sandy Berger
placed a series of desperate phone calls to the Manassas, Va., golf
course seeking clearance from Clinton. But the president refused to come
to the phone.
“Sir, Mr. Berger is on the line and needs a decision about the
proposed attack on Iraq,” Lt. Col. Patterson remembers telling the
Clinton’s response? “Tell him I’ll get back with him later.”
As mission-critical minutes evaporated, an anxious Berger called
“This time he was animated, obviously upset,” remembers Patterson.
“Pilots were in the cockpits waiting to launch, targets were identified,
everything was in place, all he needed was the go-ahead.”
The presidential military aide promised the national security
adviser that he would do everything he could to get Clinton to pay
attention to the mission at hand.
“This time, the president was engaged in conversations with several
people and was less approachable,” Patterson reports. “I maneuvered
through the crowd and caught his eye. When President Clinton saw me, he
seemed disturbed at being interrupted again with something unimportant.
He frowned as I neared him.”
Still Patterson persisted. “‘Mr. President, Mr. Berger has called
again and needs a decision soon.’ I explained in a low tone, ‘We have
our pilots in cockpits, ready to launch, and we’re running out of the
protective cover of nighttime over there.'”
But Clinton seemed unmoved. “I’ll call Berger when I get the
chance,” he told the aide.
Less than 15 minutes later Berger called back. “This time he was
irate,” Patterson recalls. “Where is the president? What is he doing? Can I
talk to him?”
The presidential military aide was forced to explain: Sir, he is
watching the golf tournament with several friends. I’ve approached him twice
with your request. I’ve communicated your concerns about the window of
opportunity and about the pilots being prepared and
ready to go.
“I’m an Air Force pilot myself, sir.” Patterson told Berger. “I
understand the ramifications. I’ll try again.”
For the third time in an hour, the military aide desperately tried
to get Clinton to focus on the mission – hoping he would appreciate that
further delay could jeopardize the lives of U.S. pilots now waiting for
But Clinton remained oblivious. “Tell Berger that I’ll give him a
call on my way back to the White House,” he said, in what Patterson
describes as an “indifferent” tone of voice. “That’s all,” Clinton
added, in words the military man understood to mean the president didn’t
want to hear any more about the problem.
“I called Mr. Berger and explained that the president would contact
him from the limo,” Patterson recalled. “We both knew what that meant.
We’d missed our opportunity.”
The trusted soldier says he remains haunted by the episode. “Human
lives were at stake – the lives of American service members and the
lives of our allies who opposed Saddam at our behest and were now under
“At a time when America’s honor and grander principles were being
challenged and the world was watching our every move … the president
was watching golf.”