Here is an intimate view of Bill Clinton discharging his duties as president over a two year period. Robert Patterson was in a unique position to see, first hand, how President Clinton paid attention to his duties. Patterson, an Air Force Lieutenant, entrusted with the device that actuates a nuclear response, had to remain close to Clinton throughout the day and be accessible quickly at night in case a response to a nuclear attack was required. Patterson accompanied Clinton throughout the day, from morning jog, through daily meetings, recreation on the golf course, and pre-bedtime card games.
Required to be on hand and not intrude, Patterson saw and heard much of what the president did during those two years. Patterson was very much disillusioned by what he saw. He finally, along with four other Clinton Military Advisors, resigned in disgust.
Patterson observed that Clinton seemed more concerned with his public image than with hard decisions of National Security. He cited an event on the golf course on September 16, 1996. The military had been put on alert to retaliate against Iraq for their capture of the Kurdish city of Irbil in violation of peace agreement signed to end the Gulf War. The Air Force found an appropriate target and needed Clinton's approval to proceed. Clinton's National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger, phoned for Clinton three times at the golf course while the planes were en route to the target. Clinton refused to take the calls. Finally, when it was too late to continue, the strike was called off; the planes returned. During similar periods of indecision by Clinton, Osama bi Laden was given a chance to escape our military. Later, Osama bin Laden was captured by Sudan, who offered bin Laden to the Saudis. The Saudis declined, but Clinton could have accepted bin Laden from Sudan. One wonders if the 911 attack would have occurred if Clinton had acted decisively when he had the opportunities. These and many other observations surprised and saddened Patterson who expected more from his Commander-in-chief.
This report prepared by Maurice A. Williams