As the Clinton campaign now concedes, Sen. Clinton’s claims about running from their military aircraft to evade sniper fire are not borne out by the video of the events in question. Now still others have come forward to dispute her account. And there’s even more. Sen. Clinton has said on a number of occasions that she was “the first, you know, high- profile American to go into Bosnia after the peace accords were signed because we wanted to show that the United States was 100 percent behind the agreement.”
But this also seems to incorrect.
According to some quick research we did, it turns out that Madeleine Albright, then UN Ambassador, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs John Shalikashvili, then-Sec Def Bill Perry, various members of Congress and President Clinton himself had all visited Tuzla a few months earlier.
I think the real story here though is the big picture. People have faulty memories. Things get dramatized in people’s recollections. And despite what happened on the ground, they did do one of those evasive ‘cork-screw’ descents [see update below] meant to guard against taking incoming fire, a relatively routine measure in conflict and post-conflict settings but one that I’m sure made everyone on board feel palpably that this wasn’t some flight to Paris or Madrid. But this is an anecdote that’s become something close to a staple of her foreign policy experience resume. And it’s pretty clearly false. And it comes in the context of a whole slew of exaggerations — some minor, some major — that she’s used to puff up her Commander-in-Chief resume.
As I noted a few weeks back, I don’t think you need to be a veteran or someone who’s done foreign policy work in the executive branch. Bill Clinton didn’t have any. I think both Clinton and Obama are perfectly capable of being good presidents and able commanders-in-chief — certainly they’d pursue wiser polices than John McCain. But in trying to push this argument that she and John McCain stand on one side of the foreign policy divide (aka, Commander-in-Chief threshold) and Obama on the other she’s had to make a series of arguments that are just plain silly.
Late Update: Apparently the military aircraft did not make a ‘corkscrew’ landing but rather what the Post refers to as a ‘very fast descent’ (not sure if they mean a steep descent). In any case, as per what I said above, not sure this greatly changes things. Memories aren’t perfect; maybe she doesn’t know the difference, etc. But wanted to set the record straight.