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Monday, June 30, 2008

You'd almost think they WANTED a stronger Al-Qaeda
Posted by Jill | 6:53 AM
When you look at how the Bush Administration has fought its so-called "war on terror", you'd think that they defined "terror" as "free Americans" and that Al-Qaeda were their allies in this war. How else to explain that every policy this administration has implemented has benefitted Al-Qaeda?

Intelligence reports for more than a year had been streaming in about Osama bin Laden’s terrorism network rebuilding in the Pakistani tribal areas, a problem that had been exacerbated by years of missteps in Washington and the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, sharp policy disagreements, and turf battles between American counterterrorism agencies.

The new plan, outlined in a highly classified Pentagon order, was intended to eliminate some of those battles. And it was meant to pave a smoother path into the tribal areas for American commandos, who for years have bristled at what they see as Washington’s risk-averse attitude toward Special Operations missions inside Pakistan. They also argue that catching Mr. bin Laden will come only by capturing some of his senior lieutenants alive.

But more than six months later, the Special Operations forces are still waiting for the green light. The plan has been held up in Washington by the very disagreements it was meant to eliminate. A senior Defense Department official said there was “mounting frustration” in the Pentagon at the continued delay.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush committed the nation to a “war on terrorism” and made the destruction of Mr. bin Laden’s network the top priority of his presidency. But it is increasingly clear that the Bush administration will leave office with Al Qaeda having successfully relocated its base from Afghanistan to Pakistan’s tribal areas, where it has rebuilt much of its ability to attack from the region and broadcast its messages to militants across the world.

A recent American airstrike killing Pakistani troops has only inflamed tensions along the mountain border and added to tensions between Washington and Pakistan’s new government.

The story of how Al Qaeda, whose name is Arabic for “the base,” has gained a new haven is in part a story of American accommodation to President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, whose advisers played down the terrorist threat. It is also a story of how the White House shifted its sights, beginning in 2002, from counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan to preparations for the war in Iraq.

Just as it had on the day before 9/11, Al Qaeda now has a band of terrorist camps from which to plan and train for attacks against Western targets, including the United States. Officials say the new camps are smaller than the ones the group used prior to 2001. However, despite dozens of American missile strikes in Pakistan since 2002, one retired C.I.A. officer estimated that the makeshift training compounds now have as many as 2,000 local and foreign militants, up from several hundred three years ago.

Joe Lieberman, like so many of the Republicans with whom he's cast his lot, is saying, in essence, "Vote for John McCain or die horribly in a terrorist attack." Given that John McCain advocates not just staying in Iraq forever if necessary, but also expanding the war into Iran, it's difficult to imagine that his policies would do anything to combat the threat. It seems that the Republican anti-terror policy consists of a lot of bellicose rhetoric, and killing a bunch of people who didn't do a thing to us, while letting those who would do us harm go free.

It makes you wonder just whose side they're on.

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Blogger D. said...
Wouldn't want to upset the tenant in the White House basement, now, would they?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I think history will measure the Bush presidency by its achievements: a perpetual war, an increasingly divided nation, politicization of the DOJ, all-time record profits for corporate energy, pharma, and military concerns, and an increase of anti-Americanism around the world.

If you were on a firing range and you happen to shoot yourself in the foot, it wouldn't really matter how careful your aim was in the first place.

Isn't there an aphorism about the road to hell that's appropriate here?