Monday, October 19, 2015

Trump is Right about Bush and 9-11

Peter Beinart reviews all the ways Bush's people waved off CIA warnings about al Qaeda in the months before 9-11:
But both Clarke and Tenet grew deeply frustrated by the way top Bush officials responded. Clarke recounts that when he briefed Rice about al-Qaeda, “her facial expression gave me the impression that she had never heard the term before.” On January 25, Clarke sent Rice a memo declaring that, “we urgently need…a Principals [Cabinet] level review on the al Qida [sic] network.” Instead, Clarke got a sub-cabinet, Deputies level, meeting in April, two months after the one on Iraq.

When that April meeting finally occurred, according to Clarke’s book, Against All Enemies, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz objected that “I just don’t understand why we are beginning by talking about this one man, bin Laden.” Clarke responded that, “We are talking about a network of terrorist organizations called al-Qaeda, that happens to be led by bin Laden, and we are talking about that network because it and it alone poses an immediate and serious threat to the United States.” To which Wolfowitz replied, “Well, there are others that do as well, at least as much. Iraqi terrorism for example.”
Yes, Wolfowitz wanted to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein long before 9-11, and so did other Bush people. When the CIA continued to press about al Qaeda, some Bush people insisted that all the al Qaeda "chatter" was an Iraqi disinformation program designed to distract the US from Iraq's nefarious plans.

Of course it might have been that the U.S. could have deployed all its attention and resources on al Qaeda in 2001 and still not prevented 9-11. But we could have tried harder. So I think Trump is exactly right to point out that W did not "keep America safe." He followed up the failure to prevent 9-11 with his mad war in Iraq in which even more Americans died, not to mention 120,000 Iraqis. He spent the first six years of this presidency making the world more dangerous in a hundred different ways.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

Don't forget the OTHER major war we fought under Bush. Where was that one again? Some place they call the "Graveyard of Empires" or something? Ah well, no one remembers that war anyway, so I guess it doesn't matter.

So yeah, we focus on Iraq to the point where we miss the actual danger elsewhere, then once we're caught with our pants down we retaliate against a terrorist network with a full scale invasion of an entire Central Asian nation. The land war drags on and accomplishes... nothing, really.

For a time, Al-Qaeda loses their grip on Afghanistan, but the moment we pull our troops out they return and topple the weak puppet government we installed, and go right back to their old situation. We kill Bin Laden, and he gets replaced. Nothing is accomplished by this war that wasn't already achieved by insituting the practice of sealing airplane cabins.

Then the same exact scenario plays out in Iraq. Bad intelligence leads us into a crusade to kill a notorious leader, impotently occupy the region for a couple years against a native insurgency, and ultimately withdraw leaving behind a puppet regime that we're shocked and amazed to learn is staggeringly corrupt and unwilling to fight without our help, and which rapidly falls to dedicated opposition.

The only difference is that instead of the original regime quietly returning to power like in Afghanistan, in Iraq we created a power vacuum which led to things becoming worse than ever with the rise of ISIL.