April 06, 2004

They're getting to it...er, during their third term
Posted by Jon Henke

James Lakely backhands Richard Clarke, the media... just about everybody.

The final policy paper on national security that President Clinton submitted to Congress — 45,000 words long — makes no mention of al Qaeda and refers to Osama bin Laden by name just four times.

The scarce references to bin Laden and his terror network undercut claims by former White House terrorism analyst Richard A. Clarke that the Clinton administration considered al Qaeda an "urgent" threat, while President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, "ignored" it.

The Clinton document, titled "A National Security Strategy for a Global Age," is dated December 2000 and is the final official assessment of national security policy and strategy by the Clinton team. The document is publicly available, though no U.S. media outlets have examined it in the context of Mr. Clarke's testimony and new book.[emphasis added]

Back to you, Clarke.

UPDATE: James Joyner has further thoughts...

Does this prove that Bill Clinton and company were oblivious to terrorism? No, of course not. It does, however, believe Richard Clarke’s argument that it was somehow THE focus of Clinton foreign policy. Which, of course, we already knew it wasn’t.
...
Clearly, the focus is on more traditional goals, most especially economic globalization. In the context of that time, that was entirely appropriate in my judgment. In hindsight, of course, it seems unwise.
I agree, and I don't intend my post to be a denunciation of Clinton's security policy. After the fact, we know they didn't do enough, of course.

At the time, though, there was a dramatically different cost/benefit calculation. We didn't know that the cost of not attacking Al Qaeda in Afghanistan would outweigh the cost of attacking them there. Hindsight...she is a bitch, no?

But let's not pretend the Bush administrations failure to cite Al Qaeda in a speech prior to 9/11 is proof of Richard Clarke's allegation....an indication that the Bush administration placed a lower priority on counter-terrorism than did the Clinton administration.

Perhaps they placed a lower priority on Richard Clarke, but that's not really the same thing at all, is it?

UPDATE II: Reader Sid makes an important point - one worth addressing...

Before you drink The Washington Times koolaid, you might want to sniff it first.

Here is a link to the actual report which contains these paragraphs:
http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/nss/nss_dec2000_contents.htm

Key paragraph:

"Afghanistan remains a serious threat to U.S. worldwide interests because of the Taliban's continued sheltering of international terrorists and its increasing export of illicit drugs. Afghanistan remains the primary safehaven for terrorists threatening the United States, including Usama bin Ladin. The United Nations and the United States have levied sanctions against the Taliban for harboring Usama bin Ladin and other terrorists, and will continue to pressure the Taliban until it complies with international requests to bring bin Ladin to justice. The United States remains concerned about those countries, including Pakistan, that support the Taliban and allow it to continue to harbor such radical elements. We are engaged in energetic diplomatic efforts, including through the United Nations and with Russia and other concerned countries, to address these concerns on an urgent basis."
This is the only use of the word "urgent" in the whole report. Also:
"Whenever possible, we use law enforcement, diplomatic, and economic tools to wage the fight against terrorism. But there have been, and will be, times when those tools are not enough. As long as terrorists continue to target American citizens, we reserve the right to act in self-defense by striking at their bases and those who sponsor, assist, or actively support them, as we have done over the years in different countries.

Fighting terrorism requires a substantial commitment of financial, human, and political resources. Since 1993, both the FBI's counterterrorism budget and the number of FBI agents assigned to counterterrorism have more than doubled. The President has also created and filled the post of National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counterterrorism. Three presidential directives now coordinate the efforts of senior counterterrorism personnel from various government agencies in dealing with WMD and other threats at home. The FBI and the State Department, respectively, operate Rapid Deployment Teams and interagency Foreign Emergency Support Teams to deploy quickly to scenes of terrorist incidents worldwide."

Of course, the Clinton administration was aware of the threat, considered it a threat, and was trying to resolve the problem using "energetic diplomacy". (Madeline Albright + methamphetamines? Perhaps!)

What they didn't do was actually "strike" the relevant targets very often. Again, if you'll note, I don't criticise them for that...I point out that the calculation was different then.

My point is simply this: the lack of direct mention of Al Qaeda, or high "priority" within a report is not indication that it is not a priority at all. That was the accusation levied against the Bush administration in recent weeks. Prior to 9/11, a lot of things were different...in reality, and in rhetoric.

I do not think this report is an indication that the Clinton administration "didn't care", "didn't think terrorism was a priority", etc. It is simply a good counter-point to recent claims about the Bush administration.

UPDATE III: I should also point out that the Washington Times story didn't accuse Clinton of anything, either. The Clinton-era NSS is simply context, which counterpoints some claims being made. i.e., that a lack of mention by the Bush administration is evidence that they were "less interested" in Al Qaeda.

UPDATE IV: Captain Ed takes a look at the Clinton era NSS and adds commentary. Read his other entries, too, as his analysis covers more than one entry.

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Comments

Before you drink The Washington Times koolaid, you might want to sniff it first.

Here is a link to the actual report which contains these paragraphs:
http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/nss/nss_dec2000_contents.htm

Key paragraph:
"Afghanistan remains a serious threat to U.S. worldwide interests because of the Taliban's continued sheltering of international terrorists and its increasing export of illicit drugs. Afghanistan remains the primary safehaven for terrorists threatening the United States, including Usama bin Ladin. The United Nations and the United States have levied sanctions against the Taliban for harboring Usama bin Ladin and other terrorists, and will continue to pressure the Taliban until it complies with international requests to bring bin Ladin to justice. The United States remains concerned about those countries, including Pakistan, that support the Taliban and allow it to continue to harbor such radical elements. We are engaged in energetic diplomatic efforts, including through the United Nations and with Russia and other concerned countries, to address these concerns on an urgent basis."

This is the only use of the word "urgent" in the whole report. Also:

"Whenever possible, we use law enforcement, diplomatic, and economic tools to wage the fight against terrorism. But there have been, and will be, times when those tools are not enough. As long as terrorists continue to target American citizens, we reserve the right to act in self-defense by striking at their bases and those who sponsor, assist, or actively support them, as we have done over the years in different countries.

Fighting terrorism requires a substantial commitment of financial, human, and political resources. Since 1993, both the FBI's counterterrorism budget and the number of FBI agents assigned to counterterrorism have more than doubled. The President has also created and filled the post of National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counterterrorism. Three presidential directives now coordinate the efforts of senior counterterrorism personnel from various government agencies in dealing with WMD and other threats at home. The FBI and the State Department, respectively, operate Rapid Deployment Teams and interagency Foreign Emergency Support Teams to deploy quickly to scenes of terrorist incidents worldwide."

By the way, how can the guy say no media outlet has examined the report? Is he tracking the URL somehow?


Posted by: Sid at April 6, 2004 11:02 AM

Last question first: Lexis-Nexis.

You'll notice, though, that nothing in the grafs you cite contradicts anything I wrote. Of course, the Clinton administration was aware of the threat, considered it a threat, and was pursuing predominantly "energetic diplomatic" means of resolving the threat.

What they didn't do was actually "strike" very often. Again, if you'll note, I don't criticise them for that...I point out that the calculation was different then.

My point is simply this: the lack of direct mention of Al Qaeda, or high "priority" within a report is not indication that it is not a priority at all. That was the accusation levied against the Bush administration in recent weeks. Prior to 9/11, a lot of things were different...in reality, and in rhetoric.

If I'd claimed that the Clinton administration didn't regard Al Qaeda/bin Laden as a threat, you'd have a great point. I didn't, so....

Posted by: Jon Henke at April 6, 2004 11:15 AM

I note that both paragraphs you cite are very passive. The first mentions the use of sanctions and talks of "pressuring" the taliban to hand Osama Bin Laden over to face trial. The second paragraph speaks of "striking back" and counter-terrorism measures.

Counter-terrorism, as we know, is the tactic by which we wait for the terrorists to blow some people up and then hope to catch them before they get away.

I much prefer the current Anti-terrorism model, whereby we seek out terrorists and kill them before they get a chance. Much more proactive, much more effective.


But this is all beside the point. Clarke alleged that pursuit of Al Qaeda was a top priority under Clinton but was no so under Bush. The fact that two paragraphs out of the whole report make references to Osama Bin Laden would point to that being less than accurate.

Posted by: Greg at April 6, 2004 11:26 AM

This would all be very interesting if Clinton or Gore were running for Prez. Last time I looked, however, they aren't. There is only one major party candidate on the '04 ballot that failed to take the al Qaeda threat seriously, especially before but even after 9/11. His name is Bush. That is why people should not vote for him.

Why is this so hard to understand?

Posted by: mkultra at April 6, 2004 11:46 AM

mkutra is right. Bush should have seen what the two "smartest elected officials in American history -- Clinton and algore" didn't. How could he have been so dumb. Clinton even handed over the totally successful plan he had that was pristine because it had never been used for Bush. Gosh.

Of course, a quick google search shows that big-brain John Kerry clearly saw this problem in January 2001 and had been intensely pressuring Bush to act "pre-emptively" to take out bin Laden and al-qaida, so we should vote for him.

I'm now going to look for the threats in the future that Kerry can prove will definitely not happen if he is elected. I'm sure he has it pinned down.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at April 6, 2004 11:54 AM

Greg ... I think you have them backwards ... counter-terrorism is the offensive one (you counter terrorism by going after it). Anti-terrorism is the passive one (you defend against terrorists actions).

These distinctions are made in the interim 9/11 report on the use of the military which I commented on here on QandO.

Mkultra ... you miss the point. It is obvious by this report that Clinton, etl al. took the threat no more or no less seriously than did the Bush administration if you compare this report with the speeches of Bush and Rice.

IOW, its not how many times you mention al Queda in a speech or document that determines the "urgency" or "priority" you give a particular subject. That seems to have been lost on those that equate the lack of mention of AQ in Bush and Rice's speeches about defense priorities as a lack of priorty for AQ and terrorism. If that were true, the same argument then could be made concerning the Clinton report.

Posted by: McQ at April 6, 2004 11:59 AM

Sid Blumenthal, nice to see you here...

Well, let's see, Kerry (who has his own pre-Sep. 11 problems, namely passing the buck on safety at Logan airport) has given zero indication that he would handle things any differently than Clinton... By the Dems pushing Clarke, they seem to be embracing the Clinton way of dealing with it. Unless Kerry distances himself (and he's made it clear he considers it a law enforcement problem), this is Clinton vs. Bush all over again.

Posted by: HH at April 6, 2004 12:13 PM

Yet no media could be bothered to examine this....*sigh*

Par for the course

Posted by: shark at April 6, 2004 12:13 PM

Remember when Bush took office? Remember how the grownups were back in charge? Remember all that rhetoric?

So now what is Bush saying? I am no worse than Clinton was? Wow, inspires confidence, doesn't it?

Of course, all of you are missing the larger point: The 9/11 hearings have revealed that the intelligence chatter during the Summer of 2001 that something big was in the works was overwhelming. This was information Clinton did NOT have. The Bushies had this info, but didn't think something could happen on American soil. So to compare Clinton to Bush on this score is apples to oranges.

Remember, Condi Rice flat out lied about this stuff. She said there was no way anyone could have conceived terrorists would fly planes into buildings. She LIED. There was plenty of intelligence suggesting that could happen.

At least the Clintonistas didn't lie about what they knew.

Why do people continue to defend the Bushies when they lie to our faces?

I don't get it.

Posted by: mkultra at April 6, 2004 12:21 PM

Sid Blumenthal, nice to see you here...

Well, let's see, Kerry (who has his own pre-Sep. 11 problems, namely passing the buck on safety at Logan airport) has given zero indication that he would handle things any differently than Clinton... By the Dems pushing Clarke, they seem to be embracing the Clinton way of dealing with it. Unless Kerry distances himself (and he's made it clear he considers it a law enforcement problem), this is Clinton vs. Bush all over again.

Posted by: HH at April 6, 2004 12:22 PM

"At least the Clintonistas didn't lie about what they knew."

Except when it comes to Rwanda genocide, among other issues... and then they write an op-ed about "gosh durn it, we really tried."

"The 9/11 hearings have revealed that the intelligence chatter during the Summer of 2001 that something big was in the works was overwhelming."

And as Russert noted on Meet the Press, they went to battle stations under the directive of Richard Clarke, who now says they didn't go to battle stations. Someone is indeed lying here.

Posted by: HH at April 6, 2004 12:50 PM

Remember, Clinton lied, people died, but now somehow he's Mr. Truth and Bush is the liar for preventing a genocide, instead of ignoring one.

Posted by: HH at April 6, 2004 12:51 PM

mkuktra,

Please provide links or any substantiation to the fact that the Bush administration knew hijackers were going to fly commercial airliners into buildings.

I'm definitely not a Clinton "fan", but I would hesitate to accuse him of "KNOWING" the Khobar towers, or the Cole was going to be attacked, even though they happened "on his watch".

The important thing is; Who is trying to fix the problem?

You can disagree with the HOW, but how can you honestly argue that Bush has done NOTHING, it's absurd.

Posted by: Jim G. at April 6, 2004 12:51 PM

It's important to read the whole report. Here is another important paragraph under Implementing the strategy/Military Activities:

"We must continue to improve our program to combat terrorism in the areas of antiterrorism, counterterrorism, consequence management, and intelligence support to deter terrorism. We will deter terrorism through the increased antiterrorism readiness of our installations and forward forces, enhanced training and awareness of military personnel, and the development of comprehensive theater engagement plans. In counterterrorism, because terrorist organizations may not be deterred by traditional means, we must ensure a robust capability to accurately attribute the source of attacks against the United States or its citizens, and to respond effectively and decisively to protect our national interests. U.S. armed forces possess a tailored range of options to respond to terrorism directed at U.S. citizens, interests, and property. In the event of a terrorist incident, our consequence management ability to significantly mitigate injury and damage may likely deter future attacks. Finally, we will continue to improve the timeliness and accuracy of intelligence support to commanders, which will also enhance our ability to deter terrorism."

Posted by: Sid at April 6, 2004 02:15 PM

Sid ... yeah, big whoop. They didn't DO anything except what you see there, plan and talk about it.

Read the 9/11 interim report if you want to read reports. It makes my point above very clearly.

Posted by: McQ at April 6, 2004 02:20 PM

This blame game crap is starting to piss me off.

After Pan Am 103 went down in 1988, the government went into self-immolation mode and every tidbit of a possible threat became a huge deal. After the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, we did the same thing - looking to assign blame and chop off heads so it would never happen again.

This is stupid. Let's be clear. The government is a ship of state. No new administration turns governmental policy around in a matter of weeks or a few short months. All the civil servant bureaucrats show up the next day and keep working on the same thing they were working on yesterday until told otherwise.

It takes months (sometimes a year) to get the key players of the new administration nominated, approved, read on, and up to speed. Every administration comes in and says all the old policies remain in force until a review is completed. In the Bush/Clinton case, Clinton dumped an inordinate number of directives signed during the last days of his administration on the Bush team.

The new administration plods along deciding what they like and don't like about what the government is doing from the old administration; how they are going to realign resources to get their pet projects going; disseminating their plans and ideas throughout the bureaucracy; developing a budget to buy it all and about December of their first year, they're in charge.

Clinton didn't do enough to dismantle AQ in the eight years he was in charge. Clarke gave plenty of bad advice during that time from Mogadishu to al-Shifa. It wasn't until 1998 that the Clinton administration started to think seriously about organized international terrorism that grew out of Carter/Brzezinski's Afghan Trap.

After the 2000 USS Cole bombing, they really wanted to do something about AQ - just one problem, they ran out of time.

The only thing I fault Bush for is not pursuing retribution against the Taliban/AQ for the Cole early in their administration. Would it have prevented 9/11? Nope. The plan was already in motion, the players were already here or on their way. KSM would have run the plan to completion.

What I credit the Bush administration for is what they did after 9/11. You want to change the root causes of Islamic terrorism? Creating a coalition of anti-terror states spread from Israel, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan creates a big problem for jihadists. Land routes and black financial markets get more difficult. Black market weapon sales from Europe, North Korea and between North African to Southeast Asia gets much more difficult. It gives us eyes and ears in the region we didn't have to fight the war on terror. Every asset being directed by the jihad organizations toward Afghanistan and Iraq exposes their operations, recruitment and state sponsors.

Iraq was always central to the war on terror, at least since the eighties. AQ understands this. The Palestinian terror groups get it. The state terror sponsors get it.

The American people get it - well, except for the liberals caterwauling like teenagers. Unfortunately, they are running the Democratic party machine with head adolescent Kerry in the lead.

Posted by: Tim at April 6, 2004 02:21 PM

"At least the Clintonistas didn't lie about what they knew."

Please tell me you don't ACTUALLY believe that!

The Clinton administration... forever remembered for, among a great many other things, "That depends on what the definition of the word 'is' is."

And Condoleza Rice - OMG, she "LIED". Ooo, CAPITAL LETTERS! That makes it really REALLY scary. Actually, to prove "lie", you'd have to prove what she knew when she said that, otherwise it's a mistake. Oh, wait, I forgot - only Democrats make "mistakes", Republicans "LIE".

Posted by: Deoxy at April 6, 2004 03:05 PM

"What I credit the Bush administration for is what they did after 9/11. You want to change the root causes of Islamic terrorism? Creating a coalition of anti-terror states spread from Israel, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan creates a big problem for jihadists. Land routes and black financial markets get more difficult. Black market weapon sales from Europe, North Korea and between North African to Southeast Asia gets much more difficult. It gives us eyes and ears in the region we didn't have to fight the war on terror. Every asset being directed by the jihad organizations toward Afghanistan and Iraq exposes their operations, recruitment and state sponsors.

Iraq was always central to the war on terror, at least since the eighties. AQ understands this. The Palestinian terror groups get it. The state terror sponsors get it.

The American people get it - well, except for the liberals caterwauling like teenagers. Unfortunately, they are running the Democratic party machine with head adolescent Kerry in the lead."

Posted by: Tim at April 6, 2004 02:21 PM


Tim:

You are so far off base, where to start?

First, we never had more than 11,000 troops in Afghanistan. This alone should get Bush impeached. I am just fascinated that there are people out there who credit Bush with doing a good job with the WoT with this mininmal commitment. Not only that, but Bush pulled a good number of Arab and Pashtun speakers from special ops out of Afghanistan and sent them to Iraq. This before we got Osama, or any other major AQ leader. Now, the Taliban is resurgent, Karzai can't venture outside Kabul, and where the Taliban is not in control, ethnic warlords who would sell their mother to the highest bidder run the show.

The most recent "offensive" by Paki troops show how BS the so-called coalition is. Remember all that chatter about how a high-placed AQ official was surrounded by Paki troops? Remember that? What happened there? Nothing. Musharaf was so scared that he simply cut a deal and ran. That so-called offensive came to A BIG FAT NOTHING. And what does Bush do about it? Nothing. He even ignores the FACT that Pakistan is spreading nuke technology all over the world. At least 4 states now possess nuke technology solely based on assistance from the Pakis. Gosh, with coaltion partners like these guys, who needs enemies.

As for black market weapons sales getting more difficult, tell that to the 191 people who died in Madrid. And how come everyone and his brother in Iraq has a Kalishinikov? Finally, who needs sophisitcated weaponry from the black market when every third Muslim is willing to strap a homemade bomb to his chest or his car and immolate everyone within a 30-yard radius.

As for Iraq being "central" to the war on terrorism, I don't think even Wolfowitz believes that bulls**t anymore. Remember, in the 80's Iran was the big sponsor of state terrorism. That's why we supported the Iraqis in their war against the Iranians. It was precisely because Iraq was NOT run by Islamo-fascist terrorists that we supported it in the Iran/Iraq war and overlooked the fact that Saddam gassed the Kurds.

Tim, if you can't get the present straight, at least try to get the past right. You are an idiot.

Posted by: mkultra at April 6, 2004 03:11 PM

mkultra

"First, we never had more than 11,000 troops in Afghanistan."

OMG, what an impressive lack of knowledge. You must have read this month's Seymour Hersh column in the New Yorker ...

Following the Soviet invasion of an expeditionary force of about 120,000 troops in 1979, the Karmal regime was unable to establish authority outside Kabul.

You want to impeach Bush for not copying the Soviet plan? Well, that doesn't surprise me.

We had operatives in Afghanistan at least since 1997 working with the Northern Alliance (the other part of the Mujahideen) trying to undermine the Taliban and kill bin Laden. We built on that using CIA/SF led irregular forces. Those SF led irregulars performed very well (and still do) against the Taliban and AQ. Remember "all that chatter about how a high-placed AQ official was surrounded" during Tora Bora operations? Critics complained that the Afghans couldn't be trusted after Tora Bora, so we conducted Anaconda with mostly US troops, and got the same results. I guess we were "so scared that [we] simply cut a deal and ran". I've got an idea, how about some healthy sceptism and applied intelligence instead of partisan blindness?

There are problems on the Southeastern border with Pakistan and I worry about Afghanistan, but not because of troop numbers. That's idiotic. I worry because of the lack of support for ISAF. But then, those are our allies again not living up to their rhetoric and promises as usual.

Most of your other comments are bile and not worth commenting on.

Posted by: Tim at April 6, 2004 03:51 PM

mkultra

Actually, I will comment on one more thing.

"As for Iraq being "central" to the war on terrorism..."

When Hussein decided to attack Iran, I doubt you could have found many governments that were concerned about a perpetual war between them. We were "friendly" with both sides, in that we provided limited "support" in trade and intelligence - and were not terribly concerned about deciding who was committing the worst atrocities.

But that history is meaningless in the face of the 13 year history Iraq built up against the US/UK after Gulf War I.

After 9/11, could an argument have been made for Syria, Iran or Saudi Arabia instead? From a purely emotional, chattering class perspective, yes. From a legal, historical and military perspective, Iraq was the right overt follow on battle to Afghanistan.

After defeating al Qaeda in Afghanistan, President Bush did not allow al Qaeda respite or to regain the initiative. He deployed 250,000 of our military personnel into the Persian Gulf. He renewed pressure on the international community and Iraq to accept inspections that had been blocked for four years. He demanded Iraq meet their 12 year old cease-fire obligations including provably disarming their WMD capability. There is little question in my mind that the goal was regime change and war became the only way to get it when the UN Security Council proved once again (see 1998) they would split on Saddam. Open ended inspections were not achieving either the conclusion that Iraq was meeting it's disarmament requirement (Blix stated in Jan and Feb 2003 that Iraq was not cooperating and had not accepted the disarmament required of it) or that Saddam was going to be forced to leave by international pressure. Based on the record it is not plausible to argue otherwise.

There is no question that attacking Iraq redrew the battlelines for international terror groups and the states supporting them.

States that had been infiltrated by al Qaeda, and their sympathetic groups, were now under intense scrutiny and pressure from the United States and her allies in the coalition. They were also under pressure from the coalition-antagonists: France primarily, Germany and Russia. At home, they were forced to face the hypocrisy of institutionalized demagoguery of the United States among their population and being on the wrong side of a war liberating Iraq. These states were being forced to make decisions, meaningfully, about their future and the stagnating society they had created revolving around violence and hatred, blaming Isreal and the free world for their problems. They were being asked, meaningfully, to choose sides.

Islamic fanatics that dreamed of the new global caliphate now faced the prospect of democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq along with a significant presence of our troops providing security and proving on the ground that the face of America is humane and respectful, as our soldiers are now proving in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Al Qaeda now had to fight a war on three fronts, attacking soft targets abroad, coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Muslims at home cooperating with the coalition throughout the Middle East.

As Zarqawi points out, al Qaeda is losing this war.

The fact that liberals are running scared because they don't have an ideological hero as President running their war does not impress me.

They had no problem with a war on behalf of KLA terrorists that had no UN or Congressional approval. You don't hear the same criticisms concerning the Islamist attacks in Kosovo. You don't see the same anti-war idiots mangling history and demonstrating military ignorance to make their case against what is happening there. As Gerafalo said, "It wasn't very hip."

Posted by: Tim at April 6, 2004 05:39 PM

Tim said:

"There is no question that attacking Iraq redrew the battlelines for international terror groups and the states supporting them.

States that had been infiltrated by al Qaeda, and their sympathetic groups, were now under intense scrutiny and pressure from the United States and her allies in the coalition. They were also under pressure from the coalition-antagonists: France primarily, Germany and Russia. At home, they were forced to face the hypocrisy of institutionalized demagoguery of the United States among their population and being on the wrong side of a war liberating Iraq. These states were being forced to make decisions, meaningfully, about their future and the stagnating society they had created revolving around violence and hatred, blaming Isreal and the free world for their problems. They were being asked, meaningfully, to choose sides."

Right - and look at Pakistan. It has chosen to side against us. That is precisely why Musharraf cut a deal two weeks ago instead of finishing off what remained of AQ. Better evidence is the fact that Pakistan has armed our nuclear enemies. From the NYT:

"[In the attempts on his life], Musharraf survived the attacks, apparently planned by a member of his innermost circle, by a hair's breadth. In February, nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, responding to international pressure, swore an oath of disclosure. He admitted to having passed on top secret nuclear secrets to North Korea, Libya and Iran, supposedly on his own and without the knowledge of Pakistan's military or political establishment. By the day after his confession, the president had already pardoned the sinner, referring to him as "'my hero.'"

Set aside the purple prose, Timmy, and deal with facts. Pakistan shows how wrong you are. Under your theory, our invasion of Iraq should have led Musharraf to end the Pakistani nuke program and hand AK Kahn over to coalition forces. Instead, Musharraf is praising the spread of nuke technology to the Axis of Evil. You really are an idiot.

Timmy said

"Islamic fanatics that dreamed of the new global caliphate now faced the prospect of democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq along with a significant presence of our troops providing security and proving on the ground that the face of America is humane and respectful, as our soldiers are now proving in both Afghanistan and Iraq."

There is no democracy in Afghanistan. There certainly is none in Iraq. Neither is secure. And humane and respectful soldiers do not raid the homes of innocent Muslims in the middle of the night in the name of promoting democracy. Have you actually picked up a newspaper in the last few days?

It's really sad to see seemingly intelligent people like you buying into this neocon rhetoric. We understand the Middle East about as well as we understood Vietnam. We believe we are liberators. They see us as occupiers. Until you and those of your ilk get that thru your collective fat heads, I am afraid things will only grow worse.


Posted by: mkultra at April 6, 2004 08:42 PM

Mkultra....I don't want to get into an endless argument, but I do want to point out one thing about Pakistan, since that seems to be a favorite with you.

The situation in Pakistan - and with Musharraf - is much less clear than you indicate. It's a perfect example of a situation in which we can't really win...so we have to minimize our exposure.

The problem is this: Musharraf is not much of an ally. However, if he's gone...there's nothing but radicals all the way down. He's got a tenuous hold on power....too much support for/from the US could endanger what minimal suport they give us. Instead of an unreliable "ally"...we could simply have an enemy.

Are they cooperating? Somewhat. Sometimes. And sometimes they are not. But, they're cooperating more than they have in the past, and Musharraf is still holding on.

Posted by: Jon Henke at April 6, 2004 09:06 PM

Two ways I know you are feeling threatened by me are:

1) You are increasingly resorting to ad hominem and

2) Your positions are increasingly becoming detached from reality.

"Right - and look at Pakistan. It has chosen to side against us. Under your theory, our invasion of Iraq should have led Musharraf to end the Pakistani nuke program and hand AK Kahn over to coalition forces."

Hardly, under my theory, Pakistan would have switched to an anti-Taliban stance, come clean on its WMD programs (ala Lybia) and opened a dialogue with India (it's nuclear adversary).

Whoops, they did all that because they are siding against us?

Remember all that passing around of nuclear information and technology started back in the 1970s and grew during the 1980s. Pakistan wasn't the only Mid or Southeast Asia state pursuing it, and wasn't the first to develop it. You can read up on the history here. What you are discussing concerning Khan has little to do with Bush and we have gotten significantly more cooperation from Pakistan than in the previous 30 years.

"There is no democracy in Afghanistan. There certainly is none in Iraq."

Actually there is significantly more democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq than there has been for, well, back before you were a unplanned twinkle in your father's eye. But no, they have not achieved Hamiltonian/Jeffersonian federal republicanism a year after Saddam was deposed.

"Neither is secure."

It could, and should, be better. But free Iraq is secure from external threats and in the next few weeks the internal threats will have been severely diminished.

"And humane and respectful soldiers do not raid the homes of innocent Muslims in the middle of the night in the name of promoting democracy."

For 24.999 million Iraqis, no soldiers have raided their homes. In areas where Muslims have murdered other Muslims because they are "rejectionists" or collaborators or whatever, and where Muslims have murdered noncombatants from nongovernmental organizations, and where they have attacked coalition forces, homes have been "raided". And yes, some were probably innocent. And yes, those raids are problematic even when conducted to ensure the safety and respect for the occupants.

But don't pretend they are not part of the security operations necessary to support a stable democracy in Iraq. That just undermines your credibility.

Posted by: Tim at April 7, 2004 01:37 AM