Friday, May 11, 2007

Fight! Fight!!! 
Richard Perl calls out former CIA director George Tenet in the pages of the Washington Post.

But the greatest intelligence failure of the past two decades was the CIA's failure to understand and sound an alarm at the rise of jihadist fundamentalism. It is Wahhabi extremism and the call to holy war against infidels that gave us the perpetrators of Sept. 11 and much of the terrorism that has followed. In his attempts to blame others for CIA shortcomings, Tenet cannot say, "I told the president that our Saudi allies were financing thousands of mosques and schools around the world where a hateful doctrine of holy war and violence was being inculcated in young potential terrorists." Fatefully, the CIA failed to make our leaders aware of the rise of Islamist extremism and the immense danger it posed to the United States.

George Tenet and, more important, our premier intelligence organization managed to find weapons of mass destruction that did not exist while failing to find links to terrorists that did -- all while missing completely the rise of Islamist fundamentalism. We have made only a down payment on the price of that failure.

True. And ouch. But let's go back in time to 1993, when Clinton was taking office and the World Trade Center was attacked for the first time. It was easy enough to target Osama Bin Ladin, which Clinton did, except that he only targeted him. When the crosshairs found him, Clinton was too hamstrung by liberal feel-good legalism to pull the trigger on as many as ten different occasions.

And when the Sudanese offered to hand Bin Ladin over on a silver platter, the Clinton liberal White House staff was too crippled by the better angels of their nature and their desire to ensure Bin Ladin's precious constitutional rights were violated if he became a guest of the U.S. prison system to take them up on their offer.

But beyond targeting Bin Ladin, what was the effective countermeasure to the jihadist Zeitgeist building up in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere? Target the Saudi royal family? They have as much to lose as we do. They'll lose their necks to Al Qaeda under the new Caliphate. The Saudi royal family looked the other way too long, but they weren't the heart of the problem. Jihadism would have continued to flourish with or without them.

So what should we have been doing? Selling out Israel? As if that would have worked.

Abandoned the Kurds to Saddam's stormtroopers?

Who had the stomach to force the confrontation in 1993? Certainly not the Republicans then in the minority in Congress. Certainly not the Republicans in the majority two years later.

Only two people, after tea and cakes and ices, had the strength to force the moment to its crisis:

Osama Bin Ladin, and George W. Bush.

Splash, out



"when the Sudanese offered to hand Bin Ladin over on a silver platter, the Clinton liberal White House staff was too crippled by the better angels of their nature ... to take them up on their offer."

I'm interested to know what you mean by "the better angels of their nature." I've always wondered whether it was moral squeamishness at the prospect of dealing amicably with one of the world's nastiest regimes--the sense that that's something Republicans would do, but we're too fine for that--that broke the deal.

Is this what you're getting at too?
No, it was meant as an ironic reference to the finely honed Democrat sense of justice which seems particularly prone to be set aquiver by the prospect of actually removing a terrorist from circulation.

For example, the misguided, inappropriate and unprecedented fetishization of constitutional rights when it comes to armed combatants on the battlefield.

More precisely, I am criticizing Clinton for allowing the AG to tell him he couldn't keep Bin Ladin if he took him, rather than instructing the AG to find a way to make keeping him legal if he did, in fact, take him from Sudan.

I don't want lawyers to tell me I CAN'T do what I want to do. I want lawyers to tell me some ways to make what I want to do legal.

Clinton should have sprouted a pair.

He didn't.
Remind me again, at the time that OBL was in Sudan, what did we know he had done? And isn't the story that the Clinton administration got Sudan to move against OBL and break up his venture, forcing OBL to move leaving behind most of the investment OBL had made in Sudan, farms and maybe an airport or something?
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