Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Misleading America into War

The Longest War: A History of the War on Terror and the Battles with Al Qaeda Since 9/11The Longest War: A History of the War on Terror and the Battles with Al Qaeda Since 9/11 by Peter L. Bergen

Living in the Age of Information means that American history books chronicling the first decade of the 21st century are already being written—and they are not looking too kindly upon The Bush Administration and their War On Terror. Peter Bergen's account of the War On Terror depicts George W. Bush as nothing less than an incompetent bafoon surrounded by a cabal of callous, agenda-driven Dr. Evil types (Cheney, Rumsfeldt, Wolfowitz, etc) who were completely clueless (or careless) in regard to the consequences their actions and policies are having on the Middle East and the USA. Bergen reels off example on top of example of the Bush Administration's ineptitude, including:

~The Bush Administration's unwillingness to take al-Qaeda as a serious threat prior to 9/11

~Their falsified reasons for invading Iraq

~Their failure to capture or kill Bin Laden at the battle of Tora Bora in December of 2001

~Their mistake of diverting troops from Afghanistan to Iraq and thereby allowing the Taliban to resurface

~Their use of rendition and enhanced interigation methods that lead to a parade of fiascos from Abu Ghraib to Guantonamo Bay

~The mismanagement by the Coalition Provisional Authority (the transitional Government that the Bush Administration inserted to run Iraq)

 The Bush Administration's unwillingness to see al-Qaeda as a serious threat

On page 42 Bergen writes: “Five days into the new Bush administration, on January 25, 2001, Richard Clarke wrote National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice that a cabinet-level review of al-Qaeda was 'urgently' needed...With the exception of Clark and CIA director George Tenet and the latter’s deputy John McLaughlin, senior Bush administration officials consistently underestimated the urgent threat posed by bin Laden and al-Qaeda...A Nexus database search of all newspapers, magazines and TV transcripts of Rice’s statements and writings from the mid-1990s until 9/11 shows that she never mentioned al-Qaeda publicly...” Nexus searches for Wolfowitz, Cheney and Bush give the same results despite the fact, as Bergen writes on page 43: “The fact that the Bush administration was strangely somnambulant about the al-Qaeda threat is puzzling. It was not as if they did not have enough information or warning about the threat posed by al-Qaeda; quite the opposite...”

One of the problems, Bergen explains, is that the seniors in the Bush Administration had an agenda going into office and a mentality that was a holdover from the Cold War era. Vulcans like Cheney and Wolfowitz were focused on missile defense while Rumsfeldt was knee deep in his efforts at “transformation” of the military into a lighter force. This lack of attention resulted in numerous blunders (such as Attorney General John Ashcroft turning down FBI requests for some 400 additional counterterrorism personnel months prior to 9/11).

The inexusable behavior by the Bush Administration begins with its non-response to al-Qaeda’s bombing of the USS Cole (which took place a coupe weeks before Bush was elected into office). Not only did the Bush administration not respond to this attack but they then went on to dismiss a litany of CIA reports of a current al-Qaeda attack that was being planned.

In the spring and summer leading up to 9/11 the CIA was “blinking red” with repeated warnings to Condi Rice of the high volume of alarming intel about an impending al-Qaeda attack. These reports, including the April 20th report titled “Bin Laden Planning Multiple Operations”, the June 23rd report titled “Bin Laden Attacks May Be Imminent”, the July 2nd report “Planning for Bin Laden Attacks Continues, Despite Delays” met with no interest from the Administration.

Finally on July 10th after receiving no acknowledgement at all from the administration, CIA director George Tenet demanded a meeting with Rice in which he tells her “There will be a significant terrorist attack in the next weeks or months...Multiple and simultaneous attacks...” Counterterrorism advisor Richard Clark echoed Tenets warnings to Rice. Still nothing.

Still continuing to bang their head against a wall, the CIA issued reports such as: the August 3rd report titled “Threat of Impending al-Qaeda Attack to Continue Indefinitely” and the famous August 6th report titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike the U.S.” that was given to George W. Bush as he was on vacation, clearing brush, in Crawford, Texas. 

Donald Rumsfeldt glad handing Saddam
The Bush Administration’s falsified reasons for invading Iraq

On page 52 of his book, Bergen details the Bush Administrations reactions on the day of the 9/11 attacks. During that afternoon Douglass Feith—the number three man at the Pentagon (behind Rumsfeldt and Wolfowitz) put forth the idea that the 9/11 attacks was reason to overthrow Saddam to a group of senior Pentagon officials. General John Abizaid (who went on to assume responsibility for U.S. military operations in Iraq) interrupted Feith, saying “Not Iraq. There is not a connection with al-Qaeda”. Meanwhile Rumsfeldt was already considering hitting Saddam in retaliation in notes to his top deputies. Then just one day after the attacks, Bush pulled Richard Clarke aside and asked him to find evidence that Saddam was involved somehow. Clarke looked at him incredulously and said “But al-Qaeda did this”as though this should dismiss the notion that Saddam was involved, seeing how Saddam and bin Laden were enemies and in no way connected with each other. “I know, I know” Bush pushed, “But see if Saddam was involved.” As it turns out Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz (who told the president that there was a 50 percent chance that Saddam was involved in 9/11) had Bush’s ear. None the less, Clarke went ahead and did what he was told, did his investigation then sent the results to Condolezza Rice in a report that included that there was no case at all for the notion that Iraq was involved in the attack.

This wasn’t good enough for the Bush Administration. They sent the CIA to work trying to find something, but by June of 2002 they issued their classified assessment that concluded there was no evidence of cooperation between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

In August of 2002, Cheney’s office called upon the FBI’s top expert on al-Qaeda, Daniel Coleman, to “review everything” they had in order to find a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Coleman who had already gone over all his material twice, once again came up empty.

Still the Bush Administration pushed harder, which led to a review of over 80,000 documents of material by the former head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer, looking for al-Qaeda links to Iraq. His review also came to the absolute conclusion that there were no connections. Even after the fall of the Taliban produced thousands of more documents, still no links were found.

The definitive report on the issue came in January of 2003, which concluded there was no Iraqi “authority, direction and control” over al-Qaeda.
Despite this, during this entire time, the Bush Administration was making statement’s to the media of just the opposite.  The reason of course is because Dick Cheney and company realized the timing was right for a plan that they had had in the works for many years: Taking over Iraq. The 9/11 attacks had drummed up American patriotism and prompted Bush into an all-time high in popularity and they were certain that the kind of locomotion that 9/11 generated would never be repeated.  So the Bush Administration went ahead with their plans, exploiting the 9/111 tragedy to work at orchestrated reasons for going to war with Iraq. They dug up misinformation about al-Qaeda-Iraq ties, they warned the public of Saddam’s WMD, the issued misinformation—cloaking their sources in the guise of national security—and fed it to the public as if it were fact.

The Bush Administration Letting bin Laden escape:

On page 81 Bergen writes: “Given that only three months earlier some three thousand Americans had died on 9/11 and that al-Qaeda’s leaders and hundreds of the group’s foot soldiers were now all concentrated at Tora Bora, the Pentagon’s reluctance to commit more American boots on the ground is a decision that historians are not likely to judge kindly.”Dalton Fury, the Delta commander who was in Tora Bora in December of 2001, says (page 76 ) “...to abort that effort to kill or capture bin Laden when we might have been within 2,000 meters from him, about 2,000 yards, still bothers me.”

Bergen soft soaps the Bush Administration reasons for not going after bin Laden, pointing out that they were totally concentrated on Iraq and engulfed in their campaign to mislead the American people that Saddam was somehow involved in 9/11.  Since it is clear that if bin Laden had been captured at Tora Bora, then the American public would have felt that the attacks on 9/11 had been redeemed and therefore they would not support going to war with Iraq.  The principles who made up the Bush Administration had been planning to invade Iraq for over a decade.  They had no intention of squandering their chance so the Pentagon ordered Dalton Fury and his troops to stand down, thus letting bin Laden escape.

The mismanagement by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA)

On page 155 Bergen writes, “The CPA would prove to be one of the more inept imperial administrations in modern history...” It took just weeks for the most effective military in world history to overthrow Saddam. At first the citizens of Iraq were celebrating their freedom, toppling statues of Saddam and looking forward to a bright future. But instead of handing over Iraq to its people, the Bush Administration decided to enforce an American occupation. The CPA was inserted and they immediately mandated the removal of more than 30,000 Baath party members, the people who ran the Iraq government, its universities, hospitals, etc. Then they dissolved the entire Iraq military of 400,000 men. Military Intelligence and Army soldiers who knew the whereabouts of massive weapon caches stored throughout Iraq that totaled an estimated one million tons. From that point it didn’t take long for the widespread looting and pillaging that was going on in Saddam’s absence to turn into a full blown insurgency. The U.S. practice of searching Iraq citizen’s homes (many without a male head of household) with intimidation, doing body searched of Iraqi women, the news of innocent Iraq civilians being killed, the use of sniffing dogs and the rumored abuses inside CPA prisons of Iraq citizens who taken from their homes oftentimes for no better reason than the fact that they didn’t speak English then fueled the insurgency to the point that it lead to a quagmire for the U.S.

The Bush Administration’s use of rendition and enhanced interigation methods that lead to parade of fiascos at Abu Ghraib and Guantonamo Bay

Put into a socio-economic/political and cultural context, the evil doing of Dick Cheney is equally if not more dispicabee than those of any modern world leader from Saddam Huessein, Milosovic, Kim Jung Il, to Gaddafi. A revealing insight into Dick Cheney’s (for a lack of a better word) fucked-up way of thinking is seen in the months following the 9/11 attacks when he pushed for the government to immunize the entire U.S. population against a smallpox attack. Without any proof what so ever, Cheney was convinced that Iraq possessed smallpox and somehow had the capability to deliver it to the U.S. Despite there being any evidence of this and despite medical studies that showed that such a mass immunization would kill at least 300 Americans, Cheney pushed hard for this. Apparently he thought the death of 300 innocent Americans was no big deal. However President Bush’s political advisers warned Bush against this: it would be hugely unpopular and cost him votes. Plus, obviously, the plan was based on irrational fears and a total lack of factual evidence. The fact that Cheney was so eager to waste so many American lives based on the flimsiest of excuses is incredibly telling of the kind of dipshit that he is and it echoes a lifetime of callous, self-serving decisions that date all the way back to him getting married and having a child in the mid 1960s in order to avoid the draft and being sent to Vietnam.

Similarly Cheney was behind the system of enhanced interigation that the U.S. put in place post 9/11: a systematic abandonment of the Geneva Conventions that not only put every U.S. soldier in danger of being tortured in retaliation, but also totally undercut the moral high ground in the war on terror that the U.S. previously held. After all how could the U.S. argue that they are getting rid of Saddam because he tortured his people and committed crimes against humanity when the U.S. was doing the exact same thing?

But the Bush Administration had looked idiotic caught with their pants down on 9/11 and now had to over compensate. They needed to get information, by any means possible. This included unethical and illegal means. Aware that what they were doing was unethical and illegal, they went to great lengths to try to protect themselves by: 1) practicing rendition (which is illegal according to the United Nations). They outsourced dozens of prisoners to countries like Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Libya, Syria, Sudan and Yemen that practiced torture. 2) They set up a prison camp at Guantanamo Bay where they argued the Geneva Conventions did not apply. And 3) they covered their policy of systemic torture with legal mumbo jumbo, smoke and mirrors and displacement of accountability (in fact CIA agents began taking out liability insurance for fear that they would later have to hire lawyers to represent them before Congress for the unethical actions they were being ordered to partake in—the FBI meanwhile refused to get involved in enhanced interigations completely).

Overall according to the director of national intelligence during the Bush Adminstration, Admiral Dennis Blair, the human rights abuses “hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefits they gave us and they are not essential to our national security”


90 to 98% of all humans are fairly unremarkable. 1 to 5% are incredibly remarkable in the best sense of the word and another 1 to 5% are incredibly remarkable in the very worse sense of the word. This latter group I call the Rat Bastards. If one of these Rat Bastards is your neighbor or your co-worker or a family member, then there are a number of ways to deal with them. Ignore them, call the police on them, train your dog to poop in their yard. But if one of these Rat Bastards is a world leader (Hitler, Saddam, Milosovic, Kim Il Jung, Benito Mussolini, Gaddafi, Dick Cheney) then there is really almost nothing you or I can do about it.

I know few if any people who would argue that getting rid of Saddam was NOT the right thing to do. The world is a better place without Saddam as the leader of Iraq. Each situation in regard to trying to get rid of a Rat Bastard is unique and there are no cookie cutter solutions. What works in Egypt most likely won’t work in North Korea. But the actions taken to remove Saddam from office were so wrong that they basically serve as a blue print as how NOT to remove a tyrant. I think it is important none the less to study these mistakes and learn from them, for there are plenty of Rat Bastards in the world today.

For more writing by Ed Wagemann click here: ED WAGEMANN

©2010 Rockism 101. All Rights Reserved