Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Real Validator of al Qaeda Strategy

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Robert Parry on what Nancy Pelosi should have said to Dick Cheney:

Vice President Dick Cheney says he stands by his accusation that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq would “validate the al-Qaeda strategy.” And he apparently thinks he got the better of this latest war of words.

However, if Pelosi ever goes beyond complaining that Cheney is impugning her “patriotism” – while Cheney counters that he is only questioning her “judgment” – she might point out that it is the Bush administration that has “validated” al-Qaeda’s 9/11 strategy over the past five years.

Captured al-Qaeda documents reveal that Osama bin Laden’s principal goal in the 9/11attacks was to lure the United States into a clumsy counterattack in the Middle East that would alienate Muslims, help al-Qaeda recruit more jihadists and bog down the American military in a no-win war.

Though bin Laden was mistaken in believing that Afghanistan would become the central front, he was right in pretty much every other part of his plan. At the time of 9/11, al-Qaeda was a fringe player in the Muslim world, with its leaders driven into exile and holed up in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Bin Laden understood that his movement had little hope if it couldn’t sharpen the animosities between the West and Islam – and force Muslims to pick sides between the U.S. “crusaders” and the “defenders of Islam.” He sought to position his terrorist movement as the chief beneficiary of that dividing line.

But bin Laden’s gamble over 9/11 was that al-Qaeda’s leadership might not survive a precise blow by the Americans.

According to Ron Suskind’s book, The One Percent Doctrine, bin Laden almost miscalculated by underestimating the ferocity and effectiveness of the original U.S. offensive in fall 2001. As he found himself cornered in the mountains of Tora Bora, bin Laden apologized to his followers for bringing them to the edge of destruction.

But then, in what may go down as one of the biggest military blunders in U.S. history, President George W. Bush failed to deploy American troops to block bin Laden’s escape routes, relying instead on Pakistani forces that were slow to move into place. Bin Laden and some of his top lieutenants escaped on horseback.

Bush then compounded his error by redirecting the focus of U.S. Special Forces from Afghanistan to Iraq. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban were badly bloodied but survived – and began to regroup.

By switching the central front from Afghanistan to Iraq in 2003, Bush even may have accelerated al-Qaeda’s progress.

Bush’s invasion of Iraq vitiated the international goodwill that surrounded the United States after the 9/11 attacks. It also eliminated one of bin Laden’s chief Arab rivals, the secular Saddam Hussein, while letting al-Qaeda exploit the chaos by attracting thousands of young jihadists to Iraq.

1 comment:

Chief said...

OT:

While what you say is true, it is a cryin' shame that it is. Every administration that I can recall, has funded care for veteran's on the cheap. It is easy to balance the budget on the backs of an un-organized group of people.

And while both the military and VA medical services have a lot of dedicated professionals, I think that both have an inordinately large percent of folks that graduated at the bottom of their class.

The whole veteran's medical system needs to be restructured to do 'right' for those that gave a part of themselves when their country asked.