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Defending Against their al-Qaeda Failure at the Site of their Iraq Folly

By       Message Ron Fullwood     Permalink
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IN a desperate bid for attention and struggling to keep republican presidential candidates from straying from the Bush foreign policy doctrine, the White House threw their political kindred a lifeline yesterday by refashioning their counterterrorism strategy to warn of a strengthened al-Qaeda still determined to attack the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction. The administration report concludes that al-Qaeda is enjoying "safe haven" in the tribal areas of Pakistan, and claims that those in Iraq who identify themselves as al-Qaeda are the most likely and capable branch of the terrorist organization to carry out the threats they describe.

The new White House terror threat assessment is remarkable in it's seeming obliviousness to its own admission of the administration's failure to either capture or stifle the influence of the individuals that Bush himself declared directly responsible for the killings on 9-11. There they are, without shame or apology, declaring that after over six years since the killings and thousands of lives squandered "fighting them there" -- in Iraq, instead of in Afghanistan/Pakistan -- the best they can do is to tell us that an enemy Bush promised in 2001 to apprehend, "dead or alive," is "persistent" and still "dangerous."

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Al Qaeda has “protected its top leadership, replenished operational lieutenants, and regenerated a safe haven in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas — core capabilities that would help facilitate another attack on the Homeland,” the report says.

It continues, "We also must never lose sight of Al-Qaeda's persistent desire for weapons of mass destruction, as the group continues to try to acquire and use chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear material."

From the offices of those who were in power and authority in our nation when the 9-11 killings occurred, we've been told over and over that Iraq is the "central front" in their "war on terror." After their failure to capture those they claimed were responsible for the 9-11 killings, the administration insisted that it was Iraq which posed the greatest threat to our national security. Why? Because, we were told years later, "bin-Laden said so."

The very administration which ignored warnings from their own intelligence agencies -- right up to the Oval Office in the form of a memo describing the intentions of the alleged 9-11 orchestrators, entitled, 'Bin-Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.' -- has not only failed to capture the perpetrators, but, in their zeal to invade and occupy Iraq, have allowed them to influence others who would do our nation and our interests harm by the mere virtue of their years of freedom.

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"What I say to the American people when I am out there is, all you got to do is listen to what Osama bin Laden says," Bush told reporters in the Rose Garden a month before the congressional elections which swept his party out of their enabling majority and replaced them with Democrats pledged to end his Iraq occupation and bring our troops home.

"I take the words of the enemy very seriously," Bush said, "and so should the American people."

What bin-Laden and his band of thugs wanted to accomplish out of their attacks was to provoke America into the very type of U.S.-centered overreach and imperialism that Bush was all too eager to commit us to after the original perpetrators had first eluded capture and his political face was crumbling. Bush's diversion to Iraq not only allowed bin-Laden to escape; it also did what bin-Laden had not been able to accomplish over the resistance of Saddam's dictatorship. The invasion and occupation effectively bound Iraqis to al-Qaeda's campaign of violence against the U.S..

"Listen to the words of the enemy," Bush says. Don't listen his own intelligence agencies, who have overwhelmingly concluded that his occupation is encouraging and enabling more individuals to "jihad" against heavy-hand of our military forces. Don't listen to the Democratic opposition in our own Congress who have been pleading with Bush and his republican party to allow a change of course to take our soldiers out of the way of Iraqis determined to kill each other, and to get our troops out of the way of those Iraqis determined to attack the vulnerable American symbols of Bush and Maliki's imperialism. "Listen to the enemy," Bush says, as we are urged to remain bogged down in Iraq; even as the terrorists run free in the mountains of Afghanistan, taunting us with their videotaped manifestos which Bush so obediently and contentedly dictates to Americans.

The White House persisted in their effort to justify their continued diversion of the overwhelming bulk of our nation's ready-defenses to Iraq -- even as they admitted the leaders of the organization they described as "the most serious and dangerous" terrorist threat facing the country were enjoying "safe haven," 100's of miles away from the Iraq occupation they are so obsessed with maintaining.

Fran Townsend, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, brushed off questions about the Iraq diversion with her own admission that she, herself, is listening to the terrorists and formulating policy according to their taunts and rhetorical threats.

"There is no question now that you see, and we know by their own words, by bin Laden's and Zawahiri's own statements, they view the battle in Iraq as a fundamental battle for them," Townsend told reporters yesterday. "So we face them there," she said.

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"Facing" bin-Laden and Zawahiri where they aren't would seem to be the most ignorant and backward strategy that anyone could devise. But to the White House, sending our troops to fight and die in Iraq makes perfect sense -- having them defend plots of land from fugitives the administration has allowed "safe haven" hundreds of miles away. To most Americans, however, it looks like self-destructive lunacy and incompetence.

More likely, it's just plain arrogance born out of their salad years of unabated autocracy from republican majority control of all of the major branches of our government. Unrestrained by Americans' cold-shoulder to their calls for more Mideast militarism, the administration has settled on using their compliant al-Qaeda guide and mentor as an excuse to continue in Iraq. It will be interesting to see if any of their kindred presidential candidates will follow the administration lead and highlight their security failures as our greatest threat. It will be even more interesting if they join Bush in advocating defending against their greatest failures in the country of their greatest folly,  Iraq.

 

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Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price

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