It has become obvious to members of the intelligentsia what has been obvious to some of us for a very long time…
Bin Lauden, and Al Quada have won the “War of Terrorism”.
The objective of international terrorism to to fool larger enemies into giving up their freedom, and into becoming frozen by fear. We had an entire presidential administration under the Bushit which used that fear to shred our Constitution and Laws. Today’s Republican Party, serving as little more than Faux New’s sock puppet, and the Tea Party’s legitimacy – revels in promoting fear for political gain. When you see the Tea Bagger clowns marching down our streets to protest the building of a Muslim Religious Center near the site of the WTC Buildings…
If you haven’t figured it our yet – Bin Lauden won.
Back during the bad old days of the Bushit Administration I argued that the best response to the downing of the 110 Story WTC Buildings…
Was to build 200 story buildings on the same spot.
But the chicken littles won that argument…
Just like Bin Lauden has won the war.
Ted Koppel hits one out of the park with this one – finally pointing out what should have been obvious.
The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, succeeded far beyond anything Osama bin Laden could possibly have envisioned. This is not just because they resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths, nor only because they struck at the heart of American financial and military power. Those outcomes were only the bait; it would remain for the United States to spring the trap.
The goal of any organized terrorist attack is to goad a vastly more powerful enemy into an excessive response. And over the past nine years, the United States has blundered into the 9/11 snare with one overreaction after another. Bin Laden deserves to be the object of our hostility, national anguish and contempt, and he deserves to be taken seriously as a canny tactician. But much of what he has achieved we have done, and continue to do, to ourselves. Bin Laden does not deserve that we, even inadvertently, fulfill so many of his unimagined dreams.
It did not have to be this way. The Bush administration’s initial response was just about right. The calibrated combination of CIA operatives, special forces and air power broke the Taliban in Afghanistan and sent bin Laden and the remnants of al-Qaeda scurrying across the border into Pakistan. The American reaction was quick, powerful and effective — a clear warning to any organization contemplating another terrorist attack against the United States. This is the point at which President George W. Bush should have declared “mission accomplished,” with the caveat that unspecified U.S. agencies and branches of the military would continue the hunt for al-Qaeda’s leader. The world would have understood, and most Americans would probably have been satisfied.
But the insidious thing about terrorism is that there is no such thing as absolute security. Each incident provokes the contemplation of something worse to come. The Bush administration convinced itself that the minds that conspired to turn passenger jets into ballistic missiles might discover the means to arm such “missiles” with chemical, biological or nuclear payloads. This became the existential nightmare that led, in short order, to a progression of unsubstantiated assumptions: that Saddam Hussein had developed weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons; that there was a connection between the Iraqi leader and al-Qaeda.
Bin Laden had nothing to do with fostering these misconceptions. None of this had any real connection to 9/11. There was no group known as “al-Qaeda in Iraq” at that time. But the political climate of the moment overcame whatever flaccid opposition there was to invading Iraq, and the United States marched into a second theater of war, one that would prove far more intractable and painful and draining than its supporters had envisioned.
While President Obama has, only recently, declared America’s combat role in Iraq over,he glossed over the likelihood that tens of thousands of U.S. troops will have to remain there, possibly for several years to come, because Iraq lacks the military capability to protect itself against external (read: Iranian) aggression. The ultimate irony is that Hussein, to keep his neighbors in check, allowed them and the rest of the world to believe that he might have weapons of mass destruction. He thereby brought about his own destruction, as well as the need now for U.S. forces to fill the void that he and his menacing presence once provided.
As for the 100,000 U.S. troops in or headed for Afghanistan, many of them will be there for years to come, too — not because of America’s commitment to a functioning democracy there; even less because of what would happen to Afghan girls and women if the Taliban were to regain control. It has to do with nuclear weapons. Pakistan has an arsenal of 60 to 100 nuclear warheads. Were any of those to fall into the hands of al-Qaeda’s fundamentalist allies in Pakistan, there is no telling what the consequences might be.
Again, this dilemma is partly of our own making. America’s war on terrorism is widely perceived throughout Pakistan as a war on Islam. A muscular Islamic fundamentalism is gaining ground there and threatening the stability of the government, upon which we depend to guarantee the security of those nuclear weapons. Since a robust U.S. military presence in Pakistan is untenable for the government in Islamabad, however, tens of thousands of U.S. troops are likely to remain parked next door in Afghanistan for some time….(more)