George W. Bush: Is His Legacy On Life Support? genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Pulling The Plug

George W. Bush must believe the average American is ignorant. While he and members of his administration go out of their way to characterize the war in Iraq as a focal point in the battle against al Qaeda, every other piece of information tells us that Pakistan is the new Afghanistan...and lest anyone forgets, 9/11 was organized from Afghanistan and a follow up attack on the homeland is likely to be organized from Pakistan.

Look at it this way, while we shifted westward into Iraq following the assault on Afghanistan in order to avenge Saddam Hussein's assassination attempt on George H. W. Bush and to show that George W. knew better than his father, the Taliban and al Qaeda sauntered across the eastern border of Afghanistan and into the remote regions of Pakistan to reconstitute themselves with virtually no resistance.

Further, if the new National Intelligence Estimate is accurate, the Bush administration has chosen to focus its attention on one paragraph of the report because the remainder of the report substantially rebukes the Bush strategy and suggests that it may have simply provided al Qaeda and the Taliban with the tools to recruit new extremist terrorists.

From The New York Times:

In identifying the main reasons for Al Qaeda’s resurgence, intelligence officials and White House aides pointed the finger squarely at a hands-off approach toward the tribal areas by Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who last year brokered a cease-fire with tribal leaders in an effort to drain support for Islamic extremism in the region.

“It hasn’t worked for Pakistan," said Frances Fragos Townsend, who heads the Homeland Security Council at the White House. “It hasn’t worked for the United States."

At the White House, Ms. Townsend found herself in the uncomfortable position of explaining why American military action was focused in Iraq when the report concluded that main threat of terror attacks that could be carried out in the United States emanated from the tribal areas of Pakistan.

She argued that it was Mr. bin Laden, as well as the White House, who regarded “Iraq as the central front in the war on terror."

Excuse me, but if we can't find bin Laden and Ayman al-Zarwahiri, how on earth would we know that al Qaeda sees Iraq as the "central front in the war on terror"? I don't buy that assessment for one minute. Iraq is simply the recruiting tool for al Qaeda and a means to keep America from focusing on bin Laden and his organization in Pakistan.

Think of it this way. Let's assume that bin Laden is the equivalent of a championship boxer with a title belt and let's assume George Bush holds a similar title. Let's also assume that George Bush is gunning for a title bout with bin Laden and that bin Laden has no intention of signing on for a direct confrontation. Instead, isn't it possible that bin Laden keeps training surrogate fighters to keep George W. busy and to engage the Bush administration in minor skirmishes in other regions of the world while he prepares a backdoor surprise intended to be far more effective than a face to face confrontation?

In the meantime, George W. runs around touting his capabilities to vanquish bin Laden's stable of diversionary drones and argues that Iraq is "where its at"...because he has no answers for the inability to capture Osama and no means to take it to bin Laden because he doesn't know "where he's at".

So while George W. dances around the ring like a prima donna prize fighter, bin Laden laughs at the little man's need to feel powerful...all the while planning a more horrific attack on the United States intended to humiliate the Bush administration and demonstrate to the American public that al Qaeda is a shrewd opponent who played its president for a fool.

If nothing else, look at the math that would remain in the aftermath of another strike on the United States. The U.S. remains bogged down in two countries...neither of which house bin Laden and his terrorist machine...the U.S. has lost thousands of soldiers and spent billions of dollars trying to democratize Iraq...Afghanistan has produced a record crop of opium under the watchful eye of the world's leading policeman...and the man George W. and Dick Cheney said was hiding in a cave or under a rock has just executed another unfettered assault on the big boy's home front. If that wouldn't be judged an unmitigated and colossal failure, then reality would no longer exist.

From The New York Times:

Richard A. Boucher, the assistant secretary of state, acknowledged that Al Qaeda had prospered during the cease-fire between the tribal leaders and General Musharraf last September, a period in which “they were able to operate, meet, plan, recruit, and obtain financing in more comfort in the tribal areas than previously."

Some members of Congress argue that concern for the stability of General Musharraf’s government had for too long dominated the White House strategy for dealing with Pakistan, thwarting American counterterrorism efforts.

“We have to change policy," said Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee who has long advocated a more aggressive American intelligence campaign in Pakistan.

So the bottom line is that we have been content to prop up Musharraf and honor his nation's sovereignty while knowing full well that al Qaeda is rebuilding its capacities in his country. Pardon my sarcasm, but isn't George Bush the same man who invaded two sovereign nations and issued numerous warnings to the world that either nations stood with us or they stood with the terrorists? Isn't he the same man who stated that we would pursue terrorists wherever they chose to hide and that we reserved the right to strike them in any nation as long as they continued to represent a threat to U.S. national security?

When Musharraf signed an accord with those in the remote regions of Pakistan that are thought to be the training grounds for al Qaeda, was he siding with the terrorists? Are we to believe that the neocons...those men who view the safety mechanism on a weapon as a meaningless accessory...were all of a sudden hesitant to strong arm Musharraf?

Isn't it possible that our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, our preoccupation with bloodying Iran's nose, and our fully taxed military capacity led us to acquiesce to the Musharraf accord knowing full well it wasn't advisable but also knowing we lacked the ability to force the issue at that moment?

I would suggest that its safe to conclude that the Bush administration calculated that the Musharraf government could fall as a result of U.S. meddling and/or our insistence that he take an aggressive approach with these terrorist infested regions...and if his regime did look to be vulnerable, we would lack the ability to properly respond or the ability to prevent Musharraf's demise if needed.

In the end, the Bush administration's alternative is to defend those portions of the NIE report that offer any endorsement of the President's rationale. Unfortunately, the following excerpt from the Washington Post points out just how little of the report can be used to achieve that objective.

From The Washington Post:

In talking with reporters in the Oval Office yesterday, Bush concentrated on a single paragraph in the assessment that placed the enemy in Iraq in a larger context of international terrorism. The estimate said bin Laden's organization will "probably seek to leverage the contacts and capabilities of al-Qa'ida in Iraq, its most visible and capable affiliate and the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the Homeland."

Although only a portion of the instability in Iraq is attributed to al-Qaeda and the group had no substantial power base there before the U.S. invasion, Bush again cast the war as a battle against its members, whom his aides have described as key provocateurs there.

With less than two years remaining in the Bush presidency, he is down to one paragraph in an NIE report that otherwise skewers a suspect strategy. I may be wrong, but rather than focus on his legacy, George Bush needs to find a way to salvage what little time remains of his failed presidency. As it currently stands, history will have plenty to say about this President...and I seriously doubt he'll be able to point towards many, if any, good paragraphs. Sounds like its time for "The Decider" to make some better decisions.

Daniel DiRito | July 18, 2007 | 7:55 AM
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1 On July 18, 2007 at 4:32 PM, JD wrote —

9/11 was carried out by the Bush administration. It was staged. 9/11/2001, Pentagon. Where is the Boeing 757-sized hole? In fact, where is the Boeing 757? -

Thought Theater at Blogged

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