How Not To Fight Terrorists
Ted Koppel has a thoughtful Op-Ed in today’s Washington Post.
The point has been made many times, but it deserves repeating. Bush and conservatives, with the aid of the spineless Democrats played right into al Qaeda’s hands:
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.
I depart with Koppel when he describes the decision to go into Iraq. It’s established fact that the Bushies planned to go into Iraq well before 9/11, and former officials have written enough books about those pivotal months to make clear that Bush dishonestly presented a case that Saddam Hussein had links to al Qaeda — when there is absolutely no evidence of this. At all.
There was no compelling evidence that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction, and the actions of the Administration at the time seems to indicate that they knew this.
They trumped up the slightest sliver of data that could be used to push this narrative while ignoring any evidence to the contrary (witness the Valerie Plame scandal).
The second half of the piece outlines the myriad of missteps that sent exactly the wrong message to the world, and certainly Bin Laden couldn’t have wished for in his wildest dreams:
- Abu Ghraib
- Black sites and renditions (kidnapping) of terror suspects
- Guantanamo Bay
- More than $1 trillion spent on two sticky wars
- An overstretched US military
- Demonstrated intolerance of Islam (Park51 and Koran burning)
I agree. To the list I would add the concepts of “enemy combatant”, “preemptive strikes” and the use of military tribunals, torture, and contempt for the international community. For a relatively small investment, we have given Bin Laden too large of a return.
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