18 Apr

U.S. Soldiers Posing with the Enemy

                                       

Well….dead enemy.

Like Joe Darby (of Abu Ghraib fame), an anonymous soldier took 18 sensitive photos and “leaked” them to the press. Specifically, to the LA Times.

The photos have emerged at a particularly sensitive moment for U.S.-Afghan relations. In January, a video appeared on the Internet showing four U.S. Marines urinating on Afghan corpses. In February, the inadvertent burning of copies of the Koran at a U.S. base triggered riots that left 30 dead and led to the deaths of six Americans. In March, a U.S. Army sergeant went on a nighttime shooting rampage in two Afghan villages, killing 17.

The soldier who provided The Times with a series of 18 photos of soldiers posing with corpses did so on condition of anonymity. He served in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne’s 4th Brigade Combat Team from Ft. Bragg, N.C. He said the photos point to a breakdown in leadership and discipline that he believed compromised the safety of the troops.

The only comment I want to make here is to question whether or not this anonymous “whistleblower” bothered to bring attention to these photos by first going through the proper chain of command. What compelled him to give these 2-yr old photos over to the Los Angeles Times? And why now?

Actually, it doesn’t seem that the soldier was offended by these photos having been taken (which violates Army standards). He wasn’t motivated by a belief that these photos were wrong to take. Apparently he’s using them to draw attention to something else.

It would seem that personal security concerns are allegedly his motive, 2010 being a tough year for his brigade:

He expressed the hope that publication would help ensure that alleged security shortcomings at two U.S. bases in Afghanistan in 2010 were not repeated. The brigade, under new command but with some of the same paratroopers who served in 2010, began another tour in Afghanistan in February.

U.S. military officials asked The Times not to publish any of the pictures.

~~~

The soldier who provided the photos, and two other former members of the battalion, said in separate interviews that they and others had complained of inadequate security at the two bases.

And so by making these photos public, security for his brigade will improve…how?! How does that correlate? The photos are 2 yrs old and the brigade itself is under new leadership. Yet he feels that these photos will expose “a breakdown in leadership and discipline that he believed compromised the safety of the troops.” Unless what results is our immediate withdrawal and surrender from Afghanistan, does anyone believe public attention to this will increase the security of our troops?

Times Editor Davan Maharaj explains why he denied the request of the military not to publish any of the photos:

“After careful consideration, we decided that publishing a small but representative selection of the photos would fulfill our obligation to readers to report vigorously and impartially on all aspects of the American mission in Afghanistan, including the allegation that the images reflect a breakdown in unit discipline that was endangering U.S. troops.”

And I’m sure they weighed in the potential consequences of whether or not publishing these photos might not be used for propaganda purposes, potentially further endangering U.S. and NATO troops. Surely it wasn’t for macabre sensationalism to sell papers.

Why not simply tell the soldiers’ stories about security inadequacies and personal losses without the publishing of these photos?

Photo: Soldiers from the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, along with Afghan police, pose with the mangled corpse of a suicide bomber. The Army says such photos are a violation of military standards and has launched a criminal investigation.

Soldiers have always done macabre things, along with displaying gallows humor to cope: Trophy body-part collecting, photos with the gruesome, etc. And given that these guys lost about 35 in their brigade in 2010 with 23 from suicide bombers, taking a photo with a failed suicide bomber is a rather tame reaction. Should we demand a higher standard of our soldiers? Certainly, the rest of the world always seems to be holding our soldiers to a tighter microscope.

The soldiers might have used bad judgment in defying Army standards by taking the photos; really poor judgment in circulating them around. The soldier who wanted to make a statement exercised even worse judgment in handing the photos over to the LATimes. But worse than all this? The LATimes going ahead and publishing a couple of them.

WaPo:

The 18 photographs were taken in 2010 in Zabul province by soldiers from the 82nd Airborne’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, the newspaper reported. Although the pictures were dated, the fresh disclosure of misbehavior extends a string of recent incidents in which U.S. troops have disrespected the dead, allegedly killed Afghan civilians and desecrated the Koran.

U.S. officials, concerned that the cumulative impact will further alienate an Afghan public already weary of foreign military occupation,

The Afghan public aren’t the only ones that are growing war weary…

“Our presence by its very nature creates tension between us and the local population,” Smith said in an interview Wednesday. “Past a certain point, a foreign presence is as destabilizing as it is stabilizing, and that’s what these incidents are pointing out.”

This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Anti-military, Military, MSM Bias. Bookmark the permalink. Wednesday, April 18th, 2012 at 2:00 pm
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72 Responses to U.S. Soldiers Posing with the Enemy

  1. Hard Right says: 51

    So greg, you think we shouldn’t have responded?
    As for who I blame, I blame clinton and the dems for their role in 9/11–making it so easy for the terrorists to pull off.

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  2. Greg says: 52

    @Hard Right, #51:

    So greg, you think we shouldn’t have responded?
    As for who I blame, I blame clinton and the dems for their role in 9/11–making it so easy for the terrorists to pull off.

    All the republican right was concerned about while Clinton was trying to sound the alarm about al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden was the Monica Lewinski affair. They even asserted that the August 1998 missile strikes he ordered against al Qaeda training camps were an effort to distract media attention away from the republican impeachment efforts:

    Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-NV):
    “‘Look at the movie Wag the Dog. I think this has all the elements of that movie,’ Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., said. ‘Our reaction to the embassy bombings should be based on sound credible evidence, not a knee-jerk reaction to try to direct public attention away from his personal problems.’” [Ottawa Citizen, 8/21/98]

    Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA):
    “There’s an obvious issue which will be raised internationally about the response here as to whether there is any diversionary motive involved. … I have deliberated consciously any references to Ms. Monica Lewinsky, but when you ask the question in very blunt terms, the president’s current problems have to be on the minds of many people.” [CNN, 8/20/98]

    Former Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO):
    “‘We support the president out of a sense of duty whenever he deploys military forces, but we’re not sure – were these forces sent at this time because he needed to divert our attention from his personal problems?‘ Ashcroft said during the taping of a TV program in Manchester, N.H.” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 8/21/98]

    Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX):
    “I’m very supportive of the strike that has happened, but I will tell you that the timing is very questionable. This was the day that Monica Lewinsky has gone back to the grand jury, evidently enraged. Certainly that information will be overshadowed.” [Dallas Morning News, 8/21/98]

    Former Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN):
    “Coats (R-IN), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement, ‘While there is clearly much more we need to learn about this attack and why it was ordered today, given the president’s personal difficulties this week, it is legitimate to question the timing of this action.‘” [CNN, 8/20/98]

    Former Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL):
    “Although most in Congress rallied around Clinton on Thursday, two Republican U.S. senators and one Central Florida congressman broke with the tradition of standing behind a president during a foreign crisis.Sen. Daniel Coats, R-Ind., Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon, R-Palm Bay, publicly questioned Clinton’s motives in launching the attacks so soon after his public admission of a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. … ‘The president has, indeed, broken the trust of the American people, and these are legitimate questions that must be answered.’” [Orlando Sentinel, 8/21/98]

    Former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA):
    “All I’m saying is if factors other than good intelligence, military necessity, being prepared for the consequences entered into it, then it is wrong, and it appears that one of those factors that may have entered into it is to take something that could have been done a week ago and do it today in an effort to divert some attention.” [Fox News, 8/20/98]

    The incoming administration didn’t want to hear Clinton’s warnings about bin Laden and al Qaeda after the 2000 elections, either. Not only did they fail to listen to Clinton; they apparently didn’t read the newspapers. As of January 25, 2001, they had to be reminded that there was something called “Al-Qida” out there that maybe they should start paying more attention to: Declassified “Memorandum for Condaleeza Rice”, January 25, 2001, and a related article from the National Security Archive.

    This was well over a year after Clinton’s 1998 missile attacks against al Qaeda made international headlines.

    Apparently no one in the Bush administration read newspapers. Osama bin Laden’s name was in my mind moments after the second plane hit in New York. When my boss asked “Who could have done this?”, “Osama bin Laden” was my immediate answer. Anyone who had been following the news stories about al Qaeda for the past couple of years probably would have answered the same way.

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  3. Hard Right says: 53

    So greg, I’ll take your evasion as a no, you think we should not have repsonded and invaded Afghanistan.

    It would have been nice had the clinton admin warned the Bush admin, but that didn’t happen.
    Not to mention the Bush admin was still trying to find their feet when the attack happened. Thanks to the dems trying to steal the election, Bush got a late start on his cabinet etc. Of course propagandists like yourself purposely ignore the 8 years in which clinton made it a point to blind our intelligence agencies while castrating the military. He focused more on covering up his bimbo eruptions and letting bin laden go than protecting America. You know it too.

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  4. Greg says: 54

    By trying to find their feet, you apparently mean still not knowing what the hell “Al-Qida” was two full years after President Clinton had launched multiple cruise missiles against six of their training compounds.

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  5. Hard Right says: 55

    If not for dems like you trying to steal the election, they might have had time to assemble a strategy.
    Again, you are trying to divert attention from the 8 YEARS in which clinton and co. blinded our intel agencies and deliberately let OBL go free.
    Then you have the hypocrisy and dishonesty to whine about obama not having enough time to “fix things”. We see thru your and you lies greg.

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  6. Hard Right
    you put your finger on something OBAMA is also doing exactly,
    he raise the debt so to leave the next many years in big problems for AMERICA,
    like a spitfull game player, breaking the the game for the next players to have to repair it before playing, nd that is only one of the spiteful destruction, how about the indoctrination of the children in school by the teachers who belong to the UNIONS WHO BELONG TO OBAMA, how about the propaganda of hate division, he pick so many groups, and separate them against each other, this NATION IS SO SAD AND DEPRESS NOW THEY ARE TOO STUNT TO SEE IT COME FROM HIM THE GREAT DIVIDER IN CHIEF,
    HIS PREVIOUS ONE WAS THE WAR ON WOMEN AGAINST OTHER WOMEN, IT WORK ENOUGH TO HAVE ONE WOMAN ACCUSING A MOTHER OF 7 CHILDREN WHO RAISE HER CHILDREN,
    AND WHEN IT PLAY DOWN HE CHOOSE ANOTHER DIVIDING WAR,
    HELL HE NOW TRY THE DIVIDE ON DOGS, HE MUST BE RUNNING OUT OF DIVIDE.

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  7. Greg says: 57

    @Hard Right, #55:

    We see thru your and you lies greg.

    You don’t seem to be able to see what’s clear as day, right in front of your face:

    QUESTION: By now I assume you’ve seen Bill Clinton’s performances. (Nice choice of words, performances. Journalistic integrity at its highest!) How do you respond to his specific accusation that the eight months before 9/11 the Bush Administration, in his words, didn’t even try to go after al-Qaida?

    SECRETARY RICE: I’d just say read the 9/11 report. We went through this. We went through this argument. The fact of the matter is I think the 9/11 Commission got it about right. Nobody organized this country or the international community to fight the terrorist threat that was upon us until 9/11. I would be the first to say that because, you know, we didn’t fight the war on terror in the way that we’re fighting it now. We just weren’t organized as a country either domestically or as a leader internationally.

    But what we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton Administration did in the preceding years. In fact, it is not true that Richard Clarke was fired. Richard Clarke was the counterterrorism czar when 9/11 happened and he left when he did not become Deputy Director of Homeland Security some several months later. We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al-Qaida. For instance, big pieces were missing, like an approach to Pakistan that might work, because without Pakistan you weren’t going to get Afghanistan. And there were reasons that nobody could think of actually going in and taking out the Taliban, either the Clinton Administration or the Bush Administration, because it’s true you couldn’t get basing rights in Uzbekistan and that was the long pole in the tent.

    “But what we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton Administration did in the preceding years.”

    Really? Eight months of doing nothing was as aggressive as launching multiple cruise missiles at each of 6 separate al Qaeda training camps?

    That statement is utterly preposterous.

    Perhaps one difference between republicans and democrats is that democrats tend to recognize total B.S. when they hear it.

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  8. Dc says: 58

    Oh, you mean when Clinton, without a coalition nor permission from anyone, bombed six “abandoned” sites in Afghanistan and an aspirin factor in Sudan? Yes…extremely effective. ….in getting people’s minds off his other scandals.

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  9. TPaine says: 59

    @Greg: ok…I call B.S. on this one. Clinton was offered Osamas head on a platter by the Sudanese (I think..) and he & his ”lawyers” -declined.

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  10. jainphx says: 60

    So let me get this straight! it’s ok to blow them in small pieces, shot them to death, stab them to death, but by golly don’t you dare pose for pictures with whats left. our priorities are in the toilet.
    our bravest and best fight against men disguised as women, hiding among civilians, hobbled by Obama’s ROE, and then some want to disparage them because they have pictures taken with body parts. I seen much worse from Viet Nam. You don’t want them to pose, then BRING THEM HOME.

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  11. talking about money, does anyone know what happen with the billions of GADAFI AND FAMILY,
    THE LAST TIME I heard was GOLDEN SACH TELLING HIM THEY DID HAVE IT, WHEN HE ASK FOR HIS MONEY BACK ,
    WHERE DID THOSE BILLIONS GO? ANYBODY KNOW, THEY HAD GIVEN THE EXCUSE OF BAD INVESTMENTS, ANYONE KNOW WHICH WAS THE INVESTMENT OF A FEW BILLIONS,
    THAT HAPPEN TO BE THE CUE FOR OBAMA TO TELL GADAFI TO RESIGN, AND THE WAR FOR THE REVOLUTION BEGAN

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  12. jainphx says: 62

    @Greg: So you say that the B.S. party is able to recognize B.S. when they hear it? HMMMM have to think about that. bubba Clinton, in his own words, refused to take Osama when offered by the Sudanese Government, because they had nothing to try him on. yeah I heard B.S. before but that took the cake. Then again, according to his own chief of intelligence, had Osama at a gathering of terrorist, and requested permission to throw missles at him, and he refused. The B.S. party strikes again.

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  13. Greg says: 63

    @Dc, #58:

    Among the 6 targets Clinton ordered hit in Afghanistan:

    The Al Farouq training camp near Kandahar;
    The Muawai, camp run by the Pakistani Harkat-ul-Mujahideen to train militants to fight Indian troops in Kashmir;
    The training camp in the Jarawah area, near Khost;
    The Zhawar Kili al-Badr al Qaeda training camp, which was directed by Osama bin Laden himself. (Our Tomahawk missles missed him by 7 hours, because somebody tipped him off.)

    All 19 of the terrorists involved in the 9/11 attack one year later trained in al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.

    Feel free to send a card apologizing for the Sudanese “aspirin plant”, if you feel so inclined. Hey, mistakes happen. While you’re at it, you might send a card to Iraq apologizing for reducing much the country to rubble because of Bush’s imagined “weapons of mass destruction.”

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  14. Dc says: 64

    The camps were a bust..most had been moved already or were empty. Clinton was the running joke at the time for those attacks and most considered he did them just take some pressure off the Lewinsky thing…not to mention the growing number of women coming out accusing him of rape/groping them. Those strikes were mainly a diversion, largely symbolic and had “zero” impact on AlQueda (training or otherwise) — as you have already pointed out.

    _______________________
    Washington D.C., August 20, 2008 – On the tenth anniversary of U.S. cruise missile strikes against al-Qaeda in response to deadly terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, newly-declassified government documents posted today by the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org) suggest the strikes not only failed to hurt Osama bin Laden but ultimately may have brought al-Qaeda and the Taliban closer politically and ideologically.

    A 400-page Sandia National Laboratories report on bin Laden, compiled in 1999, includes a warning about political damage for the U.S. from bombing two impoverished states without regard for international agreement, since such action “mirror imag[ed] aspects of al-Qaeda’s own attacks” [see pp. 18-22]. A State Department cable argues that although the August missile strikes were designed to provide the Taliban with overwhelming reason to surrender bin Laden, the military action may have sharpened Afghan animosity towards Washington and even strengthened the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance.

    Following the August 20 U.S. air attacks, Taliban spokesman Wakil Ahmed told U.S. Department of State officials “If Kandahar could have retaliated with similar strikes against Washington, it would have.” Such an attack, although unfeasible at the time, was at least in part actualized by al-Qaeda on 9/11.
    _______________________________________

    Iraq by contrast…has far better chance to actually turn out well, compared to Afghanistan. And they have the resources to rebuild it in their own image, instead of Saddams. A lot of it has been rebuilt and is functioning better than it was already compliments of the US military, gov/treasury. AlQueda ultimately got their back broken there. It depleted BinLaden’s money, divided them in many ways (arguing over the bad publicity of the extremely violent and gruesome tactics they were using), and at depleted there ranks of the most highly trained people they had.
    The rest of them, were mostly cannon fodder…ie,.,”students’ recruited from Europe and other universities who had zero skill, little training (see legs above).

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  15. Hankster58 says: 65

    I have come to the conclusion, that talking to Greg, is akin to trying to have an intelligent discussion, with a Brick! Liberals, have a CLOSED mindset, 98% of the time, i have observed. Once, they focus that “one thought” brain on something, it becomes carved in stone FACT. Whether right, OR NOT. And, you will never dissuade them. Waste of time, to even try.
    Part I don’t get?? Why, are they so HELL BENT, on converting US, to a Socialist state, instead of taking the EASIER path, and simply MOVING TO AN EXISTING ONE!! If this Continues… I could visualize CW2 on the horizon… but that’s just me. Your vision may vary.

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  16. Hankster58 says: 66

    @ greg..last comment to you… Clinton, airstrikes….. there is a saying.. but in CLINTON’S case, it would have to be BASTARDIZED to say…. “HESITATION.. DOESN’T KILL!” that splains it all….

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  17. Jon says: 67

    Next time the bombers should blow themselves into smaller pieces.

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  18. Greg says: 68

    @Dc, #64:

    The camps were a bust..most had been moved already or were empty.

    I guess that explains why Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda cadre had been in one of the training camps Clinton had blown off the map only seven hours earlier.

    A 400-page Sandia National Laboratories report on bin Laden, compiled in 1999, includes a warning about political damage for the U.S. from bombing two impoverished states without regard for international agreement, since such action “mirror imag[ed] aspects of al-Qaeda’s own attacks” [see pp. 18-22]. A State Department cable argues that although the August missile strikes were designed to provide the Taliban with overwhelming reason to surrender bin Laden, the military action may have sharpened Afghan animosity towards Washington and even strengthened the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance.

    Clinton’s strikes on al Qaeda training camps made made the Taliban mad at us? And strengthened the Taliban-al Qaeda alliance? Oh dear oh dear. . .

    Al Qaeda had already been the Taliban’s guest in Afghanistan for years. Ramzi Yousef trained in al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan before the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. They were already set against us by 1998. The planning for the 9/11 attacks was already underway.

    Iraq by contrast…has far better chance to actually turn out well, compared to Afghanistan.

    The only problem was that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda weren’t in Iraq, which had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks in the first place. Iraq diverted our attention, along with the bulk of our military resources. And we removed a foil against Iran.

    Afghanistan has actually turned out very well. Osama bin Laden is dead along with most of al Qaeda’s leadership. Isn’t that what we went there for? Having accomplished what we set out to do, we should leave.

    @Hankster58, #65:

    Part I don’t get?? Why, are they so HELL BENT, on converting US, to a Socialist state, instead of taking the EASIER path, and simply MOVING TO AN EXISTING ONE!!

    I honestly don’t understand how wanting to keep Medicare and Social Security, to make sure every American has health insurance, to take care of the environment, to keep big corporations from simply taking over, and to return tax rates to what they were during the Reagan administration is seen as some sort of socialist plot. What that actually is–and I’m saying this as a 62-year-old American–is keeping the United States of America that most of us have lived in for our entire lives.

    The truly radical proposal is on the republican side of the table. They’re wanting to change virtually everything.

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  19. Jon
    yes, it would have been more presentable to the camera in a bag in co gni to, mailed directly to LA PAPER
    bye

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  20. Hankster58 says: 70

    someone claimed… “I honestly don’t understand how wanting to keep Medicare and Social Security, to make sure every American has health insurance, to take care of the environment, to keep big corporations from simply taking over, and to return tax rates to what they were during the Reagan administration is seen as some sort of socialist plot. What that actually is–and I’m saying this as a 62-year-old American–is keeping the United States of America that most of us have lived in for our entire lives.”

    Never said I was against MOST that, but you choose to IGNORE every OTHER Illegal , shady, or UN-Constitutional thing he has done…and you are willing, to accept his commie/socialist agendas? Those things can be attended to, WITHOUT becoming the Soviet Union. Democrats however, can’t see that. figures

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  21. Dc says: 71

    There was never any proof or confirmation that anyone was in the camps and “left” just hours before the bombing. It was the CIA that claimed that (that Bin Laden had been tipped off and eft hours earlier)..and we all KNOW just how accurate they were/are!! Images taken after the strikes did not support that assessment either. They based their assessment on the fact that an AlQueda operative was arrested somewhere else a few hours earlier and made the “assumption” that this must have tipped them off so they left. Brilliant.

    Further, there was not “one” confirmed AlQueda kill from the camps (although the CIA alleged they were full/occupied at the time) in any of those camps. Guess “they” all left too? I think out of the entire campaign there was one confirmed death…a civillian who was Egyptian/Canadian.

    Bill also launched similar strikes in Iraq in 98 with the same results. They did zero damage to our enemies but infuriated others. If you want me to throw back the same rhetoric/logic used against Bush…it just “created” more terrorists and made Saddam “more” defiant than ever. The same CIA also said that Saddam had WMD and that they were there in Iraq? I don’t suppose you believe we missed those by a few hours too? I stand by what I said as being factually accurate. Feel free to have a different “opinion”.

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  22. Wordsmith says: 72

    @Greg #52:

    The incoming administration didn’t want to hear Clinton’s warnings about bin Laden and al Qaeda after the 2000 elections, either. Not only did they fail to listen to Clinton; they apparently didn’t read the newspapers. As of January 25, 2001, they had to be reminded that there was something called “Al-Qida” out there that maybe they should start paying more attention to: Declassified “Memorandum for Condaleeza Rice”, January 25, 2001, and a related article from the National Security Archive.

    I don’t believe that Clarke’s book supports the notion that “Bush asleep, Clinton awake” at the wheel (if you read between the lines of his partisan sniping). If anything, what comes across to me in regards to Clarke, Soufan, John O’Neill, and Scheuer is a frustration that everyone was asleep at the wheel in regards to the metastasizing threat that was al Qaeda.

    What was Clinton’s response to the bombing of the Cole? Rhetoric. Evidence at the time clearly pointed to al Qaeda (Great chapters on the investigation in Soufan’s book, btw). And as you point out, the machinations of the 9/11 scheme occurred on Clinton’s watch. What else happened on Clinton’s watch if he was so effective with a “comprehensive plan” to take out al Qaeda?

    *1993: US helicopters shot down and US servicemen killed in Somalia (cited by bin Laden as example of America as “paper tiger”)
    *1994: Plotted to assassinate Pope John Paul II during his visit to Manila
    *1995: Plotted to kill President Clinton during a visit to the Philippines
    *1998: US Embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing at least 301 and injuring over 5,000 others
    *1999: Attempt to carry out terrorist operations against US and Israeli tourists visiting Jordan for millennial celebrations (prevented by Jordanians)
    *1999: Bomber caught on his way to LAX (thanks to luck and an observant customs offical- not due to a bold, comprehensive Clinton strategy to combat al Qaeda) to ring in the new year/millennium.
    *2000: USS Cole bombed in the port of Aden, Yemen. Bold, decisive, aggressive response to it? There was none.

    If Clinton had another 9 months in office, do you think 9/11 would not have occurred when it did? Or would the weak pattern of response (or lack thereof) have followed the same trajectory? What exactly did Clinton have in place that the transitional Bush team disregarded or eliminated that could have prevented 9/11 from happening?

    As an aside, I’m still curious to know what it was that Sandy Berger burgled? Isn’t your curiosity piqued, as well?

    As a partisan Bush-defender, I’ll also point out what you might remember me saying in a prior thread in response to someone who shares your opinion:

    You accuse Bush of failing to doing “nothing” to safeguard America just 9 months into office, with some of his political appointments still not in key positions due to the 2000 election results and partisanship on the part of Senator Levin and others; for nearly 7 months, confirmation hearings for Feith and a couple of other top advisors for Rumsfeld were held up. The incoming Pentagon policy team had no legal or political authority to do their jobs.

    Byron York points out from Clarke’s book:

    On page 223, Clarke describes a meeting, in late 2000, of the National Security Council “principals” — among them, the heads of the CIA, the FBI, the Attorney General, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the secretaries of State, Defense. It was just after al Qaeda’s attack on the USS Cole. But neither the FBI nor the CIA would say that al Qaeda was behind the bombing, and there was little support for a retaliatory strike. Clarke quotes Mike Sheehan, a State Department official, saying in frustration, “What’s it going to take, Dick? Who the shit do they think attacked the Cole, fuckin’ Martians? The Pentagon brass won’t let Delta go get bin Laden. Hell they won’t even let the Air Force carpet bomb the place. Does al Qaeda have to attack the Pentagon to get their attention?”

    That came later. But in October 2000, what would it have taken? A decisive presidential order — which never came.

    The story was the same with the CIA. On page 204, Clarke vents his frustration at the CIA’s slow-walking on the question of killing bin Laden. “I still to this day do not understand why it was impossible for the United States to find a competent group of Afghans, Americans, third-country nationals, or some combination who could locate bin Laden in Afghanistan and kill him,” Clarke writes. “I believe that those in CIA who claim the [presidential] authorizations were insufficient or unclear are throwing up that claim as an excuse to cover the fact that they were pathetically unable to accomplish the mission.”

    Clarke hit the CIA again a few pages later, on page 210, on the issue of the CIA’s refusal to budget money for the fight against al Qaeda. “The formal, official CIA response was that there were [no funds],” Clarke writes. “Another way to say that was that everything they were doing was more important than fighting al Qaeda.”

    The FBI proved equally frustrating. On page 217, Clarke describes a colleague, Roger Cressey, who was frustrated after meeting with an FBI representative on the subject of terrorism. “That fucker is going to get some Americans killed,” Clarke reports Cressey saying. “He just sits there like a bump on a log.” Clarke adds: “I knew he was talking about an FBI representative.”

    In hindsight, both Clinton and Bush wish they had done more. USS Cole did not elicit or culminate in a strong response to avert 9/11. Clinton’s watch. 9/11 was the culmination that elicited a strong response (Bush political opponents will now say “overreaction”) to avert future 9/11s. Bush’s watch.

    If Bush ignored the metastasizing al Qaeda (network) threat for 9 months, Clinton did as well for 8 years. Neither president made al Qaeda and bin Laden a #1 priority…until 9/11 happened.

    If hindsight blame-handing is what we’re after, there’s plenty of it to go around. But in general, I don’t think anyone else sitting in the Oval Office would have done much differently than Clinton or Bush, prior to 9/11.

    Al Qaeda isn’t a Clinton or Bush problem. It’s an American problem. And in general, I think we were all asleep prior to 9/11 (except for you, apparently- as you stated in regards to the 2nd plane hitting the WTC).

    @Greg #64:

    The only problem was that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda weren’t in Iraq,

    Yet al Qaeda did have a footprint in Iraq (re: Iraqi Perspectives Project), including those al Qaeda fighters who fled the battlefield of Afghanistan, seeking safe haven in Iraq.

    which had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks in the first place.

    Was the idea that Saddam’s Iraq had a hand in the events of 9/11 ever part of the Bush justification of invading Iraq? Nope. It never became an official part of the justification. What the Bush administration argued in linking 9/11 to the decision to remove Saddam from power was the fear that Saddam- a known, self-advertised lover of all things wmd and an unapologetic publicly-known state-sponsor of terror (both secular and religious), as well as an avowed enemy of the U.S. who never stopped believing he was at war with America, post cease-fire agreement (not a peace treaty)- would do business with fanatical religious terrorists who shared “the Great Satan” as a common enemy. What the administration chose to do was preempt that kind of threat and prevent the next 9/11. They did not do it to “seek revenge” on either Saddam or al Qaeda. They feared terrorists used as proxy to deliver wmd attacks. And given Saddam’s track record/past history- a constant menace to regional and global stability for the previous 12 yrs- it wasn’t unreasonable to finally enforce those 16 + 1 UNSCRs and make an example of him and a strong statement that “You are either with us, or against us” in the GWoT.

    Iraq diverted our attention, along with the bulk of our military resources. And we removed a foil against Iran.

    I disagree that Iraq was a diversion. It did become the central front, as attested by Zawahiri and bin Laden themselves; and it led to exposure of al Qaeda in the eyes of the Islamic world as the greatest killer of Muslims.

    Iraq was a battlefield of our choosing. I do believe however, even as I supported and still support the OIF decision, that there are good arguments to be made as to why we should not have invaded.

    Military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan were not the only places and means being implemented in combating the al Qaeda network, btw. This administration attacked the global jihad movement on multiple fronts in 103 countries, killing and capturing over 3,000 al Qaeda operatives by 2004 (Re: Richard Miniter, Shadow War).

    Iran at first was cowed after the 2003 invasion in which Saddam’s regime was swiftly toppled. In regards to postwar operation difficulties in Iraq and the instability created by the insurgency and saboteurs fueling it, you’re right that a regional foil to Iran was removed. But if Saddam were still in power, do you think the world would be better off?

    Remember, it wasn’t just Iraq that President Bush set in his crosshairs: Iran and North Korea were also part of the “Axis of Evil”.

    If he had chosen to invade Iran, you’d now be complaining that he removed a foil to Iraq. And if he chose NK as the next target to deal with, critics would say, “Why didn’t he take care of Iraq instead? Saddam’s been a threat since the Clinton days and since Bush 41….a decade of deceit and defiance…sponsors terror….Clinton was warning about Saddam…”

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