Thursday, May 27, 2004

Gore Gets Riled Up

First, note to Al: try decaf. You’re gonna blow an O ring with that yelling.

For those who didn’t see the clips of his speech, it was something. The text is available here, but it’s not the same without Al’s voice and self-righteous indignation.

Before I go on I will say that agree with him when he calls for George Tenet to resign as head of the CIA. I’ll go even further. I think Tenet, all his direct reports, and all their direct reports should exit stage left. The CIA is clearly in over it’s head trying to gather intelligence on the Islamo-fascists. I wouldn’t object to disbanding and reorganizing the whole effort. Now on the Gore’s comments.

He was extremely critical of how the administration has handled the War on Jihad. Hello, Pot, this is Kettle. You don’t have to be a bloodthirsty warmonger or even a supporter of the war in Iraq to notice that the Clinton/Gore record fighting al Qaeda was abominable. Al Qaeda bombed two of our embassies in Africa on the same day. Embassy grounds are considered our national soil. They killed American citizens and foreign employees. What did Mr. Angry do? Clinton launched missiles into deserted training camps and bombed an unaffiliated pharmaceutical factory. That’s it.

Then al Qaeda attacked a US naval vessel. They killed 16 American sailors. Clinton/Gore – nothing. Gore was running for president at the time. I don’t remember him even saying that we should do something. He was as silent then as he is vocal now.

These are all clear acts of war under any definition. These were not merely crimes. But neither Clinton nor Gore put forward any response. In his speech yesterday he said, “In my religious tradition, I have been taught that ‘ye shall know them by their fruits’”. Ok, what were the fruits of 8 years of Clinton/Gore: the growth of the largest and best funded anti-American terror group in history, its establishment in a friendly country, the ongoing training of thousands of terrorists, the execution of some of the most elaborate terror attacks up to that time.

When Clinton/Gore took office in 1992, bin Laden was just a Saudi exile living in Sudan; a man whose glory days of jihad seemed behind him. By 2000 when Clinton/Gore left office, bin Laden was the head of a sophisticated, organized and determined terror network closely intertwined with a radical national government, dedicated to waging war on Western civilization. That the fruit, Al.

Bush has certainly made mistakes, but errors of omission are still errors Al. You’re on thin ice on the terror debate. Stick to taxes.

He said the Bush was “stirring up hornet's nests that pose no threat whatsoever to us.” Who exactly never posed a threat to us? The terrorists who killed our ambassador to Jordon in October, 2002, 18 months before the war in Iraq? The terrorist who twice attacked our troops stationed in Saudi Arabia before the war in Iraq?

The Iraqis? Evidence of some level of Iraqi collusion with al Qaeda is increasing. Just this week they discovered that an Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, who was at January 2000 al Qaeda meeting in Malaysia is also listed as a Lieutenant-Colonel in a paramilitary group run by Saddam's son Uday, known as the Fedayeen. He was stationed in the Iraqi Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and worked at the airport. He may have been at the meeting without the knowledge of the Iraqi military. As more documents are translated this will get clearer.

Leaving that aside, Al, here’s the real reason we invaded Iraq. Because we could. Let’s flashback to 1942. The US had just been bombed by Japan in a surprise attack. What was the first country we invaded? Italy? Why? Did Italy pose a direct threat to the US? Hardly. Italy could barely occupy Libya. Did Italy directly support Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor? No. Japan didn’t need Italian support. Do you think Mussolini even knew about it before hand? Unlikely; at least not to the degree required by a criminal trial. So why the hell did we invade Italy? Because we could. It was a strategic move against the Axis powers and it positioned us to fight the Nazis.

But you’ll say, Italy was an ally of Japan. Sure, on paper. But in today’s world nations, especially those involved in terrorism, don’t go out and have press conferences announcing their alliances.

We invaded Iraq, not just because of WMD or because they were breaking UN sanctions. We needed to invade an Arab / Muslim country to frighten the shit out of them. (It worked to some degree with Libya.) We needed to position ourselves to directly threaten other hostile powers: Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia.

The hornets nest didn’t need stirring. The bugs were already swarming.

Did Bush and company fuck up the occupation? It certainly could have gone better. There aren’t enough troops. The plans weren’t clear or well thought out. Communication is for shit. The borders aren’t secure. But our previous efforts, firing missiles into rocks, blowing up unrelated and/or empty buildings, issuing harsh but vague statements but not following through, that just wasn’t working.

If you have a better idea I’d like to hear it. But the option of doing nothing is off the table.

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