al-Qaeda’s Secret Weapon
Vol: 29 Issue: 25 Wednesday, February 25, 2004
For most of the past nine months, the media consumer has been saturated with criticisms of the war in Iraq, the war against terror, US intelligence gathering capability and reasons why we should abandon Iraq, pull out of Afghanistan and withdraw from the Middle East.
The sentiments are far different today than they were during the weeks and months following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
Back then, the prevailing attitude was ‘find ’em — and nuke ’em till the glow’ whereas last month, we heard presidential candidate Howard Dean caution America against condemning Osama bin Laden without a trial.
The tragedies of New York and Washington were so mind-numbing that somehow, the real impact never completely sunk into the American consciousness. Everybody was aware of a ‘new, post-9/11 reality’ at the surface level, but because it never sunk in, it also never really took hold. For many Americans, 9/11 has taken a back seat to Election 2000 and the effort to ‘make things right’ in 2004.
The Dixie Chicks and Sean Penn have been forgiven, and even Susan Sarandan and Tim Robbins are making movies again. Last night, I noticed that Michael Moore’s fake documentary, “Bowling for Columbine” was on pay-TV.
People aren’t interested in the actual threat posed by the terrorists, or in the number of attacks that have been prevented. What Americans really seem to want is a scandal.
‘What did the president know and when did he know it?’ is NEVER associated with the prevention of a major terrorist strike. (Until the strike happens, it isn’t ‘major’).
But it gets used all the time when questioning why the Bush administration, eighteen months into office and facing the stiffest domestic political opposition of any administration in living memory and equipped with a military and intelligence apparatus crippled by a decade of Clinton cut-backs, failed to anticipate the September 11 attacks.
The question is never answered, but just left lingering in the air, while the same critics continue to argue AGAINST efforts to prevent future attacks. This looking-glass view at reality is attracting an increasingly wide audience.
While the country is distracted by domestic politics, charges and counter-charges, sideshows like Howard Dean and now, Ralph Nader, and the almost palpable hatred around the country for George Bush, the threat to America from al-Qaeda seems oddly distant.
The muted public reaction to the testimony from FBI Director Mueller and CIA Director George Tenet to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is a good example. In the months just following 9/11, it would have been covered gavel-to-gavel by the major networks. It wasn’t.
Mueller reminded the Senate that al-Qaeda historically revisits missed targets until they succeed. “And the list of missed targets now includes both the White House as well as the Capitol,” he said to the yawning panel of senators.
Recent flights from the UK and France to Washington have been diverted or canceled by the FBI. Mueller knows considerably more than he was telling in a public forum, but he might as well have given away all our secrets at the same time. The public wouldn’t have noticed.
CIA Director George J. Tenet told the committee that al Qaeda has been weakened but it has “infected” other radical groups with its ideology that depicts the “United States as Islam’s greatest foe.”
“The steady growth of Osama bin Laden’s anti-American sentiment through the wider Sunni extremist movement and the broad dissemination of al Qaeda’s destructive expertise ensure that a serious threat will remain for the foreseeable future, with or without al Qaeda in the picture,” Tenet told the largely empty Senate chamber.
Tenet said al Qaeda is continuing to recruit pilots and to evade new security measures in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
“Even catastrophic attacks on the scale of 9/11 remain within al Qaeda’s reach,” he said. “Make no mistake, these plots are hatched abroad, but they target U.S. soil and those of our allies.”
Critics of the administration have seized on Iraq as the safest policy to use to try and unseat the hated George Bush. The war was based on a lie, we shouldn’t have gone there, the world is NOT a safer place with Saddam deposed, etc., etc.
Tenet told the Senate in public, (which presumes the Senators have additional, supporting information from their classified files) that “Iraq has the potential to become a training ground for the next generation of terrorists if it is “left unchecked,” and that al Qaeda members have carried out some of the most deadly attacks on coalition forces in Iraq.
He also said the CIA believes Iraq’s stocks of weapons of mass destruction still may be hidden inside the country or were secretly moved abroad.
Not only has that revelation been ignored by the ‘Bush lied’ spin machine, it failed to elicit much of a public gasp at the prospect that those stockpiles and the terrorists who want to kill us may be hiding in the same cave.
The public seemed uninterested in the intelligence community’s testimony that Russian weapons of mass destruction materials remain vulnerable to theft or diversion.
Or that China is continuing an aggressive missile modernization program targeted against Taiwan that includes both cruise and ballistic missiles.
“Our greatest concern remains China’s military buildup, which continues to accelerate,” Tenet said. “What did the President know and when did he know it?”, thundered the useful idiots on the panel.
A half-dozen committee members ignored a suggestion made at the opening of the hearing by Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican and committee chairman, that they focus on current threats around the world and not on the issue of flawed prewar intelligence.
They quoted from intelligence reports, compared them with assertions President Bush and others made about the need for war in Iraq and questioned parts of a speech Tenet gave recently at Georgetown University in defense of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Here’s an example of stupidity squared: “The question I am wrestling with is whether in fact we are as a country and as a people safer today than we were when the three of you were here a year ago,” Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia Democrat, said in opening statements, speaking to Tenet, Mueller and Admiral. Jacoby of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Is ‘stupid’ too harsh a characterization? Let’s see. . . One year ago, America had not been hit directly by terrorists in two years. Today, America has not been hit directly by terrorists in three years. Rockefeller ought to leave wrestling to the guys in the silly underwear.
It took al-Qaeda seven years of trying to bring down the World Trade Center, the symbol of American capitalism and economic power. They successfully struck the Pentagon, the seat and symbol of American military power. But they missed the White House and Capitol, the symbols of American democracy and freedom.
After the first WTC bombing, all al-Qaeda had to do was bide its time, wait for American complacency and political corruption to outdistance the country’s attention span, and try again. That is precisely what the FBI, CIA and DIA told the Senate Intelligence Committee al-Qaeda doing now. And getting bin-Laden won’t end the threat.
In assessing the weapons the enemy is planning to use against America, the intelligence left out, complacency, blind partisan hatred and a cadre of useful idiots from the liberal left.
But nobody is paying attention. They are so busy thundering, “What did the President know [prior to 9/11] that they can’t hear what the President is telling them that he knows NOW.
“The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.” (Ecclesiastes 4:5)