Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Drain the Swamp

An AP story this morning tells the tale of the tape from the “war on terror”. The opening line tells it all: “Terrorist attacks worldwide shpt up more than 25 percent last year, killing 40 percent more people than in 2005, particularly in Iraq where extremists used chemical weapons and suicide bombers to target crowds, the State Department said Monday.”

Now you tell me – is it possible to be any more mealy-mouthed than the Secretary of State (Condasleeza Rice) going around the world spouting off about how righteous the U.S. is to carry out its war on terror while her own State Department’s report shows how ineffective the “war on terror” has been?

A “legitimate” act of war is carried out by a nation with a formal army. A “terroristic” act of war is carried out by individuals or groups separate from any nation, but having a shared ideology. Terrorists are like mosquitoes. They can swarm out of the swamp at night and make big enough pests of themselves to really ruin your fun, but they can’t inflict crippling damage. As Ryan Amundsen, brother of a 9-11 victim once said, “Do you fight mosquitoes with a sledge hammer? No. You can’t swat mosquitoes with a sledge hammer. What you do is drain the swamp.”

Our approach of using massive air attacks and mobilizing our Army and Marines is definitely a sledge hammer. A “terrorist” on his most effective day might take out a hundred people. A “sledge hammer” warrior on his most effective day might take out several thousand. Among them will be a few terrorist, yes, but what is the ultimate effect? My response to that question has for years been another question: Who will be the next terrorist, the father whose son we feed or the son whose father we kill?

Our “war on terror” is bogus. We always need an enemy, and Iraq is a way to keep patriotic fervor in high pitch while we attempt to gain control over resources and stabilize the region, but it is no way to fight terrorism. Obviously the stabilization effort is a bust, but the administration still remains fixated on grabbing control of the resources. If you need proof, just watch the debate over the war budget bill over the next few weeks. Both the Dems and the administration will make sure that the provision that Iraq must privatize its oil production survives the negotiations. Nothing else really matters to them at this point.

And speaking of bogus, here’s another one to watch. From the moment George Tenet showed up again touting his new book, I began to wonder what his motivation was. For a long time I thought he had fallen on his sword in leaving his job as CIA boss under the “cloud” of delivering poor intelligence prior to both 9-11 and the Iraq war. After all, anyone with any savvy at all knew there were no WMDs , that Iraq posed no threat to anyone, and that Saddam never supported Al-Qaeda, so I never believed the bull that the CIA didn’t know these things. When Bush awarded Tenet the Medal of Freedom after he resigned, it became obvious that he had been paid off.

This new book, at first blush, seemed to be an attack on the Bushies, but then, as alluded to in yesterday’s blog, it became apparent that he was still laying the intelligence failure at the feet of the CIA, basically exonerating BushCo from responsibility for manufacturing and distorting intelligence.

Thankfully, it didn’t work quite as planned because yesterday six other CIA agents who had worked under Tenet emerged to give the lie to his spiel. They characterized Tenet as a weak leader who kowtowed to the administration while on the job and still is doing so. They made it clear that they all knew the intelligence Tenet offered the Whitehouse and Colin Powell was bogus.

Still, I suggest you hide and watch for a few days. I only heard of those agents from one source, and I’d bet the farm that they will receive damn little air time and Tenet will remain the “big story” for maybe 24 more hours before the whole thing fades beneath the journalistic glow of some celebrity’s divorce. Once again, Tenet has fallen on his sword. What will W reward him with this time, a few thousand shares of Iraqi oil futures?

If we could drain the swamp of terrorism and clear the muck out of Washington in one fell swoop today, we could all wake up smiling tomorrow!

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. – Jimi Hendrix

Yours in Peace - BR

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