...the political lamp cannot stay unlit... alas...
On Friday I responded to the ABC “docudrama” the Road to 9/11, with a challenge for some brave reporter out there.
“Go track down how many FBI agents the Bush White House re-assigned during its first six months, diverting the agents from duties protecting the public, over to searching for indictable offenses* committed by the Clinton Administration.”
My personal tally, from informal sources, is shocking. But if only ONE were verified, it would be enough, matching all of the innuendos spread by the deceitful miniseries.
Now I am behooved to follow up with one more rebuttal. Further proof that Clinton Staff were taking bin Laden and the Taliban seriously, entirely repudiating the image presented by ABC.
I posted a detailed article in 2004, demonstrating that the very swiftness of our response to the 9/11 attacks, unleashing a stunningly effective and well-organized campaign to topple the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, is proof enough that aggressive planning had been taking place for years... in other words, under the previous administration. Indeed, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, President Bush had little time to do much more than say “Go!” to an already-existing war plan.
”The existence of this plan is apparent on many levels, for example in the rapid convergence of skilled special forces teams that were already trained to interact with well-developed contacts among Uzbeki, Tadjik and other tribal leaders.
“Moreover, the Taliban were clearly aware that such plans existed. On the morning of September 9, 2001, the formidable guerrilla leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, leader of the opposition Northern Alliance, was assassinated by an Al Qaeda suicide squad at his base in Khvajeh Baha od Din, specifically in order to foil the cooperative campaign that was sure to be unleashed by America when hijacked planes were sent diving into New York and Washington, two days later. Osama bin Laden's operatives thus hoped to derail an allied retaliation scenario that had been in complex preparation for more than a year.
“While we can fret over the unsatisfying aftermath of warlords, opium fields and other doubts, there can be no question that the initial portion of the Afghanistan Campaign was resoundingly successful -- more so than any other foreign involvement there since Alexander the Great. Credit should be apportioned equally between the President who said "go-get-em" (without the catastrophic political meddling we saw in Iraq) and the previous administration, who assigned professionals the long and hard task of preparing for this deed.”
--- end ---
What I left out of that missive -- and the larger article -- was further implicit evidence... manifest in the stark difference between two military doctrines -- between the Afghanistan intervention and the subsequent plunge into Iraq. Ask any military officer. The two approaches were almost diametric opposites, with the former involving careful planning, mature engagement of local forces, steady diplomacy, as well as utter respect for the capabilities and advice of skilled professionals.
In fact, the closest parallel to the Afghanistan operation was the previous major use of American force -- the Campaign in the Balkans. From the careful use of special forces and air power to the consequent low US casualty figures, it is clear that both endeavors were “cousins” in areas of both doctrine and effectiveness. (This comparison only applies to the first year in Afghanistan, of course. The bungled subsequent period is another matter, entirely, as the Bush Administration made this engagement entirely its own.)
The contrast with Iraq is stunning, on a dozen levels. For example, after telling us for thirty years that “we lost Vietnam because of meddling by politicians,” some of the same rightwing radicals have become the worst meddlers in US military history, micro-managing our troops in ways that not only have devastated their effectiveness, but that make Robert MacNamara look like George Patton. Just the violation of contract-vetting rules, a boring but important topic, has created a scandalous wound, bleeding our troops while pouring millions into the pockets of hand-picked cronies.
The chief result... destruction of our reserves, deterioration of readiness and savage abrasion of our mainline forces... could not have been more thoroughly accomplished had it been planned. But I’ve made that argument elsewhere.
Here, my chief point is this; there is a long list of differences between these two interventions, between the initial intervention in Afghanistan and the debacle in Iraq. That list of differences reflects upon the different styles of two very different administrations.
All of the evidence, from planning style to rapidity of response, to the assassination of Massoud... all of it... points to a Clinton Administration that was very busy waging the war on terror, with the same patient relentlessness that it had brought to the task of bringing peace to Europe, for the first time in 4,000 years.
=== ADDENDA =====
Relevant to the preceding. Can you guess what crazy, America-hating "Defeatocrat" made this statement?
"When presidents fail to make hard choices, those who serve must make them instead. Soldiers must choose whether to stay with their families or to stay in the armed forces at all. Sending our military on vague, aimless, and endless missions rapidly saps morale. Even the highest morale is eventually undermined by back-to-back deployments, poor pay, shortages of spare parts and equipment, inadequate training, and rapidly declining readiness."
If you guessed The 2000 Republican Party Platform, you get an extra beer tonight.
The failure of the Democrats to make this THE issue of the campaign is staggering. It simply beggars the imagination.
(* Lest we forget; the sum total of Clintonites actually indicted for malfeasance in the performance of official duties amounted to exactly...zero.)