Hirsh: Bush’s Poor Leadership in Terror War - Newsweek Politics - MSNBC.comHirsch led the 9/11 coverage for Newsweek. He takes this story seriously.
... What a contrast to four years ago, when the rapid collapse of the Taliban caught bin Laden by surprise as he sought to escape the Afghan mountains of Tora Bora. It was probably the last time, we must now conclude, that the terror impresario was surprised at all. As Gary Berntsen, the CIA officer in charge of the operation, records in his new book 'Jawbreaker,' (Crown, 2005) bin Laden told his followers, 'Forgive me,' and apologized for getting them pinned down by the Americans (Berntsen's men were listening on radio). Bin Laden then asked them to pray. And, lo, a miracle occurred. As Berntsen stewed in frustration over the Pentagon’s refusal to rush in more troops to encircle the trapped “sheikh,’ bin Laden was allowed to flee. And not only did Bush stop talking about the man he wanted “dead or alive,” the president began to shift U.S. Special Forces (in particular the Arabic-speaking 5th Group, which had built close relations with its Afghan allies) and Predator drones to the Iraq theater.
It is time to have an accounting of just how badly run, and conceived, this 'war on terror' has been...
...Al-Qaeda’s leaders worried about a military response from the United States, but in such a response they spied opportunity: they had fought the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and they fondly remembered that war as a galvanizing experience, an event that roused the indifferent of the Arab world to fight and win against a technologically superior Western infidel. The jihadis expected the United States, like the Soviet Union, to be a clumsy opponent."
Not in their fondest dreams did they realize how clumsy...... How then did we arrive at this day, with anti-American Islamist governments rising in the Mideast, bin Laden sneering at us, Qaeda lieutenants escaping from prison, Iran brazenly enriching uranium, and America as hated and mistrusted as it ever has been? The answer, in a word, is incompetence ... So catastrophic was Bush's decision to shift his attention and resources to Iraq, when bin Laden was panting at Tora Bora, that one is tempted to rank it with Adolf Hitler's decision to invade the Soviet Union in June 1941...
... bin Laden and Zawahiri have been fortunate in their enemies. Had the Bush administration been more competent, these two would have long since been bloody pulp, perhaps largely forgotten. Luckily for the rest of us, the Al Qaeda revolutionary program is so abhorrent that most of the world still has no choice but to stick with us, through thick and thin—and dumb and dumber. How long we can test the world’s patience is another matter. Alan Cullison’s 2004 article based on Zawahiri’s private thoughts is again instructive here. "Al Qaeda understood that its attacks would not lead to a quick collapse of the great powers,” he wrote. “Rather, its aim was to tempt the powers to strike back in a way that would create sympathy for the terrorists. ... One wonders if the United States is indeed playing the role written for it on the computer." What I wonder is, how many more years will we have to wait for Rumsfeld to figure that one out?
I'm not sure incompetence is the correct charge however. I think the problem is deeper. Bush is very competent at getting what he wants, but he's delusional. He gets what he wants, but it doesn't produce the results he expects.
We are led by the a faith-based delusional regime. It wouldn't be so bad if God seemed to favor them, but based on how things are going the evidence suggests God doesn't like GWB very much ...
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