Frank Rich is a liberal columnist not prone to exaggeration or fear mongering. In his most recent New York Times column, Rich noted how the CIA’s former head of the Bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer told MSNB’s Keith Olberman, that Al Quaeda,
“are going to detonate a nuclear device inside the United States.”I believe him. Tactical nuclear weapons are quite obtainable and these fanatics believe mass murder serves a higher purpose. Such warnings resemble the intelligence community's desperate attempt getting both Presidents Clinton and Bush to pay attention to the threat of an Al Quaeda attack prior to 9/11. Clinton was properly engaged but hamstrung politically following the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Bush wasn't even stirred by that infamously straightforward memo of August 2001.
Immediately after 9/11, I debated my fellow liberal friends about the merits of toppling the Taliban government in Afghanistan because of their support for Al Quaeda. I found myself in the unusual position of justifying a military response. The loss of innocent life utterly sickened me but there was no way we couldn’t respond. My problem was I didn’t trust an administration stocked with corporatist ideologues and imperialists.
As we’ve seen, the Bush Administration’s obsession with Iraq has facilitated
Al Quaeda's resurgence in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s bitterly ironic how Vice President Cheney’s meeting with Pakistan’s President Musharraf earlier today, featured a suicide bomber targeting him. The sort of terrorists the Bush Administration opted to neglect signaled they’re very much here by attempting to take our Vice President out.
The bomber killed 23 people instead. Much of the civilized world would not have grieved had Cheney been killed. Symbolically, today’s bombing was a propaganda bonanza for Al Quaeda.
It’s said that laughing is better than crying. How comically ironic that after letting Bin Laden escape in Tora Bora in December 2001, redirecting resources from Afghanistan to the Iraq theatre and giving Musharraf’s regime billions in aid, the Bush Administration finally decided to express displeasure at their ally in Islamabad. A useless exercise, because what can Musharraf effectively do without jeopardizing his own regime’s grip on power?
America’s enemies are ascending. Our veracity and moral legitimacy is not trusted by many of our western allies. Five and a half years after 9/11, we still haven’t developed a containment policy with the civilized world that provides a bulwark against radical Islam and empowers moderates. The “global war on terror” is perpetuating a treadmill of death with no end in sight.
January 20th, 2009 can’t get here soon enough. Hopefully, the next occupant of the White House won’t be a moron. Otherwise, the next attack may be far more catastrophic than two airplanes crashing into a building.