Saturday, December 04, 2004

What was Bush thinking before 9/11? 

Remember when Kerry said we need to get terrorism back to the point where it was just a terrible nuisance? He was basically quoting Bush's daddy's National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, who said the exact same thing two years earlier. But when Kerry said it, the quote was, of course, twisted and repeated across the right-wing media machine until it became a big deal.

What's interesting, though, is that the current Bush Administration seems to have thought the same thing. My boss found this Time Magazine article while cleaning his office. It's from the Pentagon reporter, June of 2001:
"The conviction last week of four men in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania set off hopes that the U.S. would step up its campaign to nab the bombings' mastermind, Osama bin Laden. But in the wake of the trial, a new U.S. counterterrorism tactic is on display: silence. Bush officials realize that bin Laden bashing has been counterproductive. The more the exiled Saudi millionnaire is demonized by the U.S., the stronger he becomes to radicals around the world. Intelligence officials also feel that, despite a near 20% decline in anti-American terrorism incidents over the past decade, the war against terror may be unwinnable."

Obviously our outward policy had to change big-time after we were attacked on 9/11. But when that article was written, terrorism was just a terrible nuisance -- something that happened once in a while. The Bush Pentagon understood this, and that's what we're trying to get back to. As Scowcroft said -- and the Bushies themselves seemingly understood -- the war on terror is only winnable in the same sense that you can beat organized crime. You keep it to a minimum. Yet they boldly invaded Iraq and did just what they didn't want to do -- boost Osama's standing among loonies.

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