Archive for May, 2011

Non-fact-based reality & the hunt for Osama

May 20, 2011

It’s touching how diligently pundits and politicians of the non-fact-based reality persuasion try to rewrite the record of George W. Bush. For example: Tea Party Nation head Judson Phillips “said that the death of Osama bin Laden happened in spite of President Obama.” (Right Wing Watch 5/2/11) “Bush’s persistence was palpable and set the tone for the intelligence community tasked with bringing bin Laden to justice. (Dan Balz, Washington Post 5/2/11)

To make such statements one must ignore the opportunity before 9/11. “The Bush administration now had in its hands what one participant called ‘the holy grail’ of a three-year quest by the U.S. government – a tool that could kill bin Laden within minutes of finding him. The CIA planned and practiced the operation. But for the next three months, before the catastrophe of Sept. 11, President Bush and his advisers held back…At least twice, Bush conveyed the message to the Taliban that the United States would hold the regime responsible for an al Qaeda attack.” (Washington Post 1/20/02)

There were so many warnings that three months before 9/11 Bush warned Taliban ”at least twice” that if al-Qaeda attacked, Taliban would be held responsible. The US was attacked and Bush attacked Taliban and Iraq allowing Osama and al-Qaeda lieutenants to escape.

The non-fact-based reality experts remember, “I want justice,” he (Bush) said… Wanted: Dead or Alive.’” (Telegraph 9/18/01) “The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.” (Washington, D.C., 9/13/01) Former Bush Chief of Staff Andy Card said: “[Bush] made sure everything was in place so that President Obama could have an opportunity to get Osama bin Laden.” (Fox News,5/2/11) Majority Whip Eric Cantor: “I commend President Obama who has followed the vigilance of President Bush in bringing Bin Laden to justice.” (CNN, 5/2/11)

They shove down the memory hole reports of Bush’s lack of vigilance, closing the unit at the CIA tracking Bin Laden since before Bush became president, and Bush’s lack of a plan. Bush said, “I truly am not that concerned about him (Bin Laden).” (New American 4/8/02). Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said “the goal has never been to get bin Laden.” (AP 4/8/02) September 2006, Bush said that an “emphasis on bin Laden doesn’t fit with the administration’s strategy for combating terrorism.” (FAIR, 5/2/11)

The media reported, “Shifts from bin Laden hunt evoke questions,” (USA Today, 3/28/04), “More Agents Track Castro Than Bin Laden.” (Common Dreams News Center, 4/29/04) “Three years after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency has fewer experienced case officers assigned to its headquarters unit dealing with Osama bin Laden than it did at the time of the attacks… ‘There has been no systematic effort to groom Al Qaeda expertise’ among CIA officers since Sept. 11, 2001,” said Michael F. Scheuer, the former chief of the agency’s bin Laden unit…(New York Times, 9/15/04)

“The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, intelligence officials confirmed Monday. The unit…was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, the officials said.” (New York Times, 7/4/06)

“Even as it faces an enduring terrorist threat and rising violence in Afghanistan, the Bush administration has failed to develop a comprehensive plan to eliminate al Qaida and its sanctuary in Pakistan’s remote tribal region,” the investigative arm of Congress said Thursday. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office’s scathing report says that the administration has relied too heavily on Pakistani security forces to deal with a major U.S. national-security problem.” (McClatchy Newspapers 4/17/08)

Obama got Bin Laden because he did have persistence, vigilance and a plan.

Those who may face criminal charges and prosecution for torture claim that such a policy worked. John Yoo, Bush legal adviser who wrote the torture memos, wrote, “Without the tough decisions taken by President Bush and his national security team, the United States could not have found and killed bin Laden. It is the continuity of policies in the war on terror that has brought success, not the misguided effort of the last two years to disavow them.” (Journal of the American Enterprise Institute 5/2/11) Former Bush adviser Karl Rove said, “I think the tools that President Bush put into place –- GITMO, rendition, enhanced interrogation, the vast effort to collect and collate this information — obviously served his successor quite well.” (Fox News 5/2/11)

To claim such justification they deliberately disregard Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council, who said, “The bottom line is this: If we had some kind of smoking-gun intelligence from waterboarding in 2003, we would have taken out Osama bin Laden in 2003.” Glenn L. Carle, a retired C.I.A. officer who oversaw the interrogation of a high-level detainee in 2002, said coercive techniques “didn’t provide useful, meaningful, trustworthy information.” He also said, “everyone was deeply concerned and most felt it was un-American and did not work.” According to an American official familiar with his interrogation, Mr. Mohammed was first asked about (the courier) in the fall of 2003, months after the water boarding. (New York Times 5/4/11) Mr. Mohammed was tortured into a false confession that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. When the torture stopped he confessed he lied to stop the torture.

Declassified government documents at the National Security Archive reveal  “the intense focus on Iraq by high-level Bush administration officials long before the attacks of 9/11, and Washington’s confidence in perception management as a successful strategy for overcoming public and allied resistance to its plans.” The Iraq War–Part I:The USA prepares for conflict; compilation (nsarchive.org)

Non-fact-based reality is alive and will dog the back door as long as the news media neglects to check its pedigree and the American public feeds it with its preference for fantasy rather than fact.