The President marked the fifth anniversary of his most significant achievement by telling us to what horrors await us if his policies are not strictly followed.
If we were to allow our enemies to prevail in Iraq, the violence that is now declining would accelerate and Iraq could descend into chaos. Al-Qaida would regain its lost sanctuaries and establish new ones fomenting violence and terror that could spread beyond Iraq’s borders, with serious consequences to the world economy.
Out of such chaos in Iraq, the terrorist movement could emerge emboldened with new recruits … new resources … and an even greater determination to dominate the region and harm America. An emboldened al-Qaida with access to Iraq’s oil resources could pursue its ambitions to acquire weapons of mass destruction to attack America and other free nations. Iran could be emboldened as well with a renewed determination to develop nuclear weapons and impose its brand of hegemony across the broader Middle East. And our enemies would see an American failure in Iraq as evidence of weakness and lack of resolve.
Well, we’ve heard this one many times before. How do you like the update, tying his spiel to the world the rest of us actually live in? “Serious consequences to the world economy.” Indeed. So the surrender monkeys don’t just want you to die, they want the banks to foreclose on your home, as well. Bad, bad surrender monkeys!
After seven years of this guy, we should have also all learned that the word “could” is Bush-speak for “the rest of this sentence, and all related thoughts that follow, comprise utter garbage that I want you to believe anyway.”
It’s not surprising that the President also picked up Rudy 91u1iani’s mantle and evoked September 11th, 2001 earlier in the speech. Well, why not? The 9/11 commission report hasn’t been on the best seller lists for some time.
Well, here’s an itty bitty refresher, from Chapter 8:
[Chief counter-terrorism advisor Richard] Clarke mentioned to National Security Advisor Rice at least twice that al Qaeda sleeper cells were likely in the United States. In January 2001, Clarke forwarded a strategy paper to Rice warning that al Qaeda had a presence in the United States. He noted that two key al Qaeda members in the Jordanian cell involved in the millennium plot were naturalized U.S. citizens and that one jihadist suspected in the East Africa bombings had “informed the FBI that an extensive network of al Qida ‘sleeper agents’ currently exists in the US.” He added that Ressam’s abortive December 1999 attack revealed al Qaeda supporters in the United States.44 His analysis, however, was based not on new threat reporting but on past experience.
The September 11 attacks fell into the void between the foreign and domestic threats. The foreign intelligence agencies were watching overseas, alert to foreign threats to U.S. interests there. The domestic agencies were waiting for evidence of a domestic threat from sleeper cells within the United States. No one was looking for a foreign threat to domestic targets. The threat that was coming was not from sleeper cells. It was foreign-but from foreigners who had infiltrated into the United States.
A second cause of this disparity in response is that domestic agencies did not know what to do, and no one gave them direction. Cressey told us that the CSG did not tell the agencies how to respond to the threats. He noted that the agencies that were operating overseas did not need direction on how to respond; they had experience with such threats and had a “playbook.” In contrast, the domestic agencies did not have a game plan. Neither the NSC (including the CSG) nor anyone else instructed them to create one.
…In sum, the domestic agencies never mobilized in response to the threat. They did not have direction, and did not have a plan to institute. The borders were not hardened. Transportation systems were not fortified. Electronic surveillance was not targeted against a domestic threat.54 State and local law enforcement were not marshaled to augment the FBI’s efforts. The public was not warned.
The terrorists exploited deep institutional failings within our government. The question is whether extra vigilance might have turned up an opportunity to disrupt the plot. As seen in chapter 7, al Qaeda’s operatives made mistakes. At least two such mistakes created opportunities during 2001, especially in late August.
So be afraid, be very afraid — that is, if someone like George Bush is at the helm, asleep at the switch with all his own senior people. Someone, for example, who keeps saying that Al Qaeda is going to Iran for terrorism training until Joe Lieberman (!) publicly corrects him.