August 1, 2007


September 10th in Waziristan (David Ignatius, 7/31/07, Real Clear Politics)

[T]he question remains: What should the United States do about al-Qaeda's new safe haven in Pakistan, from which it may already be plotting attacks that could kill thousands of Americans? It is Sept. 10, metaphorically, with a little increment of time still remaining. We can see "the looming tower," to borrow the title of Lawrence Wright's fine book.

But how do we stop the airplanes?

The Bush administration will attack "actionable targets anywhere in the world, putting aside whether it was Pakistan or anyplace else," warned Frances Fragos Townsend, the White House homeland security adviser. That drew the predictable indignant response from the Pakistani government, which doesn't want to go after the al-Qaeda cells in Waziristan, but doesn't want anyone else to do it, either.

So again, what should the United States do? The lesson of 9/11 is that it's necessary to act decisively. But the lesson of Iraq is that unwise actions can make the terrorism problem worse. Which course is right?

The best answer I've heard comes from Henry Crumpton, a former CIA officer who was one of the heroes of the agency's campaign to destroy al-Qaeda's safe haven in Afghanistan in late 2001. After retiring from the CIA in 2005, he served as the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism. He resigned from State in April and is now a fellow at the EastWest Institute and a private consultant.

Crumpton argues that the United States must take preventive action, but that it should do so carefully, through proxies wherever possible. The right model for a Waziristan campaign is the CIA-led operation in Afghanistan, not the U.S. military invasion of Iraq. Teams of CIA officers and Special Forces soldiers are best suited to work with tribal leaders, providing them weapons and money to fight an al-Qaeda network that has implanted itself brutally in Waziristan through the assassination of more than 100 tribal leaders during the past 6 years. It would be better to conduct such operations jointly with Pakistan, but if the government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf can't or won't cooperate, then the U.S. should be prepared to go it alone, Crumpton argues.

So the hero of the campaign where we buried al Qaeda in its caves via heavy bombing recommends returning to the strategy that created them in the first place. And this is a good idea?

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 1, 2007 9:02 PM

So, um, uh, I recommend, uh, we fund the tribes fighting against the terrorists!!! Here's what I'll do take the money to them in suit cases and we'll make sure they get what they need.

On a side note, I've met a few CIA and they all seem to be doing very well financially, hmmm, how can that be....

Posted by: KRS at August 1, 2007 9:23 PM

All we need is targets. And, of course, coordinates. Don't need a land force of any size.

Posted by: ghostcat at August 1, 2007 9:52 PM

Even Jeopardy is in on the scam. Answer: Military commander who fought the battle of Kosovo with zero American casualties. Question: Who is Wesley Clark? Practically every episode has a politically slanted Q and A.

We're close to excising Trebek from the DVR list.

Posted by: erp at August 2, 2007 7:50 AM

The reaction to Obama's statement will prove the hollowness of the Democrat's criticism of President Bush that he is not going after OBL. You want him? Vote for Obama and invade Pakistan!

Posted by: Rick T. at August 2, 2007 8:21 AM

I cover this on my show a lot.

Bush never wanted to "get Osama" alive, and barring killing him (probably done), would rather not find him.

The WARI (war on radical islam) would have ended the moment "we got him."

Anyone who says "What about Osama" doesn't really understand much of anything.

Posted by: Bruno at August 2, 2007 9:41 AM

You may hide in your caves,
They'll be only your graves,
And you can't get away from the guns.

Kipling, The Screw-Guns

Posted by: Lou Gots at August 2, 2007 7:45 PM

"The battle of Kosovo"?!?

That's a good one.....

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 2, 2007 8:11 PM