Bin Laden’s Death: Questions for GW Bush - LeMonde.fr
Entre-temps, M. Bush s’est engagé dans un autre conflit, toujours au nom de la lutte contre Al-Qaida. Début 2003, il envahit l’Irak et fait chuter le régime de Saddam Hussein, l’un des pires autocrates de la région. Les motivations de M. Bush sont complexes - bobard des armes de destruction massive, volonté d’implanter la démocratie par la force dans le monde arabe -, mais une chose est sûre : elles n’ont pas grand-chose à voir avec Al-Qaida. Celle-ci n’a aucune relation d’aucune sorte avec la dictature laïque au pouvoir à Bagdad.
Translation (by me):
Meanwhile, Bush engaged in another conflict, also in the name of the fight against al-Qaeda. Early in 2003, he invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, one of the worst autocrats in the region. Bush’s motives are complex - rumours of WMD, a desire to implant democracy in the Arab world - but one thing is for sure: these motives have nothing to do with al-Qaeda. AQ has no connection of any kind to the secular dictatorship in Baghdad.
“Obama gave no credit whatsoever to the intelligence infrastructure the Bush administration set up that is being hailed from the left and right as setting in motion the operation that got Bin Laden. It rubbed Bush the wrong way.”
Before Gonzales became attorney general, he served as White House counsel. In that position, he ordered a legal memo that was used to justify harsh interrogation techniques of terrorism suspects.
What is going on here? Is the bottom line that GWB feels personally snubbed or slighted by the way the Obama Administration has handled the spin of OBL’s killing?
I don’t think so. Without being a professional “profiler”, I can look back on GWB’s willingness to engage in Haiti, alongside Bill Clinton, and his initial press release following the OBL action, and I conclude that personally, GWB would be happy to step out of the dugout, as it were, and tip his cap to the crowd. He would get some cheers, it would make him feel good, and the next day: back to fishing and hunting and IM-ing Dick Cheney. It is what ex-Presidents do, after all.
My thought is that the current GOP powers cannot allow the voting public to make the next logical steps in thinking about the “War against terror”. If OBL was tracked down and killed subsequent to intelligence operations and a targeted commando raid, then:
1. Why didn’t GWB and his Cabinet think of that?
2. If “enhanced interrogation” techniques work, were we simply interrogating the wrong people?
2. Why did we invade Iraq?
3. Why did we engage in nation building in Afghanistan?
Aside from the historical fact that these are monumental blunders and breakdowns in leadership, sooner or later people are going to tally the dollar cost of these actions (or failures to act). How can a GOP House keep banging on the spending habits of Democrats, when trillions of dollars were burned on poorly grounded, sloppily executed and ultimately only partly successful military operations? It is imperative that a direct narrative line can be created linking neocon strategy to the death of OBL and decapitation of AQ - long touted as the justification for so much of the Bush military engagement.
In this light, much of the right wing frenzy of spin over the past week takes on a coherent and logical form. In the run up to the 2012 elections, the GOP cannot allow a ten month intelligence/military operation to be identified with the locating and termination of OBL. That would put paid to years of military operations, trillions in spending, and discount the meaning of thousands of deaths. This political fight is going to get dirtier very quickly.