Reasonably Ascertainable Reality

Thoughts and musings on current events and other random occurrences.

Location: South Jersey, United States

Friday, July 08, 2005

I think people still care

When Porter Goss first uttered the following statement, it made me angry and it made me think. However, I didn't comment as I really thought there wasn't much to say. But after yesterday's terrorist attack, I was really thinking about that statement and I got even angrier.

Asked whether that meant he knew where bin Laden is, Goss responded: "I
have an excellent idea where he is. What's the next question?

It is my contention that the majority of Americans are still extremely interested in finding Osama bin Laden and bringing him to justice. Yesterday, there were calls to bring those who perpetrated the attacks in London to justice. I got to thinking about why the CIA chief is so blase about OBL.

Does he think Americans don't care anymore? That we are more focused on Iraq than to worry about OBL? Does he think OBL is irrelevant?

Basically that statement amounts to telling a father or mother or husband or wife whose family members were killed, 'of course we know where the murderer is, but we can't go after him.'

Bringing the mastermind of 9/11 to justice should have been and should still be priority number one. Goss goes on to say:

"We are making very good progress on it. But when you go to the very
difficult question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you're
dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair
"We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in
unconventional ways that are acceptable to the international

Our 'sense of international obligation, fair play'? WTF does that mean? Agree or disagree, our government thought that Iraq was a danger and we responded. Yes we went to the UN, but they didn't agree with us and we really only did that as a ploy for more support. I guess our senses were pretty dull at that point. I mean, when the thoughts of the international community were found to have influenced the SCOTUS on the decision of whether to execute juveniles, people were up in arms, ready to do battle. NOW, we are worried about the international community when it comes to finding the mastermind of more than 3,000 murders of Americans, on American soil??

Have we stretched our military so thin that to go after OBL in a sovereign nation would be tricky at best, dangerous at worst? If he's in Pakistan, aren't they our allies in the War on Terror?

Exactly who in the 'international community' would object to us going after and capturing OBL? I would venture to say that even France would be behind us on that. I would go out on limb to say international support for that mission would be around the levels of support for the actions in Afghanistan, rather that the levels of support that we recieved for the actions in Iraq.

As relevant as it is to Britons to find out who murdered more than 50 people yesterday, Americans still want to bring OBL to justice. To think of that man still at large makes me sick to my stomach. I don't care if he's doddering, blabbering, hurt, dying, without limbs, brain dead or in a persistant vegetative state, he IS still relevant and if we have an 'excellent idea' where the f&*k he is, we should have him in custody. Hell, I'll take his cold, dead body dug from a months old grave, but I won't take sitting on intelligence that tells us where he is and not acting on it.


Blogger Dave Justus said...

It isn't quite that simple.

Goss's comment was probably intended to provoke Pakistan into acting more aggressively. We believe he is in a region of Pakistan, but that doesn't mean we know where he is sitting down to dinner.

To go in unilaterally, and uninvited, we would have to invade a portion of Pakistan and probably stay there for at least several months. France would probably not be pleased. Even if we did that, he might still get away from us. Or our intelligence could be wrong on where he is (I have heard speculation about Iran as well)

Pakistan has been a pretty decent ally in the War on Terror all things condidered. A huge number of the Pakistani intelligence service and armed forces have Islamist leanings. Pakistan was the primary sponsor of the Taliban after all. Musharraf does not have a hugely firm grip on power, and we have to be careful not to provoke an Islamist revolution in Pakistan, and an invasion might well do that.

We really, really don't want a nuclear armed Taliban government, and that is what Pakistan could become.

From a strategic point of view, OBL isn't all that relevant. He is a figurehead, but would be just as dangerous to us dead as he is alive (capturing him MIGHT prove useful, even then though he might just become a more visible martyr.) Simply put, the revenge factor of getting him right away isn't worth the risks such an operation would entail.

It might even be in our best interests to keep him at large. If he is periodically attempting to establish command and control operations over the various Al-Qaida cells that keeps them in a somewhat unified, and easier to track and follow, structure. A captured Bin Laden might simply result in a more fractured, but equally dangerous terrorist group (although there is pretty good evidence that this has already happened for the most part.)

10:56 AM  
Blogger Katinula said...

I see your point, but I really don't agree. First off, OBL being free is a big sign that says 'murder 3,000 Americans and get away with it'. Yes, we punished the Taliban, yes, we 'punished' Saddam, but the man responsible? No. Secondly, the nuance you are describing is most decidedly absent in any other area of the Bush foreign policy. While I agree it would be tricky, Pakistan took on much more of a risk to support us in Afghanistan that it would be to allow us to find OBL in their country. Why would it be unilateral and uninvited? Invasion would not be necessary as we are obviously unconcerned with 'regime change' in Pakistan. While one might think our intelligence could be faulty, Goss apparently does not. He has 'an excellent idea' where OBL is. That sounds pretty specific to me.
Finally, I find the arguement that OBL is strategically irrelevant weak. Like I said, he is much more of a symbol of rebellion to them free and in hiding from 'the Great Satan' than he would be caught. Its not revenge I want on OBL, its justice. I think President Bush once said something along the lines of 'we will find you' and 'dead or alive'. I would prefer alive, so as to be able to try and convict him. Yes, it might cause initially a rise in terror attacks, but I think we can't use that as a rationale for not doing it.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

It is hard to say exactly what Goss meant.

Did he mean he has 'an excellent idea' That Bin Laden is in the basement of a specific farmhouse in Pakistan or does he mean that he has an excellent idea that Bin Laden is in a general region in Pakistan. The two are very different things, and my take is that it is the second one, not the first.

Remember that we had 'an excellend idea' that Saddam was hiding in the Sunni triangle within the first months of the Iraq War, but it took us 8 months to find him with a huge ammount of resources focused on that task.

Putting that amount of resources into Pakistan uninvited would be an act of war. Perhaps that war would be worth it, but I don't think so.

Yes it would be good to capture Bin Laden, but it is not such a good thing that it is worth war with Pakistan at this stage. My take is that we are working with Musharraf to reform his own government and get Islamists out of power there. This is a delicate thing, and there will be a lot of stuff going on there that we won't know about.

I actually disagree with you about the Bush foreign policy team not displaying nuance. They certainly do, and have use that when needed.

11:33 AM  

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