Wednesday, May 12, 2004


Well, not exactly, but that's an unintended subtext of this Post editorial about the beheading of Nick Berg:

Some people - some Americans - have forgotten about 9/11.

...folks truly have lost sight of what the war is about.

Yesterday they got a shocking reminder. And now they know: This war cannot be waged with half-measures.

It can end only with the total annihilation of those who practice butchery and barbarism. Those who have set as their goal the destruction of America.

There is no negotiating with such people. There can be no compromise with those who mean to destroy us.

Last March, of course, NBC reported that the Bush administration did, in fact, "compromise" in 2002 and 2003 in the case of Abu Musab Zarqawi, who's now claimed responsibility for the Berg beheading -- and the administration did so because going after Zarqawi would interfere with Priority #1, the campaign against the non-terrorist Saddam:

In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq, producing deadly ricin and cyanide.

The Pentagon quickly drafted plans to attack the camp with cruise missiles and airstrikes and sent it to the White House, where, according to U.S. government sources, the plan was debated to death in the National Security Council.

"Here we had targets, we had opportunities, we had a country willing to support casualties, or risk casualties after 9/11 and we still didn't do it," said Michael O'Hanlon, military analyst with the Brookings Institution.

Four months later, intelligence showed Zarqawi was planning to use ricin in terrorist attacks in Europe.

The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, and the White House again killed it. By then the administration had set its course for war with Iraq.

"People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the president's policy of preemption against terrorists," according to terrorism expert and former National Security Council member Roger Cressey.

In January 2003, the threat turned real. Police in London arrested six terror suspects and discovered a ricin lab connected to the camp in Iraq.

The Pentagon drew up still another attack plan, and for the third time, the National Security Council killed it.

Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi’s operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam.

The real point of the Post editorial, of course, is to bash us liberals for failing to support the war against Saddam. But I certainly support an ongoing all-out war against al-Qaeda and its affiliates. And my government apparently doesn't.

(NBC link via Daily Kos.)

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