Remember all that McCain campaign rhetoric about how Obama’s August 2007 statement on the need for sporadic pursuits of Al Qaeda into Pakistan without prior diplomatic notice showed that he was an irresponsible loon who should never be commander-in-chief? (and a few Democrats sounded off as well before Obama won the primaries)
Well just look at what’s been happening on the Bush-Rumsfeld watch for the last four years, as is hardly surprising given the Bush Doctrine (despite the administration’s inconsistencies in its application) on apprehending terror suspects. The policy of mounting covert missions against terror teams across national borders as required is one that I even find fairly sensible in countries such as Pakistan where Musharraf is stuck between the political difficulties of alienating voters who support al Qaida if he actively cooperates and the fact that al Qaida would depose him if they could.
Highly-publicised attacks by US forces across the border from Iraq into Syria last month and from Afghanistan into Pakistan’s tribal areas in September make up only a small proportion of operations carried out, almost all of them in secret.
The freedom of special forces to go into other countries at short notice, without needing to go through the time-consuming bureaucratic decision-making normally involved in Washington, was approved in a 2004 classified executive order – “al Qaida network exord” – by the then defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.
It came after a series of botched missions, in particular in East Africa, in which there was a failure to inform in advance the US ambassador to Kenya. As a result, Rumsfeld effectively ceded control to the CIA.
What is somewhat more surprising is that apparently Bush hasn’t even been making case by case decisions on such incursions. Having the CIA in oversight of special forces for such sorties makes some sense, but wouldn’t the expectation be that the president would still be the one making the “go” decision?
IOKIYAR spin in 3-2-1…
Categories: culture wars, ethics & philosophy, media, Politics
With any other president I would agree… Would you really want Bush making the ‘go’ decision??? I’d rather the janitor did it, so even better that someone in the CIA does it.
Seriously, that’s the level of trust I have in Bush… I have a deep distrust of the CIA (and most of the world’s intelligence community) and would normally never want them in the position to decide major issues, but Bush has shown time and time again that he and his advisors/string pullers are not capable of making capable decisions.
Musharraf? He’s gone
Of course, it’s Al Zardari now. I was thinking of Musharraf because that’s who Obama spoke of in his August 2007 speech that caused all the finger-wagging. Al Zardari’s in much the same situation though – you can’t remain PM if you alienate too many voters, and enough of them sympathise with the Taliban and al Qaida to make that part of the political calculus.
After all the hoo-ha about Special Rendition flights and secret CIA bases in Poland, is this news any surprise?
I went to see Oliver Stone’s ‘W’ at the cinema yesterday. Don’t think it was supposed to be a horror movie … but it is.