Day By Day

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bush was Right (continued)

Tom Friedman unwittingly devastates his paper's [and his own] criticism of President Bush's conduct of the war on terror.

Now that the Dems are safely in control, Tom Friedman has decided to admit [here] that President Bush was right to go after al Qaeda aggressively in Iraq using every means possible.

His reasoning starts with the recognition, strenuously denied by Left loons and opportunistic Dems, that al Qaeda is an enemy unlike any other we have faced before.
Al Qaeda was undeterred by normal means. Al Qaeda’s weapon of choice was suicide. Al Qaeda operatives were ready to kill themselves — as they did on 9/11, and before that against U.S. targets in Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Tanzania and Yemen — long before we could ever threaten to kill them. We could deter the Russians because they loved their children more than they hated us; they did not want to die. The Al Qaeda operatives hated us more than they loved their own children. They glorified martyrdom and left families behind.

Second, Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda aspired to deliver a devastating blow to America. They “were involved in an extraordinarily sophisticated and professional effort to acquire weapons of mass destruction. In this case, nuclear material,” Michael Scheuer, the former C.I.A. bin Laden expert, told “60 Minutes” in 2004. “By the end of 1996, it was clear that this was an organization unlike any other one we had ever seen.”

Third, Al Qaeda comes out of a stream in radical Islam that believes that it has religious sanction for killing absolutely anyone, including fellow Muslims. Al Qaeda in Iraq has blown up Muslims in mosques, shrines and funerals. It respects no redlines or religious constraints. One of its leaders personally severed Daniel Pearl’s head with a butcher knife — on film.

Finally, Al Qaeda’s tactics are designed to be used against, and to undermine, exactly what we are: an open society. By turning human beings into walking missiles and instruments from our daily lives — cars, airplanes, shoes, cellphones, backpacks — into bombs, Al Qaeda attacks the very feature that keeps our open society open: trust.
It was, Friedman admits, perfectly reasonable for the Bush administration to use extremely aggressive methods to combat such an enemy -- one that, more than any foe we had faced in the past, threatened the very foundations of our free society. And, contrary to those who have argued that aggressive interrogation provokes resistance from the Islamists, Friedman notes that al Qaeda does not care whether or not we torture, or who occupies the White House. They declared war on us while Bill Clinton was President.

He then makes a devastating observation regarding the cheap moral posturing of the unhinged Left.
We have the luxury of having this torture debate now because there was no second 9/11, and it was not for want of trying.
In other words, he agrees with Dick Cheney that the Bush administration's efforts against al Qaeda worked, and because they worked we have the luxury of engaging in this irresponsible and fatuous debate. The point has been made before, by Richard Fernandez who wrote:
It is one thing to swear that you will not divulge secrets to the Marcos police under any circumstances, while sitting safe in a bolthole, with a .38 in your lap. It’s quite another to say nothing when your interrogator is prying your eyeball out with a penknife. It is one thing to say I won’t use coercive methods even as “a last and desperate option” in the War on Terror, but entirely another matter to maintain that stance when your child is gasping for breath through his anthrax ridden lungs. Anybody who tells you different is probably a liar or fooling himself.
Read about it here.

Considering the nature of the enemy and the threat it represented to the fundamental institutions of our society, the aggressive actions undertaken by the Bush administration were not only understandable, but wise, justified, and effective. Rather than shutting down our open society, George Bush and Dick Cheney protected it, and because they did so effectively, we can afford to indulge the idiotic protestations of the Left. Rather than being an abuse of power, the Bush administration's response to al Qaeda was a wise and measured one.

And, regarding the oft-repeated canard that the war in Iraq was a "mistake". Friedman writes:

I believe that the most important reason there has not been another 9/11, besides the improved security and intelligence, is that Al Qaeda is primarily focused on defeating America in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world — particularly in Iraq. Al Qaeda knows that if it can destroy the U.S. effort (still a long shot) to build a decent, modernizing society in Iraq, it will undermine every U.S. ally in the region.

Conversely, if we, with Iraqis, defeat them by building any kind of decent, pluralistic society in the heart of their world, it will be a devastating blow.


What an admission by one of Pinch's minions!

And why would Friedman be moved finally to write the truth about President Bush? Well, the answer is easy. He is doing so to defend President Obama from Leftloon critics who object to his decisions not to prosecute CIA interrogators or to withdraw precipitously from Iraq.


Jennifer Rubin, over at Commentary, writes regarding Friedman's piece:

So to recap: the Bush team kept us safe from an implacable foe by using interrogation methods which the American public approved of and by fighting (often against the admonitions of Friedman and his colleagues) and largely prevailing in Iraq. The latter effort may deal a death blow to Al Qaeda which one supposes made it a very worthwhile endeavor....

It must be some other George W. Bush who was the worst foreign policy president in history – because the 43rd president, by Friedman’s accounting, got some very big things right, despite ferocious odds.
Read her here.