Sunday, May 20, 2007

Election Year Games

By Creature

In the LA Times today Greg Miller has a disturbing required read about how the Iraq war is serving as a new funding source for Osama Bin Laden and Al Qeada. Whether it be the Paris Hilton's of the Middle East opening up their wallets to help their Sunni brothers, or the Tony Soprano's of Iraq cashing in on their crime networks growth, it's abundantly clear that the world is a much more dangerous place today than yesterday. However, bashing the president about Iraq is not what this post is about. This post is about bashing the president for playing politics with terror.

Miller writes that we know about this money flowing from Iraq to Pakistan due to a "major CIA effort launched last year to hunt down Osama bin Laden." This 2006 CIA surge into Pakistan has so far not generated any leads with respect to Osama himself, but it has "helped track an alarming increase in the movement of Al Qaeda operatives and money into Pakistan's tribal territories." Toward the end of the article Miller questions the impetus of this let's-get-Osama CIA surge:

The impetus for the surge is unclear. Several former CIA officials said it was launched at the direction of former CIA Director Porter J. Goss, and that the White House had been pushing the agency to step up the effort to find Bin Laden.

But the CIA disputed those accounts, saying in its written statement that "this initiative was and is driven solely by operational considerations." The effort, according to CIA spokesman Gimigliano, grew out of an assessment in mid-2005 in which "the agency itself identified changes in the operational landscape against Al Qaeda."

Sorry, current CIA, I'll go with your former comrades on this one. Can there really be any doubt that the sudden 2006 push to "step up the effort to find Bin Laden" came from the White House? Did the president suddenly wake up in 2006 and have an epiphany that he really should be concerned about Bin Laden? Not likely. No, this let's-get-Osama CIA surge was about Karl Rove and his electoral math. Bin Laden in shackles, or his head on a stake, would have been a PR coup for a party, for a president, for an entire administration in desperate need of an electoral one. An Osama capture would have been the single event that could have changed the outcome of the mid-term elections. At least they can't say they didn't try.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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