Yes, President Obama benefitted from his predecessor’s policies on the war on terror
With the death of bin Laden, the world is today a safer place and the families of 9/11 victims have, at last, had some closure. While we are all relieved that the biggest counterterrorism operation in our nation’s history has ended successfully, we must also ponder on what made it possible.
In a recent Time magazine interview, Jose Rodriguez, who ran the CIA’s counterterrorism center from 2002 to 2005, acknowledged in his first public comments that “information provided by KSM and Abu Faraj al-Libbi about bin Laden’s courier was the lead information that eventually led to the location of [bin Laden’s] compound and the operation that led to his death.” The piece goes on to say that KSM and Abu Faraj al-Libbi, top Al Qaeda leaders, were taken into custody and subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques” at secret prisons overseas, presumably Guantanamo.
We must be thankful that President Obama did not follow through on his naïve campaign promise to shut down Guantanamo and other CIA detention centers overseas, and shift these deadly mercenaries to the Federal Criminal Courts in Manhattan, where they would have all invoked the 5th amendment, abused our constitutional privileges, and remained silent on the advice of taxpayer-funded public defense lawyers!
Ironically, President Obama has benefitted from the clear, unambiguous, muscular apparatus that President George W. Bush put in place with the Guantanamo prison, advanced interrogation techniques, and the wire tapping—all of which then-candidate Obama railed against in the 2008 presidential election. Remember the first order of business for the Obama administration was eliminating the use of the words “war on terror” with the new Homeland Security Chief Janet Napalitono choosing instead to call terrorist acts as “man-made disasters.” In protecting our nation and eliminating the scourge of terrorism, we must not and need not be use euphemisms.
The hardened criminals of Al Qaeda do not deserve our precious constitutional protections nor should our President and the Attorney General promote naïve but politically correct strategies to prosecute them. We must and should employ all methods to eliminate these terrorists at every available opportunity and the world will be a better place for it.
The Obama 2012 re-election team is understandably milking the death of Bin Laden for its benefit. However, any objective observer must concede that Barack Obama was wrong in 2008 and George W. Bush, whom I did not vote for, stands vindicated today.
Rameysh Ramdas, an SF Bay Area professional, writes as a hobby.
No, the capture of Osama bin Laden was not due to Bush administration policies
To understand what President Bush meant by “war on terror” one needs to go back to his speeches where he declared “…Iraq is a central front in the war on terror.” The Iraq war has cost the U.S. Treasury hundreds of billions of dollars every year for the past eight years. In comparison the current administration has requested $55 billion in its 2012 budget to run the entire CIA. This indicates the importance placed by Bush on military operations over covert operations in fighting terrorism. I think there is no doubt today about which method has been successful in rooting out the most feared man of our times.
The underlying argument of torture supporters is that President Bush’s torture policy was primarily responsible for extracting the name of the courier who led to us to bin Laden. The details about intelligence gathering will never be known fully, but we do know that there were only three suspects who were water-boarded, and none at Guantanamo. Of these, two, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, often gave false information. One of these suspects is believed to have divulged the name of the courier, but it has not been conclusively proven that it was done under torture. From the conflicted data obtained from our detainees, CIA operatives have worked on determining the veracity of the information by conventional, painstaking groundwork. Even the Bush administration eventually eschewed water-boarding; the technique was considered unreliable and extreme and discontinued after 2003.
When bin Laden was actually cornered in Tora Bora, Afghanistan in 2004 there were not enough troops to finish the job because our troops had been diverted to Iraq. Ironically, in addition to declaring Iraq as the central front in the war on terror, President Bush also hailed Pakistan as a key ally; we all know how that worked out.
The Bush administration’s plans against terrorism were primarily based on ideology, not the existing scientific studies on intelligence and counterterrorism. This ideology, among other things, had predetermined that a new American century would be created by invading Iraq. September 11, 2001 was a convenient excuse to implement this grand plan. The administration so disliked the CIA they established an Office of Special Plans under Douglas Feith to undercut the CIA and present raw intelligence on Iraq directly to the president and his advisors. The CIA’s effort against bin Laden was carried out despite the Bush administration’s neglect. And it is that effort, along with the bravery of our Navy Seals, that gave President Obama the opportunity to eliminate bin Laden.
Mani Subramani works in the semi-conductor industry in Silicon Valley.