Bob's Links and Rants

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Thursday, April 29, 2004

More Ted Rall
As the 9/11 commission winds down, Republicans are arguing that Bill Clinton, whose presidency spanned eight years from the first World Trade Center bombing to the U.S.S. Cole, deserves far more blame for the attacks than Bush, who had only been in office eight months. But they've got it wrong when they criticize Clinton for not being aggressive enough in the fight against Muslim extremism. If we're to believe the August 2001 intelligence assessment and the word of the jihadis themselves, we know why 9/11 really took place.

It wasn't, as Bush says, because radical Islamists are evil or because they hate our freedom. It was vengeance for 1998, for cruise missile attacks that scarcely raised an eyebrow in the United States even as they convulsions of rage surged through millions of Muslims. It's perfectly reasonable, therefore, to blame Bill Clinton for 9/11, but not because he didn't do enough. What led to 9/11 was a clumsy application of excessive military power and arrogance.

It's a lesson that the United States, so accustomed to swinging a sledgehammer to kill a fly, should take to heart in its dealings with the rest of humanity.
Ted Rall, April 15, via my niece's blog.

There's a reason we were targeted for terror and Sweden wasn't. I disagree with Rall a little, though. He's not giving Bush Sr. enough blame. Without the first and equally illegal Gulf War, there would have been no WTC attacks (1993 or 2001), no embassy attacks, no attacks on the Cole. Until 1990, Osama bin Laden (like Saddam Hussein) was a U.S. ALLY. He was a leader in the Mujahadin in Afghanistan that fought a guerilla (terrorist) war against the Soviet occupiers, with extensive CIA support. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, Osama offered to have his soldiers (the remnants of the Mujahadin, morphing into al Qaeda), defend Saudi Arabia from a possible Iraqi invasion. We now know that that possibility was greatly overhyped by the Bush Sr. administration, scaring the Saudis into allowing U.S. forces to be stationed in their country. THIS was what pissed off Osama--Infidel U.S. troops in the Muslim holy land. Al Qaeda, which had opposed Soviet imperialism in Afghanistan, was quite ready to oppose American imperialism as well. And they have.

Not only Osama bin Laden, but Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, and John Allen Muhammed (along with many many unnamed others) were turned against the U.S. by the 1991 Gulf War.

And this is why I can't get on board with Kerry. When it comes to the war in Iraq and the "war on terror" he uses the same sort of dumb macho rhetoric that causes terrorism as Bush does.