Never forget the failure 4

We rightly celebrate heroism today on the anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11/2001 at the same time as we mourn.

It was a day of pride as well as grief. But it was also a day of failure and shame.

Whose failure? Whose shame?

Brandon J. Weichart writes at American Greatness:

The September 11, 2001 attacks were the result of an unmitigated intelligence failure. No, 9/11 was not an “inside job”, as many conspiracy theorists believe. Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network were responsible. But, the 9/11 plot did not happen in a vacuum.

In reality, America’s elephantine national security state had known of bin Laden and his network years before the horrific events of 9/11. Some of the most powerful people in the national security state routinely downplayed and ignored the threat al-Qaeda posed to the United States before 19 hijackers murdered 2,911 people in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

More troubling, though, is the fact that many of the same people who downplayed or ignored the threat of 9/11 and al-Qaeda were also intimately involved in nearly every foreign policy disaster of the last 18 years—from the Iraq War blunder to the inexcusable plot to frame President Donald Trump as a Russian agent.

The enduring failures of the national security state—from its inability to anticipate 9/11 in spite of clear warning signs, to advocating boneheaded Mideast policies—can be plotted in the career paths of individual members of the so-called deep state.

Consider John Brennan. Here is a man who was a self-described Communist when he joined the CIA in the Reagan Administration, at the height of Cold War against the Soviet Union. A supposed expert in U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East, as well as a fluent Arabic speaker, Brennan eventually rose to the rank of CIA station chief in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (where he may or may not have converted to Islam).

While there, Brennan apparently developed a powerful case of “clientitis” (a term for when U.S. foreign policy experts become so involved in their regions of focus that they start substituting for U.S. national interests those of the countries they are observing).

Brennan routinely ignored calls from his colleagues to pressure his Saudi counterparts to hand over more information on bin Laden and the rising al-Qaeda terrorist network in the 1990s (al-Qaeda was, first and foremost, a political and religious movement consisting of and controlled mostly by Saudi nationals).

Things got so bad with Brennan that when the Clinton Administration considered using force either to kill or capture bin Laden in the 1990s, Brennan led the effort to stop it. Had Clinton followed through with his earlier promises of bringing bin Laden to justice, instead of listening to compromised bureaucrats like Brennan, 9/11 might have been avoided. Of course, it did not help that Clinton’s own CIA director, George Tenet, backed Brennan’s opposition to the proposed bin Laden raid.

When George W. Bush took office, inexplicably he chose to keep Tenet on as the director of central intelligence. Tenet, in turn, kept incompetents like Brennan in place (while either marginalizing or forcing out those few intelligence officials who actually took the al-Qaeda threat seriously, such as Richard Clarke and Michael Scheurer, the original head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit).

Sadly, Brennan would go on to enjoy a long career, even after 9/11. This is as much a failure of the permanent bureaucracy (which is supposedly a meritocracy) as it is of the political establishment for leaving people like Brennan atop the sprawling intelligence community and not demanding answers for how such “wise men” could have missed 9/11. In a bygone era, after enduring a catastrophic professional disaster, men like John Brennan would have been forced to resign.

Instead, Brennan got a promotion. Barack Obama elevated him to CIA director in his second term. Brennan’s short-sightedness and incompetence eventually calcified into outright hostility for the very democratic ideals that he was purportedly defending. For instance, when the American people began questioning the authority that our opaque intelligence services had assumed in the dark days following the 9/11 attacks, Brennan used the potent power of the CIA to spy on members of the Senate Intelligence Committee who were charged with investigating reports that detainees in CIA custody may have been subjected to abuse.

Then, as the coup de grace to his otherwise disturbing career, Brennan oversaw one of the greatest abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). He, along with several other fellow travelers in the national security state, concocted a counterintelligence investigation into Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election.

The investigation was based on innuendo and lies that Brennan knowingly (and wantonly) perpetuated, which claimed that Trump and key members of his presidential campaign were aided and abetted by the Kremlin to swing the 2016 presidential election in his favor. Other Obama national security officials, including former Undersecretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas, proudly proclaimed in 2017 that this cabal had “buried” the details of the investigation deep in the federal bureaucracy, so as to prevent Trump from using the power of his office to end the investigation.

Where was this zeal in the 1990s, when it came to an actual threat like al-Qaeda?

The trajectory of Brennan’s career is a perfect snapshot for the growth—and compounding failures—of the U.S. national security state since 9/11. Many of the same people who refused to accept that al-Qaeda was a threat, or who advanced equally disastrous policies in the Middle East, are the same individuals who launched a frightening covert, rolling, administrative coup against a duly elected president. Not only is our deep state painfully incompetent but it is also clearly corrupt.

How might the last 18 years have turned out if ignoramuses like Brennan, who downplayed al-Qaeda’s threat to the United States in the 1990s, and who had refused to pressure our Saudi “allies” into being more forthcoming with information about Osama bin Laden, had been fired for failing to anticipate 9/11? Instead of being fired, though, these bumbling bureaucrats were given more power and money to run roughshod over our democracy in the name of protecting us. They had no clue how to protect us before 9/11—and they were certainly clueless about how to protect us after that terrible day.

When Americans say, “We will never forget 9/11,” they should add: “Or how U.S. intelligence failed us!”

Will the guilty men and women ever be made to pay a price for their betrayal?

At the very least, may their names live in ignominy.

The meaning of 9/11 8

As all the world knows, Muslims attacked America on September 11, 2001. They killed 2,977 people and injured more than 6,000. 

A lot of Democrats failed to understand the meaning of 9/11.

Ben Smith reported at Politico in April 2011:

The University of Ohio yesterday shared with us the crosstabs of a 2006 poll they did with Scripps Howard that’s useful in that regard.

“How likely is it that people in the federal government either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East?” the poll asked.

A full 22.6% of Democrats said it was “very likely.” Another 28.2% called it “somewhat likely.”

That is: More than half of Democrats, according to a neutral survey, said they believed Bush was complicit in the 9/11 terror attacks.

Democrats still do fail to understand 9/11. In July this year (2018), Nancy Pelosi, the erstwhile Democratic Speaker of the House, called it “an incident”.

President Trump understands it.

Bruce Bawer wrote at Front Page on 9/11 this year:

On September 11, 2001, New York – along with Washington, D.C. – was struck by mass death … . It shook the world. Mainstream European commentators attributed the terrorist attacks to legitimate Muslim grievances against America, and breezily dismissed suggestions that Europe might soon be struck as well.

Sweeping aside Osama bin Laden’s claims, President Bush asserted that the attacks had nothing to do with Islam, which he called a “religion of peace”.He then sent armed forces to “liberate” Afghanistan and Iraq, on the premise that the people of those countries, if allowed to vote in democratic elections, would choose a democratic path.

It all turned out to be spectacularly wrong. The European savants were shown up by the horrific attacks on Madrid, Beslan, London, and elsewhere. Their perpetrators put the lie to the “religion of peace” rhetoric, repeatedly announcing that they were committing jihad, a core Islamic concept. …

In Western Europe, this recklessness had an impact well beyond terrorism. Sharia enclaves. Violent crime. A financial burden that has forced welfare states to cut back on education, health care, elder care. While other immigrant groups integrated into European host cultures, Muslims demanded – with increasing success – that those cultures adapt to Islam. …

Bush had massaged the Muslim world with insipid rhetoric about our shared heritage as “people of faith”; Obama had spun outrageous fantasies about Islam, transforming, in his famous 2009 Cairo speech, fourteen centuries of primitive brutality into a glittering parade of moral, cultural, intellectual, and spiritual triumphs. …

Finally, in Donald Trump, America has a president, and the Free World has a top dog, who gets it.

Yes, Trump could go further, in both words and actions, on Islam. But he’s already gone light years beyond his predecessors. He’s certainly gone far enough to outrage bien pensant types everywhere. And he’s gone far enough so that Americans who get it know beyond question that he gets it – and that he’s on their side. And they’re behind him.

As his rock-star reception in Warsaw last year reflected, most Eastern Europeans – who, unlike the editorial board of the New York Times, recognize a champion of freedom and a totalitarian ideology when they see them – are behind him, too, and are giving the finger to EU leaders who demand that they let in a Trojan horse.

Meanwhile, in Western Europe, where the haut monde hates Trump as much as do their stateside counterparts, millions – including those in Germany, France, and elsewhere who are finally rising up in boisterous public protests against their own despised leaders (but, except in Italy, still not casting enough votes for alternative parties to effect meaningful change) – see Trump as a long-awaited truth-teller, a sign of hope, a hero.

His enemies call him a fascist. On the contrary, he’s the first U.S. president since 9/11 who genuinely seems to grasp that Islam is fascism. He’s as far from denial and fatalism as it’s possible to be. He talks sense, he talks tough, and he takes action that’s in America’s interests. He’s crushed ISIS, shown Islamic heads of state who’s boss, and (against the resistance of both major-party establishments and the legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. government) done his best to pull in the welcome mat. While, at this point, most of his counterparts in Western Europe seem to be all about repeating empty multiculturalist slogans and managing a transition to the unimaginable, Trump is manning the barricades.

We applaud him for all that too.

And we add this:

The 9/11 Muslim attack on America was a profoundly religious act.

Posted under Islam, jihad, Muslims, Terrorism, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, September 13, 2018

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A sort of coalition of the very unwilling 2

President Obama does not want to take action agains the Islamic State. But opinion polls have forced him to utter some platitudes about keeping America safe and the Islamic State being a bad thing (though “not Islamic”, he says), and to make a military gesture or two by sending a few American personnel to Iraq and having the US Air Force bomb a few IS sites. But you mustn’t call it aggressive war, what he’s doing. If it must be called “war” at all, then it must be something the whole world wants to do so the US has no choice but to go along with the wish of so overwhelming a community.

He has sent that great negotiator John Kerry. who has a record of success in his diplomatic ventures (being sarcastic here), to form a coalition.

And it looks as if Kerry will be as successful as ever he was. He has not managed to form a coalition. Not with Arab states. Not with Islamic states. Not with European states.

Iraq might say it will join, but it has only a diminished and intimidated army.

Egypt and Jordan have refused to join.

Turkey has not only refused, but has denied airbases on its territory for US or any other airstrikes against IS.

Britain and Germany will send arms to the Kurdish peshmerga forces to fight IS, but will not take part directly in the fighting.

France … Ah, France! President Francois Hollande is as eager to lead the chimerical coalition as President Obama is reluctant to do it. Last Friday he personally accompanied a vast amount of materiel to Baghdad. He plans to host the occasion in Paris on Monday when – if – a coalition will  be formed. And he has invited Iran to participate.

Our information comes largely from DebkaFile, from which we quote the following:

Friday, Obama appointed Gen. John R. Allen, former commander in Afghanistan and western Iraq, to lead the coalition forces in the war on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levan.

It is hard to see what combat forces he will lead, in view of the mixed international responses so far to Washington’s appeals for a global coalition to combat terror.

In the years 2006-2008, Gen. Allen commanded the US II Marine Expeditionary Force, which successfully fought Al Qaeda under Musab Zarqawi’s leadership in western Iraq’s Anbar province. He led what was then dubbed the “Awakening” project, which rallied the region’s Sunni tribes to the fight.

President Obama appears to be hinging his campaign against the new Islamist scourge on Gen. Allen repeating that success. …

The prospects of this happening in 2014 are fairly slim, because the circumstances are so different:

1. To support the Sunni Awakening venture, President George W. Bush authorized the famous “surge” which placed an additional 70,000 US troops on the Iraqi battlefield. However, Obama has vowed not to send US combat troops back to Iraq in significant numbers, and has approved no more than a few hundred American military personnel.

2.  In 2006, Iraqi Sunnis trusted American pledges. They agreed to turn around and fight fellow Sunni Al Qaeda after being assured by Washington that they would not lose their status and rights in Baghdad, and that the US would give them weapons and salaries. In 2009, they realized that the Obama administration would not stand by the Bush administration’s assurances. Their disillusion with America and the rise of a Shiite-dominated regime in Baghdad pushed them into the arms of ISIS.

3. Since then Iraq’s Sunni leaders have learned not to trust anyone. Today, they are hedging their bets, their tribal leaders split into two opposing camps between Saudi Arabia, on the one hand, and the Islamic State, on the other. For the first time since the US invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein 11 years ago, Iraq’s Sunni leaders feel they are in the saddle and in a position to set a high price for their support.

All this leaves President Obama and Gen. Allen on the threshold of a war on Islamist terrorists, which everyone agrees needs to be fought without delay, but without enough political leverage for going forward or much chance of mustering the right troops to lead – even into the first battle.