The New York Times
July 22, 2004
WASHINGTON The capital has plunged into satire.
There's the bizarre investigation of Sandy Burglar, as the respected former national security adviser has now been dubbed, pulling a Fawn Hall and smuggling stuff out of the National Archives in his fine washables.
And just when you thought the Bush foreign policy couldn't sound more chuckleheaded, revelations in the 9/11 commission report being released today elevated the Bush doctrine to an Ali G skit.
The most astute prophet of the administration's Middle East muddle is Sacha Baron Cohen, the hilarious British comedian whose Ali G character is an uninformed gangsta rapper interviewing unwitting V.I.P.'s.
This Sunday, HBO will run Ali G's interview with Pat Buchanan, in which he presses the broadcaster about why no "B.L.T.'s" were found in Iraq. Mr. Buchanan plays along, but it's not clear if he actually thinks there were B.L.T.'s in Saddam's arsenal. (Mr. Cohen speculated in The Times later that Mr. Buchanan might have thought it was argot for "ballistic long-range-trajectory missiles.")
Last year, Ali G asked James Baker III, the Bush I secretary of state, if it was wise for Iraq and Iran to have such similar names. "Isn't there a real danger," the faux rapper wondered, "that someone give a message over the radio to one of them fighter pilots, saying 'Bomb Ira-' and the geezer doesn't heard it properly" and bombs the wrong one?
"No danger," Mr. Baker replied.
Well, as it turns out, the United States did bomb the wrong Ira-.
Whoops. Right axis. Wrong evil.
It's like Emily Litella - "What's all this fuss I hear about making Puerto Rico a steak?" - except the U.S. can't simply shrug "Never mind" because 900 American troops are dead.
The Bush administration had no good intelligence, so it decided to invade the Ira- that was weaker.
The war was based on phony W.M.D. analyses and fallacious welcome scenarios drummed up by the neocon Chihuahua Ahmad Chalabi.
Mr. Bush should have worried about the Axis of Evil in the order of the threat posed: North Korea, which has nukes; Iran, which almost has nukes; Iraq, which wanted nukes.
Now American forces are so depleted that the Pentagon is pulling forces out of South Korea to go to Iraq. And, given the huge National Guard deployment in Iraq, states say they don't have enough manpower to guard prisoners, fight wildfires or police the streets.
Besides excoriating the C.I.A. and F.B.I. and chronicling as many as 10 missed opportunities to pick up on the 9/11 plot - in the Bush years and in the Clinton era - the 9/11 commission report has new evidence that Iran may have helped up to 10 of the hijackers with safe passage from Osama's Afghan training camps.
"Grimly, what the new 9/11 report makes clear is that nearly three years into the war on terror, America is still not close to understanding the enemy," Michael Isikoff and Michael Hersh report in Newsweek. "And Washington seems less able to force Tehran to change its ways, especially since Bush has removed one of the chief threats to the mullah regime, Saddam Hussein, and is now bogged down in Iraq. As one intel official said before the Iraq war: 'The Iranians are tickled by our focus on Iraq.' "
Just as the invasion of Iraq was "a Christmas gift" to Osama, as the C.I.A. official who wrote a book as "Anonymous" put it, in terms of recruiting in the Muslim world and diverting the U.S., so it may be a gift to Iran. U.S. military officials say Iranian agents have been helping Iraqi insurgents as a way to shape Iraq into a Shiite fundamentalist satellite.
Though the 9/11 panel found no "collaborative" relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, it found one between Iran and Al Qaeda - but no evidence that Iranian officials knew in advance about the 9/11 attacks.
The report concludes that "Al Qaeda's relationship with Iran and its client, the Hezbollah militant group, was far deeper and more longstanding than its links with Iraq," according to The Washington Post.
Mr. Bush vowed to deal harshly with any country that harbors terrorists or assisted the 9/11 plot. But our military is so overextended from invading Ira-, we'd be hard pressed to go after Ira-.