who believes the attack on Iraq is about defending the
U.S. against terrorism should listen
to veteran FBI agent Coleen Rowley. Rowley, you'll
recall, caused a sensation when her testimony in front
of Congress fingered higher-ups in the Bureau who inexplicably
obstructed and effectively derailed the anti-terrorist
effort in the crucial days prior to 9/11: she wrote
a letter to the FBI's top brass that exposed the near-criminal
incompetence of her superiors and set off a firestorm
of recriminations that has yet to abate. Now she has
letter, pointing out that the problems she identified
back then have gotten worse:
June, 2002, on the eve of my
testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, you
told me that you appreciate constructive criticism and
that FBI agents should feel free to voice serious concerns
they may have about senior-level FBI actions. Since
then I have availed myself twice of your stated openness.
this critical point in our country's history I have
decided to try once again, on an issue of even more
consequence for the internal security posture of our
country. That posture has been weakened by the diversion
of attention from al-Qaeda to our government's plan
to invade Iraq, a step that will, in all likelihood,
bring an exponential increase in the terrorist threat
to the U.S., both at home and abroad."
capture (by Pakistan) of Bin Laden's reputed second
in command has led some to argue that the U.S. government
can walk and chew gum at the same time, but the sudden
elevation of Khalid
Shaikh Mohammed from number 22 to number 2 in the
terrorist hierarchy strikes many as suspicious.
In any event, Rowley's accusations, this time around,
are devastating, not only to the FBI high command but
to the War Party. She writes:
is the FBI's evidence with respect to a connection between
al-Qaeda and Iraq? Polls show that Americans are completely
confused about who was responsible for the suicidal
attacks on 9-11 with many blaming Iraq. And it is clear
that this impression has been fostered by many in the
government's war propaganda is actively undermining
the FBI's effort to identify and root out terrorism
in this country. Rowley points to Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld's contention that the Saddam-Osama connection
is certain, counterposing it to Brent Scowcroft's skepticism,
and asks: which is it?
answer to this is of key importance in determining whether
war against Iraq makes any sense from the FBI's internal
security point of view. If the FBI does have independent
data verifying such a connection, it would seem such
information should be shared, at least internally within
it be because such a connection doesn't exist?
ought to be shocked by Rowley's revelation that the
FBI has yet to interview Zacarias
Moussaoui, the man she was prevented from investigating,
who has since been shown to have a
direct connection to the events of 9/11. The "shoe
Reid has also, somehow, escaped extensive interrogation.
What's up with that? It's a matter of priorities,
says Rowley: and apparently the chief priority of the
U.S. government is not preventing future terrorist attacks
on American soil, but prosecuting a diversionary war
against the wrong enemy.
shows that the break with our longtime closest allies
hurts the war on terrorism, since the great majority
of Al Qaeda operatives are based in Europe, and makes
the cogent point that it was the French, after all,
who fingered Moussaoui. She also exposes the mass round-up
and detention of thousands of Arabs as largely a political
9/11, Headquarters encouraged more and more detentions
for what seem to be essentially PR purposes. Field offices
were required to report daily the number of detentions
in order to supply grist for statements on our progress
in fighting terrorism."
striking is Rowley's analogy likening the attack on
Iraq to the FBI's assault on the Branch Davidians at
Waco. Like Saddam Hussein, David Koresh was demonized
by government officials and the media in preparation
for the strike: like Iraq, the Davidian "compound"
was said to be the source of a weapons cache; like the
Iraqi dictator, the Davidian guru was said to be abusing
his own people (according to Janet Reno, he was sexually
abusing the cult's children). Much of the case against
Koresh and his followers was debunked
after the siege incinerated those children, and the
FBI, says Rowley, has learned its lesson from the Waco
disaster – but the U.S. government has failed to apply
this lesson to the foreign policy realm:
learned some lessons from this unfortunate episode and
quickly explored better ways to deal with such challenges.
As a direct result of that exploration, many subsequent
criminal/terrorist 'standoffs' in which the FBI has
been involved have been resolved peacefully and effectively.
I would suggest that present circumstances vis-a-vis
Iraq are very analagous, and that you consider sharing
with senior administration officials the important lessons
learned by the FBI at Waco."
Janet Reno school of foreign policy has potentially
deadly consequences for the U.S. and the security of
its citizens, and the real shocker of Rowley's letter
is her contention that we are all made much less safe
by the War Party's Iraqi adventure:
an attack, though, may have grave consequences for your
ability to discharge your responsibility to protect
Americans, and it is altogether likely that you will
find yourself a helpless bystander to a rash of 9-11s.
The bottom line is this: We should be deluding neither
ourselves nor the American people that there is any
way the FBI, despite the various improvements you are
implementing, will be able to stem the flood of terrorism
that will likely head our way in the wake of an attack
on Iraq. What troubles me most is that I have no assurance
that you have made that clear to the president."
months we have been told, again and again, that another
terrorist attack on U.S. soil is "inevitable."
Now a veteran of 22 years in the FBI has come forward
to testify that we don't have the power to stop it –
because our government is dragging its feet in the anti-terrorist
investigation while going all out to prosecute a war
abroad. The "flood of terrorism" that is about
to engulf us is seemingly of little concern to U.S.
government officials at the highest level. But how could
rash of 9/11s?" Could a more horrific possibility
be imagined? Yet our government is willing to risk it
in order to "democratize" the Middle East
the world safe for Israel.
opponents of this war are being called "traitors"
and denounced as the ideological equivalent of "enemy
combatants" is surely one of the cruelest ironies
ever witnessed by history. Yet patriots like Ms. Rowley
are speaking out because they sense that a very real
danger to our country is being ignored – and, I believe,
is either a case of the most incredible incompetence
on the part of the FBI tops and other high officials,
or else it is nothing less than treason. It won't matter
much, in the end, since the consequences will be the
for a moment, how this administration would react to
"a rash of 9/11s." Attorney General John Ashcroft
denies the administration has any plans for a Patriot
Act II, but the reality is that Patriot Acts II,
III, IV, and V would be rammed through a cowed Congress
before the smoke cleared.
rhetoric of the President, who invents an Iraq-Al Qaeda
connection without evidence, and then conjures up a
fearsome picture of another 9/11, is echoed and amplified
by the War Party and its pet pundits, who, at times,
seem to yearn for another devastating attack on the
U.S. – if only to silence the growing antiwar chorus.
terrible and irrational as it seems, it's almost as
if they want to see another terrorist attack on this
country. I get letters every day from war-maddened idiots
wait until a nuclear 'dirty bomb' goes off in this country.
Then maybe people like you will wake up. I hope it explodes
alienation of our allies, the wrecking of the American
economy, the increased risk of another 9/11 – all this
and more the Bushites are willing to pay in order to
carry out their monomaniacal Middle East policy. What's
another 3,000, or 6,000, or 10,000 American lives –
as long as we "liberate" Iraq? No price is
too high. That is their attitude, and if it isn't treasonous,
in the technical sense, it is pretty damned close.
mind the "liberation" of Baghdad: we won't
be safe until and unless we liberate Washington, D.C.
from officials who don't seem to realize that their
one and only legitimate function is to protect Americans
on American soil.
are a lot of indications that Antiwar.com's analysis
of the reasons for this war are making significant headway
in the "mainstream" media. Arnaud
de Borchgrave's recent article in the Washington
Times was just the most widely-noted of many recent
instances in which our view of the
key role played by the neoconservatives has been
given wider circulation. Wednesday's "Nightline"
the issue in depth.
perspective is shared by a growing number of conservatives,
and they are getting organized in a group called "Right
Against the War": this effort, led by Dan Charles,
chairman of the America
First Party, is worth supporting. The one element
missing from the antiwar movement is an organized group
of conservatives and libertarians, whose arguments –
and presence – are bound to be more effective than the
usual pseudo-pacifist soporifics. To contact Right Against
the War, phone: 866-SOS-USA1, or email: Info@americafirstparty.org.
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