Let’s face it. We’re clueless.
Pick your truth admidst the juggling “reporting.”
A senior al Qaeda suspect wanted for bombing U.S. embassies in East Africa
has been killed, a Somali official said Wednesday as witnesses said U.S forces
launched a third day of airstrikes.
Also Wednesday, Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister said American troops were
needed on the ground to root extremists from his troubled country, and he
expected the troops soon.
The death of al Qaeda suspect Fazul Abdullah Mohammed was detailed in an
American intelligence report passed on to the Somali authorities. Mohammed,
one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists who has evaded capture for eight years,
was allegedly harbored by a Somali Islamic movement that had challenged this
country’s Ethiopian-backed government for power.
“I have received a report from the American side chronicling the targets
and list of damage,” Abdirizak Hassan, the Somali president’s chief of
staff, said. “One of the items they were claiming was that Fazul Abdullah
Mohammed is dead.”
Or maybe you believe this “reporting.”
A senior al-Qaeda suspect wanted for bombing American embassies in East Africa
was killed in a U.S. airstrike, a Somali official said Wednesday, a report
that if confirmed would mean the end of an eight-year hunt for a top target
of Washington’s war on terrorism.
In Washington, U.S. government officials said they had no reason to believe
that the suspect, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, had been killed. The officials
spoke on condition of anonymity because of the information’s sensitivity.
So let me get this straight.
We’re waging a “global war on terrorism,” but in Somalia, the Horn
of Africa, where we absolutely know there is a failed state in Somalia, not
to mention warlords everywhere, we have no intelligence to tell us whether our
own AC-130 gunship strike got the main bad guy, Fazul
Abdullah Mohammed. Our Special Forces and Delta Force teams are risking
their lives, but we have no intelligence on what actually happened?
This is Mr. Bush’s idea of fighting terrorism? That and escalation in Iraq,
Blind, armed and ignorant. That’s our fight against terrorism.
Or is there more to this story than meets the eye? Maybe it’s like Iraq as far as intelligence goes. We don’t know what Bush won’t tell us and he won’t tell us anything. Same in Somalia? Nice foreign policy, at least as far as protecting the presidential posterior.
Stay tuned for more misinformation, right after the main show tonight. I’ll let you know when we’ve got some facts.
UPDATE (4:20 p.m.): Newsweek has a very interesting article, Gates Cleans House. Here’s a snippet, but read the whole piece.
Airstrikes this week on alleged Al Qaeda figures in Somalia may prove to be one of the last counterterrorism operations associated with a controversial Pentagon general who has overseen the deployment of secret U.S. Special Ops teams against suspected terror plotters, defense experts close to the Pentagon and intelligence community tell NEWSWEEK. … snip
While Cambone’s departure has been announced, Boykin’s has not. A Defense Department spokesman would not confirm Wednesday that Boykin was planning to retire, but he declined to deny it either. “There have been no announcements about his retirement,” said the spokesman, Maj. David Smith. A U.S. intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity owing to the sensitivity of the subject, said that Boykin currently was still on the job. But word around the Pentagon was that Gates would ask Boykin to go, this official said. Consultants who work with the intelligence and Special Operations community said it was all but certain that Boykin was following Cambone out the door. “If you’re getting rid of Cambone, you almost certainly have to get rid of Boykin,” says Philip Giraldi, a former CIA counterterrorism official who stays in touch with the community. “They’re hand in glove. Gates feels it all went out of control, that they’re doing too many things in too many places.” … snip …
Critics of the covert program say that Gates and Cambone’s replacement, Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper, are concerned that too much collateral damage may work against U.S. interests. Giraldi says the U.S. Special Ops teams operate too often without accountability, not even notifying the local U.S. Embassy of their presence. In one case in East Africa a clandestine team was arrested by the host government and had to be bailed out by the ambassador, Giraldi says. Adds Arquilla, an advocate of dropping small teams into countries rather than launching airstrikes: “There’s a growing realization in the Pentagon that the more collateral damage is done, the worse is our position in the ‘battle of the story’Ã¢â‚¬”in other words, every time we kill innocents our story is much less compelling and the clash of civilizations story is much more compelling.”