The first report details that Pakistan has effectively lifted the minimal house arrest restraints imposed on A.Q. Khan, the father of the "Islamic bomb," who presided over the transfer of nuclear technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran. The second is a devastating New York Times report that the United States failed to attack an important al-Qaeda gathering in Afghanistan, at which top terrorist leaders were present, out of fear of alienating Pakistan's dictator, Gen. Pervez Musharraf.
Recall that Bush boasted in his 2004 presidential debate with Democratic candidate John Kerry that "we busted the A.Q.
Khan network," when, in fact, neither Khan nor any of the top ringleaders of his nukes-for-sale operation have ever been brought to trial. Some had to hold high positions in the Pakistani government in order for the shipment of Pakistan's most highly valued nuclear technology to go unimpeded. Perhaps it is for that reason U.S. agents have never been allowed to interview Khan, let alone subject him to the waterboarding torture reserved for those who wouldn't know a nuke if it hit them upside the head.
While American agents still aren't allowed to talk to Khan, an AP reporter had no difficulty interviewing him this week to report that the minimal restraints of his house arrest have been lifted. Thus, he is now, echoing that Southwest Airlines commercial, free to move about the country -- if not the world.
So, Bush did not bust Khan's network, but on the contrary, he allowed it to function for years after it was first unearthed for fear of embarrassing Musharraf at a time when Bush was cozying up to the dictator who had quickly pardoned Khan of all possible crimes.
Not offending Musharraf also led the Bush administration in 2005 to jettison a planned attack on a high level al-Qaeda gathering in Pakistan that U.S. intelligence had learned of. Bin Laden's number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was in attendance and the capture of the man thought to be actually running al-Qaeda would have allowed Bush to begin making good on his promise to get the perpetrators of 9/11 "dead or alive."
Instead, as The New York Times reported, the mission was abandoned in the final moments, as Navy Seals in parachute gear sat on C-130 cargo planes, because "it could jeopardize relations with Pakistan."
The Times quoted Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University, saying, "The reluctance to take risk or jeopardize our political relationship with Musharraf may well account for the fact that five-and-a-half years after 9/11, we are still trying to run bin Laden and Zawahiri to ground."
No wonder that top U.S. officials charged with defeating al-Qaeda feel frustrated. As the Times reported, "Their frustration has only grown over the past two years, they said, as al-Qaeda has improved its ability to plan global attacks and build new training compounds in Pakistan's tribal areas, which have become virtual heavens for the terrorist network."
Heckuva job, Bushie.
© Creators Syndicate
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Albion Monitor July
14, 2007 (http://www.albionmonitor.com)
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