Robert Gates on "60 Minutes": He Had Doubts About Osama bin Laden Raid

Defense Secretary Robert Gates was on "60 Minutes" tonight. He said he had doubts about the intelligence information that Osama bin Laden was at the Abbouttabad compound.

While he had confidence in the SEALs before the mission, Gates told us he was very nervous about the intelligence on the mission. "I was very concerned, frankly. I had real reservations about the intelligence. My worry was the level of uncertainty about whether bin Laden was even in the compound. There wasn't any direct evidence that he was there. It was all circumstantial. But it was the best information that we had since probably 2001," he explained.

"And did you feel you had to strike while the iron was hot, if you will?" (Katie) Couric asked. "I think everybody agreed that we needed to act and act pretty promptly," he replied.

Gates also had a lot of praise for President Obama: [More...]

"I worked for a lot of these guys. And this is one of the most courageous calls, decisions that I think I've ever seen a president make. For all of the concerns that I've just been talking about. The uncertainty of the intelligence. The consequences of it going bad. The risk to the lives of the Americans involved. It was a very gutsy call," Gates said.

On Osama's death and the withdrawal of troops:

"You don't see the troop withdrawal, though, being accelerated this summer because of bin Laden's death?" Couric asked.

"I think it's premature. I think we just don't know. It's only been a week. And people are already drawing historical conclusions. I think that's a little quick," Gates said.

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    Seems like 60 Minutes is not the (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Anne on Sun May 15, 2011 at 09:34:51 PM EST
    right place for the Secretary of Defense to reveal that he had doubts about the intelligence; it's hard to say whether it makes him look weaker and Obama look stronger, or what.

    Honestly, I am so unbelievably weary of the myriad stories about what went down, so not interested in the inner thoughts of all those involved.


    I have arrived at a conclusion tonight (none / 0) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Sun May 15, 2011 at 08:02:49 PM EST
    Gates is attempting to sabotage this President's success on National Security issues because he can't deal with the reality.  Sorry, but Gates is an enormous Conservative.  He has been since anyone kept track of who was who. And he is IMO attempting to sabotage President Obama's success on National Security issues as credibly as he possibly can.  He is a very intelligent GOPer, he isn't your average dumb Conservative but he doesn't fool me.

    And he needs to leave ASAP (none / 0) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Sun May 15, 2011 at 08:03:28 PM EST
    Don't let the door hit you in the kester Gates

    If you are right... (none / 0) (#4)
    by Romberry on Sun May 15, 2011 at 08:11:44 PM EST
    ...then what does that say about Obama, considering that Obama is the president and asked Gates to be his SoD? (Just for the record, I don't think you're right. Obama and Gates are on the same side.)

    I know one of the people who have (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Sun May 15, 2011 at 08:16:28 PM EST
    been part of team Gates for years. He isn't what you would like to think he is.  And her husband worked with mine and you wouldn't believe what he did to my husband under a different President in Iraq because my in uniform husband wasn't acting enough like a good Conservative Republican.  You can believe what you want, but I know what I know and Gates isn't some truth telling Messiah

    Did you read my post? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Romberry on Sun May 15, 2011 at 08:36:26 PM EST
    I'm not defending Gates. What I'm saying is that Obama likes Gates.* That should tell you something.

    *I don't like either one, 'cause I don't support Republicans, even if they comes with a label that says "Democrat."


    That's just so insulting to me (none / 0) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 16, 2011 at 06:50:15 AM EST
    as an active duty military spouse.  Gates and Bush have been bust buddies for years and his best buddy put this family through total hell in the name of National Security.  President Obama has done no such thing and he brought back the military ethics and the responsiblity of the chain command that Bush had destroyed.  The military had few clear missions in the war zones as well that Bush created and Gates was overseeing when Obama took over too.  We do now though, the missions are very defined.  It is so insulting to me to attempt to paint Obama as "just another Republican" when it comes to what has happened to this family going through combat deployments.  Gates has served two different Presidents and done two different jobs sitting at the same desk.  He would have defended Bush to his dying day if he had been the first Sec of Defense instead of Rumsfeld but he got stuck serving the majority of his time in this gig with the successful Democrat President so now he will passive aggressively attempt to cast shadows if he can.  Well I see him coming.

    MT, this comment was very interesting (none / 0) (#9)
    by observed on Mon May 16, 2011 at 09:35:09 AM EST
    to me. How do you think Obama effected the changes you are praising? There wasn't a big shift in personnel at the top of the military, was there?  

    Military leaders usually do as they are told (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 16, 2011 at 09:59:47 AM EST
    What one administration demands of them is different from another.  Military leadership doesn't function like civilian leadership does...you don't get to bring your own vision and if your way of doing things conflicts with the big cheese that "conflict" doesn't even exist because it is called insubordination.

    Obama was willing to listen to Petraeus and McChrystal and everyone else about what the dangers were and what should be done but he refused to sign on for any of it until they gave him crystal clear missions and very clear paths to certain goals and the legalities of all of it were worked out first.  He wasn't winging any of this like some swaggering cavalier cowboy.  And he hasn't.  And he demands accountability, he fired General McChrystal slick as snot :)

    You have no idea how much more sane and precise and capable the whole military has been able to operate at because Obama demanded clarity and accountability before anything else could happen.  As for leadership changes at the military top, those had been happening since before Bush set sail for Iraq.  He fired people who disagreed with him, he fired people who failed because he was an insane swaggering cowboy, people failed themselves and left quickly because it became clear it isn't good and in fact is very dangerous to have a CIC whose biggest qualification was that he was a swaggering cowboy.  And Bush's biggest set standard while he was in the oval office was that everyone show up appropriately dressed.  I'm sure that the Generals were always appropriate in attire in his opinion but everybody else had better be wearing a tie or else.


    Thanks, appreciate the (none / 0) (#11)
    by observed on Mon May 16, 2011 at 10:03:08 AM EST
    lengthy response. It was eye-opening.

    I can't help asking you if you think (none / 0) (#13)
    by observed on Mon May 16, 2011 at 10:04:12 AM EST
    he is in fact exercising the same decisive leadership on economic issues---just in a horrible direction.
    My opinion is that he simply doesn't care much about the economy, except for the politics of it, and certainly doesn't understand much at all.

    He outlined extremely explicit (none / 0) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 16, 2011 at 11:16:48 AM EST
    parameters for the military, and it would seem like from what I have read that one of my least liked persons prodded hard for that if the Pentagon was going to get anything...and that was Emanuel.  Because Emanuel had no real love for the Pentagon and all that entails that that lead to real and successful missions and leadership.  But Emanuel was/is in love with letting  Wall Street and shadow banking run wild like some Republicans are in love with and believe that good things come from allowing military leadership to run wild, so he was no help on the economic front.  Anyone who has sat as an advisor to Obama who has lobbied for Wall Street and shadow banking to have to be accountable has seen fit to eventually leave, so it seems to me that we are living Obama's economic vision too and what we are living through economically is just as much a reflection of his leadership as well.  It's sad

    And I understand that it is upsetting (5.00 / 0) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 16, 2011 at 10:03:29 AM EST
    to have a President who is a Democrat and be militarily much more successful than the Republicans are while failing all of us miserably on the economy and jobs and healthcare too.  I understand that that rings Republican.  But Republicans are careless with everything, to include their military and weilding that...they swagger and they are careless and thoughtless and bang bang shoot em up.  This President is not that.  He is a successful Democrat militarily while failing his base and his country economically right now.

    Because he cares about foreign (none / 0) (#14)
    by observed on Mon May 16, 2011 at 10:05:15 AM EST
    policy and had  thought deeply about it before even running, IMO.

    Wanted to ask you about (none / 0) (#15)
    by ruffian on Mon May 16, 2011 at 11:09:39 AM EST
    something I read about Petraeus...and now I can't remember where...basically the theory goes he is being moved over to CIA as a face-saving way to get him out of command of the wars because his strategy of training up the Afghan Army is not working any better than it did in Iraq.

    I don't believe that for a minute (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 16, 2011 at 11:24:58 AM EST
    Petraeus is being moved to the CIA because he is one of the many military leaders behind what JSOC has become, and he is the most successful military leader involved in any of it.  He is a great military leader who is also a great policitian and can testify very well before committees, he knows how to CYA very well too. The war against terrorism is going CIA and that will involve also what JSOC has become under his leadership as well.  I don't know where you read that there is anything face saving :)  This is IMO evolution of the mission at hand and Petraeus is the most qualified person to do this job.  Moving Panetta to Sec Def is brilliant too and will allow the military and the CIA to work together ever more seamlessly when it is needed.  None of these are wins though for any liberal base.  This is all successes that Republicans wish they could attain and makes their base drool over, but Republicans are too lazy and unaccountable to achieve any of that at this time.

    thanks! I wish I could remember whose (none / 0) (#18)
    by ruffian on Mon May 16, 2011 at 12:52:21 PM EST
    theory that was...maybe it will come to me....

    I googled it when I read your (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 16, 2011 at 01:29:39 PM EST
    post after I replied, and it looks like the Daily Beast had something like that up and they had Wolfey quotes about how Petraeus was being snubbed and passed over for the head of the Joint Chiefs and my God if Wolfowitz said any of it he is more dense than I ever thought he could be :)  Not that any of that crowd ever saw anything deeper in any person in uniform than a jarhead to be killed at their order and whim.  I think David Petraeus is a true believer about protecting his nation and doing that with integrity and with the highest degree of successfulness he can attain.  He was always gifted as a politician too and that was how he got some things during his first tour in Iraq that nobody else could.  And that was also why some of those fellow commanders tried to destroy his career too after that first tour.  But David Petraeus has decided to dedicate his life to ensuring the safety of his nation and he is more than willing to step into different branches to better do that.  One thing frightens me though.  Can you imagine what someone like George Bush would have done with an infrastructure that incorporated easily the CIA with the military?  If some cherry picking vile leader got a hold of this what could happen?  That's my only concern about it.

    Yes (none / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon May 16, 2011 at 01:14:35 PM EST
    The war against terrorism is going CIA and that will involve also what JSOC has become under his leadership as well

    JSOC is a much better way to (none / 0) (#21)
    by Anne on Mon May 16, 2011 at 02:06:37 PM EST
    conduct war - if you like doing it in secret, and have an aversion to answering to Congress and the American people.  

    As but one example, Marc Ambinder -- in a hagiographic love letter to the secretive, glorious Joint Special Operations Command that oversaw the bin Laden killing -- reveals as though it's the most natural thing in the world:  

    JSOC has fought a silent but successful proxy war against Iran's Revolutionary Guards -- even, National Journal has learned, engaging directly with its soldiers in at least three countries. It has broken up nuclear-proliferation rings. JSOC has developed contingency plans to safeguard Pakistan's nuclear weapons in the event of a coup in that nation. Its intelligence unit helps Colombian commandos dismantle lucrative drug rings that finance Hezbollah operations around the world. It has provided intelligence that has helped to break up domestic terrorism rings. Operating in tandem with other special forces and regular military battalions, JSOC eviscerated al-Qaida's network in Iraq. It is nothing less than a secret army within the U.S. military.

    We're fighting a secret, undeclared, undiscussed hot war against Iran in multiple nations (of limited scope, at least for now), as well as numerous other hidden conflicts, using "a secret army within the U.S. military."  Does anyone believe any of this undemocratic, massive imperial machinery -- and the liberty abridgments that inevitably accompany it -- will be dismantled or even meaningfully reduced because Osama bin Laden is dead?

    I don't know if "brilliant" is the term I would use, but it's clear that this is the new face of war; I'm guessing you think this is a good thing.


    it's modern guerrilla warfare (none / 0) (#22)
    by CST on Mon May 16, 2011 at 02:26:53 PM EST
    on the offensive.  As for "like" - what's to "like" about war.  But it sure appears to be more effective at saving (American) lives than, say, lining up soldiers to shoot at each other.

    It's a better way to conduct war if you want to win the wars.

    Although I gotta say, wiki on this, is just... check out the list of "engagements":

    Operation Urgent Fury (1983)
    Operation Just Cause (1989)
    Operation Desert Storm (1990)
    Operation Provide Comfort (1991)
    Operation Gothic Serpent (1993)
    Operation Uphold Democracy (1994)
    Bosnian War (1996)
    Operation Allied Force (1999)
    Operation Enduring Freedom (2001)
    Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003)
    Operation Neptune's Spear (2011)

    Provide Comfort?????? REALLY?!?!


    We are becoming, more and more (none / 0) (#23)
    by Anne on Mon May 16, 2011 at 02:48:44 PM EST
    all the time, an ends-justifies-the-means society, where we gauge our willingness to follow the rules based on whether doing so will get us the outcome we desire in the time frame in which we want it - and I'm not just talking about war.

    I guess fewer and fewer people want to consider what may be lost by obtaining victories this way, perhaps because we too often only care about the now, and not a future that's too far away.

    Where are the checks and balances and oversight and accountability for a JSOC-driven military?  What protects us from becoming casualties of so much secrecy?  

    I'm not getting the impression that too many people - many of whom were apoplectic about the activities of Blackwater, for example - care now that this is all being done under a Democratic president.

    Situational ethics goes pretty much hand-in-hand with ends-justifies-the-means, though, so in that respect, it all makes perfect sense.

    And it will keep making sense until the first spectacular failure, when people will resume asking the questions they stopped asking when a Democrat took office.


    i fail to see how using JSOC (none / 0) (#24)
    by CST on Mon May 16, 2011 at 02:57:37 PM EST
    will change the checks and balances and oversight and accountability.  Or maybe I just fail to see where it existed before this.

    The problem with Blackwater is that they were essentially an independent war merchant who seemed to think they had to answer to no one.  They also seemed to be pretty bad at their job.

    One of the "ends" being justified here is the use of actual intelligence so that we don't make as many mistakes.  That will save lives - not just American.

    As far as I am aware JSOC is still a part of the military and subject to the same rules and laws as the regular forces.  If that's not true I would love to be corrected on that.


    Speaking of Blackwater (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Dadler on Mon May 16, 2011 at 03:23:56 PM EST
    Saw this (none / 0) (#30)
    by Zorba on Mon May 16, 2011 at 04:40:44 PM EST
    Erik Prince is not exactly a "prince" of a guy, and neither is his company.  The money quote is:
    Muslim soldiers, Mr. Prince warned, could not be counted on to kill fellow Muslims.
     Such a nice guy, really.  {/snark}

    I think anytime anything heads into (none / 0) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 16, 2011 at 04:26:40 PM EST
    "the big secret" it is always dangerous. Under President Bush, JSOC did have something to do with operating black sites in Iraq....and they did apply "enhanced interrogations" to anyone they thought smelled funny enough in Iraq when we were losing our arses and "surging".  And they preformed assassinations while we were surging in Iraq too.  That's documented and that was under a different President.

    This President doesn't seem to ever want his name connected to anything like that and I won't condone such operations.  I already saw what the Bush administration got going though simply using an existing infrastruture before the public outcry finally became loud enough and threatening enough to start shutting them down.  Efficient avenues are created when creating an infrastructure that is high functioning, and those can be exploited by whoever comes along during a changing of the guard.  This has IMO a lot of potential to be very dangerous in the hands of the lawless.


    Everything about our military (none / 0) (#29)
    by CST on Mon May 16, 2011 at 04:36:53 PM EST
    has a huge amount of potential to be dangerous in the hands of the lawless.  

    This sounds like an argument against effective military because it might be effective at doing wrong things in the wrong hands.  But I don't see that being ineffective at doing the wrong things is much better - frankly that's Blackwater to me.

    That's one of many reasons why it's so important to care who the CIC is.


    I can't expect U.S. voters to be held hostage (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 16, 2011 at 04:42:15 PM EST
    though on getting their needs met because I fear someone exploiting our military or our CIA.  American voters will vote for the whole package and according to their needs.  Obama needs to tend to those needs now.

    agree (none / 0) (#33)
    by CST on Mon May 16, 2011 at 04:46:05 PM EST
    it just so happens that I conveniently think that a person who would exploit our military and CIA would also be likely to fail miserably at attending those domestic needs.

    Most likely (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 16, 2011 at 04:49:58 PM EST
    But we've got one now not exploiting in a way that I find illegal or unethical and he is failing huge on domestic ethics, domestic legalities, and domestic needs :)

    I guess what I'm saying is (none / 0) (#35)
    by CST on Mon May 16, 2011 at 05:03:10 PM EST
    those that will exploit will find ways to exploit.

    Bush was completely ineffective and he still managed to be a real international Dusche.

    The CIA isn't going anywhere either.

    I guess I am just more concerned with outcome than process.  Outcomes I am not okay with: secret prisons and torture.  Outcome I am okay with: killing Osama Bin Laden without much collateral damage.  But then I don't really understand the process of the military that well.


    and to clarify my clarification (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by CST on Mon May 16, 2011 at 05:15:18 PM EST
    I think switching tactics is more likely to lead to the outcomes I am okay with, but has limited effect on the outcomes I am not okay with because they seem to find ways to pull that $hit anyway if that's the way we are headed.

    I just got a chuckle thinking about your (none / 0) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 16, 2011 at 04:45:57 PM EST
    post again.  Nobody knows better than I do that our military will always need someone checking their shorts for hidden skid marks.  That is a part of an effective military, the constant checking up on everything they do and everything they say :)

    It is like anything Anne (none / 0) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 16, 2011 at 03:05:52 PM EST
    Too much of it, or applying it when it isn't needed probably isn't the way to go about it.  I did post my fears about what could happen to the infrastructure.  It doesn't matter what I think though really.  There is a threat out there and this is how it has evolved in order to deal with it because nobody wants "boots on the ground".  Part of Obama's problem IS that he is a Democrat and a bit of his base would rather he do nothing about the threat of terrorism and if and when we get hit it will then be all his fault and he will be a failure.  He is a failure on this no matter what he does.  He and the military and the CIA and everyone else involved in Af/Pak are in a damned if you do damned if don't spot when it comes to the extremes of both parties.  I think this is the only area that Obama has no choice in other than being a centrist.

    I have no doubt that's true, Tracy, (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Anne on Mon May 16, 2011 at 03:59:37 PM EST
    I guess I struggle more than ever with whether or if or how I can trust much of anything I hear or read that comes from "official" sources.

    That's not helped by the story-of-the-hour method of disseminating information that seems to be so prevalent these days.

    And I do think you're right that some of this has been driven by our weariness with "boots on the ground," and I don't think most people realized how much of a double-edged sword this has turned out to be.  The public's scrutiny and pressure have driven a lot underground, out of sight, where it is probably almost totally immune from public oversignt and pressure - and I'm not sure that's always the best thing.

    I think I will go back to thinking about Donald Trump's hair now...it's easier on my brain.


    about that threat out there (none / 0) (#37)
    by BobTinKY on Mon May 16, 2011 at 10:49:26 PM EST
    seems to me our military interventions/occupations the world over is the cause of the threat not the solution.  And now this threat, which our own policies cause, and our continued insistence that we intervene and occupy foreign countries at will makes the trillion dollar defense budget off limits, and puts all our SS and Medicare on the chopping block. It is, in a word, insane.

    Does anyone seriously think these terrorist would exist or be attacking us if we were not occupying their lands and supporting the oppressive dictators that run their countries? Or would they, as Bush claimed, hate us anyway for our freedoms?

    JSOC, covert, overt whatever.  If you want to put out the fire step one is to stop pouring gasoline on it.  What if instead of wasting $2-3 trillion on Iraq and Afghanistan (while the criminal culprit hid out in Pakistan) we instead spent that money on developing energy substitutes for Middle East oil?

    For the vast majority of us the only impactful thing about our global empire  is the loss of jobs and manufacturing to other countries and the subtle and the very real undermining of US labor and environmental laws that occurs when US business and capital moves to the third world. Of course, for the owners of all that capital, you know, the taxpayer bailed out geniuses, empire is very profitable, and terrorism and the war thereon a justifiable cost of doing business.  Better yet, with tax cuts for the rich and all volunteer armed forces its a business cost the  financial movers & shakers who run this country have yet again successfully, dare I say it, socialized.

    Obama's best shot at preventing another attack it to use bin Laden's death to leave Afghanistan now. Obama's own popularity in other countries, already high, would be enhanced and AQ would find less and less recruits as it becomes evermore unpopular in the Arab world.  


    To answer your first question (none / 0) (#38)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 17, 2011 at 07:21:14 AM EST
    Yes Bob, I do think these terrorists would exist if I had stopped breathing at birth.  This kind of terrorism is like rape, it isn't about what dress you wore or how low your neckline was, it is about power and those who desire and get high on power.  They aren't the Weather Underground.  The leaders of these organizations are very powerful and abusive in their own protected territories.  They don't fight for anyone's human rights. There are sociopaths and psychopaths born into every culture on earth, but some argue that Bali is exempt.  I have my doubts on that :)  And like all abusers, just giving them what they want does not end the abuse either.  They just up the ante while being thrilled to the core.

    have to disagree (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by Dadler on Tue May 17, 2011 at 11:08:27 AM EST
    to say they would exist and do what they are doing regardless of anything else in life is, really, a pretty extremist viewpoint.

    to suggest our military empire is not a very big thorn in the side of other people in the world, and that this thorn does not, and quite often, drive itself right through people's heads, and that this ham-handed military machine we have all over the globe hasn't played a pretty decent role in stirring up anger and resentment, well, I guess we see life a tad differently.

    Now, if you take people who have a pre-disposition toward violence -- whether from birth (some humans are naturally more aggressive than others), from environment (family, religion, culture, etc.), or, as it is almost always is, a combination -- then you mix that with a foreign military empire whose interests always trump theirs, and their own government who probably kow-tows to us (to the detriment of its own people), and their society's lack of political and personal evolution as a result, and I think you have the recipe for what we see today.  

    Every organism has a survival instinct.  It takes a lot, a tragic amount, to get an organism to give that up, be it amoeba or human.  And with the history of the region, with our usually selfish and crude interest and hand in it, I know that we've played our role in keeping that part of the world from developing in a healthy and self-determined way.

    And, yes, these guys are thugs who run roughshod over their own people, their own wives and children.  But is that so anomalous?  Sadly, the domestic violence rate in the US military, from what I can gather, is three or four times higher, if not greater, than in the civilian population.  And I have no doubt you are more than familiar with this issue.  That kind of stat stops me.  It actually forces a connection in my brain between "us" and "them" (meaning the enemy abroad).  

    It causes me to wonder whether our cultures have more in common when it comes to violence than they do when it comes to peace.


    I see it as a (none / 0) (#40)
    by CST on Tue May 17, 2011 at 11:19:08 AM EST
    short term vs long term thing.

    In the short term, minimizing our military presence abroad is unlikely to deter those who are already terrorists/against us.  Indeed it might allow them to operate more effectively.

    In the long term, I think we absolutely have to consider what affect our foreign/military policy has on the next generation of possible terrorists.

    Balancing that short-term/long-term scenario is why all of this (tactics/policy/diplomacy) is so crucial.  And I don't know that anyone really has the answer.


    I think Bin Laden's killing (none / 0) (#43)
    by BobTinKY on Tue May 17, 2011 at 12:00:51 PM EST
    may provide an opportunity to minimize the short term risks, which I think you correctly ID, of our terminating Bush's misguided approach to the GWOT.  Obama is very popular abroad and now that AQ's head has been severed, I think were Obama to end the wars & occupations AQ would become increasingly unpopular with the very folks whose interests AQ claims to be serving.

    And I see it as another form of (none / 0) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 17, 2011 at 11:54:46 AM EST
    American Exceptionalism to think that it is still all about you and what you do that makes the world go round smoothly and rights all the wrongs and wrongs all the rights :)

    I sincerely doubt all you stated (none / 0) (#42)
    by BobTinKY on Tue May 17, 2011 at 11:55:36 AM EST
    sure there are random psychos, Hell we elected one VP not too long ago.  BUt to build and maintain large organization with logistics to attack the US, there's much more at work than a few psychos meeting at prayer time.

    I am disappointed whenever we discuss military tactics in the GWOT as though we should assume our military responses to 9/11 were correct to begin with.  They were not.  

    I have no problem with having used military force in Afghanistan because the Afghan Govt at the time refused to police and hunt down those who had committed mass murder here in the US. That should have taken a few months (Tora Bora). But what we have done beyond stepping in to capture/police AQ is gas on the fire.

    Iraq, good God what a disaster and totally misguided adventure.

    As for giving them what they want, that sounds a lot like using the terrorism which our empire has spawned as justification in & of itself to maintain and secure & expand the empire.  That's some serious boot strapping going on there.


    And yer sort of just a tiny bit (none / 0) (#44)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 17, 2011 at 12:58:26 PM EST
    full of it.  There have been terrorists and terrorist networks before America was even founded.  I almost married someone who was Basque :)

    xenophobia is the base that most (none / 0) (#45)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 17, 2011 at 01:08:41 PM EST
    terrorist groups spring from

    xenophobia (none / 0) (#47)
    by CST on Tue May 17, 2011 at 01:11:40 PM EST
    exists everywhere.

    It's only certain "climates" that turn that into terrorism though.


    Disagree (none / 0) (#49)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 17, 2011 at 01:18:40 PM EST
    It isn't only "climates" that feed a possible terrorist or a terrorist network forming.  If only we human beings could be relied upon to be so noble.  But we aren't.  And the human beings that you know less about are not automatically more noble than you and the system that you live in and comprehend. But this strange Leftist American Exceptionalism seems to demand that I must grasp the world in that fashion.  And it is a fallacy.

    there's nothing particularly (none / 0) (#50)
    by CST on Tue May 17, 2011 at 01:26:16 PM EST
    American about it.  You see it here too with people who started hating (and in some cases, killing) Muslims all of a sudden when 15 years ago no one cared.  You could certainly make the case that had they not attacked us, we would not be having those kinds of reactions here.  It doesn't make people more noble, it just makes them human.

    what makes me not know whether (none / 0) (#52)
    by jondee on Tue May 17, 2011 at 01:50:36 PM EST
    to laugh or cry, is the knowledge that many of the same neocon jackdaws who like to say 'they'd attack no matter what we do', would've spun 9/11 as a desperate act of a freedom-loving people, if it had been perpetrated somewhere in the S.U in the eighties..  

    For sure (none / 0) (#46)
    by CST on Tue May 17, 2011 at 01:10:33 PM EST
    and they usually oppossed those that historically oppressed them.

    America is far from the only "oppressors" out there.  Europe has been in on that game a lot longer than we have.

    But you can't honestly think that U.S. actions abroad will have no effect on whether or not kids in that region grow up to be terrorists.  That's not to say we can or should completely back off.  It's just that actions have consequences.  Sometimes indirect ones that come back to bite you 20 years later.


    I'm not saying that our actions (none / 0) (#48)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 17, 2011 at 01:13:02 PM EST
    have no impact, but the xenophobia that feeds Al Qaeda's big money leaders is the the xenophobia that feeds Al Qaeda.

    fanaticism (none / 0) (#51)
    by jondee on Tue May 17, 2011 at 01:43:48 PM EST
    irrational, unsustainable, ultimately (and immediately) destructive -- and the more it is frontally assaulted, the more desperately is it clung to..

    We have tons of examples of it right here in this country: militant deregulate-and-privatize Free Traders who reserve the right to bankroll with investment capital the code of Manu and cult of Mao in India and China..the Rapture in the ME-Greater Israel crowd: taken so seriously that they're given audiences by congressmen and senators..the loons who consider our 700 military bases around the world a sustainable extension of late-nineteenth-century Manifest Destiny..