It must have been frustrating for Al Qaeda leaders.
I can't say that I'm disappointed to learn that then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld signed an order that gave the American military "broad, secret authority" to go after Al Qaeda. And, that the 'demonic' George Bush approved.
Secret Orders, Broad Authority: Is This Some Kind of Plot?Well, yes. It is. It looks like the Bush administration has, since around September of 2001, been out to get Al Qaeda.
Just because of some incident involving four airliners, two skyscrapers, the Pentagon, a field in Pennsylvania and several thousand people: many of whom left pieces big enough to be identified.
Secret Orders! The Horror! The Horror!I'm all for dialog and transparency, but let's be realistic: Al Qaeda wants to destroy western culture, and seems particularly focused on American culture and institutions.
Quite a few Americans would just as soon keep things more or less the way they are.1 And, more to the point, would just as soon not be killed by religious fanatics.
Al Qaeda leaders can hardly overthrow America if their organization is knocked to pieces. And, I'm pretty sure that Al Qaeda's leaders would just as soon stay alive. They're remarkably generous about letting their underlings become holy martyrs, but not so eager themselves.
Under those circumstances, it simply does not make sense to go through the usual diplomatic channels, engage in dialog, and be transparent. Let's say that, before going after a base in Syria that Al Qaeda is using to kill Iraqis, American officials engage in dialog with:
- Syrian officials
- The United Nations Security Council
- Leaders of
- Saudi Arabia
- The United Arab Emirates
- And, just to be thorough, Brunei
That Was the Bush Administration: Now What?Whether or not the Obama administration continues this 'no hiding place' Al Qaeda policy will, I think, tell us a lot about what to expect in the next four to eight years.
I hope that Barack Obama will risk offending President Ahmadinejad, Code Pink, and Bare Witness: and be practical about the War on Terror.
- "Bush Approves Secret Orders! Warrantless Wiretaps! Liberties in Danger!"
(November 10, 2008)
- "Report: Secret Order Lets U.S. Strike Al Qaeda Anywhere"
FOXNews (November 10, 2008)
- "Pentagon used secret authority to strike Qaeda: report"
Reuters (November 10, 2008)
- "US 'in secret overseas strikes' "
BBC (November 10, 2008)
- "George Bush ran secret overseas attacks"
(November 11, 2008)
(11th?! Remember the International Dateline. It probably was the 11th in Australia when "...Times reported yesterday..." was written.)
- "Secret Order Lets U.S. Raid Al Qaeda in Many Countries"
The New York Times (November 9, 2008)
1 I'm no great fan of the America of Madison Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard myself, but knocking down buildings with people inside is not a sensible response.
A Catholic Citizen in America (Following Catholic beliefs and practices in America: One man's experience) discusses my counter-cultural lifestyle in today's America, and how I respond to the culture around me.