How then did we arrive at this day, with anti-American Islamist governments rising in the Mideast, bin Laden sneering at us, Qaeda lieutenants escaping from prison, Iran brazenly enriching uranium, and America as hated and mistrusted as it ever has been? The answer, in a word, is incompetence.Many of us have been pointing out for several years that the mis-administration of George W. Bush has been doing the work of Al Qaeda. The administration has been losing the oxymoron "war on terror" and making us less safe each and every day. Well an admited hawk in the MSM is now saying the same thing, the Bush administration is guilty of Clumsy Leadership
Revolutionaries need several ingredients to succeed: charisma, for one; organization, for another. But what they need most of all is an incompetent regime, one that makes their ideas look good by comparison. "Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive," William Wordsworth famously wrote after the French Revolution, romanticizing the "enfants de la patrie" who marched on the Bastille. But no one ever quotes the next line in his poem about the "meager, stale, forbidding " old regime that collapsed so easily there. The early Bolsheviks were nobodies in Russia before the 1917 Revolution, but thanks to the combined ineptitude of Tsar Nicholas II and Alexander Kerensky—the first one representing bumbling monarchy, the latter the most indecisive sort of democracy—Lenin and Co. established their "dictatorship of the proletariat" with a swiftness that surprised even them.That's right, the leader of the most powerful nation in the world is being humiliated by some nut cases living in caves. And this should be an opening for the "opposition party" but it's not.
Listening this week to the latest excerpts from Osama bin Laden's and Ayman al Zawahiri's taped messages, it is hard not to marvel at how lucky these would-be revolutionaries have been in their enemy. Who would have thought that, four and a half years on, facing down the mightiest power in history, this sociopathic pair would still be out there talking trash, their continued existence a daily desecration of the memory of the 9/11 dead? Or that bin Laden and Zawahiri would have been able to whip what had been a bare ember of “global jihad”—one barely smoldering on 9/10/01—into a global conflagration? Was that a smirk I detected on Zawahiri's face as he advised George W. Bush that it was not too late for him to convert to Islam? You could not miss the contempt in bin Laden’s voice when, in a tape said to be several months old, he mocked Bush's aircraft carrier-staged declaration in April 2003 that major conflict in Iraq had ended.
It is time to have an accounting of just how badly run, and conceived, this "war on terror" has been. You won't hear it from the Democrats, who have been running a severe testosterone shortage since Vietnam.The thing to remember is that 9-11 could have and should have been the end of bin Laden and his troops but it didn't work out that way thanks to the policies of Bush/Cheney/Rove.
Not in their fondest dreams did they [bin Laden et al] realize how clumsy.The point Hirsh misses is that the Bush administration has been incompetent because they really don't care about the war on terror. They only care about winning elections and giving favors to their financial supporters. It's not so much incompetence as apathy.
It is just as sad to remember the support that once existed for the United States, then at the pinnacle of its power and prestige. On 9/10/01 America had adversaries, but mainly on the fringes. The invasion of Afghanistan brought barely a peep from the Arab street. No one had much use for Al Qaeda, even in the Islamic world. Global polls like those taken by Pew and the German Marshall Fund showed a remarkable degree of global consensus in favor of a one-superpower (in other words, American-dominated) world. The silver lining of 9/11 was a chance to reaffirm the legitimacy of America's role as trusted overseer of the international system. That is why Bush had so much support when he ousted the Taliban in Afghanistan, who were clearly harboring bin Laden, and so little backing when he shifted attention to Saddam, whose connection to bin Laden was plainly manufactured. The post-9/11 period was a fantastic opportunity for alliance- and institution-building. All that was required was American leadership.