June 24, 2004
By Craig B Hulet
A new book by an author going by the name Anonymous (a senior US intelligence official), contains an outright and strong condemnation of America's counter-terrorism policy. The author argues that the West is losing the war against al-Qaeda and that an "avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked" war in Iraq has played into Osama bin Laden's hands.
The book, due out in the first week of July, titled Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, dismisses two of the most frequent boasts of the Bush administration: that bin Laden and al-Qaeda are "on the run" and that the Iraq invasion has made America safer.
In Record of Terror, I noted US conventional military force is the vehicle to prosecute these wars, when it was and is US military intervention all over the world that has been a primary cause for individuals to form groups and retaliate against that very intervention. US military intervention has been identified as the major cause for terrorist acts against Americans and American facilities, corporate, military and governmental by none other than the US Pentagon's Defense Science Board (DSB):
As part of its global power position, the United States is called upon frequently to respond to international causes and deploy forces around the world. America's position in the world invited attack simply because of its presence. Historical data show a strong correlation between US involvement in international situations and increase in terrorist attacks against the United States.
(Source: October, 1997 Summer Study Task Force on Department of Defense Responses to Transnational Threats, DSB)
In an interview with the Guardian, Anonymous described al-Qaeda as a much more proficient and focused organization than it was in 2001, and predicted that it would "inevitably acquire weapons of mass destruction and try to use them".
He said that bin Laden was probably "comfortable" commanding his organization from the mountainous tribal lands along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Pakistani army claimed a big success in the "war against terror" last week with the killing of a tribal leader, Nek Mohammed, who was one of al-Qaeda's protectors in the Waziristan tribal belt. (Source: "Bush told he is playing into Bin Laden's hands and al-Qaeda may 'reward' American president with strike aimed at keeping him in office, senior intelligence man says." - Julian Borger in Washington, Saturday June 19.)
Another widely respected expert on international relations noted something similar when he wrote:
If steps to deal with the problem in terms of capabilities are limited, can anything be done to address intentions - the incentives for any foreign power or group to lash out at the United States? There are few answers to this question that do not compromise the fundamental strategic activism and international thrust of US foreign policy over the past half century. That is because the best way to keep people from believing that the United States is responsible for their problems is to avoid involvement in their conflicts.
(Source: Richard K Betts: Foreign Affairs Vol 77, No 1, page 40)
On our relentless war in Afghanistan, Anonymous, who has been centrally involved in the hunt for bin Laden, said: "Nek Mohammed is one guy in one small area. We sometimes forget how big the tribal areas are." He believes Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf cannot advance much further into the tribal areas without endangering his rule by provoking a Pashtun revolt. "He walks a very fine line."
The Guardian reported this important difference in the new book's release, stating:
Imperial Hubris is the latest in a relentless stream of books attacking the administration in election year. Most of the earlier ones, however, were written by embittered former officials. This one is unprecedented in being the work of a serving official with nearly 20 years experience in counter-terrorism who is still part of the intelligence establishment. The fact that he has been allowed to publish, albeit anonymously and without naming which agency he works for, may reflect the increasing frustration of senior intelligence officials at the course the administration has taken.
(Ibid, Julian Borger)
Another author who has read the new book's manuscript, one Peter Bergen, the author of two books on bin Laden and al-Qaeda, said: "His views represent an amped-up version of what is emerging as a consensus among intelligence counter-terrorist professionals."
Anonymous does not try to veil his contempt for the Bush White House and its policies. His book describes the Iraq invasion as "an avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat but whose defeat did offer economic advantage". Our argument was oil and the economic global regime's thirst for this commodity all along. Anonymous is to the point on Bush's alleged reasons for going to war:
Our choice of timing, moreover, shows an abject, even willful failure to recognize the ideological power, lethality and growth potential of the threat personified by bin Laden, as well as the impetus that threat has been given by the US-led invasion and occupation of Muslim Iraq.
In his view, the US missed its biggest chance to capture the al-Qaeda leader at Tora Bora in the Afghan mountains in December 2001. Instead of sending large numbers of his own troops, General Tommy Franks relied on surrogates who proved to be unreliable. "For my money, the game was over at Tora Bora," Anonymous said. (Ibid, Borger)
Bush has repeated his assertion that bin Laden was cornered and that there was "no hole or cave deep enough to hide from American justice". But Anonymous said:
I think we overestimate significantly the stress [Bin Laden's] under. Our media and sometimes our policymakers suggest he's hiding from rock to rock and hill to hill and cave to cave. My own hunch is that he's fairly comfortable where he is... I don't think we've laid a glove on him... What I think we're seeing in al-Qaeda is a change of generation... the people who are leading al-Qaeda now seem a lot more professional group... They are more bureaucratic, more management competent, certainly more literate. Certainly, this generation is more computer literate, more comfortable with the tools of modernity. I also think they're much less prone to being the Errol Flynns of al-Qaeda. They're just much more careful across the board in the way they operate.
Recall just how vulnerable the West is to the kinds of attacks like September 11. In the aftermath of that event, Time magazine quoted a senior Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) official and counterterrorism expert who stated the following:
The worldwide dragnet has snared 600 alleged al-Qaeda operatives. And yet the bottom line is sobering: after six months of gumshoe work by just about every law-enforcement official in the US, the number of al-Qaeda sleeper cells that have been busted inside the country is precisely zero. Does that mean bin Laden's men have gone further underground? "We don't know," says an FBI official. "If you go back and look at the hijackers, they had zero contact with any known al-Qaeda people we were looking at. They didn't break laws. They didn't do anything to come to anybody's attention. Are there other people in the US like that? We don't know.
(Source: Can We Stop the Next Attack? Time, page 35, March 11, 2002)
As for weapons of mass destruction, The Guardian reported that Anonymous thinks that if al-Qaeda does not have them already, it will inevitably acquire them. The most likely source of a nuclear device would be the former Soviet Union, he believes. Dirty bombs, chemical and biological weapons, could be home-made by al-Qaeda's own experts, many of them trained in the US and Britain.
The most profound assertion the author made (Anonymous), who published an analysis of al-Qaeda last year called "Through Our Enemies' Eyes", thinks it quite possible that another devastating strike against the US could come during the election campaign, not with the intention of changing the administration, as was the case in the Madrid bombing, but of keeping the same one in place. Bush is good for the Islamists the world over who want to make war on America and the West. Anonymous again:
I'm very sure they can't have a better administration for them than the one they have now. One way to keep the Republicans in power is to mount an attack that would rally the country around the president. In every age ... the ultimate sources of war are the beliefs of those in power: "their idea about what is of most fundamental importance and may therefore ultimately be worth a war." - Evan Luard, International War
Along with Anonymous' enormously important work, and angered by Bush administration policies, 26 retired US diplomats and military officers contend the administration policies endanger national security. They are urging Americans to vote Bush out of office in November, although the group, which calls itself "Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change", does not explicitly endorse Democrat John Kerry for president in its campaign.
Among the group are 20 ambassadors appointed by both Democratic and Republican presidents, other former State Department officials and military leaders whose careers span three decades. Prominent members include retired Marine General Joseph P Hoar, commander of US forces in the Middle East during the administration of Bush's father; retired Admiral William J Crowe Jr, ambassador to Britain under president Bill Clinton and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under president Ronald Reagan; and Jack F Matlock Jr, a member of the National Security Council under Reagan and ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991. "We agreed that we had just lost confidence in the ability of the Bush administration to advocate for American interests or to provide the kind of leadership that we think is essential," said William C Harrop, the first president Bush's ambassador to Israel, and earlier to four African countries, in reported comments. "The group does not endorse Kerry, although it more or less goes without saying in the statement," Harrop said.
Harrop said he listed himself as an independent for years for career purposes but usually has voted Republican. The former ambassador said diplomats and military officials normally avoid making political statements, especially in an election year. "Some of us are not that comfortable with it, but we just feel very strongly that the country needs new leadership," Harrop said. He said the group was disillusioned by Bush's handling of the war in Iraq and a list of other subjects, including the Middle East, environmental conservation, AIDS policy, ethnic and religious conflict and weapons proliferation.
One would think Bush would listen to such experts, whose warnings seem to go not just unheeded, but the administration's elite neo-conservatives positively vilify their critics. The White House has yet to comment publicly on the book Imperial Hubris, which is due to be published on July 4, "but intelligence experts say it may try to portray him as a professionally embittered maverick". (Ibid, Borger) The tone of Imperial Hubris is certainly angry and urgent, and the stridency of his warnings about al-Qaeda led him to be moved from a highly sensitive job in the late 1990s. But Vincent Cannistraro, a former chief of operations at the Central Intelligence Agency's counter-terrorism center, said he had been vindicated by events. "He is very well respected, and looked on as a serious student of the subject."
Anonymous believes Bush is taking the US in exactly the direction bin Laden wants, towards all-out confrontation with Islam under the banner of spreading democracy.
It's going to take 10,000-15,000 dead Americans before we say to ourselves: "What is going on?"
Bush's reaction? Bush's next move?
One must question not only what the administration is doing presently but what it will do should it return to office after the November elections; upcoming wars against other nation-states (which clearly have been targeted) are on the Pentagon's desk. Further evidence that the latter is officially on the agenda is below (this was dated Monday, February 17, 2003):
US Under Secretary of State John Bolton said in meetings with Israeli officials on Monday that he has no doubt America will attack Iraq, and that it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea afterwards. Bolton, who is under secretary for arms control and international security, is in Israel for meetings about preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. In a meeting with Bolton on Monday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that Israel is concerned about the security threat posed by Iran. It's important to deal with Iran even while American attention is turned toward Iraq, Sharon said.
(Source: "US official to Israel: We'll deal with Syria, Iran after Iraq war", Monday, February 17, 2003, by Haaretz correspondents, Haaretz Service and Agencies.)
Add to that that French intelligence services have seen more on the horizon than Americans would:
It has been reliably reported that the American president and his closest military advisors, in conjunction with the highest military commands, have determined that military operations should be prepared for and executed against two main targets. The first and primary ones are in the Middle East and comprise Iraq and most especially Iran. The secondary object is North Korea. The use of conventional US ground troops is counter-indicated. US ground troops are being withdrawn from South Korea (2nd Infantry Division etc) ostensibly for replacement duties in Iraq, but in fact to remove these units from any collateral damage from projected nuclear attacks on North Korea. There are insufficient personnel available for either operation at the present time and increasing their size is not politically viable. Therefore, a determination is made for both a show of force and the ability to launch a powerful attack against these targets if and when the commander in chief deems it necessary. In furtherance of this policy, the United States naval forces will be utilized as the focus of the attack forces. These units will not be subject to counter attacks because they can stand off at a distance and attack their targets with complete impunity. Naval personnel will not be subject to guerrilla warfare in any sense and will supply a very powerful attack force capable of delivering deadly blows against designated targets.
(Source: TBRNEWS –special edition of June 17.)
Immediately below is a quote from an e-mail I received from a federal intelligence agent now at the Department of Justice after a thorough review of this office's original working paper "Record of Terror" 2002:
Well don't you paint a happy picture! Perhaps we should pull out of Korea and some of these other conflict zones and let the parties resolve their own issues? I think you underestimate the logic of your position. If one actually reads what you are saying (assuming the reader is willing to set aside personal agendas) I really think you make a lot of sense. But then again logic has very little to do with anything anymore, be it justice or foreign policy!
(Source: A federal agent with Justice/Homeland Security)
The following data is supplied for the reader to comprehend the level of military operations necessary to fight a global war on terrorism, a war that cannot be won.
Because terrorism is one of the few dimensions on which the US does not have an advantage, it is a promising tool for those who feel strongly about interests they believe have suffered because of other dimensions of US power.
(Source: Paul Pillar, Terrorism, Page 57)
Empirical evidence that there is a causal relationship between terrorism and what we do as nation-state in these foreign lands was supplied by defense specialist Ivan Eland of the Cato Institute. Listing incidents that could be proven to have a direct correlation to US military intervention in regions of the world where we did not belong, in both the view of terrorists and none too few American experts, Eland begins as early as 1915 and ends through September 1998. The title of his briefing, "Does US Intervention Overseas Breed Terrorism? The Historical Record", Eland observed:
Although the Defense Science Board noted a historical correlation between US involvement in international situations and an increase in terrorist attacks against the United States, the board apparently believed the conclusion to be so obvious that it did not publish detailed data to support it. Some analysts apparently remain unconvinced of the relationship.
Another component of US vulnerability is that Americans tend to view transnational threats singularly. That is, terrorist incidents ... tend to look like individual events that do not evidence a campaign against US policies or interests. Deeper investigation shows that a number of transnational adversaries have planned campaigns of unconventional warfare.
- Defense Policy Board, 1997, Vol 1, Pg 15
Paul R Pillar, whose book Terrorism and US Foreign Policy was a staple for reading in counterterror circles and private security specialists like myself, pre-September 11. He notes this regarding the afore mentioned arguments:
More than anything else, it is the United States' predominant place atop the world order (with everything that implies militarily, economically, and culturally) and the perceived US opposition to change in any part of that order that underlie terrorists' resentment of the United States and their intent to attack it.
(Pillar, Terrorism, Page 60)
The Defense Science Board's 1997 Summer Study Task Force on "Department of Defense Responses to Transnational Threats" notes a relationship between an activist American foreign policy and terrorism against the United States:
As part of its global power position, the United States is called upon frequently to respond to international causes and deploy forces around the world. America's position in the world invites attack simply because of its presence. Historical data show a strong correlation between US involvement in international situations and an increase in terrorist attacks against the United States.
Given the evidence immediately below, one cannot but admit that Bush and his gruesome crew are going to continue the path they have selected as the chosen elite to administer peace through strength under a new definition.
US naval deployment as of June 15, 2004
USS Enterprise - Atlantic (unknown location - possibly headed for the Middle East)
USS George Washington - en route to the Gulf of Arabia
USS John F Kennedy - Atlantic (unknown location - possibly headed for the Middle East)
USS Roosevelt - Atlantic, heading for the Middle East
USS Harry S Truman - Atlantic
USS Kitty Hawk - normally stationed in Japan, now moving towards China (Korea Operation)
USS Stennis - Pacific - headed for Taiwan (Korea Operation)
USS Carl Vinson – Pacific - headed for Taiwan (Korea Operation)
USS Abraham Lincoln - Pacific (backup-Korea Operation)
USS Ronald Reagan - port visit in Rio De Janiero, Brazil
USS Nimitz - Still in drydock, refueling its reactor
USS Eisenhower - Still in drydock, refueling its reactor
Note: Most ships left port with little notice and were markedly understaffed.
Active duty: 376,185
Midshipmen: 3,179 ready reserve: 147,622 (As of April 30)
Selected reserves: 83,719
Individual ready reserve: 63,903
Reserves currently mobilized: 2,535 (as of June 9)
Personnel on deployment: 49,604
Navy department civilian employees: 181,701 (as of April 30)
Ships and submarines
Ships underway (away from homeport): 164 (56% of total)
On deployment: 108 ships (37% of total)
Submarines underway (away from homeport): 30 submarines (57% of submarine force)
Submarines on deployment: 8 submarines (15% of submarine force)
Ships underway (other than carriers)
Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) Two
USS Wasp (LHD 1)(22 MEU) - Arabian Gulf
USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) - Arabian Gulf
USS Yorktown (CG 48) - Gulf of Oman
USS Shreveport (LPD 12) - Indian Ocean
USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) - Arabian Gulf
USS McFaul (DDG 74) - Arabian Gulf
Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) Three
(11th Marine Expeditionary Unit)
USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3) - Pacific
USS Denver (LPD 9) - Pacific
USS Comstock (LSD 45) - Pacific
USS Tarawa (LHA 1) - Pacific
USS Nassau (LHA 4) - Atlantic
USS Peleliu (LHA 5) - Pacific
USS Essex (LHD 2) - Pacific
USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) - Atlantic
USS Boxer (LHD 4) - Pacific
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) - Pacific
USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) - Atlantic
USS Austin (LPD 4) - Atlantic
USS Duluth (LPD 6) - Pacific
USS Dubuque (LPD 8) - Pacific
USS Juneau (LPD 10) - Pacific
USS Ponce (LPD 15) - Atlantic
USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) - port visit, Singapore
USS Tortuga (LSD 46) - Atlantic
USS Rushmore (LSD 47) - Pacific
USS Ashland (LSD 48) - Atlantic
USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) - Sunda Sea
USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) - Atlantic
USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) - port visit, Mayport, Fla
Aircraft (operational): 4,000+
Craig B Hulet was Special Assistant for Special Projects to Congressman Jack Metcalf (Retired); he is periodically a consultant to federal law enforcement ATF&E of Justice/Homeland Security; he has written four books on international relations and philosophy, his latest is The Hydra of Carnage: Bush's Imperial War-making and the Rule of Law - An Analysis of the Objectives and Delusions of Empire.
(Copyright 2004 Craig B Hulet and The Artful Nuance)