On the morning of the 12th DOD’s focus was already beginning to shift from al Qaeda. CIA was explicit now that al Qaeda was guilty of the attacks, but Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were not persuaded. It was too sophisticated and complicated an operation, they said, for a terrorist group to have pulled off by itself, without a state sponsor-Iraq must have been helping them.
Powell shook his head. “It’s not over yet.“ Indeed, it was not. Later in the day, Secy. Rumsfeld complained that there were no decent targets for bombing in Afghanistan and that we should consider bombing Iraq, which, he said, had better targets. At first I thought Rumsfeld was joking. But he was serious and the President did not reject out of hand the idea of attacking Iraq. Instead, he noted that what we needed to do with Iraq was to change the government, not just hit it with more cruise missiles, as Rumsfeld had implied.
I was once again taken aback, incredulous, and it showed. “But, Mr. President, Al Qaeda did this.”
“I know, I know, but - see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred-”
“Absolutely, we will look-again.” I was trying to be more respectful, more responsive. “But you know, we have looked several times for state sponsorship of Al Qaeda and not found any real linkages to Iraq. Iran plays a little, as does Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, Yemen.”
“Look into Iraq, Saddam,” the president said testily and left us.
The truth was that the [Bush administration had] a full agenda and a backlog of Bush priority issues: the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, the Kyoto agreement, and Iraq. There was no time for terrorism.“
“We are talking about a network of terrorist organizations called al Qaeda, that happens to be led by bin Laden, and we are talking about that network because it and it alone poses an immediate and serious threat to the US,” I answered.
Wolfowitz turned to me. “You give bin Laden too much credit. He could not do all these things like the 1993 attack on New York, not without a state sponsor. Just because FBI and CIA have failed to find the linkages does not mean they don’t exist.“
I could hardly believe it, but Wolfowitz was actually spouting the totally discredited theory that Iraq was behind the 1993 truck bomb at the World Trade Center, a theory that had been investigated for years & found to be totally untrue. I had a flashback to Wolfowitz saying the very same thing in April. The focus on al Qaeda was wrong, he had said, we must go after Iraqi-sponsored terrorism.
|2016 Presidential contenders on War & Peace:|
Mayor Rahm Emanuel(IL)
2016 Third Party Candidates:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg(I-NYC)
Please consider a donation to OnTheIssues.org!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
(We rely on your support!)