Tag Archives: George W. Bush

Tora Bora Calling…

It feels like it was just a few months ago. I was at my desk at KTLA in Hollywood, and was about to receive one of the strangest calls of my life. It was from my friend and former colleague Bob Campi. A news photographer, Bob, was calling from a spot somewhere near Tora Bora, in eastern Afghanistan, where the U.S. military was attempting to “take out” Osama bin Laden, following the attacks of 9-11. “They think they’ve got him,” Campi said, adding that the military thought bin Laden, was trapped in a cave somewhere not far from where he was talking to me via satellite phone. I could hear explosions going off in the distance, as Campi, did an excited play-by-play, telling me that it wouldn’t be long before Osama, was no more.

We, of course, had no idea at the time that President George W. Bush, would pull our troops back from the attack on bin Laden, sending them over to assist with an invasion of Iraq, something Bush’s Veep Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, had reportedly been longing to do for years

I’ve been thinking about that call a lot lately. Almost every time I see a network news show slamming Joe Biden, for what they claim is his botched job of getting the U.S. out of Afghanistan. Almost never is there adequate context provided, alluding to the fact that it was the Administration of George W. Bush that got us into Afghanistan in the first place, only to pull back our troops just as they were about to capture or kill bin Laden.

I recall wondering at the time, why we were even still waging old-fashioned conventional warfare when so much brand new hi-tech stuff was available, with drones, cruise missiles and undoubtedly several other top-secret implements we know nothing about at our military’s fingertips. Hadn’t Bill Clinton nearly taken out Osama with a cruise missile strike just months earlier? Wouldn’t we have that same opportunity again, and without sending tens of thousands of Americans overseas in a massive deployment with any number of experts warning that our incursion had the potential for turning into another Vietnam? Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and company refused to listen. They knew better and went in with a massive military force, anyway. And then, when they were on the verge of killing bin Laden, they pulled back and went after Saddam Hussein instead.

But that’s not why we went into Afghanistan. We went there to get Osama, not Saddam. At least, that’s what we were told.

Now, here we are, twenty years later, with network newscasters landing all over Joe Biden, for not being clairvoyant enough to envision a future not seen by his intelligence people, whereby some 300-thousand American-trained Afghans, would throw down their weapons and melt away into the countryside at the Taliban’s advance.

It’s so easy to forget who got us into this mess, screwed it up royally at the beginning and then refused to pull our troops out for so many years with the declared purpose of “democratizing the Middle East!” That’s what George W. Bush, said he was going to do, even though it was not why we were there and it would, over the long-haul, prove to be impossible.

It was Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney, who got us into this mess and then failed to get us out, not Joe Biden. Why we were there in the first place has all but been forgotten. A little context would be nice.

Wag The Dog To Win The Election?

British intelligence says there is no “increased threat” from Iran. Nevertheless, the Trump Administration has a carrier task-force backed up by heavy bombers headed for the Persian Gulf and is reportedly considering sending in more than 100-thousand troops. Trump has also ordered the evacuation of all non-essential personnel from the U.S. Embassy in nearby Iraq.

The Republicans haven’t wagged the dog this hard since the W. Bush Administration was finding yellow cake in Niger and aluminum centrifuge tubes all over Iraq.

How many times are we going to fall for this same ploy? How many times are we going to let the Republicans take the country to war to win an election? How many times have you speculated that we would have been better off leaving Saddam in place, which would have meant no ISIS? Was Saddam that much worse than Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who has imprisoned journalists, judges, and pretty much anybody who opposes his regime while he continues his war against our allies the Kurds?

It’s easy to forget that Saddam had our implicit support when he went to war with Iran, and that he would still be holding the Iranians in check had the Untied States not demonized him before invading his sovereign nation in the name of regime change. Sure, Saddam was a nasty guy, but preventing the formation of ISIS and holding Iran in check while eliminating the need for a massive deployment of U.S. troops is no small matter.

What George W. Bush said about “democratizing” all the of Middle East popped into my head the other day. One wonders how many in the current administration continue to believe that’s a good idea? How many there are who think that leaving our troops permanently scattered across the Middle East and North Africa at the U.S. taxpayers expense is a viable option? Presidential adviser John Bolton, is a known supporter of regime change in Iran. In simple terms, Bolton thinks it would be a good idea to invade another sovereign nation to overthrow another sitting government.

We never used to even contemplate doing that kind of thing unless a nation-state or other entity presented a clear and present danger to us or threatened a country with whom we had a mutual defense agreement. It just wasn’t what America did. We were better than that. Apparently that ended with Vietnam, another country we invaded based upon an apparent lie. More than 58,000 Americans died in that one. Sadly, documents and tapes in the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library prove that Johnson had both the South and the North Vietnamese ready to sign a peace treaty, but that the deal died when Richard Nixon’s campaign convinced the South Vietnamese that it would be to their advantage to keep the war going until after Nixon was elected. It would be years later before a disgusted American public became so disenchanted with the unending war that they took to the streets and demanded that the military-industrial complex disengage.

When did the very idea of peace become unreachable while ongoing war feels like the norm? Something we simply cannot avoid? Do you suppose the profitability of war factors into any of this?

Which do you prefer? Educating our kids and giving the country a national healthcare program, or killing strangers on foreign soil? Why isn’t that even discussed? When did the very concept of peace become not just unfashionable, but un-American?

An “exit strategy” to pull our people out of the Middle-East and North Africa, has been all but forgotten, as has an actual long-term game plan for why we are still there. Also nearly forgotten is the growing gap between the rich and the poor, the need for national healthcare, the overwhelming need for campaign finance reform along with real immigration reform and the role the Russians played in rigging our last election.

War with Iran, might very well ensure our national lapse in memory continues long enough to get Donald Trump re-elected. Until then, the chaos this one man has created continues to provide Republicans with excellent cover to continue putting the self-interest of a relative few above the national interest of the many.

Our real enemies appear to be the Russians, who, our intelligence services tell us, continue plotting ways to rig our next election, and the Saudis, who have never stopped spreading a worldwide campaign of anti-American hatred. All the while, Donald Trump, in his infinite wisdom, is laying the groundwork for another war. The ultimate diversion heading into 2020.