June 16, 2009

My lonely quest to revisit the rationale for the Afghan invasion

So now Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has stated in a "court" document (in a kangaroo forum, no doubt delivered by diplomatic "pouch") that he lied while under torture about a lot of things, including his knowledge as to the exact whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. This one should probably go in the "Duh" file, but while we're thinking about it: didn't we just find out that the Bush Administration was waterboarding detainees in order to establish a link between 9-11 and Iraq? Thus, how major a leap of deduction is it to wonder whether the Bush Administration, having already invaded Afghanistan in late 2001, was looking for additional support for its contention that Afghanistan was essential to the planning and training of the 9-11 hijackers, and tortured KSM and others to get it?

Probably no leap at all. Someone, someday is going to sift through the Report of the 9-11 Commission and note again all that evidence that was derived from KSM, the Gurgling Confessor, about bin Laden's role in the plot, such as those riveting passages where the "muscle hijackers" (the 15 non-pilots who were almost all from Saudi Arabia) trained on the high-tech jungle gyms of Kandahar and were personally selected by Osama bin Laden as he watched them go hand-over-hand on the bars and dive cunningly through the barrels. Osama sounds a little like Rosa Klebb from "From Russia With Love." Can't you just see her (to help, that's her up above) walking up to a hijacker, slipping on her brass knuckles and giving the ol' abs a wallop? KSM could picture it, even while the water filled his lungs, and he told the interrogators so. Yep, all that Kandahar training was certainly critical to overpowering unarmed female flight attendants on commercial aircraft and opening an unlocked cockpit door.

So KSM now says he's not sure where Osama was at the time he was "testifying." It's a little unclear, because the Obama Administration is being very difficult (as is becoming always the case) about releasing documents, and when they do release them, they've had the hell redacted out of them. But suppose that Dore Gold, in writing "Hatred's Kingdom" (about the essential role of Saudi Arabia in international Wahhabist terrorism), was right when he claimed that no credible evidence existed that any of the 19 hijackers had ever been to Afghanistan. If this is actually the case, then the argument for invading Afghanistan is reduced to the presence of Osama bin Laden in that country on or about 9-11, and the "harboring" of OBL by the Taliban. Yet if OBL's role was essentially logistical and financial, and the training camps were not involved in the plot, what is the actual rationale for the military invasion of this specific country? Couldn't these planning/paymaster roles be conducted from any country with enough caves?

I kinda wonder what's in the redacted parts of the KSM affidavit - how far he went in recanting his testimony, how much he claimed to know that he didn't, how much he said just to please the guys with the towels and hoses. And I wonder why the Obama Administration, which has become so zealous about focusing us now on this war as the war of "necessity," is being so secretive about the redactions. KSM's original testimony was cited at great length in the 9-11 Report. Why would his recantation suddenly become a matter of national security?

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