No, I am not kidding, folks. And it's all about this guy here, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.
You all remember the story in March by NBC where they reported that Bush was urged by his military leaders to take out Al-Zarqawi three times before the Iraq war started, but that he evidently hesitated for fear it would harm his chances at building a coalition. Likely he was afraid Poland would balk or something. Seriously, this was during the time he was trying by hook or by crook to get Turkey on board, through bribes, but failed at that, too. ("Failed." Do I hear a trend here?) Anyway, it may have taken six months, but the venerable conservative newspaper The Wall Street Journal has finally stumbled on the VERY SAME STORY! Why does it take so long for some conservative sources to figure things out? Could it be that they need to stop drinking the koolaid? Regardless, here's a little bit of their story:
Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, who was in the White House as the National Security Council's director for combatting terrorism at the time, said an NSC working group, led by the Defense Department, had been in charge of reviewing the plans to target the camp. She said the camp was "definitely a stronghold, and we knew that certain individuals were there including Zarqawi." Ms. Gordon-Hagerty said she wasn't part of the working group and never learned the reason why the camp wasn't hit. But she said that much later, when reports surfaced that Mr. Zarqawi was behind a series of bloody attacks in Iraq, she said "I remember my response," adding, "I said why didn't we get that ['son of a b-'] when we could."Dang, the WSJ sure employs good writers, and this is a TIGHT article. The bolding is mine for em-pha-sis.
Administration officials say the attack was set aside for a variety of reasons, including uncertain intelligence reports on Mr. Zarqawi's whereabouts and the difficulties of hitting him within a large complex.
"Because there was never any real-time, actionable intelligence that placed Zarqawi at Khurmal, action taken against the facility would have been ineffective," said Jim Wilkinson, a spokesman for the NSC. "It was more effective to deal with the facility as part of the broader strategy, and in fact, the facility was destroyed early in the war."
Another factor, though, was fear that a strike on the camp could stir up opposition while the administration was trying to build an international coalition to launch an invasion of Iraq. Lawrence Di Rita, the Pentagon's chief spokesman, said in an interview that the reasons for not striking included "the president's decision to engage the international community on Iraq." Mr. Di Rita said the camp was of interest only because it was believed to be producing chemical weapons. He also cited several potential logistical problems in planning a strike, such as getting enough ground troops into the area, and the camp's large size.
Still, after the defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan, President Bush had said he relentlessly would pursue and attack fleeing al Qaeda fighters regardless of where they went to hide. Mr. Bush also had decided upon a policy of pre-emptive strikes, in which the U.S. wouldn't wait to be struck before hitting enemies who posed a threat. An attack on Mr. Zarqawi would have amounted to such a pre-emptive strike. The story of the debate over his camp shows how difficult the policy can be to carry out; Mr. Zarqawi's subsequent resurgence highlights that while pre-emptive strikes entail considerable risks, the risk of not making them can be significant too, a factor that may weigh in future decisions on when to attack terrorist leaders.
That last bit of bold print says it all to my view. Bush set into his policy a stance that said he would make preemptive strikes on terrorists, and vowed to the American people that he would do so. But when it came to Al- Zarqawi, he hesitated as if his scrotum had been frozen. Could it be, and this is the Michael Moore in me speaking, but could it be that Bush though Al Zarqawi was an investor in the Carlyle Group?
No, what it really means is that Bush simply does not have the cojones to run a war on terror. Clinton would have taken Zarqawi out. And certainly Kerry would as well, because they wouldn't have to worry about building coalitions.
Bush is a miserable failure.