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Imperial Hubris

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Bush told he is playing into Bin Laden's hands


Al-Qaida may 'reward' American president with strike aimed at keeping him in office, senior intelligence man says


Julian Borger in Washington

Saturday June 19, 2004

The Guardian


A senior US intelligence official is about to publish a bitter condemnation of America's counter-terrorism policy, arguing that the west is losing the war against al-Qaida and that an "avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked" war in Iraq has played into Osama bin Laden's hands.


Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, due out next month, dismisses two of the most frequent boasts of the Bush administration: that Bin Laden and al-Qaida are "on the run" and that the Iraq invasion has made America safer.


In an interview with the Guardian the official, who writes as "Anonymous", described al-Qaida as a much more proficient and focused organisation than it was in 2001, and predicted that it would "inevitably" acquire weapons of mass destruction and try to use them. ...


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.


Peter Bergen, the author of two books on Bin Laden and al-Qaida, 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 choice of timing, moreover, shows an abject, even wilful failure to recognise 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." ...


Anonymous, who published an analysis of al-Qaida 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.


"I'm very sure they can't have a better administration for them than the one they have now," he said.


"One way to keep the Republicans in power is to mount an attack that would rally the country around the president."


The White House has yet to comment publicly on 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.


The tone of Imperial Hubris is certainly angry and urgent, and the stridency of his warnings about al-Qaida led him to be moved from a highly sensitive job in the late 90s.


But Vincent Cannistraro, a former chief of operations at the CIA counter-terrorism centre, said he had been vindicated by events. "He is very well respected, and looked on as a serious student of the subject."


Anonymous believes Mr Bush is taking the US in exactly the direction Bin Laden wants, towards all-out confrontation with Islam under the banner of spreading democracy.



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Guest rohale

The problem with a book like that is that it will get lost in the shuffle with all the other books that come out every Tuesday. The only book that has made the White House pay attention is the book by former Ambassador Wilson who served in the Clinton Administration. Let's not forget that someone in the Bush White House leaked information to conservative columnist Robert Novak about Mrs Wilson and her full time job in the CIA. Now he alone has had more impact than anyone else when it comes to whom the Bush White House pays attentino to. The main reason is because of his findings in which he titled as the " Niger Report ". He also happens to be a foreign policy advisor to Senator John Kerry. Even former Counter Terrorism Expert Richard Clarke who has a book out really hasn't had much impact except for those two weeks following the release of his book. So I hardly think that " Imperial Hubris " will have much of an impact on the way people feel about the war in Iraq. I would be suprised it makes it even in the top twenty of the " New Yorks Times Best Seller List " or even makes it to the most requested list on Amazon.com. It might turn out to be a good read to intellects and sunday news maker journalists but to the average citizen it'll be another attempt by either the left of the political spectrum to paint Mr Bush as the imperialist war monger or to the right wingers it'll mean another attempt to discredit a war time Republican president in the White House.


I would have say Michael Moore has had more impact on the debate over Iraq and Osama Bin Laden than any other figure outside the Washington beltway. Concerning the Guardian newspaper, it's a conservative newspaper and outside the Iraq debate, they've been somewhat rather supportive of the Republican in the White House. It's not to say that they wont feel differently as the election approaches. Only time will what will happen between now and election day.



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