Sunday, October 24, 2004

Franks Full of Beans 

Gen. Tommy Franks: lying then, or lying now? A letter to the editor of the New York Times from Bob Graham, ex-chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (courtesy of Zemblan patriot J.D.):
To the Editor:

Re "War of Words," by Tommy Franks (Op-Ed, Oct. 19):

John Kerry is correct that resources were diverted from Afghanistan to Iraq before we accomplished our mission there. How can I be so sure? General Franks told me.

In my new book, "Intelligence Matters," I describe the moment that made me doubt the president's commitment to winning the war on terror.

On Feb. 19, 2002, I visited Central Command headquarters for a briefing on our mission in Afghanistan. After an upbeat assessment with maps, photographs and video, however, General Franks asked for an additional private word in his office. "Senator," he said, "we are not engaged in a war in Afghanistan. ...Military and intelligence personnel are being redeployed to prepare for an action in Iraq. ... The Predators are being relocated. What we are doing is a manhunt."

General Franks was telling me this 13 months before the beginning of combat operations in Iraq, and only four months after the beginning of combat in Afghanistan.

President Bush, when asked in his first debate with Senator Kerry whether he had made removing Saddam Hussein a higher priority than capturing Osama bin Laden, said, "We've got the capability of doing both."

If we had truly been able to do both, military and intelligence resources would not have been diverted from Afghanistan, and Osama bin Laden wouldn't be continuing to exhort his followers to greater acts of terror; he, like Saddam Hussein, would be in American hands.

Bob Graham
Washington, Oct. 22, 2004

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