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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Happy Confluence of Motives; or, His Master's Voice 

What ho! From Wolf Blitzer's interview with Ron Suskind, author of The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11 (courtesy of WaPo's Dan Froomkin):
BLITZER: Let's talk about the CIA conclusion that you report that Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, wanted President Bush re-elected in 2004. You write this: "What the CIA had learned over nearly a decade is that bin Laden speaks only for strategic reasons and those reasons are debated with often startling depths inside the organization's leadership. Today's conclusion: bin Laden's message was clearly designed to assist the president's re-election."

Why would Osama bin Laden want President Bush re-elected?

SUSKIND: The debate in the CIA on that Friday and through the weekend right before the election is one that essentially points out these -- these factors. Often leaders, for instance, the Soviets, liked Nixon. They liked his predictability. They knew their opponent.

In other cases it was bin Laden and Bush are kind of a match set. Bush has provided an enormous value in terms of recruitment in the Arab world. Bin Laden essentially is in a pitched dialogue -- in history in years later, we'll look back on this, Wolf, and say essentially it's these two characters...

BLITZER: You're saying the CIA formally concluded that bin Laden wanted Bush re-elected.

SUSKIND: Well, look -- absolutely true. And that day at the meeting John McLaughlin says, well, you know, bin Laden certainly did Bush a big favor today. And the analysis flowed essentially along those lines.

The question, the key question, is what it is it about America's war on terror that is such that bin Laden would want it to continue and Bush to continue conducting it? That's the bigger question that was not examined by the CIA, because many of these people there were soon to be pushed out.
From Tim Rutten's L.A. Times review of the Suskind book (courtesy of Zemblan patriot J.D.):
Most disturbing, there is important new information — gleaned mainly from Saudi Al Qaeda operatives — on how the terrorists hoped the United States would invade Iraq and become bogged down there.

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