As U.S. 3rd Infantry Division armored vehicles roamed under the crossed swords parade ground, Marines were roaring through the eastern city and Saddam was running loose, looking for a hole to hide in. Baghdad, and the Republican Guard, had fallen with such speed that news outlets from around the world expressed shock.
Meanwhile Baghdad Bob, the nickname given to the regime spokesman, waxed enthusiastically about how Iraqi forces were inflicting devastating casualties on Coalition forces. He also told the Iraqi people what to believe, claiming "There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never! They do not even have control over themselves! Do not believe them!"
It gave the whole world a big laugh. Good ‘ol Baghdad Bob, the only comic relief in a deadly-serious situation.
Now we find ourselves with a similar character speaking for (and to) the U.S.
Last week a Yemeni-trained Nigerian al Qaeda operative was narrowly averted from murdering almost 300 Americans on an aircraft over Detroit. Yemen officials say former Gitmo detainees are behind the plot and are running the terrorist show in their country. The same officials alert us that between 200-300 more terrorists are planning strikes.
Obama is seeking a hole — is this the 14th or 15th green?
Meanwhile, his top counter-terrorism czar John Brennan — Obama’s new version of Baghdad Bob – cites "no smoking gun" in the grotesque intelligence failure related to Nigerian incident. At the same time he acknowledged that the situation in Yemen has become so dangerous that the U.S. several days ago pulled its embassy out of Sanaa. Yet Brennan foresees no need for accelerated U.S. counter-terrorism actions in Yemen — "we’re not talking about that at this point at all" — and thinks that continuing to release Gitmo detainees to Yemen is a good idea.
Only this time nobody’s laughing.
Over the weekend the administration flailed in the media, trying to defend its failed policies. Baghdad Brennan noted that "There was no single piece of intelligence that said, ‘this guy is going to get on a plane’," referring to the Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. Well, let’s just say that al Qaeda in Yemen did not wire the CIA directly to be on the lookout for an African guy with stuffed underwear hopping on NW 253 out of Amsterdam. Everything but.
Nor does it turn out that this is the "unique incident" that Brennan calls it (or "isolated" to quote Obama). Turns out that the attack on Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in August used a similar modus operandi, roughly a pound of explosives packed up a suicide bomber’s anus.
Nor can Brennan plead ignorance: Obama dispatched him directly to coordinate with the Saudis. On that September visit, Brennan reported, "we worked with Saudis on the forensics of the attack and the technique" employed. At that point anything below the belt and above upper thighs should have been recognized as the new most likely carry-all area of choice.
Outside observers might consider two attacks — each conceived and executed by al Qaeda in Yemen, using similar techniques — to be the start of a pattern. But apparently Baghdad Brennan thinks them both "unique."
With this kind of leadership is it remarkable that terror attacks on the U.S. have increased dramatically? It would be more shocking if they had not.
The American people had better brace for disaster.
We are led by a president who refuses to acknowledge the identity of the Islamic terrorists who fight us. We have a Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, who finds returning soldiers more of a threat than jihadists, and brushes off the near-death experience of almost 300 of our fellow citizens with exculpatory remarks about systems working.
And now we have a counter-terrorism expert who couldn’t connect dots if they were on a string dangling in front of him.
Despite a preponderance of evidence, intelligence analysis, and experiential data, this team still thinks it makes better sense to close Guantanamo even if that means sending 90 or more hard-core terrorists — not "isolated extremists" but committed jihadist thugs — to a country whose only growth industry is al Qaeda bombers.
They fear, they say that Guantanamo is a "recruiting vehicle" for terrorists.
News flash: the best, most effective recruiting tool for al Qaeda and other terrorists is success. Burning U.S. buildings, aircraft in flames, and beheaded Americans draw potential terrorists by droves. Guantanamo? Small potatoes by comparison.
Al Qaeda in Yemen leaders (former Gitmo detainees) say they count Flight 253 in the "partial win" category. They will continue to press their attacks, and the next one might be a complete win, one in which Americans die violently.
Then Baghdad Brennan can explain how it wasn’t really an intelligence failure. And Obama will take a Mulligan.