Strike On OBL Stopped Because of UAE?

Consider this from the 9/11 Commission Report:

 The Desert Camp, February 1999. During the winter of 1998-99, intelligence reported that Bin Ladin frequently visited a camp in the desert, adjacent to a larger hunting camp in Helmand Province of Afghanistan, used by visitors from a Gulf state. Public sources have stated that these visitors were from the United Arab Emirates. At the beginning of February, Bin Ladin was reportedly located there, and apparently remained for more than a week. This was not in an urban area, so the risk of collateral damage was minimal. Intelligence provided a detailed description of the camps. National technical intelligence confirmed the description of the larger camp, and showed the nearby presence of an official aircraft of the UAE. The CIA received reports that Bin Ladin regularly went from his adjacent camp to the larger camp where he visited with Emiratis. The location of this larger camp was confirmed by February 9, but the location of Bin Ladin’s quarters could not be pinned down so precisely.

Preparations were made for a possible strike, against the larger camp, perhaps to target Bin Ladin during one of his visits. No strike was launched.

According to CIA officials, policymakers were concerned about the danger that a strike might kill an Emirati prince or other senior officials who might be with Bin Ladin or close by. The lead CIA official in the field felt the intelligence reporting in this case was very reliable. The UBL unit chief at the time agrees. The field official believes today that this was a lost opportunity to kill Bin Ladin before 9/11.

Clarke told us the strike was called off because the intelligence was dubious, and it seemed to him as if the CIA was presenting an option to attack America’s best counterterrorism ally in the Gulf. Documentary evidence at the time shows that on February 10th Clarke detailed to Deputy National Security Advisor Donald Kerrick the intelligence placing UBL in the camp, informed him that DOD might be in a position to fire the next morning, and added that General Shelton was looking at other options that might be ready the following week. Clarke had just returned from a visit to the UAE, working on counterterrorism cooperation and following up on a May 1998 UAE agreement to buy F-16 aircraft from the United States.

On February 10th, Clarke reported that a top UAE official had vehemently denied that high-level UAE officials were in Afghanistan. Evidence subsequently confirmed that high-level UAE officials had been there.

Damning against the UAE, right? As well as Clinton, but the DU wackadoodles, for the most part, have put their blinders on regarding Clinton and his admin not taking UBL out. But, consider: this was seven years ago. And, things change. The USA was allies with the Soviet Union. Less then 7 years after the end of WWII, we were in a war by proxy in NE Asia with the Soviets. The Cold War had started shortly after the end of WWII. I worry more about our erstwhile allies, like France, then a gov’t that may not be the best, but is at least trying to have good relations with the USA.

And, do we damn all countries that deal with terrorists? Do we refuse trade with Germany? They were harboring several of the Al Queda members who flew planes into our buildings. What about Great Britain. Remember Richard Reid? Or the 7/7 attacks that were done by British citizens? Do we stop trade with them because of the potential?

Do we forget that the UAE gave $100 million dollars for Katriana relief?

Consider what Mark Noonan at Blogs for Bush wrote:

 Lets think about this. Ever since 9/11 President Bush, et al, has been showing the mailed fist to anyone who supports terrorism while, at the same time, letting everyone know that bygones can be bygones provided there is at least some real movement towards an anti-terrorism position. Thus far, there are two naitons in the middle east who have shown no such movement at all – Iran and Syria. How many trades deals are we working up with them? Meanwhile, the still highly imperfect Gulf States are being shown, by deeds, that friendship with the United States is far more beneficial than enmity of the terrorsts is baleful. I doubt there was a directive from on high to get Dubai Ports World this particular deal, but I feel confident that the growing friendliness between the United States and the UAE opened up hearts, minds and checkbooks.

President Bush is not perfect. As I responded in that post of Mark’s,

I think one of the points that Mark is trying to make, and has been making, is that people on both sides of the aisle became hysterical over this deal immediately, without knowing the details. W hasn’t been perfect: his immigration policies stink, and he spends too much. But, in the WOT, his policies seem to be working. I like the fact that they are long term plans, not short term. If W was going short term, cities like Fallujah and Najaf would have been bombed back to the stone age.

We can complain about the conduct of every countries past. Why not give the UAE the chance?

Let the 45 day investigation happen. But, realize, the UAE is trying to be our friend, at least as far as countries can be friends. They service our Navy ships and personel. They provide air strips and overflights. They have been rejecting terrorism. And, by all appearences, are trying to show the world that now all Arabs are homicidal maniacs. If we turn them down now, will they in turn reject the bigotry of the USA, which is being shown in the hysteria of the Congress Critters?

We do need to protect the ports. Neither party has been doing much, nor have the states or local municipalities. You remember them, right?

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