The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewPatrick Cockburn Archive
The CIA’s Real Failure? It Pursued the Wrong Targets
It was an open secret Pakistan’s ISI fostered the Taliban but the US never confronted Islamabad
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

The controversy over the use of torture by the CIA obscures two important aspects of “the war on terror” which the agency was supposedly waging. The first is that this war has demonstrably failed since Isis, terrorists by any definition of the term, today rules a large part of the Middle East in northern Iraq and eastern Syria.

It has achieved this success despite the vast budgets of American and European security agencies after 9/11. Not only did they fail to stop this happening: they do not seem to have even noticed it was occurring until it was too late. They were much happier focusing on Osama bin Laden’s core al-Qaeda that was a group of limited size even before it lost its bases in Afghanistan in 2001.

The continuing threat from al-Qaeda was exaggerated and the organisation was presented post-2001 as a sort of mini-Pentagon with senior officials who could be regularly eliminated or captured providing Washington with politically useful successes. But over the last 13 years such operations attributed to al-Qaeda were mostly petty. The end result of the CIA operations has been the triumph of a group, espousing much the same ideology and aims as Bin Laden, establishing its own state that stretches from the Iranian border to the outskirts of Aleppo.

A second aspect of the war on terror is that from the beginning it avoided targeting two countries without whose complicity 9/11 could not have happened: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. It was obvious within days of 9/11 that citizens of Saudi Arabia were heavily implicated, with 15 out of the 19 hijackers Saudi nationals. Bin Laden himself came from the Saudi elite and the US inquiry into the attack found that financing from al-Qaeda had come primarily from private donors in the Saudi Kingdom. But President George W Bush and his administration were not only careful not to point the finger at Saudi Arabia but had 28 pages of the official report on its role censored despite the pleas of the victims of 9/11. President Obama promised as a candidate to allow these pages to be published but has never done so.

Al-Qaeda had used Afghanistan as its sanctuary and the US duly overthrew the Taliban in 2001, but it was an open secret that the Taliban had been sponsored and even created by ISI, Pakistan’s military intelligence agency. Once the furore over 9/11 had died away Pakistan was to do exactly the same again, so the Taliban was able to wage a long guerrilla war to regain power. But, for all the US claims that it was battling al-Qaeda, it never confronted Pakistan as the silent partner of the Taliban. When Bin Laden was traced to Abbottabad, close to Pakistan’s leading military academy, it was highly likely that his presence was known to the Pakistan security services.

ORDER IT NOW

Al-Qaeda was a useful target of choice for the CIA because it was the villain of 9/11 and a demonic force in the eyes of the American public. The destruction of the Twin Towers had exhausted its capabilities and it could be combated without great difficulty. When very similar al-Qaeda type groups grew and flourished in Iraq, Syria and Libya post-2011, they were not identified as part of the original core group.

Thus successes are announced against al-Qaeda in Yemen but no attention paid to the fact that jihadis pledging allegiance to Isis have taken over the town of Derna in Libya and are a growing force throughout the country. Guilty the CIA may have been of torturing suspects, but this was one episode in a far greater failure for which it has never been held to account.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: CIA, Pakistan 
Hide 10 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. And the Senate torture report’s real failure?

    http://ronaldthomaswest.com/2014/08/03/we-tortured-some-folks/

    ^ It never even delved into the worst of the problems

  2. Bliss says:

    A second aspect of the war on terror is that from the beginning it avoided targeting two countries without whose complicity 9/11 could not have happened: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. It was obvious within days of 9/11 that citizens of Saudi Arabia were heavily implicated, with 15 out of the 19 hijackers Saudi nationals. Bin Laden himself came from the Saudi elite and the US inquiry into the attack found that financing from al-Qaeda had come primarily from private donors in the Saudi Kingdom. But President George W Bush and his administration were not only careful not to point the finger at Saudi Arabia but had 28 pages of the official report on its role censored despite the pleas of the victims of 9/11. President Obama promised as a candidate to allow these pages to be published but has never done so.

    And partly because of this blind eye towards these two Cold War allies, America lost all credibility in the War on Terror. Then came the barbaric tortures of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo etc. All the international sympathy and support for America after 9/11 evaporated with Bush’s brazen lies, hypocrisy and cynicism.

    The american media was near totally complicit in this deceit. It never asked Bush the most important questions. The most obvious being: why the hell was he so hell bent on bringing Democracy and “freedom” to Iraq and Afghanistan but not to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan?

    • Replies: @Ivy
  3. Ivy says:
    @Bliss

    W said he had political capital after the 2004 election and was going to spend it.

    To use a tortured example from the financial world, it is too bad that he leveraged his ‘capital’ on the backs of American citizens to end up with a type of CDO nightmare that would leave the U.S. with a lingering nasty diplomatic deficit.

    Future American generations will be amortizing the W debt.

  4. Arnold says:

    CIA AND ARMY PURSUING WRONG TARGETS.
    AMERICA’S BIGGEST ENEMIES ARE RIGHT HERE.

    This is very true.

    The biggest enemy of USA is the Democratic party. It has allowed a real invasion of the USA by millions of 3rd world aliens by giving them visas and allowing illegal immigration, by imposing a police state, by corrupting the Judiciary, by framing patriots and looting the treasury by giving billions in grants and contracts to the Oligarchs as kickbacks. The Taliban and ISIS will not hurt us, if we do not let them invade USA.

    The Army and CIA sheep are too stupid to see that America’s biggest enemies are people like Reid, Pelosi, Feinstein, Boxer and the whole Demogangster party and their Oligarchs who own and operate it. It is the biggest enemy of USA.

  5. matt says:

  6. Arnold says:

    OBAMA: SEE HIS PUBLIC ENEMY #1 TACTICS.

    Obama, who incited aliens kids from Central America to invade USA, is now paying them kickbacks to these kids, spending almost $100,000 per kid and giving them fancy hotels to stay in, cell phones and laptops and a Ritz Carlton lifestyle AT YOUR EXPENSE:

    See:

    http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/weekly-updates/obama-lawless-amnesty-costs-exposed/

    He is doing this so they call home and incite more kids to invade ISA by telling them how evil Uncle Scam is giving them so much free stuff.

    The CIA and the Army are too dumb to see that America’s biggest enemy is Obama and the Demogangsters.

  7. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    The piece is garbage in, garbage out.

    The government’s impossible conspiracy theory proves that it was an inside job.

    Too bad this site doesn’t regularly discuss the ridiculous propaganda that is 9/11.

    http://www.ae911truth.org

  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Torture was the emotional response of the unhinged psychopaths who were recruited by CIA ( CIA has admitted the field agents were of dubious character, low ,intelligence, imperfect education and training with no future in the real job market but they knew how to assume the masochistic mentality without any concerns for the consequences ) to express the hatred towards Muslim and Arabs . CIA was not looking for the truth . CIA knew that the administration were not looking for the truth . ( CIA failed and so did FBI to draw attention of the administration to the dangers of Al Quoda before 911 happened despite relentless efforts on the part of the intelligence ) .
    Focus on Pakistan and Saudi Arab were warranted and still remain so. But the question is why they as administrative elites ( political ,defense,intelligence organization) would do so ? Did they fully know what they were doing? Were they in control of the operation or were they some kind of low grade duped enthusiasts with no clear idea what to unfold?
    Saud and Pakistan have orchestrated terror activities in Russia ,Iran,and India but never left so many palm prints ( bank,passports,drivers license, addresses, travel documements or phone calls and numerous other clues) that they left following 911 almost is if they wanted to be found out .
    Then there are other leads that were not followed by the government . There were other activities before 911 which were not analysed . Activities in and around 911 were not scrutinized despite the marks of connections to 911.

    Political and inteligence responses following 911 are not failures when analysed from the points of the Big Government that wants control,favors looting ,prefers destruction,and subscribes to the view that ‘ war is good for the economy” of 1 percent . Has war hurt the defense,war hawks,hawkish think tanks,political aspirants,financial engineers or the media mogul in any way? Most of them have benefitted and continue to benefit . So why will they change the direction?
    Libyan war was the brinkmanship and expression of hubris for political advantages by Hilary,Rice and Power but it was also for a motive and a different kind of motive by persons like Bernard Levy of France .
    May be 911 had different players with different motives .

  9. KA says:

    Often they created the monsters that they later tried to slay . Torture was the distraction for the local westerners and pain for those who were suspected of be aware of the latest location of those very monsters.

    “To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”
    Seymour M Hersh. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection?currentPage=all

  10. KA says:

    “One contradictory aspect of the new strategy is that, in Iraq, most of the insurgent violence directed at the American military has come from Sunni forces, and not from Shiites. But, from the Administration’s perspective, the most profound—and unintended—strategic consequence of the Iraq war is the empowerment of Iran “Seymour M Hersh

    Ibid
    It was never about fair play,reciprocity,honesty,justice. It was never about containing the violent religious extremism. This explains why Iranian help following 911 was met with the slogan – Axis of Evil.
    This also explains why Libyan leader had to die despite collaboration over terrorism,rendition,torture,and dismantling of nuclear works .
    Torture is part of the mindset of the hegemony that makes rules as it goes and applies as it sees fit and tolerates no disobedience past or future

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Patrick Cockburn Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Full Story of the Taliban's Amazing Jailbreak
"They Can't Even Protect Themselves, So What Can They Do For Me?"
"All Hell is Breaking Loose with Muqtada" Warlord: the Rise of Muqtada al-Sadr