Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Bush's Gift to Obama: A "Decimated" al-Qaeda

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I've written several times (and here) that I believe President Bush calculated that Obama would win the election and pre-empted that by stepping up our attacks on al-Qaeda in Waziristan last spring and into the fall because he believed that Obama would not follow through and continue to take the offensive approach to fighting them.

It turns out that he may have achieved a goal of taking them out for the near and middle term:

CIA-directed airstrikes against al-Qaida leaders and facilities in Pakistan over the past six to nine months have been so successful, according to senior U.S. officials, that it is now possible to foresee a "complete al-Qaida defeat" in the mountainous region along the border with Afghanistan.

The officials say the terrorist network's leadership cadre has been "decimated," with up to a dozen senior and midlevel operatives killed as a result of the strikes and the remaining leaders reeling from the repeated attacks.

"The enemy is really, really struggling," says one senior U.S. counterterrorism official. "These attacks have produced the broadest, deepest and most rapid reduction in al-Qaida senior leadership that we've seen in several years."
Bush may have helped Obama here and I think that was part of his plan. He was saddled with an al-Qaeda that was emboldened by the Clinton administrations inaction and they unleashed 9/11 on us because of that inaction. My estimation is that Bush didn't want to leave Obama the al-Qaeda threat like it was carelessly left to him.

I am of the mind that Bush did not want to leave any more of a burden than he did. He knew Afghanistan would still be raging but also knew that Iraq was essentially won and was somewhat vindicated in that by the provincial elections last weekend.

It's definitely not over and it may just be the tax-payer subsidized Obama backers at NPR pushing an Obama was responsible meme, but it's good news and Bush deserves the credit for exterminating the al-Qaeda leadership structure; at least from Number 2 or 3 on down.

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