Wednesday, June 16, 2004

9.11 deconstructed 

This 9/11 commission staff statement No. 16 is fascinating -- more intriguing than any mystery novel. It describes the 9.11 plot in detail, what the hijackers did, how they trained, their conflicts and arguments, their many, many trips within the US and overseas. This is where all the news stories are coming from today, about how Al Qeada and Hussein did not cooperate. But read the whole thing.
Particularly chilling was the last bit, about how the attacks might have been called off ". . . the Taliban leader was under pressure from the Pakistani government to keep al Qaeda from engaging in operations outside Afghanistan. While some senior al Qaeda figures opposed the 9/11 operation out of deference to Omar, others reportedly expressed concern that the U.S. would respond militarily. Bin Ladin, on the other hand, reportedly argued that attacks against the United States needed to be carried out immediately to support the insurgency in the Israeli occupied territories and to protest the presence of U.S. military forces in Saudi Arabia. Bin Ladin also thought that an attack against the United States would reap al Qaeda a recruiting and fundraising bonanza. In his thinking, the more al Qaeda did, the more support it would gain. Although he faced opposition from many of his most senior advisers—including Shura council members Shaykh Saeed, Sayf al Adl, and Abu Hafs the Mauritanian—Bin Ladin effectively overruled their objections, and the attacks went forward."
So the last, best chance to avoid 9.11 and all that has followed was maybe not the FBI investigations or CIA survelliance operations, but Bin Laden's own choice.
It reminded me of The Road Not Taken
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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