In his new book, The One Percent Doctrine, Ron Suskind gets a little ahead of himself ascribing to Osama Bin Laden a natural mastery of political game theory. To Suskind, OBL has been toying with American electoral politics for some time-- secretly wanting President Bush to prevail in 2004. All because Osama's plea to the Blue States (vote against Bush and you shall avoid the wrath) was a contrived piece of reverse psychology. Such is the nature of asymetrical warfare where the American press serves as a willing mouthpiece and guide.
Of course it's always George Bush's fault that the devil is still at large. And no grand analysis is complete without a reference to Abu Ghraib. The running and very tired narrative provides enough ammuntion for the Democratic opposition and its allies in the Medicrat Party. Somehow Suskind forgot to drop the old chesnet that AQ hates us because of our pro-Israel Mideast politics. How does Suskind know the inner thoughts of the devil? Well the CIA is telling him such much as they told Frontline. Some news cycle the medicrats have these days.
"The torture at Abu Ghraib" and so many other events of the past five years, writes Mr. Suskind, "strike at the nation's character. And, sadly, give true comfort to our enemies, graced with more recruitment tools than they could have hoped for." He tells of a consensus among CIA analysts--a consensus in which he seems to share--that bin Laden's 2004 "October Surprise" broadcast, in which he promised more terror, "was clearly designed to assist the President's reelection." And Mr. Suskind approvingly quotes former CIA official Jami Miscik, who says that "certainly [bin Laden] would want Bush to keep doing what he's doing for a few more years."
Robert Pollack will have none of the shoddy analysis. In a devastating review of the One Percent Doctrine, Pollack unloads on the Suskind fantasy.
... of course Mr. Suskind advances the standard left-wing criticisms of prewar Iraq intelligence--that the administration pressured analysts and deliberately distorted findings. This despite the fact two major bipartisan inquires--conducted by the Senate Intelligence Committee and by the Robb-Silberman Commission--have found no evidence to support such a charge.
This will never change hearts and minds. Nor will it advance rational discussion of the Saddam problem, post-911.
There are certainly plenty of just criticisms of the war on terror to be aired, but every time Mr. Suskind approaches one--such as the tension between our democracy-promotion agenda and our ties to Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf--he quickly returns to more simple-minded Bush-bashing. The overarching idea that George W. Bush and his team were uniquely and irrationally determined to get Saddam simply doesn't square with the glaring fact that both of Mr. Bush's predecessors also felt compelled to do battle with the Iraqi dictator.
I think Mr. Suskind's credibility has been ripped to shreds. He is the Michael Moore of the written word.