It is more the war of error than a war on terror.Of course, that may be exactly the point: an empowered opponent provides just the right excuse for endless military spending.
Who, four years ago, would have put money on Washington bungling its invasion of Iraq so badly? What might the odds have been, back then, on the terrorist Osama bin Laden surviving to celebrate his 50th birthday? ...
Remember all the ignored warnings about al-Qaeda before September 11? When, as the former CIA chief George Tenet later conceded, the system was "blinking red"? Same-same today - intelligence officials alarmed by a remarkable rejuvenation and expansion of al-Qaeda cannot get traction in Washington, so they are backgrounding reporters instead.
The emerging consensus among analysts is that, despite its losses since September 11, al-Qaeda has regrouped and restructured and has opened new bases in Africa and Europe along with its Iraq campaign.
See how the American President's decisions after September 11 have created a minefield that now extends from the Mediterranean to Islamabad.Did you see that the USA recently approved a massive $750 million in new funds to support Pakistan's military dictatorship? And at the same time, riots were breaking out across the country as a Pakistani's top anti-corruption judge was arrested? Now other lawyers and opposition figures are also being arrested in an attempt to block the surge of public support.
The US and its allies, Australia included, are trapped in two "hot" war zones - Iraq and Afghanistan.
Undermanned and underfunded by careless choice, the US is attempting full-scale war and half-baked nation-building on two wild fronts. But it is surrounded by countries - Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan - that are havens for its enemies just as they are happily indifferent to or deliberately stoking Washington's fires on their borders.
Yet, as the Americans stomp around the region, loose-lipped and guns blazing, they refuse to bite the bullet on Pakistan, where bin Laden hides.
McGeogh fingers Pakistan as the place where so many of the post-September 11 threads are rooted:
Elements in the US and NATO hierarchy increasingly question President Pervez Musharraf's commitment to the fight against terrorism, and to democracy - remember that supposedly is the cause for which more than 3000 Americans have died and US taxpayers have kissed off hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq.Of course, the Bush administration has not shown much concern for democracy, fair elections, or the rule of law within their own US borders, so there is little reason to expect they would do so in Pakistan, Iraq, or anywhere else.
But Washington plays into Musharraf's hands, sending conflicting messages...
Last month, the new Director of National Intelligence, Admiral John McConnell, told the US Senate that any new terrorist attack on the US was "most likely" to come from Pakistan.
He said: "Many of our most important interests intersect in Pakistan, where the Taliban and al-Qaeda maintain critical sanctuaries … [Pakistan] is our partner in the war on terror and has captured several al-Qaeda leaders. However, it also is a major source of Islamic extremism."
But then came the catch-22: "We recognise that aggressive military action, however, has been costly for Pakistani security forces and appreciate concerns over the potential for sparking tribal rebellion and a backlash by sympathetic Islamic political parties.
"There is widespread opposition among these parties to the US military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. With elections expected later this year, the situation will become even more challenging - for President Musharraf and for the US."
Basically it all comes down to empty rhetoric, or in other words: Spin. And when you examine the actions behind the spin, what you see is a war-mongering administration focussed on the business of war, not the winning of it. From that perspective, one has to wonder whether Bush and his close supporters really see this as a "War Of Error". Their companies and investments have profited massively from the war, and will continue to do so when (as expected soon), US-based Big Oil gets its hands on Iraq's oil resources.
Message to the Free World: you been punk'd!