Juan Cole: Bush's Hit ListRoundup: Historians' Take
A Malaysian newspaper claims to have gotten an advance peek at statements in the new book by Wesley Clark, excerpted in Newsweek. I can't vouch for the accuracy of the report, but here it is: "It quoted former North Atlantic Treaty Organisation commander General Wesley Clark as saying that US President George W. Bush wanted to attack Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan." It says he found out about the plan in November 2001, and deeply disapproved of it, since it did not actually address the sources of terrorism against the US.
Iran is a Shiite country that hated the Taliban and al-Qaeda and strongly backed the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan; it almost went to war against the Taliban. Syria is a secular Baath Arab nationalist regime that killed 10,000 Sunni Muslim radicals in 1982 and has attempted to suppress the movement. It has also helped the US interrogate al-Qaeda operatives. Somalia is just a failed state. Sudan isn't much better. The main Islamic militants in Lebanon are the Hizbullah, most of whose energies now go into Lebanese politics, though they also played a key role in expelling the Israelis from Lebanese soil. (Why exactly should the US mind this? Doesn't it support Lebanon's national integrity)? Iraq was likewise a secular Arab nationalist state that attacked religious fundamentalists. Moammar Qadhafi of Libya is a desert messiah with heterodox views and is not related to al-Qaeda; he has been involved in terrorism in the past, but it is not clear he is now. There is not any al-Qaeda-related state on this list.
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