I just had a bit of a revelation upon hearing this NPR report about CIA missile strikes in Pakistan:
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 intelligence reports have been shared with President Barack Obama and underlie his decision to authorize the continued use of unmanned aircraft to launch missile and precision-guided bombs against suspected al-Qaida targets in Pakistan’s border region….
The CIA has been using drone aircraft to carry out attacks on suspected al-Qaida and Taliban targets in Pakistan for several years, but such attacks were significantly expanded last summer under orders from President George W. Bush.
My epiphany relates to the attack of “Bush hatred” that’s frequently leveled against progressives, i.e., “you’re so blinded by irrational rage, you can’t acknowledge when he does something good.” And what I just realized was this: it wasn’t about rage, it was about trust.
Fact is, if I had heard this report 15 days ago, I would have immediately assumed it was bullshit. Even hearing it now, especially the claim that al-Qaeda is “defeated”, makes me wonder a bit about whether this is coming from the Obama military apparatus or holdovers. (NPR, all of your sources are anonymous. Stop it. You’re better than that.)
But today my first reaction is to think this is good news, whereas in December I would have needed a book of E-ticket passes to the newly-opened Peshawar Disneyland before I believed anything W said about the region.
So when this president says something good about what the last president did, well, props where props are due. It’s not that George couldn’t do anything right. It’s that he lied to us so often, we couldn’t believe him when he did.