"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Monday, May 09, 2005
[TIM "PUMKINHEAD" RUSSERT]: On September 1, 2001, you began a 90-day phaseout retiring from the CIA. Then came the horrific day of 8:46 AM, September 11, 2001. All our lives changed. You were asked to stay on at the CIA. On September 13th, you were summoned to the office of Cofer Black, the head of counterterrorism for the CIA. What did he tell you? What was your mission?
[GARY SCHROEN (former senior CIA agent, Author of “First In: How seven CIA officers opened the war on terrorism in Afghanistan”)]: The mission was to--the first part of it was to go in and link up with the Northern Alliance, formerly headed by Ahmed Al-Massoud, and to win their confidence and their agreement to cooperate militarily with us. They were the only armed force on the ground in Afghanistan opposing the Taliban. The second part of it was, once the Taliban were broken, to attack the al-Qaeda organization, find bin Laden and his senior lieutenants and kill them.
MR. RUSSERT: Kill them?
MR. SCHROEN: Kill them.
MR. RUSSERT: Wasn't it illegal for us to kill foreign leaders?
MR. SCHROEN: I don't think at that point that the--I think the administration had gotten to the point where bin Laden and his guys were fair game.
MR. RUSSERT: As part of war?
MR. SCHROEN: As part of war.
MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Black gave you specific instructions on what he wanted you to bring home.
MR. SCHROEN: That's true. He did ask that once we got bin Laden and killed him, that we send his head back in a cardboard box on dry ice so that he could take it down and show the president.
MR. RUSSERT: Where would you find the dry ice in Afghanistan?
MR. SCHROEN: That's what I mentioned to him. I said, "Cofer, I think that I can come up with pikes to put the heads of the lieutenants on," which is the second part of what he wanted done. "Dry ice, we'll have to improvise."
Look - kill the sumbitch; I don't care. Maybe targeting bin Laden for assassination was technically illegal, maybe it wasn't. No one's going to sue, so who gives a damn. Personally, I would rather that he faced a jury in Manhattan, but that's just me. No one in this country would complain if the guy got whacked, least of all me. Nothing personal - it's just that he has stated his preference that my family and I die like pigs, and that makes me less than concerned about his personal safety. I'm sure he would understand.
But what's with this "bring me the head of bin Laden" bullshit? Didn't that sort of thing go out of style in the ninth century? And putting people's heads on pikes - what are we now, the United States of Vlad the Impaler? There's an old saying, beloved by Hunter S. Thompson fans everywhere: "Battle ye not with monsters, lest ye become a monster." And apparently, so we have.