Are We Winning Against Al Qaeda? (Updated)

By Robbin Laird

President Obama has assured us that the answer is yes.

On October 8th, the President stated clearly that:

“Now, four years ago, I made a few commitments to you. I told you I’d end the war in Iraq, and I did. I said I’d end the war in Afghanistan, and we are,” said Obama. “I said we’d refocus on the people who actually attacked us on 9/11 — and today, al Qaeda is on its heels and Osama bin Laden is no more.”

This statement is made in the face of eruptions in the Middle East and the death of the American Ambassador in Libya.

And the only official in the US government who could confirm this path to victory to the President would be the Director of National Intelligence.

Clapper is frustrated with the "the endless rehashing" of the ambassador's death and what happened and why. Credit Image:

As Ed Timperlake commented today: “Al Qaeda is a rootless enemy that operates worldwide.  The only way we can know if we are defeating it is if the DNI can demonstrate concretely that we are defeating them.  And the comments made by the DNI today in Orlando clearly makes it questionable that his reassurances to the President and the President’s reliance on those reassurances are in turn hardly reassuring.”

According to Colin Clark of AOL Defense, today Clapper made some extraordinary claims about a strategic intelligence failure reminiscent of the intelligence failure associated with the Tet Offensive.

Clark reported the following:

The terrorists who attacked the Benghazi consulate, killing US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and four others, apparently maintained web, cell and radio silence before they acted, giving the US no hint an attack was imminent.

“If people do not emit or discuss their behavior, it’s hard to find out what they are going to do,” Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper said at the huge annual conference of intelligence professionals called Geoint. The U.S., he made clear, did not have tactical warning of the attacks. He noted that there were anti-American protests in 54 countries when the attacks occurred, clearly implying the intelligence community had its hands full that day.

Clapper’s comments may shed some light on why administration officials were caught so flat-footed in responding to the attacks, which the DNI made clear they did not expect. It may also help explain why information about the actual attacks appears to have been so elusive. The defensive tone of the director’s remarks made it pretty obvious that he is very tired of what he called “the endless rehashing” of the ambassador’s death and what happened and why.

“Endless re-hashing” is a phrase reminiscent of the President’s reference to the death of the Ambassador characterized as “a bump in the road” in the Libyan situation.

As Ed Timperlake wrote many months ago “Hope is not a Strategy.”

He predicted:

“Currently, it is highly likely that the pernicious and insidious strategy by the MSM will be to simply turn a blind eye as the Libyan War turns messy and unpredictable-thus not holding those responsible accountable.”

Unfortunately, this forecast made on April 18, 2011 has turned all too true.

And as one journalist with deep pocket Middle East experience has underscored the fight with Al Qaeda is hardly over.

As reporter Lara Logan has recently warned:

Her ominous and frightening message was gleaned from years of covering our wars in the Middle East. She arrived in Chicago on the heels of her Sept. 30 report, “The Longest War.” It examined the Afghanistan conflict and exposed the perils that still confront America, 11 years after 9/11.

Eleven years later, “they” still hate us, now more than ever, Logan told the crowd. The Taliban and al-Qaida have not been vanquished, she added. They’re coming back.

“I chose this subject because, one, I can’t stand, that there is a major lie being propagated . . .” Logan declared in her native South African accent.

The lie is that America’s military might has tamed the Taliban.

We need a reality check and “bumps in the road” and anger with “the endless rehashing” of the ambassador’s death and what happened and why are hardly marks for a victory lap.

They are markers to get serious and respond.

We need to hold those responsible for the killing of our Ambassador in Libya responsible, and do so in the Israeli way, not sending in Predators or some such.

Treating the problem as a law enforcement issue is beyond belief.

And certainly asserting such patent political nonsense that “al Qaeda is on its heels” needs to be demonstrated in actions in Libya and not in words thrown out in stump speeches.

Note:  Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALs working under the State Department, were killed alongside U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and information management officer Sean Smith when a group of gunman launched an hours-long attack on a small compound in Benghazi in eastern Libya.

Update: Since this was written on October 9th we have since learned that there was no protest, but a terrorist attack against the American consulate.

As Jennifer Rubin has written:

It was an extraordinary day in the telling of the Libya terrorist attack. We had the scene at the White House in which Jay Carney denied he had insisted on Sept. 14 that the attack was linked to an anti-Muslim video. He was apparently making stuff up on that day, and the denial today only makes the appearance of widespread dissembling more vivid. ABC’s Jake Tapper asked the question Right Turn has been puzzling over for weeks now: Did the president shoot first and aim later?

The following video is truly amazing.

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