In interviews with many of them, a common theme is sounded: The threat from al Qaeda is rising, but the White House is looking to ratchet down the war against these Islamic extremists.Lake goes on to dutifully quote many in the intelligence community about why we should still be afraid of "the terrorists" - even if it means ramping up the current furor over Benghazi! and the freak-out about ending the war in Afghanistan. But to get an idea of how the President views all of this, here's a fascinating exchange.
Tommy Vietor, who served as the spokesman for the National Security Council in Obama’s first term, recalled a meeting he attended with Obama on the crisis in Mali. He said the president understood the threat from al Qaeda’s core leadership had diminished, while the threat of affiliates had grown stronger. At the end of the meeting though, he said the president remarked, “What will be required for a crisis like that is not a drone-based program dotting the continent. It will be a sustained political process that includes economic development.”An irony indeed! This is the perfect example of why so few people really understand President Obama. When he came into office he was clear that the Bush/Cheney administration had mangled this country's response to the terrorist attacks on 9/11: the Iraq War had to end, the Taliban in Afghanistan (and Pakistan) had to be defeated, and the "global war on terror" had to be narrowed and re-focused on al Qaeda.
It’s an irony for Obama, who has been attacked by progressives for relying too heavily on drone attacks in his war on terrorism.
Working towards all that was seen by many on the left as "warmongering." Rather than simply agree/disagree with any particular action, that frame became the narrative though which everything is filtered. And so even as the number of drone strikes has dropped dramatically (zero in Pakistan in 2014) and the President is openly advocating for an end to the war on al Qaeda, the narrative persists.
All of this is coming to a head because today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the reform/repeal of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force that is the legal framework for the war on al Qaeda. Eli Lake's article is obviously an attempt by the intelligence community to weigh in on that debate. A google search of "news" for "Senate Foreign Relations Committee AUMF" indicates that not one liberal/progressive pundit/blog has written anything about it. Imagine that...President Obama has called for an end to this indefinite war, a Committee in Congress is holding a hearing to discuss that and the intelligence community is fighting back. But the only thing liberals seem interested in talking about are questions that have already been asked and answered. Shame on you!