This is turning out to be one of the intriguing episodes, so far, in the war on terror. My guess is that it’s hugely significant, even a turning point, but the Bush administration is keeping mum about it.
The irony is rich: here is one success that the administration feels compelled to keep silent about, probably in part because it’s contributing more intelligence to Ethiopia than it wants to divulge. By all accounts, it sounds as though U.S. efforts may be paying off in the region, including training border police in Kenya to stop suspected terrorists.
Unlike Iraq, which turned out to be a total bust, even boomeranged, by creating terrorists where there had been none, or only a few, routing the very real al-Qaeda types in Ethiopia could well turn out to be huge intelligence windfall for the U.S. To me it suggests that this is the type of warfare that the U.S. will be engaged in, which is to say that, in a sense, Rumsfeld had it right: smaller engagements will be the norm in the future, plus a heavy reliance on intelligence.
Too bad the administration didn’t think more about that before heading into the morass of Iraq.
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