Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Capitol Hill Blue reports on the true significance of the arrest of Khalid Shaikh Muhammed, as seen by some in the administration --- facing the prospect of a "humiliating" defeat in the Security Council, it may provide a diversion they can use as an exit strategy:

"The vote in Turkey fucked things up big time," grumbles one White House aide. "It pushes our timetable back. On the other hand, it might give us a chance to save face."

"Saving face" means backing away from a showdown with the UN Security Council next week and agreeing to let the weapons inspection process run its course.

"The arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed gives us some breathing room," says a Bush strategist. "We can concentrate on the favorable publicity generated by the arrest and the valuable intelligence we have gained from that event."

Mohammed, arrested in Pakistan, masterminded the 9-11 terrorist attacks. CIA agents found computer files, memos and other materials which pointed to plans for new attacks against the U.S. ...

"We've always needed an exit strategy," admits one White House aide. "Circumstances have given us one. We shouldn't ignore it."

Pursuing the war on terrorism by pursuing terrorists -- what a strange and novel idea. Was it Churchill that said that Americans could be counted on to do the right thing -- after exhausting every other option?

More: Emma of Late Night Thoughts has some words for people who don't mind the thought of this guy getting tortured. To which I'll add, as Christopher Hitchens was arguing in the wake of 9/11 (though who knows what he thinks now), that torture is excellent at getting the victims to tell you exactly what they think you want to here. It's not nearly so good at extracting the truth...

Regrettably, the permalink isn't working (the latest post isn't in the archive yet, a common blogger bug), so go here to see it for the moment...

Update: This WaPo story also suggests they're backing off holding a vote, but also says that Bush and Blair have agreed that the war drums will beat on regardless...


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