Dear Lt.Gen.Michael Hayden,
"On May 1, 2003, President Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln aboard an S-3B Viking jet, emerged from the aircraft in full flight gear, and proceeded to "press flesh," as The Washington Post put it, as he shook hands and hugged crew members in front of the cameras. Later that day, Bush delivered a nationally televised speech from the deck of the Abraham Lincoln in which he declared that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended," all the while standing under a banner reading: "Mission Accomplished." Despite lingering questions over the continued violence in Iraq, the failure to locate weapons of mass destruction, and the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein, as well as evidence that Bush may have shirked his responsibilities in the Texas Air National Guard (TANG) during the Vietnam War, the print and televised media fawned over Bush's "grand entrance" and the image of Bush as the "jet pilot" and the "Fighter".
2.So wrote on April 27,2006, a US website called "Media Matters For America"(http://mediamatters.org/items/200604270005) .Mr.Bush's premature bragging that the US had accomplished its mission in Iraq and had emerged victorious in the war has haunted him and his advisers till now. So did the earlier claim of Vice-President Dick Cheney before the start of the war that the invading US troops would be welcomed by the people of Iraq as "liberators". Thousands of American troops have already died and more are dying. Thousands of Iraqi civilians have died and more are dying. Some "welcome", this!
3. On October 7,2001, the US launched its "Operation Enduring Freedom" in Afghanistan.By the middle of 2002, we were told that the US troops had defeated the Taliban and badly disrupted the command and control of Al Qaeda. In 2004, the Taliban came back as if it had risen from its proclaimed grave and started hitting back at the US-led coalition troops in eastern and southern Afghanistan. The NATO forces are still struggling to prevail over the Taliban.
4. Till 2000, there was no suicide terrorism in Afghanistan. There was one in 2001 which killed Ahmed Shah Masood. Since 2004, instances of suicide terrorism in Afghanistan started going up. There were 137 last year. The Taliban's capability to hit at the NATO forces now extends to even Kabul. President Hamid Karzai owes it to the grace of Allah that he survived the attempt to kill him during a national parade at Kabul on April 27,2008. Neither the Afghan intelligence nor the CIA had any inkling of its plans to kill him. If Allah had not gone to his rescue, there might have been total instability in Afghanistan now.
5. Till 2006, Pakistan had an average of six acts of suicide terrorism per annum.It had 56 last year. It has already had 18 till now this year. In 2007, there were 193 acts of suicide terrorism in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region in which 195 suicide volunteers killed themselves. One act of suicide terrorism in Afghanistan was jointly staged by three volunteers.
6.Against this background, one read with some amazement your claim in your interview to the *Washington Post" (May 30,2008) that Al Qaeda has been strategically defeated and that the "war" against Al Qaeda is more or less over. The "Washington Post" has quoted you as saying: "On balance, we are doing pretty well.Near strategic defeat of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Near strategic defeat for Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. Significant setbacks for Al Qaeda globally -- and here I'm going to use the word 'ideologically' -- as a lot of the Islamic world pushes back on their form of Islam.The ability to kill and capture key members of Al Qaeda continues, and keeps them off balance -- even in their best safe haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border."
7. The "Washington Post" wrote: "Since the start of the year, he said, Al -Qaeda's global leadership has lost three senior officers, including two who succumbed "to violence," an apparent reference to Predator strikes that killed terrorist leaders Abu Laith al-Libi and Abu Sulayman al-Jazairi in Pakistan. He also cited a successful blow against "training activity" in the region but offered no details. "Those are the kinds of things that delay and disrupt Al Qaeda's planning," Hayden said."
8.Even as you were giving the interview to the "Washington Post" to mark the completion of your two years as the Director of the CIA, a suicide bomber----believed to be from Al Qaeda or one of its associates--- was taking up position in Islamabad to stage an act of suicide terrorism against the Danish Embassy on June 2,2008. Neither the CIA nor the Pakistani or Afghan intelligence had any inkling of their plans.
9. You claim that your Predator aircraft have killed two important operatives of Al Qaeda in Pakistan's tribal region. Yes, true. But you don't mention that your Predator aircraft have also killed over 200 young children in the tribal region due to wrong intelligence and targeting. Even as you were giving your "Mission Accomplished" interview to the "Washington Post", Lt.Gen. Jamshed Gulzar Kiyani, of the Pakistan Army, who had served in Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was telling the Geo TV of Pakistan in an interview as follows: "Today, everybody believed that Gen Musharraf was fighting the American war on the soil of Pakistan and we are paying for that today. Musharraf's departure from power was close at hand. The President should not have given in to US threat in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy. The ISI was used to commit wrong acts. I was in the ISI and advised against such acts but my advice fell on deaf ears. As a result today, Musharraf is the most unpopular President. Suicide attacks that were beyond imagination before 9/11 are difficult to control now. I am not a supporter ofsuicide attacks, but these reflect an easy reaction that cannot be stopped by anyone. It was as a reaction to his policies that suicide attacks started in the country. Force was used in South and North Waziristan and 80 students were killed in a Bajaur Madrassa in an American operation. What was the crime of these students?"
10. For every innocent child and woman killed by your Predator aircraft, two or more suicide bombers are born. Musharraf, whom you projected as your frontline ally in the "war" against terrorism, is the most despised man in Pakistan today. One does not know how long he will lost in power.Mr.Asif Zardari, the leader of the Pakistan People's Party, recently described him as a relic of the past. The people of Pakistan look upon him as an American stooge who let himself be used by the CIA to kill Muslims and to pick up Pakistanis in dozens, if not hundreds, and hand them over to the CIA without following the due process of law.Nobody knows what happened to many of them.
11. President Karzai hardly knows Afghanistan outside Kabul. He spends his time globe-trotting and is rarely able to travel in his country. There is more anti-US anger in the Islamic world today than in the past. "Publicity is the oxygen of terrorism," said Mrs.Margaret Thatcher, when she was the British Prime Minister and banned any reference to the Irish Republican Army in the British radio and television. More than publicity, anger is the oxygen of any terrorism--- jihadi or non-jihadi.
12. It is this anger, which drove about 200 young Pakistani and Afghan Muslims to take to suicide terrorism last year. It is this anger which is behind jihadi terrorism---be it in Iraq or Afghanistan or Somalia or Algeria or elsewhere. It is this anger which has been behind the acts of jihadi terrorism which we have been having in India from time to time.
13. Whereas in India, the anger is largely due to domestic reasons, in the Islamic world the anger is due to the manner in which the US has been waging its so-called war against terrorism in general and Al Qaeda in particular. It is this anger which has been driving more and more young Muslim boys to take to suicide terrorism. As I have repeatedly pointed out in my articles, Al Qaeda is not recruiting volunteers. Young Muslims, angered by the manner in which the US has been waging its so-called war, have been going to Al Qaeda and its associates and volunteering themselves for suicide missions.
14. The Madrid bombers of March 2004 and the London bombers of July 2005 were not recruited by Al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden. They volunteered their services angered by the US policies in Iraq and Afghanistan. The London and Glasgow bombers of June,2007---one of them an Indian Muslim--- were not recruited by Al Qaeda or bin Laden. They volunteered their services due to anti-US anger. Adam Gadahan, the American convert to Islam, who used to head As-Sahab, Al Qaeda's psywar and propaganda division, was not recruited by Al Qaeda. He went to Afghanistan and volunterered his services. The German converts to Islam who were trained by the Islamic Jihad Group (ISG) in the Federally-Administetred Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan, were not recruited by Al Qaeda. They went to FATA and volunteered their services.
15. The media has reported that you feel that Al Qaeda is on the retreat because there has been no repeat of 9/11 in the US homeland, there has been no repeat of July,2005, in the UK and because it could not capture power in Saudi Arabia. You had a major act of jihadi terrorism in the US homeland in February,1993, when some jihadis tried to blow up the New York World Centre. You did not tighten up physical security thereafter in the US homeland till 9/11. Despite this, it took Al Qaeda more than eight years to stage the 9/11 strikes. It takes a long time for a jihadi group from the Islamic world to carry out a successful strike in the US because it is thousands of kms away from the Islamic world and it has immense human and material resources. Moreover, Al Qaeda will strike in the US once again only when it feels that it has the potential and capability for another spectacular strike in the US. It is not interested in carrying out not so spectacular strikes in the US just as the jihadis have been carrying out in India.
16. You overlook that the jihadis totally took the British intelligence by surprise when they tried to stage a terrorist strike in June in London and Glasgow. Their attempts failed not because the British intelligence was alert but because the mobile telephones, which they had planned to use as triggers malfunctioned. If they had functioned properly, there might have been another July,2005.
17. As regards their failure to capture power in Saudi Arabia , insurgents seek territorial control and go after political power. Terrorists don't. Bringing about the exit of US troops from Saudi Arabia was one of the aims of Al Qaeda. Damaging its oil production was another in order to cause serious damage to Western economy. Capture of power was not. Your troops have left Saudi Arabia. Al Qaeda was hoping to cause huge increases in oil prices in the world by attacking the Saudi oil production facilities.When oil prices are racing towards US $ 140 per barrel, threatening to create an economic chaos in the world, where is the need for an Al Qaeda operation to achieve this? They are not going to sacrifice their precious suicide bombers to achieve something which the US has already achieved for them.
18. There is no such thing as victory or defeat over a terrorist organisation. Terrorist organisations---jihadi or non-jihadi-- are not militarily defeated. They are made to wither away by weakening their motivation, damaging their capability and denying them popular support. To achieve this, two things are essential--- firm, but balanced---not disproportionate--- counter-terrorism operations and measures for the containment and reduction of anger.
19. In my view, the US is not yet in sight of achieving either of this objective.
With warm regards,
B.Raman.Additional Secretary (retd),Cabinet Secretariat,Govt. of India.