Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Dark Side Recap

For those who didn't see it, the Frontline documentary on the trajectory of the war on terrorism that aired last night was excellent.

There really wasn't any new information presented, but synthesizing everything like they did and allowing the events to be told by the key players from those events was still eye-opening.

The first part of the documentary -- the strategic decisions in the War in Afghanistan -- was definitely the most insightful, perhaps because the focus of the second half -- the escalation to the War in Iraq (which really began on the afternoon of September 11) -- has been run over dozens of times before (something, however, that doesn't make it any less important).

Most powerful was the point that there was a different path than Iraq that was recommended to the president for the war on terror. Essentially this path was to maintain a war on al-Qaeda and not be sidetracked by wars with particular nation-states that had no influence on the terrorist activities of September 11.

And, ironically, the alternative was a path that was championed by the same person who became the willing patsy for the decision to invade Iraq -- George Tenet.

Overall, a highly recommended documentary. It's done re-airing for now, but Frontline will be putting the entire program online starting tomorrow. You can see that here.

If nothing else, just take the time to watch some of the first segments.

To see and hear the CIA operatives who were on the ground in Afghanistan less than a month after September 11 tell their story about Rumsfeld's unwillingness to put troops on the ground until he was in charge and his refusal to provide the troops necessary to seal off escape routes for al-Qaeda forces (including Osama bin Laden) at Tora Bora is both astonishing and tragic.

Since that decision was made in the eastern mountains of Afghanistan back in December 2001, it seems to have been all downhill for the war on terror.

UPDATE: YouTube also has the entire Frontline program (in segments) posted here.

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