Memo To: Wolf Blitzer, CNN Late Edition
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Paul Wolfowitz and Osama bin Laden
I watched with great interest your interview of Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz yesterday, one Wolf interrogating another. The reason I picked you out for my Monday “Memo on the Margin,” Wolf, rests entirely on Dr. Wolfowitz’s use of the adjective “friendly.” My Monday memo almost always keys off the Sunday talk shows, and I’ve many times honed in on one of your guests, but never because of a single word. In this case the word being “friendly.”
It had to do with the weekend revelation that in the defeat of the Taliban, the Northern Alliance has come across a videotape that absolutely, positively proves that Osama bin Laden knew IN ADVANCE of the Al Qaeda attacks of September 11. You asked Wolfowitz about it and while he seemed to say yes indeedy, it does all that, WE HAVE KNOWN ALL ALONG THAT BIN LADEN WAS IN ON THE PLANNING, and that the conclusive proof we had was passed on to several FRIENDLY nations.
My point, Wolf, is that the Taliban asked us several times for evidence that Bin Laden was involved in the 9-11 planning, saying that if we provided it, they WOULD TURN HIM OVER TO US. What does this mean to you, Wolf? To me, it means that we DID NOT WANT THE TALIBAN TO TURN BIN LADEN OVER TO US, or we would have given them the conclusive proof that Wolfowitz says WE HAD ALL ALONG, but only supplied to FRIENDLY nations.
Is there something wrong with my logic? Would it not have been neater and cleaner to give the Taliban the evidence we gave to so many “friendly” nations? They would have had to turn him over or have to admit to the Islamic world that they were official supporters of criminal terrorism. As it is, we have dropped a zillion pounds of bombs on Afghanistan, killed countless men and women and children, on one side or the other, and we still do not have Bin Laden in custody. On the face of it, the United States once again has blundered, giving more reason for the extremists in the Islamic world to say it is in their interests to commit suicide to make life difficult for Americans.
Do you understand this message, Wolf? The Wolfowitz you interviewed said that he knew before we fired a single shot in Afghanistan that Bin Laden was GUILTY. I believe he was guilty, which is why I announced early on that I supported any attempt to get him. But if it now turns out that we could have gotten the bastard without having to bomb the bejesus out of one of the poorest countries of the world, we could have given the UNFRIENDLY Taliban the evidence and they would have turned him over to us. I am sickened by the idea that we withheld that evidence because we really wanted to incinerate Afghanistan. Or am I missing something? Are you missing something?