I’m surprised this didn’t get more attention today. Anwar al-Awlaki, the US-born cleric thought to be involved in the Fort Hood shooting and the failed Christmas Day bombing, was brought into the Pentagon for a luncheon several months after the 9/11 attacks. Interestingly, this was part of a Defense Department program to convince Muslims that the Afghanistan war was focused on Al Qaeda and not Muslims.
A few things on this, which I find fascinating. First, there’s the issue of how Awlaki may have been receptive to this before the US attacked Iraq, tortured Afghans and Iraqis, bullied Iran and started launching covert operations in practically every Muslim country on Earth. Second, there’s the issue of how George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld’s Defense Department made the effort to do this, even if it was merely a spin operation, in a way that no President, Republican or Democrat, would be allowed to do now. Think about how the right is going apeshit over Juan Williams’ comments justifying bigotry. Do you think they would remain silent if President Romney invited Muslims (MOOSLIMS) into the Defense Department? Or President Obama, himself a scary Muslim? No, Obama has an assassination order out on Awlaki, an American citizen, not a lunch invite. And the right still thinks he’s a wimp on these issues.
Third, if you read the story you do see that Awlaki’s invitation came on a bit of a whim. An employee saw Awlaki speak and then invited him. It turns out the FBI investigated Awlaki for ties to some of the Saudis who attacked the Pentagon on 9/11. You’d think that would have come up.
Never mind, Bush “kept us safe.”