Archive for the ‘war on terror’ Category

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About This “But He Kept Us Safe” Meme…(pt. II)

January 21, 2009

Yea, I know I’ve been over this before, but I thought I’d mention that there now appears to be a website created for the purposes of formally thanking Bush for it (h/t LGF):

bushmissionaccomplished

Never mind the irony that Bush has stated on multiple occasions that he regrets the whole “Mission Accomplished” thing, of course.  On his watch, nearly 3000 died in the worst terrorist attack in American history.  In response, he turned around and invaded a country that had nothing to do with it, resulting in even more American lives lost, tens of thousands wounded, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent…and nearly 6 years later, we’re still there.  But we’re supposed to thank him, because the batshit crazy cave-dwellers haven’t managed to pull off another stunt with knives and flying lessons?    They’re saying that not allowing the same mistakes and oversights to happen again is cause for some sort of praise, and willfully ignoring the fact that the battle was being waged well before 9/11, and making the assumption that those of us that hadn’t died horrifying deaths would be living under bin Laden’s rule if it wasn’t for the protective blanket provided by Papa Bush.   I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it. 

Well, if one admits that it’s a cop-out for unconditionally supporting the guy all these years, then maybe I get it.

Anyway, if you click the image, you’ll see also that the site’s founders make the claim that “the president’s Number One Mission is to protect our nation” (bold in original).   But as we saw yesterday, the oath requires the president to swear to “preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States”.   Much has been made of the conflict between the two principles during Bush’s eight years in office, certainly, and I would assume that the ultimate goal would be to avoid sacrificing one for the sake of the other.   So how did Bush do with regard to the actual oath?  Pretty poorly, it would seem. 

So go ahead and thank him, if you wish.  You’re just a couple clicks away.  Give him the ol’ A for effort.  For myself, I think instead I’ll wait see if Obama is capable of cleaning up the mess first.

Exit thought:  That image of Bush has always spooked me.  Is it a gay lover look?  A Manson-esque stare?  The failed televangelist?   I’m not sure, but I’d take his ridiculous eyebrow-contorting phony smirks any day of the week over that crazy mugshot.

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Does Al Qaeda Care About Our Elections? (Part III)

October 22, 2008

Interesting.  A month after I posed the question in Part II, I think I saw the answer pop up today.  Here’s the WaPo via memeorandum: On Al-Qaeda Web Sites, Joy Over U.S. Crisis, Support for McCain

Al-Qaeda is watching the U.S. stock market’s downward slide with something akin to jubilation, with its leaders hailing the financial crisis as a vindication of its strategy of crippling America’s economy through endless, costly foreign wars against Islamist insurgents.

And at least some of its supporters think Sen. John McCain is the presidential candidate best suited to continue that trend.

“Al-Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election,” said a commentary posted Monday on the extremist Web site al-Hesbah, which is closely linked to the terrorist group. It said the Arizona Republican would continue the “failing march of his predecessor,” President Bush.

The Web commentary was one of several posted by Taliban or al-Qaeda-allied groups in recent days that trumpeted the global financial crisis and predicted further decline for the United States and other Western powers. In language that was by turns mocking and ominous, the newest posting credited al-Qaeda with having lured Washington into a trap that had “exhausted its resources and bankrupted its economy.” It further suggested that a terrorist strike might swing the election to McCain and guarantee an expansion of U.S. military commitments in the Islamic world.

Whether the current financial situation we find ourselves in is due to the expensive “War on Terror” is surely to be disputed, of course, but it’d be pretty hard to argue that it’s helped the situation (unless one wants to make the claim that the Iraq intervention has somehow prohibited another financially ruinous attack, thereby being a net plus).  It’s been 4 years since Osama released his “bankrupt the U.S.” October surprise, and it has been argued that the tape put Bush in the White House (as designed), so one may naturally wonder if AQ has something up their sleeve this time around.  And like I posted in Part II, there apparently have been warnings of another attack.   So, What would they do?  An attack, or maybe drag Osama out of the cave to release another taunting video?

Actually, the better question would be:  Would the American people fall for it again, whatever they did?

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Update: No signs of Qaeda election threat – U.S.

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Does Al Qaeda Care About Our Elections? (Part II)

September 22, 2008

I know it was a year and a half ago, but I bring this question up again, in light of what I saw on memeorandum today: Spies Warn That Al Qaeda Aims for October Surprise

WASHINGTON — In the aftermath of two major terrorist attacks on Western targets, America’s counterterrorism community is warning that Al Qaeda may launch more overseas operations to influence the presidential elections in November.

Assuming they do, who do you suppose the al Qaeda boys want us to elect?  What could a bunch of chaos and carnage do to influence us?  The author of the Sun article doesn’t really spell it out.

So, I suppose that if you were to ask your average righty blogger, Rep. Steve King, or the former prime minister of Australia, it would be Obama.  But it you were to ask others, like the gang over at Think Progress, well, it would be McCain.

I’ll just leave it open to discussion…

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Mental Gymnastics: Not An Olympic Event (I checked)

June 23, 2008

(OK, OK, so I was watching the Olympic trails, and it inspired the title for this post.  So what?)

Anyway, I just had to bring up this post I saw (and commented on) over at Hot Air:  McCain advisor: A new terror attack would be “a big advantage to him”

Now, before I continue, I suppose I should note that I have addressed this issue before here in the Chamber: What Color Is The Sky On Hillary Clinton’s Home Planet?

I only mention this now because …well…because there’s this phrase that’s etched into my brain.  It’s “NO ATTACKS SINCE 9/11”.  This probably comes to me so quickly since, as a brave traveller of the political rightosphere, I’ve heard it dozens of times.   The phrase has been effective, apparently, as it had somehow permeated and invaded Mrs. Clinton’s brain as well (however many fallacies inherent), but the reason why I title this post the way I have is because…well…because it would mentally take a perfect-10 triple-backflip with a stuck dismount to somehow reconcile this phrase with the now de-facto notion* that another attack on the US would be beneficial to the side that has spouted it with such confidence.

I mean, how in the hell can both the lack of attacks and an attack be a political advantage? 

*just see the comments section of that Hot Air post

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Milestones In The Long Journey Back To The Line Of Scrimmage

May 24, 2008

Great news!  That rag-tag band of terrorists that didn’t exist until we invaded Iraq may have finally been defeated.  Of course, we’ve seen these “al Qaeda in Iraq is on the run” flashes before, but I’m still gonna give the h/t to Hot Air ’cause, well, maybe because I don’t remember ever posting about it. 

Anyway…

The battle against the people a little closer to those who actually attacked us is ongoing:  Taliban Attacks Spike in Afghanistan 

 

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Just End The “War On Terror”

February 22, 2008

Speaking of memos, Newsweek’s Michael Hirsh has an excellent article up today: Memo to President Obama

It is a debate that only Obama can start. McCain won’t bring it up. Nor will Hillary Clinton. Apart from being on the verge of oblivion politically, she is too fully vested in the war on terror, having voted in 2002 to authorize the war in Iraq as part of it. And if that debate doesn’t start, we as a country will be effectively doomed to a “war” that has no prospect of ending. Bush has gradually expanded his definition of the war on terror to include all Islamic “extremists”—among them Hezbollah, Hamas, and other radical political groups that have no ties to Al Qaeda, ideological or otherwise. In doing so the president has plainly condemned us to a permanent war, for the simple reason that we will never be rid of all the terrorists. It is also a war that we will wage by ourselves, since no other nation agrees on such a broadly defined enemy. As Princeton scholar G. John Ikenberry has written, “It is perhaps a paradox—and one that is fitting for the strangeness of our current age—that we will need to end the war against terrorism because we cannot end terrorism.”

This is something that I’ve argued here in the Chamber many, many, many, many times*.  Would Obama have the political courage to change the paradigm in this country?  I’m not sure. 

During one of the presidential debates last April (have they really been going on for that long?), the candidates were asked to raise their hands if they believed that such a thing as a “global war on terror” existed.   Obama, somewhat hesitantly, did raise his hand:

I’m in complete agreement with Hirsh on this.   If we really want “change”, one of the first things we need to do is to start making the distinction between policies of smart counterterrorism and protecting the homeland and a ‘war’ that is, by definition, unwinnable.  John Edwards understood this, but he did a terrible job in articulating it (the “bumper sticker” thing just wasn’t working).  

I really hope Obama gets this memo.

*For a full list of Chamber entries on this issue, check the “war on terror” tag.

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McCain Apparently Didn’t Get The Memo

February 20, 2008

Maybe I was the only one who thought it was a little strange that, in last night’s Wisconsin victory speech, John McCain said this:

“Will we risk the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate who once suggested bombing our ally, Pakistan?”

McCain was, of course, referring to what Barack Obama said back in August:

“I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges… But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. … If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will.

Now, I’m fully aware that Mr. McCain isn’t the only one that has given Obama flak over this comment.  Heck, just about every right ring blogger and their brother has as well.  But it would appear that neither McCain nor his speechwriters caught this little tidbit in the Washington Post yesterday:

In the predawn hours of Jan. 29, a CIA Predator aircraft flew in a slow arc above the Pakistani town of Mir Ali. The drone’s operator, relying on information secretly passed to the CIA by local informants, clicked a computer mouse and sent the first of two Hellfire missiles hurtling toward a cluster of mud-brick buildings a few miles from the town center.

The missiles killed Abu Laith al-Libi, a senior al-Qaeda commander and a man who had repeatedly eluded the CIA’s dragnet. It was the first successful strike against al-Qaeda’s core leadership in two years, and it involved, U.S. officials say, an unusual degree of autonomy by the CIA inside Pakistan.

Yea…I’m not quite sure how the spin machine is going to reconcile this one.  I guess the logical thing for the Straight Talk Express to do would be to condemn the confused, inexperienced leadership of George W. Bush

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Why Obama, Part II: Homeland Security

January 26, 2008

For the second installment of the Chamber’s Why Obama series, I’ve picked the homeland security issue.  The same format applies; this is right from the Obama website:

Obama homeland security fact sheet (pdf)

The Problem

Five years after 9/11, our country is still unprepared for a terrorist attack. From improving security for our transit systems and chemical plants, to increasing cargo screening in our airports and seaports, the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission have been underfunded and ignored. The 9/11 Commission gave the government five F’s and 12 D’s on the implementation of its recommendations. Senator Obama is a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and has supported efforts to base homeland security spending on risk rather than pork-barrel politics. He has also introduced legislation to strengthen chemical plant and drinking water security and to enhance disaster preparedness.

Barack Obama’s Plan

Protecting Our Chemical Plants

Chemical plants are attractive terrorist targets because they are often located near cities, are relatively easy to attack, and contain multi-ton quantities of hazardous chemicals. While a number of plants have taken voluntary steps to improve security, there are still major gaps; and the federal government has never established meaningful, permanent security regulations. Senator Obama worked with Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) to introduce comprehensive chemical plant security legislation that would establish a clear set of federal regulations that all plants must follow. The bill requires chemical facilities to enhance security, including improving barriers, containment, mitigation, and safety training, and, where possible, using safer technology, such as less toxic chemicalsobama08_thumblogo100.gif

Keeping Track of Spent Nuclear Fuel

The nation has 103 operating nuclear power plants which annually produce over 2,000 metric tons of spent fuel that remains highly radioactive for many years. A report by the Government Accountability Office found inadequate tracking and security for spent nuclear fuel rods. Nuclear plants in Connecticut, Vermont and California have reported missing spent fuel in the last five years. Senator Obama introduced legislation to establish guidelines for tracking, controlling, and accounting for spent fuel at nuclear power plants.

Evacuating Special Needs Population in Emergencies

One of the most devastating aspects of Hurricane Katrina is that most of the stranded victims were society’s most vulnerable members – low-income families, the elderly, the homeless, and disabled Americans. Too many states and cities do not have adequate plans in place to care for special-needs populations. Senator Obama introduced and passed legislation to require mandatory planning for evacuating people with special needs.

Reuniting Families After Emergencies

After Hurricane Katrina, thousands of people struggled to contact family and friends following evacuation. Evacuees were forced to comb through dozens of databases in an effort to reconnect with loved ones. Senator Obama introduced and passed legislation to create a centralized, federal database to allow individuals displaced by an emergency to call one phone number or go to one website and post their location and condition. Family members and law enforcement officials would be able to use this same secure, centralized system to check the status of missing loved ones.

Keeping Our Drinking Water Safe

There are almost 170,000 public water systems in the United States. An attack on a drinking water system could contaminate or disrupt water service, thereby disrupting society, impacting human health and compromising critical activities such as fire protection. Senator Obama introduced legislation to provide $37.5 million over 5 years for drinking water systems to upgrade their monitoring and security efforts.

Protecting the Public from Radioactive Releases

Following reports that nuclear power plants in Illinois did not promptly notify local communities that tritium – a byproduct of nuclear generation – had leaked into the groundwater, Senator Obama introduced legislation to require nuclear plants to inform state and local officials if there is an unintentional leak of a radioactive substance. Chronic exposure to high levels of tritium can increase the risk of cancer, birth defects and genetic damage.

Barack Obama’s Record

There have been tritium leaks at other nuclear plants, though none so extensive as at Braidwood. The uproar over Braidwood prompted the Nuclear Energy Institute to outline a voluntary policy for monitoring tritium leaks and reporting such incidents. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has vowed to continue to push for federal legislation that requires reporting. “The nuclear industry already had a voluntary policy, and it hasn’t worked,” he said. Exelon’s past actions have helped to prove his point.

— Chicago Tribune, Editorial, May 25, 2006

We could kill a hundred thousand men in the deserts of the Middle East, and it still wouldn’t change the fact that a single terrorist cell here in the U.S. could strike at any number of our vulnerabilities.  Needless to say, I’ve long argued that the “fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here” rhetoric lies in the domain of two-dimensional thinking (not to mention a desperate attempt at retrograde justification for the Iraq debacle).  I was glad to see that Obama’s plan addresses many of the gaps in our security (outlined in the pdf), including the need for the screening of all inbound cargo at our ports.  I’ve never really understood the logic behind spending hundreds of billions of dollars to fund an ongoing occupation in Iraq while basic steps to “terror proof” our homeland have been largely ignored.   Obama and I are also on the same page in recognising that while intelligence is vital to preventing terrorist attacks, we cannot allow fear to drive us to sacrifice the civil liberties that defines our country. 

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Sometimes, “Cowardly” Isn’t The Best Antonym For “Heroic”

December 27, 2007

There is reaction all over the blogosphere to the news that Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto was assassinated today, but I thought I’d comment on what George Bush said this morning.  Specifically, this part:

The United States strongly condemns this cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan’s democracy. Those who committed this crime must be brought to justice.

I could have sworn that the Bush’s use of the phase “cowardly act” sounded familiar.  Indeed, Bush used it after the terrorist attacks of 9/11:

Make no mistake: The United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts.

Researching further, one finds that Bush has a penchant for using the adverb “cowardly” to describe a suicide bombing whenever the need to condemn it arises, whether it happened in Jerusalem, Jordan, Bali, or Lebanon

I don’t know about you readers out there, but when I think of someone giving their life for a cause, “cowardly” isn’t the first word that comes to mind (regardless if innocents are killed).  It certainly isn’t what I thought when 9/11 happened.  In fact, I remember finding myself on a level of agreement with Bill Maher when he infamously said this:

“We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away: That’s cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it’s not cowardly.”

Say what you want about it…but it is hard to describe the lobbing of cruise missiles as “brave” or “heroic”, that much I know, but to call it something else doesn’t mean you abhor the act, does it?  

Must all acts of war have a courage meter?  After all, the most important aspect of any particular method of warfare is its effectiveness from a tactical perspective.  Somewhere along the lines, American troops abandoned bright red coats, drums, and marching straight into lead volleys, eventually switching to camouflage, silence, and taking cover.  If George Washington were alive today, how would he describe an attack via cruise missile?  I’m not sure it makes sense to go down this road. 

Surely, there is a more accurate and descriptive adverb that one can attach to acts that falls far short of connotations of respect.  “Foul”, “despicable”, and “contemptible” would be perfectly acceptable.  So why “cowardly”?   Over at Slate, Tim Noah pondered the same thing after 9/11 (also citing Clinton’s and Reagan’s use of the word), and I think he nailed it:

In truth, notions of “cowardice” and “bravery” are entirely irrelevant when we contemplate the horrors of terrorism. To call a terrorist “cowardly” is to substitute testosterone for morality. Somehow it isn’t enough to abhor an act of terrorism or even to promise to make the terrorist pay dearly. The rules demand that the terrorist be branded a sissy. This is not only a childish reflex, but one that weakens the moral force of the condemnation and thereby dishonors terrorism’s victims. After all, we don’t want brave people to slaughter innocent people any more than we want cowardly people to do so. Still, the public seems to demand that our presidents call terrorists cowards, and our presidents are too–well, cowardly–to deny them. (h/t Paul Krugman)

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What Is It With Terrorism And Shopping Malls?

November 12, 2007

I imagine that just about every American who watched the events of September 11, 2001 has, at some point, envisioned other nightmarish scenarios that could plausibly come to pass.  It would be natural to wonder what else the dark side of humanity is capable of after something like that.  Certainly the prospect of terrorists armed with WMD’s was beaten into our collective psyche in the run-up to the Iraq war, and I’m guessing that visions of catastrophe have run the span of imagination and beyond.

In light of the upcoming Holiday season, I wonder… So why in the heck does the attack at a shopping mall keep coming up?  If the active ingredient in terrorism is fear, is this scenario really that scary?   To highlight what I mean, consider the following:

-(CBS/AP) A Somali native living in Ohio has been charged with plotting with other al Qaeda operatives to blow up a Columbus-area shopping mall, according to an indictment unsealed Monday. (June 14, 2004)

-A Chicago-area man has been charged in an alleged plot to attack a local mall and government buildings. (Dec. 8, 2006)

-Jack (Bauer) goes undercover when the terrorists try to release a canister at the Sunrise Hills shopping mall, and Jack stops the attempt against the orders of the President. (Day 5)

-“The questions in this round will be premised on a fictional, but we think plausible scenario involving terrorism and the response to it. Here is the premise: Three shopping centers near major U.S. cities have been hit by suicide bombers. Hundreds are dead, thousands injured. A fourth attack has been averted when the attackers were captured off the Florida coast and taken to Guantanamo Bay, where they are being questioned. U.S. intelligence believes that another larger attack is planned and could come at any time.” (Brit Hume, May 15, 2007 Republican Presidential Debate in South Carolina)

-“To walk out of Iraq right now would plant a seed that ultimately would lead to destabilization there, hundreds of thousands of deaths, loss of our influence in the region, would create instability throughout the Middle East throughout East Asia, throughout Europe. And sooner or later it would come to our shores, to a shopping mall near you.” (Tony Snow July 12, 2007)

-“The FBI is warning that al Qaeda may be preparing a series of holiday attacks on U.S. shopping malls in Los Angeles and Chicago, according to an intelligence report distributed to law enforcement authorities across the country this morning.” (November 08, 2007

-“Tom Tancredo’s new ad, set to run in Iowa — if any stations will accept it, that is — is a true original. The ad depicts the dire consequences of our open borders through a dramatization of a fictitious terrorist attack in the middle of a shopping mall. Furthermore, it even ends with the sound of an explosion!” (Today, h/t TPM):

Tip of the iceberg, as they say, as that was just a few examples.  For a little perspective, however… U.S. Shopping Malls: Unlikely al Qaeda Targets

A terrorist attack against a shopping center in the United States has the potential to cause panic among the public and damage the economy at a time when retail stores expect large numbers of holiday shoppers. In terms of the number of victims, a truly devastating attack would require coordination at several locations. Even then, such an attack is unlikely to produce a high number of casualties, as previous attacks overseas have demonstrated. A suicide bombing in May at a mall in Ankara, Turkey, for instance, resulted in six deaths, while a car bomb outside a busy shopping center in Beirut, Lebanon, killed one person.

And yet, there appears to be no shortage of fear going around over it.  But why shopping malls, and not, say, a high school football game?  To disrupt the economy, especially during the holidays?  I’m going to propose that if this ever were to happen, the patriotic thing to do would be to run to your local mall and buy something. If the active ingredient in terrorism is fear, it’s easy to fight.  All you have to do is chose not to be afraid.

 mallgoers.jpg
Home of the Brave

And for the record, according to one source, the odds of dying as a result of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil is about 80,000 to one, which is about the same odds as dying as a result of being struck by lightning.  So be careful out there.

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Pakistanis Heart Bin Laden

September 12, 2007

Here’s some wonderful news: Poll: Bin Laden tops Musharraf in Pakistan

“We have conducted 23 polls all over the Muslim world, and this is the most disturbing one we have conducted,” said Ken Ballen, the group’s head. “Pakistan is the one Muslim nation that has nuclear weapons, and the people who want to use them against us — like the Taliban and al Qaeda — are more popular there than our allies like Musharraf.”

Fantastic.  We’re bogged down in the Iraq quagmire while bin Laden releases taunting tapes and continues on pace to becoming a folk hero.  How in the hell did we get to this point?

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Bin Laden Thinks We’ll Do Ourselves In

September 9, 2007

There’s been a lot of buzz (and spin) on the blogs about the latest bin Laden video, so I might as well add my thoughts on it. 

Like many people, I wondered if bin Laden was still alive, so I’m going to go ahead and assume that this appearance proves that he is (although I suppose that it is possible that it’s a hoax).  I only saw a portion of it, so I’ll base my comments from here on in on the transcript.

Bin Laden is all over the board with this.  He mentions everything from Chomsky to global warming to capitalism to Iraq to Jesus and Mary.  I was three pages in and I was a bit unsure if it was really making any sense.  It started out as veiled gloating and evolved into what could best be described as…um…advice.   Eventually, I think I got it, however.

What’s remarkably absent, I guess, is any talk of future attacks.   The point I think he’s attempting to make here is that they don’t need to.   He’s appears to be saying that 9/11 was a catalyst that prompted a course of action that will lead to our downfall.   According to bin Laden,  because of our flawed capitalist system combined with our stubborn and arrogant leadership (who do the bidding of the corporations), we will bankrupt ourselves…and the only thing that will save us is Islam.

While reading it, I couldn’t help but wonder what the heck he’d have to say if we hadn’t invaded Iraq.  Who knows?  Maybe he wouldn’t be saying anything.  Maybe he’d be dead or captured by now.

Another thing worth mentioning is the question of whether any of this is really what he believes.  This propagandistic speech is directed at us Americans, and it would be irresponsible to dismiss the notion that he’s just messing with us.  In other words, the speech itself is less a genuine piece of advise and more of an instrument of sociological warfare.  In fact, Jason Stark over at mvdg proposes exactly that:

If I am right about Osama’s plan, then he must be very happy. Actually, he must be very happy regardless of whether he planned it. The response from far right and far left are predictable and to Osama’s benefit. Rather than focusing on how to best fight bin Laden, both the far left and the far right are spending all their energy on each other. The only winner from this obsessive internal political demonization that has become the sum total of American political culture? Osama bin Laden.

Maybe we’re both right.  Perhaps the message kills 2 birds with one stone.  He gets to gloat and inspire and stick his grubby fingers in our political discourse at the same time. 

I feel kind of guilty even posting about this now.  After all, we’re allowing a bearded nutbar in a cave on the other side of the globe to have so much power.  How humiliating. 

Update:  The Telegraph speculates that bin Laden’s speechwriter may be Adam Gadahn.

Bin Laden referred to “the reeling of many of you under the burden of interest-related debts, insane taxes and real estate mortgage” and blamed “global warming and its woes” on “emissions of the factories the major corporations”.

A former senior US intelligence official said: “It has Adam Gadahn written all over it.” Mike Baker, a former CIA covert operations officer, said the tape left bin Laden with “the title of biggest gas bag in the terrorist world”.

 

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Why We Haven’t Found Bin Laden

August 26, 2007

I read an unusually long piece on the Newsweek site today that gave a very comprehensive background on the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and although many of the details it featured have been known for some time, many have not, and it was nice to see it all laid out in one story.  I’d suggest that everyone read it.  The Ongoing Hunt for Osama bin Laden

My takeaway from this was that it further revealed that the Iraq invasion was an unnecessary and counterproductive blunder.  Instead of narrowly focusing on the source of the 9/11 attacks and the ideology that fueled it, we’ve gone ahead and created new problems.  Big problems that we’ll undoubtedly be dealing with for generations.  Here’s the graph that best sums it up in my mind:

The American effort to chase bin Laden into this forbidding realm was hobbled and clumsy from the start. While the terrain required deep local knowledge and small units, career officers in the U.S. military have long been wary of the Special Operations Forces best suited to the task. In the view of the regular military, such “snake eaters” have tended to be troublesome, resistant to spit-and-polish discipline and rulebooks. Rather than send the snake eaters to poke around mountain caves and mud-walled compounds, the U.S. military wanted to fight on a grander stage, where it could show off its mobility and firepower. To the civilian bosses at the Pentagon and the eager-to-please top brass, Iraq was a much better target. By invading Iraq, the United States would give the Islamists—and the wider world—an unforgettable lesson in American power. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was on Rumsfeld’s Defense Policy Board and, at the time, a close confidant of the SecDef. In November 2001, Gingrich told a NEWSWEEK reporter, “There’s a feeling we’ve got to do something that counts—and bombing caves is not something that counts.”

Oh, it’s counting all right.  Half a trillion dollars and counting.  Four years and counting.  3728 and counting. 

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What Color Is The Sky On Hillary Clinton’s Home Planet?

August 24, 2007

I’m a little late to post on this one, but I thought I’d comment on this absurd comment from Mrs. Clinton:

“It’s a horrible prospect to ask yourself, ‘What if? What if?’ But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world,” Clinton told supporters in Concord.

Say WHA….?  What kind of triple backflip inverse logical reasoning is that?  Bush and the GOP have been banking on the “no attacks since 9/11” line for quite awhile now.  Heck, we saw Cheney blurt out “make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we’ll get hit again” before the ’04 elections.  How in the hell can both the lack of an attack and an attack be to their advantage? 

Look, I’d like to think that another terrorist attack would be to no American’s advantage, politically or otherwise.  Maybe I’m just naive, but I have no idea where Clinton is coming up with this notion, or what might have motivated her to say this.  Am I missing something here?  Or, is she just acknowledging the fact that, unfortunately, people really fall for the “vote for me, and I’ll keep you safe”, followed by the “See!, I told you that you need us to keep you safe!” after an attack happens? 

I’m not sure why Clinton wouldn’t have just gotten out right in front of it preemptively, instead of giving us this lame line:

“So I think I’m the best of the Democrats to deal with that,” she added.

 I wanted to check on some of the other blogs’ reactions, and I found one from a righty blogger that I respect for his intellectual honesty, Allahpundit:

Of course she’s right. For one thing, people tend to rally to their leader when they’re attacked. The single biggest security lapse in American history happened on Bush’s watch six years ago. How’d his approval ratings look two weeks later?

I’ll have to disagree with Allah on this one.  Terrorism wasn’t a front-burner issue when we were attacked on 9/11, and Bush was still a relatively new president.  People forgot about hanging chads in Florida pretty quick.  But what would we do now?  Insist we invade another country?  It’s just hard for me to picture another attack being anything other than bona fide proof that 6 years after 9/11, Bush has actually pulled of the incredible feat of making the situation worse for us.  All the “fight them over there”, and “follow us home” and “democracy will defeat the ideology” sloganeering would suddenly be revealed to be the crap that it always was.  In a sane world, another attack would be bad for every American, but especially the GOP.  In a sane world…