Sunday, March 25, 2007

Has Al-Qaeda Jumped the Shark?

So WaPost threw out an interesting expose on the war on terror: do we all buy the mantra of the Bush Administration that all aspects of every citizen's life should be filtered through the question of "does this encourage the bad guys?" We now know that OBL's father traveled to America and returned home with a deep disgust over our immorality... because of suburban lawns. Does this excuse me from all counterinsurgency tactics against dandelions? Are lawns now to be considered anti-American? Or a patriotic duty not well understood by urban liberal Democrats? Seriously. Aptly noted is that FDR, on entering America into WWII, extolled to the public that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." And the summers of the odd numbered year.

Even my conservative coworkers blinked at me today when I broached the issue at lunch. What's with odd years? 2001. 2003. 2005. Now it's 2007. 2001. What happened those other years? You're kidding. We haven't experienced a terrorist attack since.... Madrid. London. Those Al-Qaeda bombings. Oh. Not here. Our allies, yeah. Them. Europe has too many Muslims now, so they can't be our allies. Interesting. I'm just saying. So... you think there is some kind of a pattern? Three odd years in a row. Major attack on a Western City. So.. if 2007 passes by and there isn't one... has Al-Qaeda jumped the shark?

I'll give them credit; no one asked me what "jumped the shark" meant. What will it mean if there is no major attack on a Western City this summer? British investigations prove that terrorist cells develop inside their target drawn from individuals recruited at training camps held away from major combat. "Operation Crevice" drew itself from terrorist camps in Pakistan, a country Bush has yet failed to invade, and which appears a bit lower on that lucky list than Iran. British evidence given at trial links the "Crevice" bombers with conventional ammonium nitrate fertilizer, and not a Weapon of Mass Destruction. Crevice bombers also met several times with bomber of the successful 7/7 plot, whose connections were not investigated due to a lack of funding and manpower. Of course, if one has to choose between soldiers in Iraq and police hunting actual terrorist cells in a Western City... well, Al-Qaeda must be defeated in Iraq or they will follow us home! No of course, to any expensive Republican ski-lodges in the Rocky Mountains, just the cities of liberals.

Dick Cheney lectured in Florida (smell 2008 campaign work?) 3/24/07:

"The most common myth is that Iraq has nothing to do with the global war on terror. Opponents of our military action there have called Iraq a diversion from the real conflict, a distraction from the business of fighting and defeating bin Laden and al Qaeda."

Cheney goes on at length to quote OBL propaganda. Truth is, few and far between are the Americans (outside of the anti-all-war protesters) who treat bombings in Baghdad that kill hundreds the way we would treat a similar bombing in a Western City, where we would plaster the site with flowers and candles and teddy bears. How many teddy bears end up outside of the Iraqi Embassy following a suicide bombing in some random dusty town on the Eurphrates? When we are honest, we admit this. When Al-Aaeda plots to incinerate Britons with plant food, they understand this. The global war on terror exists because the global jihad exists, whose sole pursuit is to strike at Western targets. And nothing is more West than the West. Despite the Taliban being routed, and the invasion of Iraq, the formation and execution of the terrorist cell proved enduring, and exportable to the Muslim fighters at war with Mother Russia. Iraq remains one square on the giant checkerboard, and not the only one that makes kings.

"The second myth is the most transparent -- and that is the notion that one can support the troops without giving them the tools and reinforcements they need to carry out their mission."

I like Petraeus. Truth. I supported a vote of no confidence in Bush's troop surge plan. That plan was not Petraeus' as Bush began it before Petraeus was confirmed, something that Cheney selectively avoids. Liberals of course were right, the plan was faulty which Bush proved when he had to send reinforcements for his reinforcements just this month. Petraeus' real COIN operation would have required more soldiers. Enough more to make Bush's surge look like a couple of cops in a squad car. What does happen when a bad war happens to a good general?

Congress does, of course, play a critical role in the defense of the nation and the conduct of this war. That role is defined and limited by the Constitution -- after all, the military answers to one commander-in-chief in the White House, not to 535 commanders-in-chief on Capitol Hill. (Applause.) If they really support the troops, then we should take them at their word and expect them to meet the needs of our military on time, in full, and with no strings attached. (Applause.)

Cheney avoids scolding the dethroned Republican Congress of 2006 for failing to provide adequate funding last year for the troops, making this supplemental necessary in the first place. The vast majority of these funds aren't for the troops being surged, but for more normal combat or military operations which should have been already provided for in full. Cheney also seems not to be a big fan of the Constitution, if he thinks that Congress is limited as he implies above, to merely writing blank checks. How can the audience trust Cheney and Bush to spread democracy abroad when they prefer a lack of democracy at home?

There is a third myth about the war on terror, and this is one that is perhaps the most dangerous. Some apparently believe that getting out of Iraq before the job is done will strengthen America's hand in the fight against the terrorists. This myth is dangerous because it represents a complete validation of the al Qaeda strategy. The terrorists do not expect to be able to beat us in a stand-up fight. They never have, and they're not likely to try. The only way they can win is if we lose our nerve and abandon the mission -- and the terrorists do believe that they can force that outcome. Time after time, they have predicted that the American people do not have the stomach for a long-term fight. They've cited the cases of Beirut in the '80s and Somalia in the '90s. These examples, they believe, show that we are weak and decadent, and that if we're hit hard enough, we'll pack it in and retreat. The result would be even greater danger for the United States, because if the terrorists conclude that attacks will change the behavior of a nation, they will attack that nation again and again. And believing they can break our will, they'll become more audacious in their tactics, ever more determined to strike and kill our citizens, and ever more bold in their ambitions of conquest and empire.

Cheney and his fanclub have amnesia. We won the Cold War, the last long great struggle against an intractable foe, the only adequate comparison. Cheney also fails to mention the other side of the Beruit story.. which would be the French. The French also suffered a bombing a few days after the U.S. and they retaliated... against Iran, with an airstrike. But the French are still wussies. That's public opinion for ya. Depresses me that not only does Cheney expect people to be impressed by this argument, so many people have such undeveloped brains that they are unable to appreciate the effect of spin. Some people will say anything, and that includes Islamofacists. And some people will believe anything. Just look what the National Inquirer can publish. Iraq is not all that important to Al-Qaeda. There will always be another Iraq for them, another Afghanistan, another Sudan. They're global. Like cockroaches.

That leads me to the fourth, and the cruelest, myth -- and that is the false hope that we can abandon the effort in Iraq without serious consequences to our interests in the broader Middle East. The reality is that, if our coalition withdrew before Iraqis could defend themselves, radical factions would battle for dominance in that country. The violence would spread throughout the country, and be very difficult to contain. Having tasted victory in Iraq, jihadists would look for new missions. Many would head for Afghanistan and fight alongside the Taliban. Others would set out for capitals across the Middle East, spreading more sorrow and discord as they eliminate dissenters and work to undermine moderate governments. Still others would find their targets and victims in other countries on other continents.

Cheney forgets how wrong his administration proved going into Iraq. What's given him some new brilliance over the past few years... ah... nothing? Another scenario finds that with reduced American presence, Sunni tribes become less welcoming of foreign fighters. Shite leaders become more confident in their majoritarian governance and form better alliances with the Kurdish population to develop oil production. Iran gets smoozy, sure, and the rising economic fortunes of both countries' urban populations leads to stronger democratic parties and a weaker Islamic fundamental showing in following elections. Saudi Arabia's (mildly fundamental) dominance begins to wain, as Iraq's oil production increases. Jordan's economic fortunes rise with their old friend Iraq, which enables them to better manage their Palestinian refugee population. Increases in regional stability spread to Lebanon and into the West Bank. All equally possible. Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to provide air and naval defense to Iraq, combined with training to it's military and police, while maintaining it's boarders against those foreign fighters. Also a possible scenario, but equally not guaranteed. Life gives no such promises.

We can be confident in the outcome of this struggle. America is a good and an honorable country. We serve a cause that is right, and a cause that gives hope to the oppressed in every corner of the Earth. We're the kind of country that fights for freedom, and the men and women in the fight are some of the bravest citizens this nation has ever produced. (Applause.)

Cheney said this holding up a tiny asterisk to indicate all the various places in the world where the U.S. pursues no policy to give hope to the oppressed. In Tibet.

Or in airports. Which leads me to the subject that con-bloggers who don't do my job should shut the frak up:

"If this legislation passes (civil service protections given to every other federal worker extended to federal airport security), the Democrats will be making the TSA’s job more difficult. Passengers will assume a greater risk when flying commercial airplanes as a result of this legislation."

TSA pursues the purposes of it's political appointees who spend lavishly on limos and passing on contracts to their personal friends. None of which has to do with airport security. Or preventing future terrorist attacks. Reducing overtime and reducing customer complaints are the primary concern of the management level. When I have a union to protect me for telling the truth, I'll get back to you on this subject.

I need a picture here to educate this bloody moron:

Don't blame the crew in the boiler room for TSA's design flaws.

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