Category Archives: Al Qaeda

Reversing the Appeal of Extremism

Great piece by Josh Marshall at TPM:

As you likely are too, I’m watching conversations unfold among friends on Facebook and in real life about the terrorist attack in San Bernardino and what the United States should be doing in response. Depending on your point of view, the argument is framed as one between American values and bigotry or political correctness and getting tough on radical Islam. Admittedly, these are extreme formulations, in each case using one side’s caricature of the other. But all of this ignores the central conundrum we face when we think about counter-terrorism, especially ones of the lone wolf variety or even more organized ones like the recent massacre in Paris.

The kinds of surveillance and scrutiny which inevitably fall on suspect populations as part of a heightened counter-terrorism posture are exactly the kinds of strictures which over time are likely to create the kind of social isolation and alienation which seems, from the evidence we have from Europe, to create a breeding ground for radicalization. So getting the balance right is very difficult. And this is entirely apart from the very legitimate and pressing discussion about what policies are American values and our constitution will or should allow. Throw all of that out the window and you’ve still got a very complex balancing act on your hands. (read the rest here)

Iraq War – (more than) 10 years later

With Jeb Bush fumbling an easy question from Meghan Kelly and Marco Rubio doing his Jeb Bush impersonation in front of Fox New’s Chris Wallace… I thought that I would repost this. It is a basic summary of why we went to war and how each one of those assumptions was wrong. 

I will not say anything new in this post. I will not say anything that is outrageous or over the top. The Iraq War was one of the many reasons that caused me to start writing a book and to start a blog.

I think that the Bush Administration had four main reasons for going to war in Iraq. Yellowcake from Nigeraluminum tubes to concentrate uranium, mobile biological labs and the Al Qaeda (Mohamed Atta) – Saddam Hussein connection.  It is now clear that none of these lines of argument were based in fact. I will not go into any of the details of why the above claims were lies. It should be clear to everyone by now. I will point you to Hubris and 500 Days as two very good books that go into detail about what happened and why. Also check out James Risen’s book State of War.

Cost of the War in Iraq

I guess the big question concerns what we gained from the Iraq War. Some will say nothing. Others will argue that we got rid of Saddam Hussein and that was worth it. I would argue that we squandered international good will. We fanned the flames of Muslim extremism. We played into the hands of Bin Laden by invading a country that was no threat to us or our allies. I would say that we turned a very backward nation into a battleground where there seems to always be war.

News Roundup – Scott Brown, ISIS / ISIL, Syria

Scott Brown was known for decisive action when he was in the Senate. He’s now running for Senate, again, in New Hampshire. This time he understands the Islamic threat. He is not confused. He is serious, very serious (if he says so).

Last night the US struck targets in Syria. We have a coalition. At least that is what we are being told. I have no idea if this is true or not. Obama said, “The strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not America’s fight alone… Above all, the people and governments of the Middle East are rejecting ISIL (ISIS), and standing up for the peace and security that the people of the region and the world deserve.”

F-22 Raptor flew some of the bombing missions. This makes the first time that the F-22 has been flown in combat. I’m surprised. The F-22 has been around for awhile. I thought that it flew missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was wrong.

I understand the threat of ISIS / ISIL. I didn’t really understand… Well, to be honest, I had never heard of Khorasan. This is reportedly a militant group that was associated with Al Qaeda somehow. They were some type of growing threat and we took them or some portion of them out with missile strikes. From WSJ – U.S. officials have viewed Khorasan with growing alarm in recent weeks and some have said it would be irresponsible to strike in Syria and not take aim at an al Qaeda affiliate long considered to be dangerous to the U.S. and its allies. Islamic State militants are seen as primarily focused on taking and holding territory in Iraq and Syria, with attacks on the U.S. representing a secondary goal. It severed its ties with al Qaeda’s leadership in Pakistan.

I don’t really understand the deal surrounding the White House fence jumper. So, we were first told that this was some harmless knucklehead. Then we find out that Omar Gonzalez was stopped earlier this summer with rifles, 4 handguns and ammunition. Now we are told the Secret Service had a major security breach. Gonzalez had over 800 rounds of ammo in his car. This guy jumped the fence and sprinted into the north entrance of the White House. From what I understand he did get inside before being tackled. What if he had a bomb strapped to him? Secret Service studied this 20 years ago. It looks like they did nothing to fix the problem. Omar Gonzalez is a Vet. I hope that he gets the help that he needs. Continue reading