April 26, 2007

WHAT WAR? (via Gene Brown):

Al Qaeda Strikes Back (Bruce Riedel, May 2007, Foreign Affairs)

Al Qaeda is a more dangerous enemy today than it has ever been before. It has suffered some setbacks since September 11, 2001: losing its state within a state in Afghanistan, having several of its top operatives killed, failing in its attempts to overthrow the governments of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. But thanks largely to Washington's eagerness to go into Iraq rather than concentrate on hunting down al Qaeda's leaders, the organization now has a solid base of operations in the badlands of Pakistan and an effective franchise in western Iraq. Its reach has spread throughout the Muslim world, where it has developed a large cadre of operatives, and in Europe, where it can claim the support of some disenfranchised Muslim locals and members of the Arab and Asian diasporas. Osama bin Laden has mounted a successful propaganda campaign to make himself and his movement the primary symbols of Islamic resistance worldwide. His ideas now attract more followers than ever.

Bin Laden's goals remain the same, as does his basic strategy. He seeks to, as he puts it, "provoke and bait" the United States into "bleeding wars" throughout the Islamic world; he wants to bankrupt the country much as he helped bankrupt, he claims, the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s.


Bulls see a lucky Dow 13,000: As the index passes that milestone, many expect a big year for blue chips that may share in global economic growth. (Tom Petruno and Walter Hamilton, April 26, 2007, LA Times)
Are U.S. blue-chip stocks ready to shed their ugly-duckling status?

A surge in big-name shares Wednesday catapulted the Dow index past the 13,000 mark for the first time and boosted hopes that those issues could lead the market to heady gains this year.

The Dow industrials jumped 135.95 points, or 1.1%, to a record 13,089.89 amid a broad rally stoked by upbeat earnings reports and encouraging economic data.


The more al Qaeda "wins" the better things get.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 26, 2007 12:24 PM
Comments

They lost a whole country in return for a slice of Pakistan badlands, but they are winning. They baited the US into bleeding wars in which thousands of their followers and dozens of their top leaders, bled, but they are winning. Osama is hiding or may even be pusing poppies, but they are winning. They failed to overthrow the govts. in Jordan, Egypt, and Saudia Arabia, but they are winning. Let them win some more.

Alternative: no war in Iraq. The US was a paper tiger. Osama was winning: more recruits. Saddam paid $25,000 for each suicide bomber killing Jews, $35,000 for each killing Americans. Recruits who couldn't wait to claim their virgins in Iraq would claim theirs in Afghanistan. Riedel is stuck on stupid.

Posted by: ic at April 26, 2007 12:52 PM

(Bearded Spock Universe version)

Saddam Hussein is a more dangerous enemy today than he has ever been before. He has suffered some setbacks since September 11, 2001: losing its co-terror allies in Afghanistan and Palestine, seeing several of their top operatives killed, failing in his attempts to overthrow the governments of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. But thanks largely to Washington's eagerness to go flyswatting Al Queda gnats instead of concentrate on the very central backbone of state-sponsored terrism, Saddam's Iraq now has a solid base of operations in the badlands of Pakistan and an effective franchise in WMD sales. His visage has spread throughout the Muslim world, where he has developed a large cadre of operatives, and in Europe, where het can claim the support of some disenfranchised Muslim locals and members of the Arab and Asian diasporas, not to mention the perpetual tyranny-supporting socialists. Hussein has mounted a successful propaganda campaign to make himself and his movement the primary symbols of Islamic resistance worldwide. His ideas now attract more followers than ever.

If only that idiot Bush had the strategic vision of even a fifth grader, to see that 9/11 did not happen because of some dingbat in a cave, but because of forces far and away bigger than that, many of which remain centered in Bagdhad to this day. But of course, Bush is just an idiot.... blah blah blah... blather blather blather.... ad nauseum....

Posted by: Andrew X at April 26, 2007 1:10 PM

Given that the average American (according to the polls) thinks the US economy has been in the crapper since January 2001, why should we be surprised that people don't have a clue about the state of the GWOT?

Posted by: b at April 26, 2007 1:37 PM

Check the dates of his last notable assignment with the CIA for a clue on where the author is coming from:
"Bruce Riedel [...] He retired last year after 29 years with the Central Intelligence Agency. He served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East Affairs on the National Security Council (1997-2002), [...]

Actually I found much of the article an interesting read. Although not the writers intent, his account offers some of the best justifications for the Iraq war and for staying the course that I've read to date. In my mind, the importance and urgency to stay the course has heightened substantially by the article. I'm amazed at the conclusions he comes to on Iraq in view of his description of events.

Posted by: Genecis at April 26, 2007 4:35 PM

'The Confederacy is more dangerous than ever..

sure, it has suffered some setbacks , like Atlanta
and Savannah and , well pretty much everywhere except the Shenendoah..'

sigh... I can't go on...

but I really do love the trope about 'concentrating on hunting down leaders' -- that is really priceless..

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at April 26, 2007 7:38 PM
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