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Current Topic: War on Terrorism

RE: Bin Laden Is Dead
Topic: War on Terrorism 8:41 am EDT, May  2, 2011

noteworthy wrote:
One frustrated counterterrorism official, in 2006:

There's nobody in the United States government whose job it is to find Osama bin Laden! Nobody!

Peter Baker, Helene Cooper, and Mark Mazzetti, today:

Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the most devastating attack on American soil in modern times and the most hunted man in the world, was killed in a firefight with United States forces in Pakistan on Sunday, President Obama announced.

Is it literally true that the Bush administration was not operating a hunt for BL and when the Dems came into power they kicked it off, resulting in very rapid turn around if you consider the 2 year timeline being reported about this operation?

This fits far too neatly into a simplistic partisan narrative for me to take it seriously and yet the facts seem to point in this direction. Is there any reason I shouldn't think this?

Al Q might be a scene but that doesn't mean there is no value in taking out their most important figure.

Perhaps I can lull myself back to sleep with the idea that they felt that they had to marginalize Al Queda to a certain extent before taking BL out because they didn't want to risk civilian lives in a retaliatory terrorist attack. Was there some other domino that fell a few years ago that needed to fall first?

RE: Bin Laden Is Dead

LARPing The Toronto Train System
Topic: War on Terrorism 8:20 am EDT, Jul  3, 2010

"Barrett was passing through Union Station from Whitby, clad in his 85-pound scale armour, when he was "thrown into a bench" and held at gunpoint while the police dumped out his backpack and rifled through its contents... Barrett is "champion of Twilight Peak" and weapons safety officer for a 15th century role-playing game called AMTGARD."

Another black eye for the Toronto police department... More...

LARPing The Toronto Train System

Knowing the Enemy | George Packer in The New Yorker
Topic: War on Terrorism 11:05 am EDT, Apr 15, 2009

I somehow missed this fantastic "Al'Queda is a scene" roundup from NoteWorthy.

George Packer is simply essential. This is a long post because there is no way to boil this down.

"After 9/11, when a lot of people were saying, ‘The problem is Islam,’ I was thinking, It’s something deeper than that. It's about human social networks and the way that they operate."

That's David Kilcullen, an Australian lieutenant colonel who may just be our last best hope in the long war.

"The Islamic bit is secondary. This is human behavior in an Islamic setting. This is not ‘Islamic behavior.’"

“People don’t get pushed into rebellion by their ideology. They get pulled in by their social networks."

In the 1 December issue of Jane's Intelligence Review, John Horgan writes (sub req'd):

People who leave terrorist groups or move away from violent roles do so for a multitude of reasons. Horgan explains why greater understanding of the motivations behind this so-called 'disengagement' will help in developing successful anti-terrorism initiatives.

The reality is that actual attacks represent only the tip of an iceberg of activity.

Here's the abstract of a recent RAND working paper:

In the battle of ideas that has come to characterize the struggle against jihadist terrorism, a sometimes neglected dimension is the personal motivations of those drawn into the movement. This paper reports the results of a workshop held in September 2005 and sponsored by RAND’s Center for Middle East Public Policy and the Initiative for Middle East Youth. Workshop participants discussed the issue of why young people enter into jihadist groups and what might be done to prevent it or to disengage members of such groups once they have joined.

Now, back to the Packer piece:

The odd inclusion of environmentalist rhetoric, he said, made clear that “this wasn’t a list of genuine grievances. This was an Al Qaeda information strategy." ... “bin Laden’s message was clearly designed to assist the President’s reëlection.” Bin Laden shrewdly created an implicit association between Al Qaeda and the Democratic Party, for he had come to feel that Bush’s strategy in the war on terror was sustaining his own global importance.

You may recall the speculation that Bush would produce bin Laden's he... [ Read More (0.7k in body) ]

Knowing the Enemy | George Packer in The New Yorker

AIG Was Responsible For The Banks' January & February Profitability
Topic: War on Terrorism 9:14 am EDT, Mar 30, 2009

A Zero Hedge exclusive:

And the conspiracy thickens.

During Jan/Feb AIG would call up and just ask for complete unwind prices from the credit desk in the relevant jurisdiction. These were not single deal unwinds as are typically more price transparent - these were whole portfolio unwinds. The size of these unwinds were enormous, the quotes I have heard were "we have never done as big or as profitable trades - ever".

AIG, knowing it would need to ask for much more capital from the Treasury imminently, decided to throw in the towel, and gifted major bank counter-parties with trades which were egregiously profitable to the banks, and even more egregiously money losing to the U.S. taxpayers, who had to dump more and more cash into AIG, without having the U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner disclose the real extent of this, for lack of a better word, fraudulent scam.

What this all means is that the statements by major banks, i.e. JPM, Citi, and BofA, regarding abnormal profitability in January and February were true, however these profits were a) one-time in nature due to wholesale unwinds of AIG portfolios, b) entirely at the expense of AIG, and thus taxpayers, c) executed with Tim Geithner's (and thus the administration's) full knowledge and intent, d) were basically a transfer of money from taxpayers to banks (in yet another form) using AIG as an intermediary.

For banks to proclaim their profitability in January and February is about as close to criminal hypocrisy as is possible. And again, the taxpayers fund this "one time profit", which causes a market rally, thus allowing the banks to promptly turn around and start selling more expensive equity (soon coming to a prospectus near you), also funded by taxpayers' money flows into the market. If the administration is truly aware of all these events (and if Zero Hedge knows about it, it is safe to say Tim Geithner also got the memo), then the potential fallout would be staggering once this information makes the light of day.

This wholesale manipulation of markets, investors and taxpayers has gone on long enough.

AIG Was Responsible For The Banks' January & February Profitability

Topic: War on Terrorism 8:06 am EST, Jan 22, 2009

Hendrik Hertzberg:

What role the Bush Administration's downgrading of terrorism as a foreign-policy priority played in the success of the 9/11 attacks cannot be known, but there is no doubting its responsibility for the launching and mismanagement of the unprovoked war in Iraq, with all its attendant suffering; for allowing the justified war in Afghanistan to slide to the edge of defeat; and for the vertiginous worldwide decline of America's influence, prestige, power, and moral standing.

I wonder if there is anyone assessing the Bush Presidency at this moment who is able to do so objectively, without Partisan bias... Who can actually give him credit for the things he did accomplish while acknowledging his failures honestly.

I've always been concerned about his attitudes about constitutional rights and international treaties. Cheney is wrong - history will not look kindly upon what they've done there. Obama stuck a fork directly into that mess during his inaugural speech, so perhaps we're off to progress, but I'm eagerly awaiting actual policies. Some of those problems are easier to talk about than to fix.

The war in Iraq was a mixed bag. We did not get into it in the right way. It blew up in our faces. Finally Bush, in the wake of a failed Congressional election, did the right thing and fired Rumsfeld. We changed course in Iraq, and the situation is better now. This wasn't entirely the result of good fortune.

A number of countries that we considered state supporters of terrorism at the turn of the century are now off the list, although I'm still a little skeptical about North Korea.

I'd argue that they significantly softenned the blow of the stock market crash - of 2002. Few people understand that. When things don't go wrong no one understands what you achieved. They should have popped the housing bubble earlier, but the result would have been depressing regardless of when they did it. The real bubble was blown in the late 1990s. The greater catastrophy was likely averted, no matter how bad things are about to get.

For all the monday night quarterbacking about DHS and its inefficiencies, the US has not been subjected to another domestic terrorist attack.

AlQueda is singificantly weakened. They simply do not have the operational capabilities that they had 8 years ago.

Bush (and his party) failed on two key domestic policy issues: social security and immigration. They were largely unable to achieve the later because of the incongruence between reality and the views of Rush Limbaugh and his ilk. Bush is right. He should have just done it. Its not like he would be any less unpopular for having gone through with it.


Bush Says His Post-9/11 Actions Prevented Further Terrorism
Topic: War on Terrorism 9:04 am EST, Dec 18, 2008

President Bush took credit yesterday for "keeping America safe" from terrorists since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, arguing that his administration had prevented more bloodshed at home through aggressive policies

Thats inarguable. Why is "keeping America safe" in scare quotes?

and that such a result should outweigh any second-guessing of his methods.

That, on the other hand... well, did we really say that?

There's room for an honest and healthy debate about the decisions I made.

Sounds like the opposite of how the WaPo framed him. He isn't saying his approach shouldn't be questioned. He is just saying that it worked. It did work. It might have caused a number of extremely problematic malincentives that trouble us for years to come, and it may have swept up a bunch of innocent people, but I ain't saying that it didn't work.

Bush Says His Post-9/11 Actions Prevented Further Terrorism

The Special Sting of Personal Terrorism
Topic: War on Terrorism 9:08 am EST, Dec  1, 2008

Anand Giridharadas:

Many told themselves and each other that this time would change things, just as Americans had told themselves after 9/11. But they knew their own history, and America’s, and they seemed, even as they spoke the words, to disbelieve them already.

I've wondered why people keep referring to this as "India's 9/11." Mumbia has been the victim of terrible terrorist attacks in the past. If anything, this attack was directed externally as much as it was directed at India. This article provides some explanation.

What has changed is that domestic terrorism in India now has International implications. As it has become a security concern for other nations, there will be increased international demands on India's security forces.

The Special Sting of Personal Terrorism

Afghanistan and Pakistan
Topic: War on Terrorism 9:35 am EDT, Oct 30, 2008

'We're not going to win this war'

Afghanistan and Pakistan

Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1 - Army News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports - Army Times
Topic: War on Terrorism 5:25 pm EDT, Sep 29, 2008

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.

Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.

Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North...

...this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.

This has the conspiracy theorists a twitter. On the eve of a major presidential election and in the midst of a financial crisis, a U.S. Army Infantry Division has, for the first time in U.S. history, been assigned to a permanent domestic deployment without a mission to respond to a specific disaster or crisis. They're here, you know, just in case.

Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1 - Army News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports - Army Times

'Have We Ever Faced An Enemy More Stupid Than Muslim Terrorists?' by Rod Liddle, Spectator -
Topic: War on Terrorism 4:03 pm EDT, Sep 17, 2008

I know that suicide attacks occur elsewhere in the world; but there is something very British, very now, about the mentality of Ali, Sarwar and Hussain; indulged youth who nonetheless feel they have been denied the respec' they crave and then react with the petulance of the terminally adolescent moron. But who then fail to carry out their threats because they are too stupid and have not really, if they're honest, put the work in.

'Have We Ever Faced An Enemy More Stupid Than Muslim Terrorists?' by Rod Liddle, Spectator -

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