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Current Topic: War on Terrorism

We're Not Winning This War
Topic: War on Terrorism 11:35 pm EDT, Sep  5, 2006

As late as June of this year, Mark Mershon of the FBI testified that the bureau will not monitor or surveil any Islamist unless there is a "criminal predicate." Thus the large Islamist support infrastructure that the commission identified here in the United States is free to operate until its members actually commit a crime.

Spun another way, the FBI is sick of tailing pizza delivery boys. Is there really an Al'Queda domestic support infrastructure that we are aware of and aren't paying attention to or is this guy merely suggesting that every arab is a suspect?

Even in the United States, some 80 percent of Islamic mosques and schools are closely aligned with the Wahhabist sect and heavily dependent on Saudi funding.

I would be seriously suprised to hear that American Islamic mosques are producing violent radicals. If this is the case, the response ought to come in the form of dialog. The suggestion that we should target and eliminate funding for a sect of domestic religious schools that are, AFAIK, not producing violent people, simply because they are muslim is, frankly, unconstitutional for a good reason. I don't think the sort of radical churches that exist in England would be tollerated here.

We're Not Winning This War

Six Questions for Michael Scheuer on National Security (
Topic: War on Terrorism 10:48 pm EDT, Sep  5, 2006

4. Has the war in Iraq helped or hurt in the fight against terrorism?

It broke the back of our counterterrorism program.

This is interesting. However he seems a fan of the Taliban and he seems to have no problem with fundamentalist governments in the region. I'd prefer a middle east ruled by kings to one ruled by priests. Kings kill when its in their interest. Priests kill because its in their interest.

Six Questions for Michael Scheuer on National Security (

Schneier on Security: Airport Security Cartoons
Topic: War on Terrorism 11:23 am EDT, Sep  5, 2006

A collection.

Schneier on Security: Airport Security Cartoons

Is There Still a Terrorist Threat? | Foreign Affairs
Topic: War on Terrorism 3:17 am EDT, Sep  5, 2006

What terrorism?

Despite all the ominous warnings of wily terrorists and imminent attacks, there has been neither a successful strike nor a close call in the United States since 9/11. The reasonable -- but rarely heard -- explanation is that there are no terrorists within the United States, and few have the means or the inclination to strike from abroad.

It is worth remembering that the total number of people killed since 9/11 by al Qaeda or al Qaeda­like operatives outside of Afghanistan and Iraq is not much higher than the number who drown in bathtubs in the United States in a single year.

Although it remains heretical to say so, the evidence so far suggests that fears of the omnipotent terrorist may have been overblown, the threat presented within the United States by al Qaeda greatly exaggerated. The massive and expensive homeland security apparatus erected since 9/11 may be persecuting some, spying on many, inconveniencing most, and taxing all to defend the United States against an enemy that scarcely exists.

I think this article is too quick to dismiss in the impact that the invasion of Afghanistan had on Al'Queda, but the general thrust doesn't require this observation to be acceptable.

Is There Still a Terrorist Threat? | Foreign Affairs

Rumsfeld's Address at the 88th Annual American Legion National Convention
Topic: War on Terrorism 2:37 am EDT, Sep  5, 2006

Mike the Usurper wrote:

Olbermann blasting Rummy and the administration, with the video available.

Noteworthy responded:

Full text of Rumsfeld's speech at the American Legion Convention is available. Here are a few excerpts:

We need to consider the following questions, I would submit:

* With the growing lethality and the increasing availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?
* Can folks really continue to think that free countries can negotiate a separate peace with terrorists?
* Can we afford the luxury of pretending that the threats today are simply law enforcement problems, like robbing a bank or stealing a car; rather than threats of a fundamentally different nature requiring fundamentally different approaches?
* And can we really afford to return to the destructive view that America, not the enemy, but America, is the source of the world's troubles?

These are central questions of our time, and we must face them and face them honestly.

This is so poorly argued that you almost want to let it stand for itself, but this is the Secretary of Defense!

Is there really a binary choice between the all the worlds problems either being caused by America or by America's enemies, wherein if one criticizes an American policy its tatamount to concluding that America's enemies are right?

Its obviously dishonest to compare terrorism to automotive theft. I mean, obvious to the point that I don't understand how a serious person could say such a thing or read it uncritically. What about murder, rape, pedophilia, and organized crime?

As for the earlier two points, he seems to be arguing that technology is too advanced for people to negotiate peace agreements. The majority of the states we're at peace with have better capabilities than these terrorist organizations.

It seems that in some quarters there's more of a focus on dividing our country than acting with unity against the gathering threats.

It's a strange time:

* When a database search of America's leading newspapers turns up literally 10 times as many mentions of one of the soldiers who has been punished for misconduct -- 10 times more -- than the mentions of Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith, the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in the Global War on Terror;
* Or when a senior editor at Newsweek disparagingly refers to the brave volunteers in our armed forces -- the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard -- as a "mercenary army;"
* When the former head of CNN accuses the American military of deliberately targeting journalists; and the once CNN Baghdad bureau chief finally admits that as bureau chief ... [ Read More (0.1k in body) ]

Rumsfeld's Address at the 88th Annual American Legion National Convention

RE: Stratfor: Al'Q wins in London even though the attack was foiled.
Topic: War on Terrorism 2:00 am EDT, Aug 30, 2006

k wrote:
I also get that telling people "Don't be afraid." isn't a tack the government can take easily; it's up to individuals to realize that their own fear is the actual problem.

I don't agree.

In World War II we faced threats to our way of life that far surpassed what we see today, and the attitude of politicians at the time was defiant and strong. This sort of leadership contributed to a society that was not afraid and was ready to do what they could to contribute.

Our present approach is pathetic. Buearucrats covering their assess by unleashing the wolves on the general public evertime a pin drops. A terror alert system informing the people of the government's best prediction of when they are going to die, something they can do absolutely nothing about. These forces contribute to the pressures on the people, already loaded with our service men and women being in harms way overseas for long periods of time, and by the occaisonal successful terror attack. The pressure pushes them closer and closer to the point where they'll yearn to fix the problem quickly and easily by letting the nukes go.

Meanwhile our myopic leadership picks away at every legal institution, both international, and domestic, that keeps our society from flying apart at the seams. The people who established the Geneva Conventions, the United Nations, the Separation of Powers, and the Fourth Amendment did so because they learned through years of bloodshed that these things are absolutely nessecary. Some might need to be modernized, but to simply cast them away wholesale is suicide.

To make matters worse, it turns out they didn't welcome us into Iraq by throwing flowers at our tanks, and we fired the guys who had accurate cost estimates for that adventure, and Israel just bought Iran's sucker punch lock, stock, and barrell and has thereby emboldened all of the people who seek to kill us.

The only thing I hate more then looking at this situation with dismay is the fact that I'm not convinced the "other team" has a better plan for dealing with it. We have not men fit for the times.

RE: Stratfor: Al'Q wins in London even though the attack was foiled.

Stratfor: Al'Q wins in London even though the attack was foiled.
Topic: War on Terrorism 9:58 pm EDT, Aug 29, 2006

Stratfor: Terrorism Intelligence Report - August 29, 2006

Airline Incidents: Fear as Force Multiplier

By Fred Burton

During the past month, since British authorities announced the
disruption of a bomb plot involving airliners, there has been a
worldwide increase in security awareness, airline security measures
-- and fear among air passengers. At least 17 public incidents
involving airline security have been reported in the United States
and parts of Europe since Aug. 10. Most of these were innocuous,
but many resulted in airliners making emergency landings off their
scheduled routes, sometimes escorted by fighter aircraft.

The spate of incidents -- each of which rings up significant
financial costs to the airline company and governments involved and
causes inconvenience and delays for travelers -- is a reminder that
terrorism, philosophically, is not confined to the goal of filling
body bags or destroying buildings. At a deeper level, it is about
psychology and the "propaganda of the deed." And as far as al Qaeda
is concerned, it is also about economic warfare: Osama bin Laden
personally has stated that one of the group's strategic objectives
is to "bleed America to the point of bankruptcy."

To say that the governments and industries targeted by terrorism
face difficult choices is a gross understatement. The problem lies
in the fact that decision-makers not only must protect the public
against specific groups using known tactics (in al Qaeda's case,
bombs and liquid explosives) but also must protect themselves in
the face of public opinion and potential political blowback.
Officials naturally want to be perceived as doing everything
possible to prevent future acts of violence; therefore, every
threat -- no matter how seemingly ridiculous -- is treated
seriously. Overreaction becomes mandatory. Politicians and
executives cannot afford to be perceived as doing nothing.

This powerful mandate on the defensive side is met, asymmetrically,
on the offensive side by a force whose only requirements are to
survive, issue threats and, occasionally, strike -- chiefly as a
means of perpetuating its credibility.

The Impact to Air Travel

Following the thwarted U.K. airlines plot, security measures in
Britain, the United States and elsewhere were tightened. These new
regulations have included a ban on liquids and electronic items in
the passenger compartment, more stringent baggage checks and
tighter scrutiny of prospective passengers.

These new security measures already have had a financial impact on
the airline industry. On Aug. 25, Irish discount airline Ryanair
filed the lawsuit it had previously threatened against the
British Department for Transport. The lawsuit represents an effort
to change the new restrictions... [ Read More (1.4k in body) ]

BBC NEWS | Americas | US airport in 'explosives' alert
Topic: War on Terrorism 5:49 pm EDT, Aug 17, 2006

Officials say the woman is of Pakistani origin and was travelling on a one-way ticket to Charlotte, North Carolina.

Explosives particles detected at small West Virginia airport.

BBC NEWS | Americas | US airport in 'explosives' alert

NBC: Disagreement over timing of arrests - Lisa Myers & the NBC Investigative Unit -
Topic: War on Terrorism 9:32 pm EDT, Aug 13, 2006

In contrast to previous reports, the official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports.

NBC: Disagreement over timing of arrests - Lisa Myers & the NBC Investigative Unit -

Apocalypse soon | Salon Life
Topic: War on Terrorism 12:50 am EDT, Aug 11, 2006

Evangelicals who read biblical prophecy from a premillennialist perspective -- which we'll get to later -- see the creation of Israel as the direct fulfillment of Old Testament passages in Ezekiel 36 and 37, in which God promises to restore his Hebrew people to their homeland right before a period of intense judgment and warfare.

A similar subject was discussed on the local television news last weekend. Check this:

"Can you hear the soft tread of the Messiah's footstep? Can you feel the soft beating of your heart in anticipation of His soon return?"

I'm going to file "Giddy Anticipation of an Apocalypse" next to actually having an AK-47 on your flag as God's way of telling you that you're bat shit crazy.

Apocalypse soon | Salon Life

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