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Current Topic: War on Terrorism

Informed Comment: On the Seventh Anniversary of September 11: Time to Declare the original al-Qaeda Defeated
Topic: War on Terrorism 5:39 pm EDT, Sep 12, 2008

Our war is over. Time to come home.

Informed Comment: On the Seventh Anniversary of September 11: Time to Declare the original al-Qaeda Defeated / World - US says troops could quit Baghdad soon
Topic: War on Terrorism 6:07 pm EDT, Sep  4, 2008

General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq, said declining violence in Baghdad raised the possibility that American combat troops could leave the capital by next summer.

Asked in an interview with the Financial Times whether it was feasible that US combat forces could leave Baghdad by July, he said: “Conditions permitting, yeah.” / World - US says troops could quit Baghdad soon

Muslim American Grilled at Border Over Religion, Letter to the Editor -
Topic: War on Terrorism 9:21 am EDT, Jun 27, 2008

Testimony at the U.S. Senate hearing on border searches mentioned this case, in which a U.S. citizen was interrogated about a letter he wrote to the editor of the Toledo Blade.

The stuck out for me as crossing a line. The police should not be intimidating people for writing editorial opinions.

First, a border agent takes his weapon out and puts it on the table during interrogation, Reed says. “He takes the clip out of his weapon, looks at the ammunition, puts the clip back in, and puts it back in his holster. I’m thinking, this is intimidation!”

Second, another agent asks him about a letter to the editor Reed wrote to the Toledo Blade back on September 8, 2006. It was entitled, “The World Sees an Arrogant America,” and it was critical of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and its occupation of Palestinian land, as well as Bush’s invasion of Iraq. “These are but a few reasons that have put America on the ‘most hated’ list,” he wrote.

“I see you like to write for the newspaper,” the agent told Reed, he recalls. And the agent had downloaded a copy of the letter, which was on the table, Reed says.

“Yeah, so?”

“Nothing, I’m just curious. I googled your name and saw these things that were printed in the newspaper.”

Muslim American Grilled at Border Over Religion, Letter to the Editor -

Obsidian Wings: Returned To The Battlefield
Topic: War on Terrorism 1:37 pm EDT, Jun 26, 2008

The administration continues to lie about released Gitmo detainees returning to the battlefield. In this case that lie managed to inform a Supreme Court decision. Fortunately it was a dissent.

In his dissent in Boumedienne (pdf), Justice Scalia wrote:

"At least 30 of those prisoners hitherto released from Guantanamo Bay have returned to the battlefield."

The first thing to notice about it is that it says that 30 detainees have returned not to the battlefield, but to "the fight". The Tipton Three were three British citizens who were captured in Afghanistan... After British intelligence cleared them... they participated in the movie The Road To Guantanamo. Apparently, this counts as "returning to the battlefield".

"Extending to the Government the benefit of the doubt as to ambiguous cases, the list of possible Guantánamo recidivists who could have been captured or killed on the battlefield consists of two individuals: Mohammed Ismail and Mullah Shazada."

Obsidian Wings: Returned To The Battlefield

The more John McCain is right on Iraq, the more he loses | Andrew Sullivan - Times Online
Topic: War on Terrorism 1:32 pm EDT, Jun 22, 2008

Andrew Sullivan has a different take on the electoral consequences of recent developments.

The “success” of the surge is less a vindication of the entire enterprise than an opportunity to get the hell out with less blowback than previously feared. Moreover, the less chaotic the situation in Iraq, the easier it is for the Democrats to persuade Americans that the relatively inexperienced Barack Obama is not that big a risk as commander-in-chief.

The more John McCain is right on Iraq, the more he loses | Andrew Sullivan - Times Online

Big Gains for Iraq Security, but Questions Linger -
Topic: War on Terrorism 12:53 pm EDT, Jun 22, 2008

Violence in all of Iraq is the lowest since March 2004. The two largest cities, Baghdad and Basra, are calmer than they have been for years. The third largest, Mosul, is in the midst of a major security operation. On Thursday, Iraqi forces swept unopposed through the southern city of Amara, which has been controlled by Shiite militias. There is a sense that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s government has more political traction than any of its predecessors.

Radical policy shifts on Iraq seem less reasonable with each passing month. A number of previous threads on this subject are easy to search for. I think this is going to present a problem for Obama, as previous Dem positioning in Iraq is going to get squeezed against improving news from the ground. McCain will easily capitalize on this.

Big Gains for Iraq Security, but Questions Linger -

Martha Stewart Denied Visa to Travel to Britain -
Topic: War on Terrorism 5:25 pm EDT, Jun 20, 2008

Celebrity homemaker Martha Stewart has been denied entry to Britain because of her 2003 U.S. conviction for lying about a stock sale.

The stupid reciprocal information sharing about criminal records for the purpose of implementing visa denial policies bites Martha Stewart. She is not allowed to travel to the UK. Freedom is on the march.

Martha Stewart Denied Visa to Travel to Britain -

Friedman Writes Back » Annual Forecast 2008: Beyond the Jihadist War
Topic: War on Terrorism 9:40 am EST, Jan 20, 2008

As 2008 dawns, it has become apparent that though this strategy engendered many unforeseen costs, it has proven successful at grinding al Qaeda into nonfunctionality. Put simply, the jihadist war is all but over; the United States not only is winning but also has an alliance with the entire constellation of Sunni powers that made al Qaeda possible in the first place. The United States will attempt to use this alliance to pressure the remnants of al Qaeda and its allies, as well as those in the region who are not in the alliance.

According to Freidman the GWOT is mostly over. Conservative election year rhetoric about the threat of Al'Queda will be just as hard to square against this reality as liberal demands for immediate withdrawl from Iraq are hard to square against developments there. The later, however, can be despun, as obviously some scaling back is imminent, and liberals can cast those withdrawls as the product of domestic political victory even if they're not. The former is very different... Consider the comment Chertoff made last week:

When I lift my eyes and look around the world and I look at what happens in Britain and Germany and Spain and Bali and Pakistan, I don't see terrorism going away, I see an al Qaeda that's emboldened...

Frankly, you'd think it would be in their interest for word to get out that they won the war. If anything, this kind of rhetoric emboldens conspiracy theories that Bin Lauden has been kept alive because of his usefulness as a wedge against the Constitution. Remember, these anti-terrorism security measures are useful for pursuing all kinds of policy objectives,

including possession of drugs, weapons violations and outstanding warrants.

Friedman Writes Back » Annual Forecast 2008: Beyond the Jihadist War

In a Prescient Interview, Bhutto Fingered Assassination Suspects | Threat Level from
Topic: War on Terrorism 11:54 am EST, Dec 28, 2007

Bhutto said at the time that the assassins could have come from "a gang from the Afganistan warlord Baitullah Mehsud, or Hamza bin Laden the son of Osama bin Laden, or the Pakistani Taliban in Islamabad, or by a group in Karachi."

This should put conspiracy theories to rest, although I frankly don't understand why the Taliban would want her dead. She used to finance them.

In a Prescient Interview, Bhutto Fingered Assassination Suspects | Threat Level from

Project Hamad
Topic: War on Terrorism 5:11 pm EST, Dec 13, 2007

Adel Hamad was a teacher of elementary school orphans, a hospital worker, and someone who coordinated the delivery of food, medicine and blankets to refugees. He has been imprisoned for 5 years and classified as an enemy combatant, despite the lack of any allegations or evidence that he ever acted against the U.S. or its allies, or even had political sympathies for those who did. His friends and colleagues describe him as a funny, apolitical man who loved charity work and ping-pong. One of the U.S. Army Majors at his Tribunal called his detention unconscionable.

The reason we have to deny process to people in Guantanimo is that we're trying to hold people like this that we have no reason to hold. This person was released today, after being held for 5 years.

Project Hamad

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