Friday, September 14, 2007

9/11 Attitudes Revealing

The present day attitudes toward the tragedy of September 11, 2001 reveal magnitudes about the full world view of groups and individuals as to so many issues.

Recall statements from John Edwards that the global war on terror was just a bumper sticker, John Kerry recently reverting to the law enforcement theory of dealing with terrorist incidents and the Democrat's now politically correct dictum to separate, wherever possible, Iraq from any association with a fight against terrorism?

How about The New York Times effort to distinguish Al-Qaeda Mesopotamia? Here's the WSJ's James Taranto pointing out the humor in this September 12 post in Best of the Web Today:

In an item yesterday, we noted the following hilariously awkward sentence from a New York Times report on the Petraeus testimony: "When Representative Gary L. Ackerman, Democrat of New York, suggested the war was not integral to the anti-terror effort since members of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, sometimes called Al Qaeda in Iraq, the homegrown Sunni Arab extremist group that American intelligence agencies have concluded is foreign-led, is not part of the Qaeda network behind the Sept. 11 attacks, the general offered a quick retort. "

What we didn't catch is that the sentence isn't even grammatical: The subject of the dependent clause that begins the sentence, members, does not match the verb, is, which is understandable since the two words are separated by a participial phrase and another dependent clause.

We also missed this equally riotous passage, from a "news analysis" in yesterday's Times by Michael Gordon: "The National Intelligence Estimate issued last month made a similar point--and General Petraeus quoted from it in his testimony. 'We assess that changing the mission of coalition forces from a primarily counterinsurgency and stabilization role to a primary combat support role for Iraqi forces and counterterrorist operations to prevent A.Q.I. from establishing a safe haven would erode security gains achieved thus far,' the estimate noted. A.Q.I. is the abbreviation the intelligence agencies use to refer to Al Qaeda of Mesopotamia, a predominantly Iraqi organization with foreign leadership."

Hmm, if AQI an an abbreviation for "Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia," what does the I stand for? We suspect this is another case of an NYT* reporter protesting the Times's policy of forced editorializing in stories about al Qaeda in Iraq.
* An abbreviation for Nieuw Amsterdam Times.

The notion that there is no "Global War on Terror" is actually very common.

Tony Blankley offers this analysis in "The War On Terror Six Years On":

Overwhelmingly in Europe, and to a lesser but still large extent in the United States, the vastly unpopular Iraq war has been conflated with the broader war against radical Islam. This regrettable fact has been compounded by the intense hatred of President Bush, who has prosecuted the war with such personal determination and whose own rhetoric has contributed to the confusion.

As a result, six years after 9/11, there is little consensus in the United States or Europe as to the nature and magnitude of the threat, and many -- including government officials, experts and the general public -- still believe there is little to fear from radical Islam and its terrorists. These people -- perhaps two-thirds of Europeans and 30-40 percent of Americans -- believe the terrorists can be dealt with merely with law enforcement, as previous 20th-century European terrorists had been. Those who hold this view are likely to wrongly see President Bush, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and others, such as me, who agree with them as exploiting the fear of Muslim terrorists for crass political advantage.

Thus, much of the ferocious controversy over electronic intercepts, Guantanamo, CIA renditions, semi-secret foreign-based CIA prisons, coerced interrogation methods, and the Patriot Act provisions is a product of not seeing a sufficient threat to national security to justify tough wartime intrusions into civil liberties.

If we in the United States can't agree on the nature and magnitude of the threat, we aren't likely to agree on the means of protecting ourselves from it. Until a majority can be convinced that we face real danger from radical Islam, virulent political strife in Washington will continue to delay the design and implementation of an effective, united national defense.

He concludes:

In the days following Sept. 11, I realized we were in for a test of our strength, will and capacity to persist for decades in a harrowing task. But I never imagined that six years into the ordeal, we would remain so utterly divided in the face of a unique and little understood enemy. That constitutes a collective act of abdication of duty without parallel in our long history. We live in greater jeopardy because of it.


To prove Blankley's thesis, here is a portion of my local paper's lead editorial on 9/11 - the Asheville Citizen-Times and "6 Years Later, Time to Take Stock, Correct Mistakes". Here are some paragraph headings and their conclusion:

Initially, our invasion of Afghanistan weakened and displaced the Taliban, but our distraction in Iraq has enabled the Taliban to regroup.

Our invasion of Iraq was not related to the “War on Terror,” despite what the Bush government would have us believe.

With the Patriot Act, we have undermined our Constitution and civil rights.

By pursuing torture in Guantanamo Bay and Iraq, we have violated the Geneva Convention and many of the human rights principles we hold so dearly.

By over-committing our military, we have placed personal hardships on many military families, run up tremendous amounts of debt and reduced our ability to fund many of the infrastructure and social needs at home.

It’s time to turn back from our mistakes and head in a different direction.
This involves:
• Significantly reducing our forces in Iraq, redeploying some of them to Afghanistan and the Pakistani border to go after real terrorists and bringing large numbers of them home....
• Actively pursuing diplomacy and dialogue with all parties who can contribute to a solution in Iraq including Iran and Syria....
• Reaching out without arrogance to moderate Muslims around the world diplomatically and with economic aid where appropriate....
• Closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, charging in court or releasing to their home countries all prisoners housed there and recommitting the United States to the Geneva Convention.
• Scaling back our military-industrial complex to the size needed to defend our country and pursue real terrorists. This involves a retreat from the role of the world’s policeman and a reinvestment of some of our military spending into debt reduction, infrastructure, health insurance and social programs for the American people.

During the past six years we have expended vast amounts of money, driving the nation deeply into debt, undermined our Constitution and exhausted our military, and yet Osama bin Laden is still running a terrorist network. Invading Afghanistan, where the terrorists found safe haven, avenged the attack on our nation. We had the moral high ground and an opportunity to destroy the heart of the terrorist threat. But that objective was neglected when we took our eye off the ball and went into Iraq, and the broader problem has been dramatically exacerbated by that move. The fact Osama is still releasing tapes is inexcusable.

As the arch terrorist tries to ratchet up our fear, we need to remember this: Terrorists can hit us, they can hurt us, but they can’t take the country from us. Only we can do that.


I always think when my paper is late that the Democratic National Committee must have been late with the day's talking points email and so the lead editorial in the Citizen-Times wasn't ready on time.

Seriously, these two points of view on the war on terror certainly serve as frames of reference and a clear predictor of the world view and specifically the political views of the opinion holders for almost any issue. Think about that.

4 comments:

Chris said...

The attack that our nation endured on September 11, 2001 was not initially connected to the actions or inactions of the former Iraqi regime. However, the first Gulf War was part of Osama bin Laden's rational for attacking us on 911. Other than that, Iraq was unrelated to 911. But now, we are where we are, and it is currently related since Al Qaeda is presently in Iraq.

Prior to the start of the Iraq invasion, Al Qaeda was only in the Northern part of Iraq. The former Iraqi dictator feared them, spied on them, and even wanted to take some of Al Qaeda out. Saddam wanted to be the only one in power in Iraq; he feared bin Laden’s terrorist group for this reason. But, this was never told to us by the Bush Administration. Why you ask? This would have seriously impacted the Neo-Conservative movement under the Project for the New American Century to justify an invasion of Iraq. Members of the New American Century group included former Defense Sectary Donald H. Rumsfield, Governor Jeb Bush, and others.

Iran has become embolden by the new falling Iraqi government. While Saddam was a bad guy, he did not like Iran or Al Qaeda. This is one reason the Reagan Administration used Hussein as a buffer to deal with Iran. But we are there now, and Iraq is as good of a place as any to fight Al Qaeda. With the exception of a civil war between Iraqis. To understand this one must understand the cultures of the Iraqi people and many folks don't. More comments later...

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