A letter from a friend, with my interlinear commentary:
“The 5th anniversary of 9-11 is a good occasion to look at where things stand.”
Wow! If I didn’t know better I’d almost suspect that you were not Bush voter!
“-- Bin Laden, Al-Zawahiri, and Mullah Omar are still at large, Al-Qaida has not been destroyed. (Yes, there have been some successes too - the killing of Zarqawi and some other top Islamic terrorist figures.)”
One reason they’re hard to nab is because they play cat-and-mouse on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. So unless you think the US should invade and occupy Pakistan, I don’t know what else you think we should be doing to apprehend UBL & Co.
I would add that Al-Qaida is a threat to the free world generally, and so it’s not as if the US has the sole responsibility for catching Bin Laden and his lieutenants. What is Russia doing to hunt down and capture UBL? Or China? Or France? Or Germany?
“ -- Iraq is a total shambles as a result of the US invasion, a Sunni-Shia civil war is raging, suicide bombings are a daily occurrence, civilian infrastructure is still in bad shape.”
Actually, I don’t know that Iraq is in a total shambles. Most of the bad new comes from Baghdad. Naturally the capital is a great symbolic importance.
But Olympia is the capital of WA. Yet Seattle is far more important to WA than Olympia.
“ -- Over 2,500 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq, and over 40,000 Iraqi civilians (acc. to www.iraqbodycount.net)”
It may well be that Iraq simply isn’t worth the investment of blood and treasure. However, surrender would be a costly option as well.
“ -- Bush has openly admitted that Saddam had nothing to do with 9-11, yet invading Iraq was the main response to 9-11.”
This is a straw man argument. I’ve never seen any direct quote from Bush or any member of his war cabinet attributing 9-11 to Saddam Hussein. This is an urban legend.
“-- No WMDs were found in Iraq yet their alleged presence was the main justification for invading Iraq. For this alone, Bush should have been impeached and removed from office, in my humble opinion. (But of course, deceiving the American people about this is nothing compared to deceiving them about an affair with an intern!)”
1. This is well-trodden ground. Two bipartisan investigative bodies have cleared the Bush administration of willful deceit:
a) Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001: Report, Together With Additional Views, December 2002
b) The 9/11 Commission Report
2.The official causus belli is contained in the Congressional War Resolution, which contains no fewer than 25 reasons for invading argument:
To single out WMD is another urban legend.
The WMD argument came into relief when Bush went to the UN, since that was the only leverage with the UN.
“ -- Anti-Americanism has risen sharply around the world since the invasion of Iraq, in sharp contrast to the outpouring for support for the US just after 9-11. Anti-Americanism in the Middle East is at an all-time high, boosted recently by US support for Israeli barbarism in Lebanon.”
This is a circular argument. Anti-Americanism is feuded by slanted, anti-American coverage in Al-Jazeera, the Beeb, NYT, and so on and so forth. It’s an anti-American effect of an anti-American cause.
“ -- Islamic terrorism outside the US has continued to be a serious menace: major bombings in Bali, Madrid, London, Jordan, India, Egypt, plus scores of smaller-scale attacks.”
Islamic terrorism has been going on for decades, prior to 9/11, against American and non-
American targets alike. Here are just a few highlights:
1968: The first Arab-Israeli hijacking, as three members of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hijack an El Al plane to Rome.
1970: As part of the Dawson's Field hijackings, PFLP members attempt to hijack four aircraft simultaneously. They succeed on three and force the planes to fly to the Jordanian desert, where the hijackers blow up the aircraft after releasing most of the hostages. The final hostages are freed in exchange for seven Palestinian prisoners. The fourth attack on an El Al plane by two people including Leila Khalid is foiled by armed guards aboard.
1972: The Munich Massacre. The Munich massacre occurred during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, when members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage by the Palestinian terrorist organization Black September, a group with ties to Yasser Arafat’s Fatah organization. The terrorists killed eleven Israeli athletes and one German police officer. Five of the eight hostage-takers were killed by police during an abortive rescue attempt. The three surviving captured hostage-takers were later released by Germany, following the hijacking of a Lufthansa airliner.
1976: The Palestinian hijack of Air France Flight 139 is brought to an end at Entebbe Airport, Uganda by Operation Entebbe: Israeli commandos assault the building holding the hijackers and hostages killing all Palestinian hijackers and rescuing 105 persons, mostly Israeli hostages; three passengers and one commando are killed.
1977: A Palestinian hijack of a Lufthansa airliner Landshut during its flight from Palma de Mallorca to Frankfurt is ended in Mogadishu when German commandos storm the plane. Three hijackers are killed and 86 hostages are freed.
1978: Two Arab guerrillas seized a plane in Cyprus. Egyptian commandos flew in uninvited to try to take the plane. Cypriot troops resisted and 15 Egyptians died in a 45-minute battle.
1979: Iran Hostage Crisis.
1981: Assassination of Egyptian President.
Soldiers who were secretly members of the Takfir Wal-Hajira sect attacked and killed Egyptian President Anwar Sadat during a troop review.
1983: Bombing of Marine Barracks, Beirut.
Simultaneous suicide truck-bomb attacks were made on American and French compounds in Beirut, Lebanon. A 12,000-pound bomb destroyed the U.S. compound, killing 242 Americans, while 58 French troops were killed when a 400-pound device destroyed a French base. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
1983: Bombing of U.S. Embassy in Beirut.
Sixty-three people, including the CIA's Middle East director, were killed and 120 were injured in a 400-pound suicide truck-bomb attack on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
1984: Lebanese Shi'a hijackers divert a Kuwait Airways flight to Tehran. The plane is taken by Iranian security forces who were dressed as custodial staff.
1984: Kidnapping of Embassy Official.
The Islamic Jihad kidnapped and later murdered Political Officer William Buckley in Beirut, Lebanon. Other U.S. citizens not connected to the U.S. government were seized over a succeeding two-year period.
1985: Lebanese Shi'a hijackers divert TWA Flight 847 from Athens to Beirut with 153 people on board. The stand-off ends after Israel frees 31 Lebanese prisoners.
1985: Palestinians take over EgyptAir Flight 648 and fly it to Malta. All together, 60 people died, most of them when Egyptian commandos stormed the aircraft.
1985: Airport Attacks in Rome and Vienna.
Four gunmen belonging to the Abu Nidal Organization attacked the El Al and Trans World Airlines ticket counters at Rome's Leonardo da Vinci Airport with grenades and automatic rifles. Thirteen persons were killed and 75 were wounded before Italian police and Israeli security guards killed three of the gunmen and captured the fourth. Three more Abu Nidal gunmen attacked the El Al ticket counter at Vienna's Schwechat Airport, killing three persons and wounding 30. Austrian police killed one of the gunmen and captured the others.
1985: Egyptian Airliner Hijacking,.
An EgyptAir airplane bound from Athens to Malta and carrying several U.S. citizens was hijacked by the Abu Nidal Group.
1985: Achille Lauro Hijacking.
Four Palestinian Liberation Front terrorists seized the Italian cruise liner in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, taking more than 700 hostages. One U.S. passenger was murdered before the Egyptian government offered the terrorists safe haven in return for the hostages' freedom.
1985: TWA Hijacking.
A Trans-World Airlines flight was hijacked en route to Rome from Athens by two Lebanese Hizballah terrorists and forced to fly to Beirut. The eight crew members and 145 passengers were held for seventeen days, during which one American hostage, a U.S. Navy sailor, was murdered. After being flown twice to Algiers, the aircraft was returned to Beirut after Israel released 435 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners.
1986: 22 people are killed when Pakistani security forces storm Pan Am Flight 73 at Karachi, carrying 400 passengers and crew after a 16-hour siege.Pan Am Flight 73 was hijacked on September 5, 1986, by four armed men from the Abu Nidal’s organization.
1986: Berlin Discothèque Bombing.
Two U.S. soldiers were killed and 79 American servicemen were injured in a Libyan bomb attack on a nightclub in West Berlin, West Germany. In retaliation U.S. military jets bombed targets in and around Tripoli and Benghazi.
1986: Aircraft Bombing in Greece.
A Palestinian splinter group detonated a bomb as TWA Flight 840 approached Athens airport, killing four U.S. citizens.
1988: Pan Am 103 Bombing.
Pan American Airlines Flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland, by a bomb believed to have been placed on the aircraft by Libyan terrorists in Frankfurt, West Germany. All 259 people on board were killed.
1988: Naples USO Attack.
The Organization of Jihad Brigades exploded a car-bomb outside a USO Club in Naples, Italy, killing one U.S. sailor.
1988: Kidnapping of William Higgins.
U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel W. Higgins was kidnapped and murdered by the Iranian-backed Hizballah group while serving with the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization (UNTSO) in southern Lebanon.
1991: Singapore Airlines Flight 117 hijacked by individuals claiming to be members of the Pakistan People's Party. Elite Singapore Special Operations Force members stormed the plane, killing all four hijackers and freeing all 118 passengers and 9 crew in an operation lasting just 30 seconds. None of the passengers and crew were hurt.
1991: Attempted Iraqi Attacks on U.S. Posts.
Iraqi agents planted bombs at the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia's home residence and at the United States Information Service (USIS) library in Manila.
1993: Attempted Assassination of President Bush by Iraqi Agents.
The Iraqi intelligence service attempted to assassinate former U.S. President George Bush during a visit to Kuwait. In retaliation, the U.S. launched a cruise missile attack 2 months later on the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
1993: World Trade Center Bombing,.
The World Trade Center in New York City was badly damaged when a car bomb planted by Islamic terrorists exploded in an underground garage. The bomb left 6 people dead and 1,000 injured. The men carrying out the attack were followers of Umar Abd al-Rahman, an Egyptian cleric who preached in the New York City area.
1994: Air France Flight 8969 is hijacked by four GIA (Groupe Islamique Armé) terrorists planning to crash into the Eiffel Tower. After the execution of 3 passengers, GIGN commandos storm the plane killing all hijackers and freeing all passengers.
1995: Saudi Military Installation Attack.
The Islamic Movement of Change planted a bomb in a Riyadh military compound that killed one U.S. citizen, several foreign national employees of the U.S. government, and over 40 others.
1996: Hemus Air Tu-154 aircraft was hijacked by the Palestinian Nadir Abdallah, flying from Beirut to Varna.
1996: Paris Subway Explosion.
A bomb exploded aboard a Paris subway train as it arrived at the Port Royal station, killing two French nationals, a Moroccan, and a Canadian, and injuring 86 persons. Among those injured were one U.S. citizen and a Canadian. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but Algerian extremists are suspected.
1996: Red Cross Worker Kidnappings.
In Sudan a breakaway group from the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) kidnapped three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) workers, including a U.S. citizen, an Australian, and a Kenyan. On 9 December the rebels released the hostages in exchange for ICRC supplies and a health survey for their camp.
1996: PUK Kidnapping.
In Iraq, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) militants kidnapped four French workers for Pharmaciens Sans Frontieres, a Canadian United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) official, and two Iraqis.
1996: Khobar Towers Bombing.
A fuel truck carrying a bomb exploded outside the US military's Khobar Towers housing facility in Dhahran, killing 19 U.S. military personnel and wounding 515 persons, including 240 U.S. personnel. Several groups claimed responsibility for the attack.
1996: Zekharya Attack.
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a car near Zekharya, killing a dual U.S./Israeli citizen and an Israeli. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was suspected.
1996: West Bank Attack.
Arab gunmen opened fire on a bus and a group of Yeshiva students near the Bet El settlement, killing a dual U.S./Israeli citizen and wounding three Israelis. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but HAMAS was suspected.
1996: Dizengoff Center Bombing.
HAMAS and the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) both claimed responsibility for a bombing outside of Tel Aviv's largest shopping mall that killed 20 persons and injured 75 others, including 2 U.S. citizens.
1997: Murder of U.S. Businessmen in Pakistan.
Two unidentified gunmen shot to death four U.S. auditors from Union Texas Petroleum Corporation and their Pakistani driver after they drove away from the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi. The Islami Inqilabi Council, or Islamic Revolutionary Council, claimed responsibility in a call to the U.S. Consulate in Karachi. In a letter to Pakistani newspapers, the Aimal Khufia Action Committee also claimed responsibility.
1997: Empire State Building Sniper Attack.
A Palestinian gunman opened fire on tourists at an observation deck atop the Empire State Building in New York City, killing a Danish national and wounding visitors from the United States, Argentina, Switzerland, and France before turning the gun on himself. A handwritten note carried by the gunman claimed this was a punishment attack against the "enemies of Palestine."
1997: Egyptian Letter Bombs.
A series of letter bombs with Alexandria, Egypt, postmarks were discovered at Al-Hayat newspaper bureaus in Washington, New York City, London, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Three similar devices, also postmarked in Egypt, were found at a prison facility in Leavenworth, Kansas.
1998: U.S. Embassy Bombings in East Africa.
A bomb exploded at the rear entrance of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, killing 12 U.S. citizens, 32 Foreign Service Nationals (FSNs), and 247 Kenyan citizens. Approximately 5,000 Kenyans, 6 U.S. citizens, and 13 FSNs were injured. The U.S. Embassy building sustained extensive structural damage. Almost simultaneously, a bomb detonated outside the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing 7 FSNs and 3 Tanzanian citizens, and injuring 1 U.S. citizen and 76 Tanzanians. The explosion caused major structural damage to the U.S. Embassy facility. The U.S. Government held Usama Bin Laden responsible.
1998: Somali Hostage-takings.
Somali militiamen abducted nine Red Cross and Red Crescent workers at an airstrip north of Mogadishu. The hostages included a U.S. citizen, a German, a Belgian, a French, a Norwegian, two Swiss, and one Somali. The gunmen were members of a sub-clan loyal to Ali Mahdi Mohammed, who controlled the northern section of the capital.
1999-2000: Pakistan based terrorists hijack Indian Airlines Flight 814 and divert it to Kandahar. After a week-long stand-off India agrees to release three jailed Pakistani terrorists in exchange for the hostages. 1 hostage was stabbed to death and his body thrown on the tarmac as a "warning attack".
2000: Manila Bombing.
A bomb exploded in a plaza across the street from the U.S. Embassy in Manila, injuring nine persons. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front was likely responsible.
2000: Attack on U.S.S. Cole.
In Aden, Yemen, a small dingy carrying explosives rammed the destroyer U.S.S. Cole, killing 17 sailors and injuring 39 others. Supporters of Usama Bin Laden were suspected.
2000: Kidnappings in Kyrgyzstan.
In the Kara-Su Valley, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan took four U.S. citizens hostage. The Americans escaped on August 12.
2001: Philippines Hostage Incident.
Muslim Abu Sayyaf guerrillas seized 13 tourists and 3 staff members at a resort on Palawan Island and took their captives to Basilan Island. The captives included three U.S. citizens: Guellermo Sobero and missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham. Philippine troops fought a series of battles with the guerrillas between June 1 and June 3 during which 9 hostages escaped and two were found dead. The guerrillas took additional hostages when they seized the hospital in the town of Lamitan. On June 12, Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Sabaya claimed that Sobero had been killed and beheaded; his body was found in October. The Burnhams remained in captivity until June 2002.
And this list doesn’t even begin to include all of the suicide bombings in Israel:
“ -- Iraq has become a terrorist training ground and breeding ground, and a rationale for homespun Islamic terrorism in the UK and elsewhere.”
1.Oh, come now. Was the thwarted plot to assassinate the Canadian Prime Minister and bomb the Canadian Parliament due to Canada’s hawkish foreign policy and slavish support of the Iraq War?
2.Every nation is responsible for its own self-defense. It’s rather patronizing to blame this on the US.
The EU and UK are responsible for their own Muslim citizens. They’ve allowed this situation to fester for years now.
“-- Iran is stronger than ever, and more respected and influential than ever in the Middle East. A tough stance on nuclear enrichment, powerful Shiite allies in Iraq, backing for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Saddam's overthrow helped to boost Iran's position.”
True, but Iran is a separate problem demanding a separate strategy.
“Israel's war crimes in Lebanon and its failure to crush Hezbollah have further strengthened Iran's hand.”
What are you referring to? The past or the present? Israel’s alleged complicity in the Sabra and Shatila Massacre? Or the staged Qana atrocity in the recent war?
The Lebanese gov’t is responsible for forming a political alliance with Hezbollah. It ought to form a military alliance with Israel to expel Hezbollah from Lebanon.
Hezbollah uses the civilian populace as a human shield, and the populace is a willing accomplice. There’s a lot of popular support for Hezbollah.
There’s no way for Israel to defend herself against missile attacks without killing civilians in the process. That’s the fault of Hezbollah, the Lebanese gov’t, a complicit civilian population, Syria, and Iran.
“America's reputation has been severely tarnished by Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, rendition, secret prisons, the Patriot Act. Abusing prisoners, holding prisoners without charges, curbing civil liberties -- in the name of freedom and democracy.”
1. Again, this is a circular argument. America’s reputation has been tarnished by hostile coverage on the part of media outlets that think the US is the enemy rather than the jihadis.
2.It’s schizophrenic to blame the US for allegedly torturing prisoners while also blaming the US for transferring prisoners to other countries which torture prisoners because they’re prepared to do all the nasty things that we are unwilling to do. Which is it?
If we’re prepared to torture prisoners, then why would we farm out the dirty work to a second party?
3.And why isn’t the reputation of countries which do engage in systematic torture similarly tarnished? Why doesn’t Al-Jazeera or the Beeb or the NYT shine the same spotlight on those regimes and express the same moral indignation?
4.What provisions of the Patriot Act do you take exception to?
How would you say the provisions of the Patriot Act compare with French and British surveillance of domestic terrorism? Has the reputation of those countries been similarly tarnished?
5.You’re using a criminal paradigm, as if terrorism should be treated like shoplifting. As if an unlawful combatant should enjoy the status of a POW (name, rank, serial number); as if a terrorist, even a foreign national, should be treated like an American citizen, free to plead the Fifth Amendment.
Well, that’s not my paradigm. I subscribe to the old Ciceronian adage that the common good is the highest law (“Salus populi suprema lex”).
The only purpose for having laws is to protect us from our enemies, not to protect our enemies from us.
This is a war, involving counterintelligence to forestall future attacks, dry up sources of funding, and track down the jihadis.
“ -- The billions of dollars thrown down the Iraqi drain means considerably reduced government resources to rebuild New Orleans and help evacuees return. Much of New Orleans is still in ruins, half its pre-Katrina population is still spread around the US. One of America's most distinctive cities has been gutted to a large degree. (But even if Iraq hadn't taken place, it's doubtful the Bush regime would have responded properly to Katrina.)”
1.Why do you think the Federal gov’t is responsible for rebuilding New Orleans? Why should middle class taxpayers who, even with a double income, can’t afford to send their kids to college, pick up the tab for New Orleans?
Do you trust Mayor Nagin with our money? I don’t.
Why doesn’t Bill Gates rebuild New Orleans? What about other filthy rich liberals like Ted Kennedy, George Soros, and Teresa Kerry? Can’t they cut a private check to help out Katrina refugees?
2.And assuming, for the sake of argument, that the Federal gov’t is responsible for New Orleans, we could always subsidize the repairs by, say, eliminating the Dept. of Education or the ATF; or by defunding the UN; or by privatizing Amtrak, the Postal Service or Social Security, and then redirecting all those wasted budgetary resources to the Gulf Coast.
“ -- No terrorist attacks have taken place in the US since 9-11, but the US death toll in Iraq is approaching the 9-11 death toll. America's failure to single-mindedly pursue Bin Laden and Al Qaida mean that they remain a serious threat to the US and other countries.”
Do you really think Bin Laden is orchestrating all these attacks from a cave in Afghanistan?