Thursday, November 10, 2005

War On Terror Update--we're losing

It's time to look around at the Global War On Terror. This is a war that must be fought not only with military might overseas, but with resolve on the domestic side as well. We have to not only kill or imprison the terrorists but we have to keep from being terrified.

Yesterday Al-Qaida struck again. This time in Jordan:
Al-Qaida claimed responsibility Thursday for three suicide bomb attacks on Western hotels that killed at least 56 people, linking the deadly blasts to the war in Iraq and calling Amman the "backyard garden" for U.S. operations. Police continued a broad security lockdown and authorities sent DNA samples for testing to identify the attackers. Land borders were reopened after being closed for nearly 12 hours.

Government spokesman Bassel Tarawneh lowered the death toll by one, citing confusion in the early hours after the blasts. He said the number was likely to rise slightly. He said the victims included 15 Jordanians, five Iraqis, one Saudi, one Palestinian, three Chinese, one Indonesian; 30 others hadn't been identified.

The nearly simultaneous attacks late Wednesday also wounded more than 115 people, police said. They detained several people overnight, although it was unclear if those being held were of suspects or witnesses.

The al-Qaida claim, posted on a militant Internet site, said Jordan became a target because it was "a backyard garden for the enemies of the religion, Jews and crusaders ... a filthy place for the traitors ... and a center for prostitution." The authenticity of the posting could not be independently verified, but it appeared on an Islamic Web site that acts as a clearing house for statements by militant groups.
Now I may not be the most well versed person on the Middle East, but if I were Al-Qaida I don't think I would want to be poking the bear that is Jordan. There are probably a lot of rich people in that country who will support AL-Qaida, at least there have been in the past. I would have thought that there were better targets around the world. But maybe this will help Jordanians see the light and stop supporting terrorism and the extreme versions of Islam. Terrorism Unveiled agrees with me to an extent:

This attack was most certainly carried out by Zarqawi. He's been trying and trying to inflict a major damage to his home country, his own people, for a long time now. Jordan was known as the "safe" country in the Middle East. It's GID, intelligence agency, was known for its efficacy and its ability to keep Jordan safe. It only takes one time to erode away this complacency. Jordanians themselves did not feel threatened, I never spoke to one who seemed concerned about terrorism in Jordan. As a country without oil or water, this will majorly affect Jordan's economy. The biggest thing they have going for them is tourism--Amman, the Dead Sea, biblical places, Aqaba, Petra and Wadi Rum. That, too, will be eroded.

Reports are that the Jordanian PM, Badran, who was at the Radisson attending a party is unaccounted for. Killing a PM, who is a symbol of the country, will be a major boost to Zarqawi, but will probably end up reflecting even more negatively upon these terrorists from the viewpoint of the Arab public.
Read her whole post, it includes more details an analysis.

Thankfully the violence in France seems to be subsiding, now that the French surprisingly grew a little bit of a spine instead of surrendering:
Violence in France fell sharply overnight, the police chief said Thursday, one day after the government toughened its stance by imposing emergency measures and ordering deportations of foreigners involved in riots that have raged for two weeks.

In the past two nights, there was a notable decline in the number of car burnings _ a barometer of the intensity of the country's worst civil unrest in nearly four decades.

National Police Chief Michel Gaudin said there was a "very sharp drop" in violence overnight. While youths have been battling riot police with rocks and firebombs, "there were practically no clashes with police," he said.

The government ordered a 12-day state of emergency that went into effect on Wednesday in an effort to quell the rioting. And Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said local authorities had been told to deport foreigners convicted so far for their roles.
Clearly this is a step in the right direction so it was inevitable that some French people would protest how unfair it is:
A French anti-racism group, SOS-Racisme, called the measure illegal. The group's president said he had asked France's highest administrative body, the Council of State, to intervene.

"Nicolas Sarkozy's proposal is illegal," Dominique Sopo said. SOS- Racisme said it considers Sarkozy's measure a mass deportation, while French law requires that each expulsion be studied on a case-by-case basis. The body has 48 hours to respond.
Le sigh. It figures that in France somehow the most effective measures for curbing violence are illegal. And before you start this is not even close to a path that takes us to THX-1138 type of world, I don't want to hear it. The rioters are the bad guys regardless of how justified they might be in their anger. And yes this is part of the GWOT (Global War On Terror). The kind of atmosphere in the muslim dominated slums of France breed terrorists and are ripe picking grounds for the extreme versions of Islam. At the very least there is rampant anti-semitism that left unchecked will have dire consequences.

Domestically things look worse. The way to win the domestic battles are to make it obvious to potential terrorists that there will be consequences for acting on their hate. Seeing things like this will only encourage terrorists and convince them that Western Society is weak, a "Paper Tiger" if you will. And even our own congress seems be crumbling in their resolve. How can you see this as anything but a cave to pressure
Congress is moving to curb some of the police powers it gave the Bush administration after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, including imposing new restrictions on the FBI's access to private phone and financial records.

A budding House-Senate deal on the expiring USA Patriot Act includes new limits on federal law enforcement powers and rejects the Bush administration's request to grant the FBI authority to get administrative subpoenas for wiretaps and other covert devices without a judge's approval.

Even with the changes, however, every part of the law set to expire Dec. 31 would be reauthorized and most of those provisions would become permanent.

Under the agreement, for the first time since the act became law, judges would get the authority to reject national security letters giving the government secret access to people's phone and e-mail records, financial data and favorite Internet sites.

Holders of such information _ such as banks and Internet providers _ could challenge the letters in court for the first time, said congressional aides involved in merging separate, earlier-passed House and Senate bills reauthorizing the expiring Patriot Act.
This is truly incredible. Does congress believe that somehow the terrorist threat has decreased? Now I understand that our freedoms and privacy must be protected. But do you actually think that adding another beauracratic layer is going to do anything more than make it harder for the people actually trying to protect us to do their job? The good thing is that most of the Patriot Act will be made permenant when this bill goes through.

But the fact remains that here at home we are losing the battle of ideas. A supposed majority of Americans think that the USA is on the wrong track (I distrust polls in general but I have no reason to not turst this one). Many people even deny that we are fighting a war at all. The press in this country continues to peddle lies and distortions as accepted facts. John Podhoretz takes on the biggest and most demonsterably false of these
The main “lie” that George W. Bush is accused of telling us is that Saddam Hussein possessed an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, or WMD as they have invariably come to be called. From this followed the subsidiary “lie” that Iraq under Saddam’s regime posed a two-edged mortal threat. On the one hand, we were informed, there was a distinct (or even “imminent”) possibility that Saddam himself would use these weapons against us and/or our allies; and on the other hand, there was the still more dangerous possibility that he would supply them to terrorists like those who had already attacked us on 9/11 and to whom he was linked.

This entire scenario of purported deceit has been given a new lease on life by the indictment in late October of I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, then chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Libby stands accused of making false statements to the FBI and of committing perjury in testifying before a grand jury that had been convened to find out who in the Bush administration had “outed” Valerie Plame, a CIA agent married to the retired ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, IV. The supposed purpose of leaking this classified information to the press was to retaliate against Wilson for having “debunked” (in his words) “the lies that led to war.”

Now, as it happens, Libby was not charged with having outed Plame but only with having lied about when and from whom he first learned that she worked for the CIA. Moreover, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor who brought the indictment against him, made a point of emphasizing that

[t]his indictment is not about the war. This indictment is not about the propriety of the war. And people who believe fervently in the war effort, people who oppose it, people who have mixed feelings about it should not look to this indictment for any resolution of how they feel or any vindication of how they feel.

This is simply an indictment that says, in a national-security investigation about the compromise of a CIA officer’s identity that may have taken place in the context of a very heated debate over the war, whether some person—a person, Mr. Libby—lied or not.

No matter. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, spoke for a host of other opponents of the war in insisting that

[t]his case is bigger than the leak of classified information. It is about how the Bush White House manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to bolster its case for the war in Iraq and to discredit anyone who dared to challenge the President.

Yet even stipulating—which I do only for the sake of argument—that no weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq in the period leading up to the invasion, it defies all reason to think that Bush was lying when he asserted that they did. To lie means to say something one knows to be false. But it is as close to certainty as we can get that Bush believed in the truth of what he was saying about WMD in Iraq.

How indeed could it have been otherwise? George Tenet, his own CIA director, assured him that the case was “a slam dunk.” This phrase would later become notorious, but in using it, Tenet had the backing of all fifteen agencies involved in gathering intelligence for the United States. In the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of 2002, where their collective views were summarized, one of the conclusions offered with “high confidence” was that

Iraq is continuing, and in some areas expanding its chemical, biological, nuclear, and missile programs contrary to UN resolutions.

The intelligence agencies of Britain, Germany, Russia, China, Israel, and—yes—France all agreed with this judgment. And even Hans Blix—who headed the UN team of inspectors trying to determine whether Saddam had complied with the demands of the Security Council that he get rid of the weapons of mass destruction he was known to have had in the past—lent further credibility to the case in a report he issued only a few months before the invasion:

The discovery of a number of 122-mm chemical rocket warheads in a bunker at a storage depot 170 km southwest of Baghdad was much publicized. This was a relatively new bunker, and therefore the rockets must have been moved there in the past few years, at a time when Iraq should not have had such munitions. . . . They could also be the tip of a submerged iceberg. The discovery of a few rockets does not resolve but rather points to the issue of several thousands of chemical rockets that are unaccounted for.

Blix now claims that he was only being “cautious” here, but if, as he now also adds, the Bush administration “misled itself” in interpreting the evidence before it, he at the very least lent it a helping hand.
The media and the liberals do not care about fighting the war on terror. They are more intereseted in ousting President Bush so that they can get back in to power. They would rather do harm to this country, and make no mistake this kind of thing hurts the US, than even allow for the fact that Bush may have been right. The hypocricy is the most blantant when you watch them call for the President's impeachment because he acted on information that they themselves assumed to be fact.

It's horrible that in this country we have to fight for the idea that the GWOT is worth fighting at all. We have to argue that yes we are the good guys. Even more, we have to argue that there is a good side and bad side. We cannot win the war abroad unless we win the intellectual and moral war here at home.