Thursday, July 06, 2006

Is it still too soon for rationally talking about al Qaeda?

Apparently not. Ken Silverstein @ Harpers tries to step out of the morass..

The Al Qaeda Clubhouse: Members Lacking
The June 30 issue of Newsweek carried a story titled “The Myth of Al Qaeda” by Michael Hirsh, which argues that the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and his followers has been long overestimated by the United States. (...)

Meanwhile, Peter Bergen wrote an article in the July 2 Washington Post that paints Al Qaeda as a more potent threat and suggests that despite suffering setbacks after 9/11, the group “may be staging a comeback.” (...)

I'm a fan of Bergen's work on Al Qaeda, but I'm with Hirsh on this one. Al Qaeda Central was and is capable of carrying out deadly actions, and at some point, it's safe to say, it will again try to attack the United States. But the fact that bin Laden hasn't carried out an attack in nearly five years—and he obviously would love to—suggests that an attack on U.S. soil is something that he can’t easily accomplish. Why is that? ...(read on)
It's interesting to see any article that isn't fomenting a climate of fear these days, but especially so at a time when we learn that Bush has went from wanting bin Laden dead or alive, to being not that concerned about him, to actually axing the 6 year old CIA program trying to find Osama sometime late last year.

WTF is going on? These are bizarre times we are a livin.

Has Bush cut and run from the war on terror? Is this an admission of defeat, or is Bush trying to declare victory without ever having caught Osama, Zawhiri or Omar. Was the risk from al Qaeda totally overblown by this administration the whole time? Did they just get lucky on 9-11? Is Osama even really still alive anymore? Who is independently verifying the legitimacy of the bin Laden audio tapes, or do we still have to just take our govt's word for it?

I don't pretend to know what to make of it, but I'll be really glad when real journalists stop spewing this administration's bullshit and start really answering some of these things. IMO, Hirsh and Silverstein have provided a step in the right direction.

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