al Qaeda

al-qaeda # 3 Captured?

Maybe not!
For a day or so last week it nearly impossilbe to escape from the headlines in the papers, at the top of every hourly newscast, on talk radio, NPR, etc., the story that the #3 dude in al-qaeda had been captured. Great news, right?
The sad part is that equal play will is not being given to the follow up story that this guy was simply part of the flotsam and jetsam of al-qaeda. Nothing number 3 about him.
Spin, Spin, Spin!

Representing America

Mark Danner writes in the New York Review of Books:

What is clear is that the Abu Ghraib photographs and the terrible story they tell have done great damage to what was left of America’s moral power in the world, and thus its power to inspire hope rather than hatred among Muslims. The photographs “do not represent America,” or so the President asserts, and we nod our heads and agree. But what exactly does this mean?
I agree that the photographs do not represent America but what has become abundantly clear is that the photographs do represent the bush administration (article is from the Wall Street Journal ($)):
Bush administration lawyers contended last year that the president wasn’t bound by laws prohibiting torture and that government agents who might torture prisoners at his direction couldn’t be prosecuted by the Justice Department.
For more details see Bilmon, Phillip Carter, and Kevin Drum who states the issue clearly:
The United States has fought many wars over the past half century, and in each of them our causes were just as important as today’s, information from prisoners would have been just as helpful, and we were every bit as determined to win as we are now. But we still didn’t authorize torture of prisoners. FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, LBJ, Reagan � all of them knew it wasn’t right, and the rest of us knew it as well.
So what’s different this time? Only one thing: the name of the man in the White House. Under this administration, we seem to have lost the simple level of moral clarity that allowed our predecessors to tell right from wrong.
Do we really have to wait for an election to toss these people out of office?
That congress has not initiated action to do so suggests that a majority of these folks have also lost their moral compass and should be booted out as well.

Clarke’s Book

Tim Dunlop has read the first bit of Clarke’s book Against All Enemies and has a lot to say about it:

The first thing to say is that, despite all the hostility arising from the 60 Minutes interview last night, Clarke is rather more respectful of the administration than I might have anticipated.

This is in respect to both bush and rice. Sure, this impression may change after more reading but given all the ranting going on today I certainly expected readers to have a different impression.
Based on Tim’s review of the first chapter that this will be a book that folks on all sides of the related issues will want to read:

I guess there are two stories being interwoven: the close-up detail of the day and of how the administration and the various intelligence and security agencies reacted to the attacks, and then Clarke’s reflections on the people involved, and the broader context within which the events unfolded.
There’s not much point trying to recount the close-up detail, the way planes were grounded, the air force was scrambled, the individuals from the President down were secured and the way all the actions to cope with the attack were launched, because no summary can do it justice. All I can say is, if you get a chance to read it, read it. It’s a gripping account.

I’m looking forward to the reading and the discussion.

Endorsing bush

I look forward to seeing this show up in one of the zillion bush ads currently supporting fine programming in 18 states:

The statement said it supported President Bush (news – web sites) in his reelection campaign, and would prefer him to win in November rather than the Democratic candidate John Kerry

The bush-cheney campaign must be thrilled get an endorsement from al-Quaeda.
Via Pandagon.