al Qaeda

al Qaeda or Islam?

al Quaeda, in the newly published The Future of Iraq and The Arabian Peninsula After The Fall of Baghdad by bin Laden associate Yussuf al-Ayyeri, says that their battle really is againt the American system:

‘IT is not the American war machine that should be of the utmost concern to Muslims. What threatens the future of Islam, in fact its very survival, is American democracy.”

Amir Taheri reviews the book and its arguments in the Washington Post. Since I haven’t read the book I will posit that Taheri’s analysis and extracted quotes are representative of al Qaeda’s position. It certainly seems to match what has filtered through the bushie’s smokescreens.


fuzzy words drive fuzzy policy

When looking for the answer to a complex problem it is often the simplest that provides the most clarity. Eugene Oregon, responding to a Postrel post, provides a pretty simple answer to why the US invaded Iraq:

Thus, the simplest explanation for why we started this war is because the neo-cons wanted to. And September 11th just gave them a convenient excuse to do so.

While he is probably correct about why we started the war Eugene does not really address the question that Postrel

But Bush’s vagueness is maddening to people who are paying attention and confusing to people who aren’t.

and Josh Marshall are talking about:

But the White House is being run by men and women who’ve already made a lot of really stupid mistakes that are going to cost a lot of American lives, money and credibility. And now they’re trying to hide from accountability in their own idiot abstractions.

Not only can they hide from accountability but they can also forge ahead with their agenda for as long as they are able to fool enough people with fuzziness. If there is no tangible enemy there does not have to be a tangible end to the fight and this may be exactly what the bushies want.

Management Shakeup in Iraq?

The Washington Post reports that the bushies want to bring James Baker in to help clean up the mess:

The White House hopes to persuade former secretary of state James A. Baker III to take charge of the physical and economic reconstruction of Iraq as part of a broad restructuring of post-war efforts, administration sources said today.
Under the plan, L. Paul Bremer, the chief U.S. administrator in Iraq, would focus on rebuilding the country’s political system.

It is clear that Baker will bring a uniquely informed perspective to this job if he takes it. He may though prefer to continue his current work:

A $1 trillion lawsuit on behalf of the victims of September 11 was filed in August 2002 against more than seventy defendants, including three Saudi princes, several Saudi banks and Islamic institutions, the Sudanese government and the Saudi Bin Laden Group, a construction firm run by Osama Bin Laden’s family. Here’s a report on who’s representing the defendants, from MSNBC:
Baker & Botts, Sultan’s [Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the Saudi defense minister] law firm, for example, still boasts former secretary of State James Baker as one of its senior partners. Its recent alumni include Robert Jordan, the former personal lawyer for President Bush who is now US ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

As usual Bilmon has a unique take on the bushies need to involve Jim Baker in post war Iraq:

But a drowning man will clutch at straws, so they say, and a Bush in trouble will clutch at … a retired secretary of state. Personally, I think sending another conservative Texas asshole to the Middle East is overkill, given that Tom DeLay is heading that way already. But you know, God does talk to Shrub, and Baker is a very powerful … being.
Maybe he can walk on water.

Do read the rest.


Alex Knapp suggests that the latest terrorist acts attributed to Al-Qaeda do not indicate a resurgence:

So not only is al-Qaeda reduced to less effective attacks, but they have to attack in unprepared nations, and we know about them in advance.
Doesn’t seem like a resurgence to me.

Of course, if there are more freqent attacks forthcoming then resurgence might become the right word.