Friday, August 11, 2006

Crass Political Pandering Over London Airline Plot

The Bush administration -- which allowed Osama bin Laden to escape from Tora Bora, and then pulled troops away from the real war on terrorism to pursue the neo-con wet dream of domination over the Arab hoards in Iraq -- is now using the London airline plot as a political cudgel against people who have been right all along about the White House's misplaced priorities in the national security arena.

"The country is safer than it was prior to 9/11," (President Bush) said in Green Bay. "We've taken a lot of measures to protect the American people. But obviously, we're still not completely safe, because there are people that still plot and people who want to harm us for what we believe in."

If Bush really believes that the Muslim terrorists hate us "for what we believe in", and not for our decades-long support of Israel and dictatorial Arab regimes in the Middle East, all the presidential assistants and intelligence community briefers need to be fired and replaced by people willing to tell the emperor the real deal about his fancy new duds.

Some odious shitpails are also jumping on the bandwagon, including a prominent whiny con-man:

Campaigning in Connecticut, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, who lost Tuesday's Democratic primary and is now running as an independent, said the antiwar views of primary winner Ned Lamont would be "taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England."

Rep. Mark Kennedy, the Republican Senate candidate in Minnesota, used the alleged plot as a campaign wedge only hours after it was disclosed.

"The arrests this morning in Great Britain make it clear that now, more than ever, this is an ongoing battle and we need leaders in Washington who remain committed to doing what is right instead of what may be seen as politically advantageous," he said. To amplify the point, Kennedy endorsed Lieberman over the GOP candidate in the race, Alan Schlesinger.

Rep. Kennedy proves that the death of irony has been prematurely announced.

The natural tendency of people to ignore the "boy who cried wolf" is working against the administration in this latest terrorism threat:

(T)he alleged British plot "is really, really serious," one intelligence official insisted yesterday. "This is the real deal. Honestly. This was not the Moorish Nation," he said, referring to the arrest this summer in Miami of a ragtag, FBI-infiltrated group allegedly plotting to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago. "We have reason to believe that this is an al-Qaeda-related operation. I don't mean in terms of a bunch of wannabes finding inspiration" in bin Laden.

If the London plotters really are Al Qaeda, this is further proof that Bush's reckless abandonment of the war against Osama bin Laden is coming back to haunt us.

As will any future attacks by Al Qaeda.

But some experts are not convinced by the claims that the airline plot was really Al Qaeda at all:

Others were withholding judgment on al-Qaeda's ties to the alleged plot in England. "I would say that the core of the organization has suffered some serious blows," said Daniel L. Byman, director of Georgetown University's Security Studies Program. "It's harder for them to do large-scale operations successfully, and their ability to do long-term planning of catastrophic events has degraded. But they still have a number of skilled operatives and global connections, and a strong desire" to stage such attacks.

Byman said, however, that he is "still very skeptical until I see more evidence of how close these guys really were" to al-Qaeda. "I've read too many breathless FBI statements" over the years, he said.

We all have lived through the politicization of national security by the Rovian attack dogs.

Perhaps Bush shouldn't have let Osama bin Laden get away when he could have heeded the recommendation of Special Forces and CIA officers to send available elements of the 10th Mountain Division into Tora Bora to conduct a blocking action rather than to leave the job to Afghan warlords who turned out to be on the Al Qaeda payroll.

The dereliction of duty by the president by going to Iraq rather than staying and finishing bin Laden will be an important point in any future debates about the "war on terror."

The people who used the threat of terrorism as a political tool here in America may well rue the day they decided on that slimy course of action.

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