Thursday, August 10, 2006

Talkin' Loud, And Sayin' Nothing (A-Come On, Now!). Sayin' Nothin'.

Posted by codemorse


British authorities have arrested at least 21 people suspected of plotting to blow up passenger jets heading from Britain to the United States. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the plans were "suggestive of an al Qaeda plot."

CNN's Tony Harris discussed the plot with senior investigative producer Henry Schuster.

HARRIS: Henry, first of all, talk to us, if you would, about the details of this plot and how those details to conceal liquid explosives into carry-on luggage bags is indicative of kind of the evolving thinking of these terrorist groups.

SCHUSTER: Well, Tony, I spoke just a little while ago with a former Scotland Yard inspector who was involved in many of these counterterrorism cases, and he says that there is a couple of things that you have to pull away from this.

One is that obviously we're talking about, as he said, initiated devices, suicide bombers. Two, how would they over the period of years from 1994, when we first saw from al Qaeda this sort of planning to put bombs on airplanes. In fact in 1994, al Qaeda actually pulled off a test run of one of these bombs that was assembled on an airplane using liquid explosives and a detonator. In that case, it was a Casio watch. Here the thinking is that it might have been one of these electric key fobs....

In 1995 and 1996, there was a plot to bring down up to 11 transoceanic flights from the Pacific into the United States. This plot is very reminiscent of that. So you begin to see where there's an evolution of the al Qaeda playbook here.

First and foremost, heartfelt congratulations and thanks are in order to those agents and members of the government, both Pakistani and British, who worked to stop this plot before it could be implemented. You are heroes. No matter what the far "left" says about you, unfairly, in their furious rage over the administration. No matter what the far "right" says about you, unfairly, when it becomes politically expedient to distance themselves from their initial congratulatory remarks, or when their furious rage over the far left boils over.

You are heroes. Thank you.

Now, let's talk briefly about Chertoff and Bush's statements. Today, as CNN notes, Michael Chertoff told us that this attempt was "suggestive of an al Qaeda plot. President Bush said the arrests are a 'stark reminder' that the U.S. is 'at war with Islamic fascists.' "(Watch Bush say what the arrests mean for the U.S. -- 2:37)

According to the administration, talking about our anti-terrorist plans is a terrible idea. They "help the enemy." We've seen this on numerous occasions, whether it's the NY Times report on warrantless wiretapping, or simply discussion of the war at all.

So then, wouldn't announcing the U.S. government's suspicions of al Qaeda's involvement also fall under that general umbrella? Doesn't this announce to terrorist operatives, who might otherwise operate cautiously, but with the thought that America had not identified their group as the ones responsible - that we're wise to them? Won't that - as talk of wiretaps supposedly did - make it harder to track and find the enemy when they're more aware of our gaze?

This gives ammunition to administration critics who will see this as a baldy-political move designed to associate the efforts of British and Pakistani agents with the American war against a specific terrorist organization that remains unconfirmed. They will see this in the same way they saw the association of Saddam and 9/11.

Conflating the foiling of this plot, which our government apparently had nothing to do with, and the American struggle against al Qaeda would seem to prove Glenn Greenwald's below-posted point (see the post below this one, he added, unnecessarily).

Bush's comments add nothing substantive to the struggle we're in. They simply add fear. Do we need a reminder that we're at war with Islamofacism? No one does. No one is arguing that terrorists are like unicorns. What we're arguing about is how to fight them, and Bush's remarks again frame the debate in such a way as to focus it on our supposed inability to see a threat.

We GET it, Mr. President. We're at war. We've been at war for quite a few years now.

So what are you going to do about it, besides scaring my parents?

Where were our men on this? Were they assisting? It sure doesn't seem like it. Does that mean that once again we were unaware of the plot? Does it mean that without British and Pakistani intervention we'd have again born witness to suffering that no human being should endure?

Because if that's so, maybe it's you who needs reminding on the whole war thing, Mr. President.


At 10:07 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

I think my time here is almost up. With due respect to all the posters here, and in particular to the venerable Codemorse, the prospect of engaging in the futility of a reasoned and coherent response is simply too depressing.

20+ suicidal nihilists were arrested for attempting to blow up innocent civilians (on a scale apparently greater than 9/11) with no other aim and goal than flying from one place to another, and barely one paragraph is uttered regarding the same before turning to, of course, the failings of President Bush.

For better or worse (although I feel like it is for the worse), the fetid pool of Bush hatred has almost elminated any capacity for reasoned discourse.

I simply ask that someone wake me up when it's over.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

This isn't about Bush hatred, and if I can convince you of that, I will.

If you want to write about liberals as you have, both critically and honestly from your perspective, I'd hope you'd be able to then read other thoughts without contemplating deep hyper-sleep.

You've been openly critical of both liberalism and it's figure heads in very certain terms. You've identified members of the Dem party as extremists who will, unopposed, destroy the party.

I may not agree with you, but I like reading your opinion.

I have immense respect for you, and you know that my political beliefs have never, and will never, center around the cult of personality.

A reading of the comments I've made should indicate first and foremost my relief and gratitude over a tragedy averted.

I'm explicit about that, because that's what matters. The rest, what follows, is my attempt to discuss things that many people think in a rational way.

It's an attempt to avoid the sort of "fetid pool" you're describing. But we can't dispel that without confronting it. Can we?

At 11:29 AM, Blogger codemorse said...


When people tell us the site is "too smart" for them, I take that as a compliment, because it means we're tackling issues in a complex, detailed way.

Were we always right or in agreement on the issues, would the conversations be as interesting?

At 11:35 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

Additionally, Part II:

Were it only left-wing sites that raised the possibility of political gains from this, I think I'd understand your head-shaking more.

But when Yahoo, which doesn't have a political affiliation I know of, carries the story, isn't there something more centrist about it?

What should we comment/opine on?

At 12:13 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

Jabs now surely if Hannity can put up with Alan, surely you can put up with us? Don't go.

At 1:23 PM, Anonymous portia said...

We'll never achieve authentic bipartisanship until a crowd that has clung to power by dividing us into bitter camps gets the rebuke it deserves. In the meantime, Lieberman might usefully send a copy of his speech to his friends in the White House. They divide us at our peril.

The rest of it's quite good, too. Food for thought, Jabs.

At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grow a pair.


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